Tip #7 for home buyers: How does a wood stove impact home insurance

While some parts of the country may use fireplaces as a centerpiece in their living or sitting rooms, folks like us in northern New England disregard the decorative aspects and take advantage of the supplemental heat that they can bring to our homes.

Temperatures are trending up however, the evenings still get to be quite chilly. Rather than waste heating fuel or propane, us Northerners may toss a bag of pellets in the pellet stove or a couple of logs in the fireplace.

Any homeowner that has a woodstove, wood furnace, pellet stove or fireplace may have developed some frustrations when calling an agency to get insurance for their home. The truth is, DEPENDING on the insurance company, type of heat source, how it was installed, and what other heat sources are in your house you may run into some roadblocks. This should not prevent you from using a supplemental heat source, we just want to make sure the right precautions have been taken to ensure the risk of a fire has been reduced.

Here are some things the insurance company will need to know to insure your home with supplemental heat:

  • Does your home have central heat? Is it controlled by a thermostat?
  • Was the stove professionally installed and does it meet local fire codes?
  • If you installed the stove, can you provide documentation that it meets the specifications and guidelines for proper installation? You may also need to provide a certificate that the stove is free of defects and has been inspected
  • Do you have a maintenance schedule for the stove?
  • Does it have its own flue?
Insurance: Wood stoves vs. Pellet

Just like consumers, insurance companies may prefer one over the other. More than likely, pellet stoves over wood stoves. Here is why. Wood fires produce a lot of soot and require more cleaning in the chimney than a pellet stove. Insurance inspectors may check the chimney to ensure the stove’s connection to the chimney is clear, well-sealed and aligns with the local fire codes. They may even check for cleanliness and a top cover. Lastly, they may check to see that the stove and chimney are free of creosote which is soot-like, highly flammable by product of wood.

Pellet stoves still carry a risk but not one as significant as a fireplace or wood stove. Pellets are heat compressed wood pieces or sawdust instead of logs. This is more cost efficient, cleaner and doesn’t cause jumping wood sparks. Because they burn cleaner, pellet stoves do not create large creosote buildup, nor does it need a chimney connection for ventilation. An inspection for a pellet stove may be a bit less rigorous than that of a wood stove.

While the questions can be frustrating, we want to make sure that you will run into less trouble when the inspection is done. We call this frontline underwriting. We go through a series of questions to better understand you and your property. This way, we can properly match you with the right carrier. We are like a matchmaker. Rather than helping you find the love of your life, we help you find the perfect insurance company!

If you want us to match you with the perfect insurance company and keep things as simple as possible, click the link below for more info:

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