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Insurance Question

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by BuckyBeaver, May 8, 2012.

  1. BuckyBeaver

    BuckyBeaver New Member

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    Does a wood burning stove and metal chimney system need to be professionally installed in order to get homeowner's insurance? I am having a house built and my builder said he would do the install, but that is not his professional line of work. I think this will be the first time he has done a stove install. He said as long as there are instructions, it should be no problem for him to do the install.

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  2. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    Need to get with your insurance company and see what they require, afterall, they are the ones writing the check if something happens, not us.

    Mine needed it to be at least inspected by a professional shop. Pro shop said inspection would be same price as install. ;hm
  3. annette

    annette Member

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    Yes, ask around. My insurance company just wanted to leaf through the manual themselves and stare at the stove (State Farm). So we did the installation ourselves.

    Always understand the instructions yourself, too, so you can spot if the installer does something goofy! That may include you (or a mandated inspector) inspecting something before access is sealed off.
  4. colin.p

    colin.p Burning Hunk

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    After the big ice-rain storm of '98, I asked my insurance company about a wood stove. They told me as long as it is professionally installed (WETT) and is not the main source of heating, that they would cover it with no increase of premiums. However, when I did get it pro installed 5 years ago, they came out and inspected it and still complained about it. By and large insurance companies absolutely hate wood stoves and if they had their way probably outlaw them. However, it seems that they now feel the same way about oil heating. Pretty soon, if you live in a northern clime, they won't insure you if you have any kind of heating.
  5. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    As others have said . . . it all depends on your insurance company as to whether the stove and chimney have to be professionally installed, if there is a required post-inspection by the local insurance agent and/or fire/code enforcement officer and if there is an increase or no increase in your premium.

    In my own case, with Travelers, I had no increase in my premium, but I did have to have my stove and chimney professionally installed (personally I'm guessing this is in case there is an issue and the insurance company can assign some or partial blame to help recoup some finances if need be) and I had to sign off on a checklist and have my Fire Chief come to my house to do an inspection which I forwarded to the insurance company.
  6. Crane Stoves

    Crane Stoves Burning Hunk

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    what governing agency dictates who a "professional stove installer" is? Is their a test you take for a license to install wood stoves as a "professional" ?
    joescho and Backwoods Savage like this.
  7. WES999

    WES999 Minister of Fire

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    In my case, no, I did the install myself, had it inspected by the town bld. inspector. Gave the insu co proof that it was inspected and I was good to go.
    No increase in preimium either.
  8. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    That is a good point, as I have seen some "pro" jobs that even the more novice DIYer wouldn't have done.

  9. Defiant

    Defiant Vermont Castings Geek

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    Get it inspected by your town building official. Thet will want to see a manual and if everything is up to snuff they will sign off on it. Thats the way it works here anyway
    My Oslo heats my home likes this.
  10. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    Most installers around me have to have an NFI certificate in Wood/Pellet/ or Gas (depending on the product being installed). Wood certified in this case.

    Doesn't make them a Pro, but its something...
  11. Crane Stoves

    Crane Stoves Burning Hunk

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    for sure everyone has to have the town building inspection done on their stove after pulling a permit for it (and it is required to pull a permit for a stove), but what really baffles me is this talk of "must have your stove professionally installed", Ive yet to see the cridencials of a "professional wood stove installer LOL .... they are all just kids who work for a fireplace shop or chimney sweep who have ZERO licenses in most cases. The comment from dex about an NFI certificate is about the best instance ive heard of any sort of "professional qualifications"... therefor its simply ridiculous of someone demanding that it be "professionally installed", what they should be saying is "we require a building permit be pulled and the building inspector approve the installation" (who friggin cares who the heck put it in!!!)
  12. adams614

    adams614 Member

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    My insurance Co. stated that as long as the clearances meet the manufacturers requirements then it should be fine. State Farm actually sends someone out to view the stove and there is about a $40 a year premium hike. I'll have to ask them about the non main source of heat as I still have my furnace. That might save me a few dollars. I'm adding a 30 this summer so I'll take the plunge and have them come and inspect.
  13. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    My State Farm agent didn't seem to care whether I had a stove, multiple stoves, or none. She came to the house and did a full inspection prior to writing the policy, but I don't recall any mention of any of my three fireplaces / stoves in the policy declaration. I'll have to pull it out a check it again.

    Also, not sure pulling a permit is required in all locales, but certainly a good idea to check before you commit.
  14. Blue Vomit

    Blue Vomit Minister of Fire

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    Same here, a simple phone call was all it took. My agent asked me if it was professionally installed, I said "yup", she said "ok, you're good to go".
    I would keep all paperwork and documentation for your records.
  15. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Not true at all. I've installed several stoves over the years and not one time have I had a permit to do so. Not one time have I had to have it inspected. Never have I had a problem getting insurance. Professional? Maybe I am? lol But the point is that not everyone needs a permit nor does everyone need an inspection. But I certainly agree with your argument about insurance having a professional do the work. After all, could not a certified carpenter be called a professional?
  16. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    It is all new construction. The mechanical inspection will cover it just like it would if the place had a fireplace built into it. Or a furnace. Or a water heater...
  17. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    If yer gonna do it by the book here where I live, a permit and an inspection are required. These are both arranged through the County...and they make it really easy and not at all expensive. The County doesn't care who installs it, so long as it's an approved (EPA/UL certified) appliance and the inspector likes what he/she sees (installed per mfr's specs). My insurance carrier (USAA) basically didn't care after the phrase "inspected and approved". Rick
  18. tfdchief

    tfdchief Minister of Fire

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    In our jurisdiction, a municipality, we require a permit. Just outside the city you would not need a permit, since the county does not have adopted building or fire codes. In our city, the installation must meet the code regardless of who installs it. That is the important part anyway. I have inspected homeowner installations that were better than the so called professionals. However, I believe the NFI certification gives a large measure of assurance that you will get a knowledgeable professional.
  19. DianeB

    DianeB Feeling the Heat

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    In Mass, someone with an unrestricted construction supervisor license can do an install although the state has a single specialty wood install license as well. To get an unrestricted construction license, you are tested on state building code. Most builders carry the unrestricted license in Mass.

    There is another category of home improvement certificate - this does not need a test to get, just a check$ in the amount. It is called an HIC.
    The person you want to get to do an install is someone licensed by the state and tested in code - in Mass it is called a CSL.
  20. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest


    It does depend on the company you insure with as others have said. In our case we did the install and the insurance did not require a inspection nor did the premium change for us. I also think that the county, city or village sets some requirements you should check out. In my county a inspection is at the inspectors whim one county over it is required to be professionally installed and inspected. As for certification there are no certification requirements other than a contractor license by us but again that probably varies by state and county.

    Pete
  21. blacktail

    blacktail Minister of Fire

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    When I got my stove, my State Farm agent was going to come out and check it himself, until he found out it was an insert. Once they heard it was an insert they didn't need to see it.
  22. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Random thoughts . . .

    Professional . . . NFI certification . . . perhaps if they're members of the Chimney Sweep Institute . . . honestly I think it depends on the insurance company and what they're looking for . . . and to be more honest . . . I think they're simply looking for someone to tap into to help recover any lost money if for some reason the install is done wrong and the house burns up.

    Permits . . . Not needed in my home town, but required where I work. It all depends on the municipality.
  23. Armoured

    Armoured New Member

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    I don't know if they're ever counting on recovering anything.

    Just as likely: people within the insurance company want a nice, simple, cover-your-heinie approach to approving. No-one gets punished when it goes wrong, because they've ticked a box.
  24. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Inspector I used to work with formerly worked as a Fire Investigator for insurance companies . . . he said a big part of his job was figuring out what caused the fire so the insurance company could then go after the appropriate party . . . i.e. if a lamp caused the fire the insurance company would attempt to get some money from the manufacturer of the lamp.
    Armoured likes this.
  25. Armoured

    Armoured New Member

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    Thanks - interesting info. And there's no doubt that sometimes what insurance companies do is based on real history, and will sometimes lobby for things (like building codes) that improve overall safety. Having data that 'approved installers' have fewer fires is better than claims after the fact. Sometimes any system is better than no system - on average, not for individual installations.

    Still, and I'm thinking out loud, it's worth separating the decision process pre-policy approval and post-insured event. Post-insured event, it always makes sense to try and get money (if the cost of pursuing it is less than the amount they get). I don't know if that necessarily means that they thought at the beginning they could go after an 'approved installer' (for example) - if approved installers have no money, suing them doesn't do much good. (Leaving out issue of liability insurance for the installers...)

    But I'm sure there's people who know more about this than me here.

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