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Difficulty getting insurance

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by Trickle, Feb 21, 2013.

  1. Trickle

    Trickle New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    East Central Missouri
    Hey all,

    I am having some problems finding an insurance company that will cover me and wondering if anyone has ideas.

    I am in the process of purchasing a home with a wood stove as the primary and only heat source. The home is in a protection class 10 fire district because the nearest responding fire house is in the next town over 5 miles away. The combination of being a class 10 and having a wood stove as the only heat source has so far caused 5 insurance companies to say thanks, but no thanks and unable to provide coverage.

    I'd love to buy the home, but I'm not going to buy it if I can't insure it.

    Any ideas, thoughts, or suggestions?

    Thanks,
    Trickle

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  2. kevinmerchant

    kevinmerchant Member

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    Can you ask the current owners who they are using. I would suspect they would be motivated to assist you considering it would mean the sale of their house.
    Joful likes this.
  3. schlot

    schlot Minister of Fire

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    Joful likes this.
  4. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    State Farm hardly even seemed interested that I had a wood stove. When I installed the second, and contacted the agent to let them know, their answer was simply, "okay, no problem."

    Maybe try State Farm?
    westkywood likes this.
  5. gseith

    gseith New Member

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    Another for state farm.
    They came to inspect it was installed to code and that was it.
  6. ArsenalDon

    ArsenalDon Minister of Fire

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    Granger....check with your broker...that is the best bet bar none
    Joful likes this.
  7. simple.serf

    simple.serf Feeling the Heat

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    Loc:
    Sherman, NY
    I ran into this with a house that we were looking at. They wouldn't insure it because the main heat source was a coal stove. Simple solution was to install a small electric furnace in the basement.
    Mitch Newton likes this.
  8. Todd 2

    Todd 2 Feeling the Heat

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    This is true, I done HCAC work for 20+ yrs and I have installed the simplest cheapest heat system for people because the insurance companies would not go for a wood stove as only heat source. Could be a price bargaining tool.
  9. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    Wow, that ISO rating sucks. Five miles isn't that far. There are a lot of other factors involved, including equipment, water supply, and staffing.

    No problem from State Farm here, either. Not sure about the only heat source issue, though.
  10. Foragefarmer

    Foragefarmer Member

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    I agree with Todd 2. The house has a big strike against it since it doesn't have another source of heat. It is basically uninsurable, as a result a bank won't give you a mortgage for the house. That liability becomes an opportunity to bargain the sales price down even further. Find out what it would cost to put in electric baseboard. Expect to have to install upgraded service and triple that cost when asking for a reduction since you would be having the work done.

    You can try calling a multi-line broker. Someone who doesn't sell just one companies insurance, but wood heat and no firehouse nearby is a big mountain to climb.
  11. soupy1957

    soupy1957 Minister of Fire

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    IF you have the financial flexibility to choose a different home that you love, that is not in a "Class 10" Zoning, why not just explore that a bit more, before committing yourselves.

    -soupy1957
  12. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    I agree with others here that the problem is probably not the wood stove per say, but the lack of another, primary heat system. One that is automatic.


    The insurance is not only worried about fire. They are worried you go on a winter vacation and all the pipes freeze and burst because nobody is home to work the stoves. Something as simple to install as cheap electric baseboard would probably satisfy this requirement
    midwestcoast and Joful like this.
  13. Coog

    Coog Burning Hunk

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    I second this thought and prefer the safety of a redundant system.
  14. BobUrban

    BobUrban Minister of Fire

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    x10 on using this to negotiate price point. If you cannot insure it - no one can. The OG's may be somehow grandfathered into a policy but even that is not guranteed if their IC knows the situation. Get high bids on a secondary conventional heat source and use this to knock down the purchase price and then add a lower cost base board heat or equivelant once you are the owner.
  15. ddahlgren

    ddahlgren Feeling the Heat

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    So some suggest lie cheat and steal from the seller.. sad..It is tough enough getting beaten up selling a house for a fair price but the general attitude of cheat the seller is just so sad..If ever there was a place filled with straight shooters I would have though it was here, maybe not..
  16. schlot

    schlot Minister of Fire

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    It's valid to have this as a negotiating item. To get insurance some improvements may have to be made, but it's not cool on the bait and switch stuff.
  17. saladdin

    saladdin Feeling the Heat

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    The price isn't fair if it's not priced to account for being uninsurable. How do you get cheating out of that? If anything, the seller may be witholding info from the buyer.

    So the seller should price it as if it has primary heating even though it doesn't?

    You clearly have taken a beaten in a sell or you wouldn't be saying such illogical things.
  18. KaptJaq

    KaptJaq Minister of Fire

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    I didn't hear the buyer lie, cheat, or steal from the seller. The house is going to cost the buyer to upgrade the heating system. Buyer thought the house was worth a certain amount. To get a mortgage and insure the house he has to put time and money into the house. This is a valid negotiating point. If the seller disagrees he finds another buyer and the buyer finds another house.

    KaptJaq
  19. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    I also dont see where its even been remotely hinted this is cheating the seller. If the offer price of the house reflects a discount to cover the cost of installing mechanical systems that will be required to insure and mortgage it, fine. If not its completely normal for the buyer to negotiate those costs into the sale terms. Happens all the time in all kind of sales transactions.

    Just like buying a house with a leaky roof. You would take the inspection report and negotiate with the seller to replace it or deduct the cost of replacement from the price.
  20. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Let's keep it to the question folks. This ain't realestatenegotiating.com. He needs heat source options since, as far as I know, no insurance company will insure a house without a backup heat source. The freezing angle is the reason.

    The fire station issue is a real one too. I know. Allstate tried to raise my rates a grand a year after they got a new service to assess distance to a fire house. Neither us or the fire station had moved in the 28 years we have been here. But the OP can't fix that issue.
  21. saladdin

    saladdin Feeling the Heat

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    I wonder if a pellet stove plus a wood stove would work.
  22. ArsenalDon

    ArsenalDon Minister of Fire

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    The secondary heat source is going to be a big part of it....if one heat source does fails, how will you stop the pipes from bursting...but the biggest hurdle is being located in a class10fire zone...that is where Granger comes in, they specialize in rural insurance
  23. ddahlgren

    ddahlgren Feeling the Heat

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    I get it from here..
    "Get high bids on a secondary conventional heat source and use this to knock down the purchase price and then add a lower cost base board heat or equivelant once you are the owner."
  24. ddahlgren

    ddahlgren Feeling the Heat

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    In the town I live in I doubt if you could get a Certificate of Occupancy without permanent heat. 5 miles away is 8 minutes at 40 mph. You can live in a large city and have the fire dept 1 mile away and have them take longer than that to get to you.. It seems like the fire department is how much they will charge you but without heat in their eyes it ceases to be a house they are insuring a barn or shed at best. If you have water in the house then the insurance company is liable for all the burst pipes etc if you run out of wood or are not here to keep the stove going. In the end you make an offer if the sellers ask why tell them and move on if you can not afford the house at their bottom line price. If you have automatic heating in the places that have water like kitchen and bathroom then you have central heat. I doubt if it is requirement to heat bedrooms.
  25. ArsenalDon

    ArsenalDon Minister of Fire

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    It is good business practice (in the case of Vet loans a requirement) to get inspections on bureal estate purchases. These inspections many times reveal items that need to be fixed. A home inspector (I guarantee it) will note that there is only one heating source. Not only will an insurance company many times not insure the home with one heat source, most lenders will not fund the loan on a home with only one heat source (remember that you do not own the home, the bank does until you make the final payment). So, after inspections someone has to fix the things that need fixing.....why would the buyer buy a "broken" home?
    Would you as a buyer of a used car for $10,000, take it into the mechanic for an inspection, he tells you that it needs a new engine at a cost of $2,000.....and you not go back to the seller and say I will give you $8,000 because the engine will cost $2,000?! How is this lying, cheating and stealing?

    The home seller is not forced to sell! The buyer is not forced to buy...thus why we call it "Free Enterprise"

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