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Homeowners Insurance..... Cancelled Because of Wood Usage

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Beave, Dec 16, 2011.

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  1. Beave

    Beave New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2010
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    Loc:
    Pacific Northwest
    So here's my situation:
    1. Been with Allstate for my entire life, auto and home policies
    2. Kid on the way, wife quitting her job
    3. Need to save money in multiple ways.... Why not shop around for cheaper insurance?
    4. Call Ameripise, via Costco and American Express
    5. Have a wonderful phone conversation with our new Ameriprise agent, during which I answer "yes" at least three times when asked about having a woodstove downstairs and a fireplace upstairs.
    6. Everything is great, we sign up and are going to save hundreds a year on auto/home insurance
    7. Cancel Allstate and begin Ameriprise on Nov 1st of this year
    7. Get the Ameriprise contract in the mail, fill out the paperwork, again answering "yes" to the woodstove question
    8. Get a call last week about the woodstove, where the woman asks several questions about the woodstove, including:
    a. When and where did you buy it? (2009 at a local stove shop)
    b. Who installed it? (they did)
    c. When was it last professionally cleaned? (never, I do that sort of stuff myself. I did it a couple months ago, and inspect monthly during the heating season)
    d. How many cords do you burn per year? (I would guess about three)
    9. Get an email today about how Ameriprise is going to cancel my homeowners policy on Feb 1st of 2012, due to the fact that burning more than 2 cords per year is not covered by their underwriter

    Is it just me, or is this a raw deal? You would think that this would be a relevant point of conversation, PRIOR to cancelling my existing policy with Allstate.

    Ultimately I would like to work this out and continue the policy, but I don't know if they'll go for it even if I agree to burn 2 cords or less per year. Really? Who's going to measure?

    Either way, the salesman that had all the right answers, but not the right questions, is going to get some tough questions tomorrow. During the initial sign up, they said an inspector might be out to inspect the exterior of our home. He must have come by during this:
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  2. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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    I expect you'll find somebody to cover you. My homeowners insurace didn't change rates when I added the wood stove. I have Allstate.
  3. Beave

    Beave New Member

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    Loc:
    Pacific Northwest
    Yeah, funny thing is Allstate barely batted an eyelash when I told them about the wood stove install. I guess the old saying is true, "You never know how good it is until it's gone"
  4. remkel

    remkel Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Southwest NH
    When I did my install, notified the insurance company, they sent someone to the house to do an inspection, voila, case closed.
  5. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

    Joined:
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    Call Allstate and tell them you are with Ameriprise and are thinking of changing. See how much less than you were paying them before they quote.

    Same as you I have been with Allstate for everything for over 30 years. 40 actually. They doubled my homeowner's not because of the stoves but because I don't have a credit record. Duh. I have never borrowed money for anything but the house in my life. Seems ya should be able to figure out that somebody 64 years old that doesn't have a credit record sure doesn't have a "bad" credit record. The next year they tried to bump it by a third because I wasn't close enough to that fire station that has been two miles from the house for 30 years.

    I hate insurance companies. Good luck.
  6. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    SE MI
    Our State Farm agent was out today to check out the new install and take some pictures. He had a measuring tape in his hand, but never used it. He said it looked great, and I had obviously exceeded clearances by a lot. He also said most places he goes with a stove smell smoky inside. Hmmmm.
    I think it's an extra five bucks per year on my policy.
  7. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    If they are that skitzy, I wouldn't want them as my insurance company. Drop them sooner if you can.

    I'm with travelers insurance and they have been great to us. Went with them when we initially bought this home because they were just fine w/ a non-ul listed stove so long as it was properly installed. Wife and I have not had a claim of any insurance type since the 90's and each of us hit a deer this year. Travelers took care of us and the vehicles so quickly is was almost comical. They were also great to us when we built our garage and added that to the policy.

    pen
  8. HotCoals

    HotCoals Minister of Fire

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    That electric splitter really split that chunk!?
    [​IMG]
  9. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

    Joined:
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    Wondered the same thing. I am looking at electric splitters myself.

    Think he needs to put a review of that pup in the Gear Room.
  10. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    Go back to Allstate?

    What's with the whole bunch of blocks with red Xs?
  11. Beave

    Beave New Member

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    Loc:
    Pacific Northwest
    Thanks for the advice everyone. If I can't work this out with Ameriprise, I now have a couple good leads for other companies to try.

    Can't tell you what the "Red X's" are, something to do with the picture attachments.

    Yes, that little splitter will take pretty much everything I can throw at it. Out of all the rounds split, only one (in the right corner of that picture) gave me much grief. I tried to split it 10 times, 5 tries from each direction. Real nasty knot, and I now wonder if I can even finish it off with the maul. But yes, most everything else splits like butter. I have no idea why, but last weekend I was out splitting (down around freezing) and my little splitter starting acting up, like it was low on fluid or the hydraulic pump was cavitating. I checked the fluid level and it was fine, but sure enough, the dipstick showed a bunch of little air bubbles. I let it settle for a couple hours and rechecked, and the bubbles were gone. Have not used it since, but am hopeful and have learned something: Looking at the Homelite owners manual, I found nothing beyond the "Send in for Repair" level of troubleshooting help. Looking online though, I was able to find an almost carbon-copy of my splitter, but this one with a better instruction manual. This particular manual mentions the potential for damage to the splitter if the hydraulic fluid has air bubbles in it, and suggests full-cycling the splitter 3-4 times, with no load, prior to using it. Supposedly this purges air bubbles that have accumulated "during storage or tranport".

    Anyway, so far so good with this splitter. I have rented and used a gas splitter in the past, and swung my fair share of mauls. In my opinion, processing firewood with a powered splitter is still an honest amount of work. Loading big rounds onto the splitter is hard work, and picking up the halves and resetting them on the splitter can be tough too. I am thinking about how I can employ my hand truck to both deliver large rounds to the splitter, and also catch at least one of the halves after the first split; I think my hand truck is the perfect heighth, but haven't tried it yet. Also, this splitter will kill your back; Way too low to the ground. The ideal situation is having it set on an elevated ledge, or your tailgate so you can split as you unload.
  12. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

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    I agree. They'll probably try to screw you on a claim, then drop you after that. Been there with bargain ins. companies.

    We have Allstate for renter's ins. for awhile and they don't care about the stove or how much I burn in it. Never even sent an inspector (is that a common thing)?

    Lost my truck in a fire and they gave me a real fair settlement. No mention of any change in premium so far. We're gonna go with them for homeowner's on the new place.
  13. Beave

    Beave New Member

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    Loc:
    Pacific Northwest
    Dang, lots of positive reviews for Allstate. I had heard from a few coworkers that Ameriprise was good, but now my wife is finding all sorts of bad reports of them on the internet. Lesson learned. I shoulda' done some more research before being so quick to save a buck.
  14. MikeThePipe

    MikeThePipe New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2011
    Messages:
    14
    Loc:
    Rockies
    Well you just got a lesson in the quicksands laughingly called insurance. There are a few more you would do well to avoid.
    #1 Insurance is a scam. It is a device to seperate people from real money in exchange for a worthless piece of paper. The "industry" if such a scam is worthy of the word, is self regulated and employes an army of people whos full time job it is to deny your claim. They are paid with your money
    #2 Underwriters make the rules. There are no appeals, no process for disputes and all decisions are final.
    #3 The purpose of all "clauses" os to eliminate risk from the policies based on statistics garnered by very well paid MBA's that carefully tweak the limits for such irrelevant things like how much wood you burn in a given period of time to put the statistical liklyhood of a claim in the <5% category.
    #4 The lies they tell you to sell this "product" (if invisible promises that evaporate when you need to call on them can be called a product) and the marketing nonsense they spend hundreds of millions (of your money) per year, are all totally "legal" and designed to mislead, misrepresent and distract you from the realities of all this
    #5 You will be REQUIRED to purchase this artificial product by any lender becasue in the event of a real catastrophe, the insurance industry will claim they cannot pay, a disaster will be declared and your tax money will be used to pay some pittance for your destroyed property
    #6 Insurance "accounting" would be called cooking the books in any other line of business. The money they take in premiums is taxable as profit over and above their operating costs, so instead of paying hundreds of millions of dollars in taxs like you or I, they lobbied to be allowed to put most of this profit into a "reserve" This is just a giant fund that is supposed to be there in case of disasters right? wrong. This is an investment pool and guess what, all the profits made by that re-investment are tax freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. yup
    #7 Your zip code has absolutly nothing to do with figuring out which areas are higher risk. It is used to determine what you can likely pay. Premiums are adjusted based on ability to pay NOT claims.
    #8 The guys selling this bogus snake oil can promise you the moon, blatently lie and vanish into thin air. All perfectly legal because we can all rest easy that there is a commisioner that will guarantee all insurers.
    #9 Since we al have to play this game, you will eventually learn that is is rigged in every way it posibly can be to guarantee a river of free money for old rope and the only way to deal with it is get bare bones, lie and take responsability for your stuff and act accordingly.

    Snake Farm is not a bad choice. I use them for auto. I have paid less than $1000 for the last ten years of auto insurance. I could have driven that vehicle off a cliff twice over and still come out ahead. For all the "what if you run over 20 school kids" fear mongers, do you really think your insurance is going to stand behind you in anythign other than a fender bender hahahahaha.. oh and there is a $25k limit to all auto claims.

    These people dont care about you, your house, your baby or your life. They just want to con you out of your money and have legalized the extortion. I suggest you begin to act accordingly.
  15. rwhite

    rwhite Minister of Fire

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    Since the 1st house I have owned to now I have been with Farm Bureau. I have never filed a claim on anything but short of that their customer service has always been top notch. + they support all the local FFA programs and local schools and are active in Ag related issues. Have never paid over $600 a year and have always had some type of wood burning device in my home.
  16. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    I don't understand why it's acceptable to burn 2 cords but not OK to burn 3?? Your insurance company sounds pretty lame to me.. When I replaced my hearth and stove I emailed the insurance company the stove install inspection report and they filed it.. No calls, no questions and no increases in rates. A few years ago they did send someone to take pics etc. when I switched to the new insurance company and all that came out of it was, it would be a good idea to have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen near the stove. I replied that I was thinking about doing just that and bought 2 Kidde fire extinguishers.. I already had working CO detectors on each level and wired smokes so was all set there.. For many years I was forced to buy a high priced with basic coverage insurance because nobody wanted to insure a log home.. Thankfully my agent found a company that would insure me and I saved a load of money and have decent coverage now..

    Ray
  17. ChipTam

    ChipTam Burning Hunk

    Joined:
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    Loc:
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    In Newfoundland, where my wife and I have a vacation home, insurance companies would never sell a single homeowners policy if they didn't insure homes with wood stoves. Virtually everyone uses wood as their primary source of heat. That said, our local agent came out, took about 50 measurements, compared them to those in my owner's manual, and sent all that information back to the home office. I was good to go with no increase in my rates. Good luck with your insurance companies.

    ChipTam
  18. woodmiser

    woodmiser New Member

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    Loc:
    Garnet Valley, PA
    I have filed many claims with State Farm. They have been great.

    (2003) Tree fell on house and truck.... around $20,000 (Hurricane)

    (2008) Tree fell on newly built garage polebarn (neighbor's tree) $19,000 and change. (Severe wind storm)

    (2011) Tree struck by lightning $800

    (2011) Branch punctured hole in roof... water damage ($2000) (Hurricane)

    Let's just say I'm a little ahead of the game.
  19. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    In my former home, the ins. co. just wanted the fire marshall to inspect, in my current home, the building inspector.

    In my former home, wood was listed as the primary source of heat. In my current home, gas is listed as primary. I burn on average 3 - 4 cord. If there was a claim, the ins. co. would not be able to determine exactly how much wood I burn since I pay cash on the dash. They could however ask for my gas bills.

    When my father's house burned to the ground from a chimney fire, Allstate contested. He had electric listed as primary and wood as supplemental. Allstate reviewed his electric bill to try to determine whether wood was primary.
  20. tcassavaugh

    tcassavaugh Minister of Fire

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    :bug: damn miser, sounds like you need to move or cut down the rest of the trees.... :) better luck in the upcomming year.

    cass
  21. egclassic

    egclassic Feeling the Heat

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    Yeah! Thanks to the rest of us! :cheese:
    Not sure where you live, but everytime I "question" my insurance co. (Allstate) why my rates went up, I hear "well, theres been alot of hurricanes (tornados, ice storms you name it) in Florida (Texas, colorado, wherever). I say, " But I don't live anywhere close to these places!" Tough luck I guess. I hate insurance companies as much as Utility companies.
  22. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

    In Michigan I told AAA and they said it is viewed as a furnace and as long as the county inspects it then AAA won't need to. It didn't even raise my insurance rates!

    Pete
  23. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    Ja, the risk is in letting them stand, not in burning them.
  24. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

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    I am with a regional insurer here in the NE: MMG. The rate is great, a good 1/3 less than the others I got at that time and the coverage is even slightly better. I did not have a claim though so I cannot tell how things will be then. When I installed my insert I only had to fill out a 2 page survey with a little drawing that shows the clearances and attach the bill of the installer. No inspection, no rate increase. All the paperwork goes through a local insurance agency that has been a pleasure to work with. So far, I am really happy! :)
  25. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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