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Insurance Companies and wood stoves...

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by egclassic, Mar 4, 2013.

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  1. egclassic

    egclassic Feeling the Heat

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    So, my agent shows up today with camera and questionairre in hand. He walks in, goes right past the insert and asks "where is the stove?". I point to his left and say right there. He then says "well thats an insert, there is no issue with an insert." Just as I figured, he was cornfused with the terminology of stove vs. insert.
    All is good, no increase!

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  2. Cross Cut Saw

    Cross Cut Saw Feeling the Heat

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    I have State Farm and personally know my agent, I told him I was having a wood burning stove installed and I was wondering if he needed to know, he said as long as it was up to code and professionally installed I was good to go...
    No increase, no paperwork, no photos...
  3. gyrfalcon

    gyrfalcon Minister of Fire

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    Oh, good grief. I'm happy for you, but really, what's dangerous about wood-burning is the chimney and ash disposal, not whether the heater is in a fireplace or freestanding.
  4. Jean-Claude

    Jean-Claude New Member

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    I'd love to hear an RBC inspector when they spot a pond on a property. Probably need to fence it in to prevent wildlife from coming too close the water, or a net overhead to prevent birds from drowning, etc, etc. :)
    Swedishchef and Joful like this.
  5. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

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    I pay an extra $25 a year on my insurance (Wawanesa) for having a free standing wood stove. Installed it myself, but had to have a WETT certified inspection ($200), and the insurance guy came and took pictures of the install. I guess the point of the pictures is if you every have a fire they will have photos to compare and make sure you haven't modified your hearth somehow to cause the fire. Makes me wonder if I ever decide to upgrade my stove, does that mean I have to have a new inspection?
  6. Umaxman

    Umaxman Member

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    Dec 23, 2007
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    Loc:
    Nova Scotia
    All my insurance company wanted was a few pictures and a forum filled out showing the clearances from the walls and how the chimney was installed [who installed]
    They seem to have more problem with my propane fire place ?
  7. mudr

    mudr Member

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    This is what my guy needed, and we are through Preferred Mutual. I'm moving in a few months, rent-to own situation involving my grandmas old house/my parents. My wife and I are putting in a stove, I hope it goes just as easy...
  8. Wade A.

    Wade A. Feeling the Heat

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    I make this observation everytime this subject arises, but it bears repeating: Frozen pipes cause way, way more insurance losses than fires. Underwriters are very aware of that. Insurance companies look for indications you rely on wood heat to keep your pipes from freezing (like the size of your woodpile). A thermostat works whether you remember you have it, or not. You need to be present and able to load your stove to keep your house warm. Fail to do it on the wrong day and you've got a huge mess when your water pipes burst. Don't take it personally would be my advice.
    joecool85 likes this.
  9. ddahlgren

    ddahlgren Feeling the Heat

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    liberty Mutual no change in policy did not care who put it in did care that chimney and stove installed at recommended clearances and methods. It did not matter to them that I did it. Personally I don't want and installer playing carpenter or roofer on my house so hired a carpenter to install the adapter and flashing roof patches etc. as 15 years ago he shingled my roof and did a great job.
  10. Wood Heat Stoves

    Wood Heat Stoves Minister of Fire

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    I'm a "full time" wood burner in Northern California and haven't had any issues with my insurance company yet (State Farm). I'm more worried about them cancelling me because of being in a dense follage area for fire danger. Thinning out the forest and cutting up the downed trees from snow on my 2.5 acre property keeps be well supplied with fuel.
  11. Sodbuster

    Sodbuster New Member

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    Safeco.. no problem, they just want to know about it. Had to fill out a little questionnaire with stove dimensions, required clearances etc.
  12. egclassic

    egclassic Feeling the Heat

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    Now that the wood stove issue has been put to rest, let me rant alittle about the other issue (off topic for those who care).
    At the same time he told me about the stove, he mentioned that my driveway had alot of cracks and could cause a trip/fall.
    Well, I have been planning on getting the driveway replaced at some point, next time I have an extra $10K-15K sitting around, and thats what I told him.
    I finally told him that if he does not want to insure me, I would be glad to get on the phone and find someone else! Did I mention I hate insurance companies almost as much as Utility companies? Geez.
    milleo likes this.
  13. ddahlgren

    ddahlgren Feeling the Heat

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    Utility companies actually provide a product that can be consumed today, Insurance companies are a promise open to future debate should you file a claim.. Big difference in my mind,,
    Seanm likes this.
  14. Dakotas Dad

    Dakotas Dad Minister of Fire

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    well... you do know YOU are betting your house will burn down, right?

    they are betting it won't..
    Wildo and firebroad like this.
  15. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    $50 extra per year. Couple pictures. Easy.
  16. Seanm

    Seanm Feeling the Heat

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    for me it was an increase of $90 which im ok with but wonder how they would take things if I went 75% or higher on heating from wood instead of natural gas which would make wood burning a primary. Not worth it if I cant get coverage. Ive spoken with other companies and they wouldnt talk with me if wood was to become my primary. I will check wawanesa out. Thanks.
  17. pen

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

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    Wood becoming your primary would only happen if you didn't have another system capable of carrying the load.

    They aren't checking to see how often you load wood into that thing are they?

    If you go to a new stove, it should be as simple as letting them know and providing the information they require.

    pen
    bag of hammers and Lumber-Jack like this.
  18. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

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    Exactly.

    We have a heat pump system installed in the house that is "classified" as the primary heating system, but if I burn a lot of wood it gets relegated to a backup system..

    Psssst.... I burn a LOT of wood ;) but don't tell anyone ::P
    Swedishchef, Wildo, milleo and 3 others like this.
  19. SteveKG

    SteveKG Minister of Fire

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    Funny, we have three wood stoves. After 25 yr. with Farmers, agent stopped by again [they seem to do this every five years or so] and looked over our place. No comment on the three stoves or the open fireplace. Actually, nice guy.

    Several weeks later, we get a certified letter about our rate going up since we don't have a fire hydrant nearby. Everyone is well-water supplied here, no utility water or sewer. Plus, our golden retrievers are "large and potentially dangerous" dogs.

    This was a year ago. Then, at the end of last year, we are notified our rate is doubling due to Colorado's wild fires last season. [Not near here, but we live in the mntns.]

    That is not just the rate increasing, that is the annual rate doubling. Though they did offer us a few options to pay every few months rather than annually. [For a service fee added for the paperwork.] I dropped them and we are uninsured. I figured out we are working almost two months of the year to pay the house insurance. Or, we would be if we had kept the policy. I realize we will NEVER be able to get another policy, living up here. I did shop around some: various reasons they rejected us included the lack of "central heating" and the golden retrievers. Sometimes it was the wood stove thing. One place insisted we had a wood roof and I insisted it is standing seam steel of 18 ga. They said nope, it is wood. No idea where their heads are, but I gave up and we will be "self-insured," meaning we simply don't have insurance. I did take the new premium amount and stick it in a dedicated savings acct, as I will do each year. Won't cover the loss of the house, but I am not gonna put up with them any more.
    gregbesia likes this.
  20. ddahlgren

    ddahlgren Feeling the Heat

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    Will they at least sell you some liability insurance in case someone gets hurt on the property.
    pen likes this.
  21. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

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    I know several people who go the no home insurance route. It has some risks, but no more risk the millions of other people are living right now and millions more have in the past. There is the upside of being able to save or invest the money you would have spent on insurance, and frankly, the odds are it will pay off. What it comes down to is a game off odds, even for the insurance companies it's a game of odds. Things is, when they play they always make sure they play with a stacked deck.
    Still having a mortgage on my house, I can't afford to play. <>
    Swedishchef, Seanm and Joful like this.
  22. bag of hammers

    bag of hammers Minister of Fire

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    One one hand, a scary proposition, but on the other hand, sometimes you gotta say enough is enough. The thought of burning down the house is frightening, but is it more perception than real risk sometimes that drives us to just pay up without questioning anything? We're generally so risk averse that we don't even think about real risk. Everybody seems to be getting into the insurance game now (even box stores are selling policies now) because we're all scared sh$tless about all the bad things apparently going to happen to us.

    It's a tough one.
  23. SteveKG

    SteveKG Minister of Fire

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    I did think a long time about dropping the insurance. Anyone would be scared to lose his home. And everything in it. During that time, by coincidence, or perhaps serendipity, the governor gave a talk I heard some of on the radio. He was warning citizens that he'd been told by his advisors that home owners' rates in the state are causing his office to receive endless calls. His advice: get used to it, as the years to come show nothing he can see but annual increases far above inflation. He said this was verified by conversations with insurers.

    Not a big surprise. But what does one do...pay another year and it goes up, pay the subsequent year and it goes up. It is already doubled for me this year. How many years til that is doubled again, does it become geometric? I do not advise anyone, necessarily, to do what we've done. But we've done it, and it occurs to me that, while anything can go wrong, it isn't as if I am gonna be an idiot with my stoves [or electrical or the Weber grill or a candle on the table] any more than I would've been an idiot WITH insurance. I mean, how many people think, oh, well, the stove is too close to that easy chair and the chair "could" ignite I guess, but, what the heck, we're insured so if the house burns down we are ok.
  24. bag of hammers

    bag of hammers Minister of Fire

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    On the other side of the coin, we've had one incident that on the surface seemed like a non issue, that rapidly escalated into a bit of an issue. Our insurance adjuster stepped in (our homeowners policy covers these kinds of incidents) and handled everything - costs , as well as the stress, and the bullsh$t - basically shut all the drama down. That was worth a lot to us.

    I probably could purchase a small home with all the insurance premiums I've paid over the years, but I have to say the insurer I have now did step up when we needed them. It's a challenge each year to come up with the $ to keep the house and vehicles insured. At some point it may becomes a decision point - not sure what to do then. Like I said, it's a tough one sometimes.
  25. egclassic

    egclassic Feeling the Heat

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    SW Ohio
    Don't care, hate'em both the same!!
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