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thought on homeowners insurance

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by stoveguy2esw, Nov 19, 2012.

  1. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    had a thought a few minutes ago while answering a thread on creosote logs;

    i wonder if there is any organization (HPBA maybe) that lobbies insurance companies for better rates on folks who burn wood stoves.


    maybe they could lobby for a better rate or a deduction if the flue was serviced by a certified chimney professional at least annually.i'd love to find something that would save our wood burners a few bucks especially if they have been having it done anyway.

    heck it may already be there, i don't know, just tossing a random thought out for discussion. if anyone gets a break on rates like this maybe share it, who is the insurer what kind of break do you get etc.

    i may have to ask this question to the HPBA (making mental note). of course it may not help those who do it themselves but for those who shell out bucks annually for this service it may be worth a look , not to mention maybe helping our friends who do this kind of work.

    open for thoughts, suggestions etc. gimme what you got on it please

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  2. suprz

    suprz Member

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    When i was just thinking about installing the stove, i called my homeowners ins and was told that there would be no increase in rates, and asked if it was going to be the primary source of heat for the house (not in my case) and if it was being installed by a licensed installer, and if it was to be inspected. I told them "yes" to both the install and inspection and they advised there would be no increase in premiums, and to just notify them when the work and inspection was done and they would note our policy and to keep the paperwork and inspection paperwork.
  3. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

    We had no issue with AAA I did the install it was inspected and that was it. No insurance hikes at all it is viewed as a heat source ( furnace ) on the insurance.

    Pete
  4. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    thanks for the reply, actually what im thinking of is for "after installation" upkeep. a wood stove installation isn't like a TV or something, its an appliance or system which has to be maintained especially the chimney, so i was thinking (which is dangerous for me) wonder if there are insurers out there that give a break for folks who have a pro check the flue annually. kinda like the "safe driving" discount allstate is advertising on TV.

    would be a cool thing to save our wood burners a couple bucks on homeowners, maybe those who have a rate hike for installing would benefit from this.
  5. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

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    Be careful what you wish for. The insurance companies may just lobby for a law that requires you to have a certified sweep inspect the chimney once a year. If you have a chimney fire and cannot produce the inspection reports your coverage just went down the drain. That way you have the cost without any savings. Think about it: You do not get a discount for having your car inspected annually, instead it is required (at least here in VT).

    In addition, a sweep costs me ~$100; that will far outweigh any savings I will get in my home insurance. I check in the summer how my flue looks and have been satisfied so far. Next year, I am planning on getting a sweep regardless to make sure everything is ok. My gut feeling is most chimney fires happen due to no sweeping or not sweeping often enough rather than who is cleaning the flue. Do you have evidence to the contrary?
  6. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I don't think they will bite. They don't give a discount if oil burners are serviced every year. In fact even though I clean my own chimneys I kinda chuckle every year when somebody here complains that a chimney sweeping costs a hundred and a half since that seems to be what a oil burner or heat pump annual checkup costs. And those guys don't get sooty. ;lol
  7. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    i understand what you are saying, and trust me im not going to start calling insurance companies to front the idea, this is just a 'feeler' so to speak. i would probably talk to a rep from HPBA about it and if he/she said what you did i'd drop it in a heartbeat. my intent is to help folks not burden them with an additional cost. this whole thing is basically a random thought im looking for input from. if it starts looking like it could bring on undue cost to anyone, i'll dump it.

    im a safety conscious guy. i want folks to be able to use my products safely, and i don't want them to lose savings they would accrue to a higher insurance rate due to inviting my products into their home. if i can find a way to lower their costs on home owners insurance while ensuring safe operation of wood burning appliances its good for me, and them.

    we already know that current generation wood stoves are safer, more efficient, and environmentally safer than stoves of the previous generation. why should they be treated the same way they were 30 years ago when chimney fires accounted for a much higher percentage of house fires than today. for the most part folks today are much more responsible wood burners than they were a generation ago. better stoves are a the biggest part of why this is so, education is a big key as well, something i've advocated for and will continue to advocate for has helped a lot, sites like this one are HUGE resources for both seasoned and "unseasoned" wood stove users.

    its a budding idea, not set in stone obviously. im just looking for feedback at this point. so "evidence" isn't something i have in any way so far, heck i just thought of this a few hours ago.
  8. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    i get ya BB, like i said above, just floating an idea and im in a position i can make a bit of noise if it looks promising. , if it don't, i'll quietly let it die. if feedback from this thread makes it look like it would cause more harm than good, it will "die in the womb' trust me i don't want to add more regulation to the wood burning community.
  9. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    Don't need any, Mike...a "gut feeling" is good enough for Grisu. :rolleyes:
  10. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    you're probably right. was a good thought anyway. doesn't look like it would bear fruit, guess i let it die.
  11. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    I'll add another example of a stove having no impact on the insurance. I'm insured with Amica, they know we have the stove but there is no mention of it on the policy.
  12. KarlP

    KarlP Feeling the Heat

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    A thumbs down for the "profe$$ional $weep" I had clean my chimney the first time.

    A thumbs up for Amica. They sent me a letter confirming I had told them about the wood stove and it would be covered with no additional charge. They even included a comedy pamphlet reminding me not to light the stove with gasoline. :)
  13. DanCorcoran

    DanCorcoran Minister of Fire

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    That's not how the insurance industry works. Each state regulates the rate-setting mechanism and approves changes in rates. Companies must set their rates based on their loss history, that is, how much they've paid in claims for a particular class of policyholder. Underwriters are the ones who do the math when it comes to documenting losses and supporting proposed rate changes.

    You could lobby the states, one by one, for changes to their rate-setting mechanism, but I think you'd just be tilting at windmills. If an insurance company thought they could attract more policyholders and make money by establishing a separate rate for woodstove owners, they might do so. But again, their rates would have to be set based on their loss history, not on giving folks a good deal.
  14. bag of hammers

    bag of hammers Minister of Fire

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    Good to hear people aren't getting screwed for heating with wood. I pay a premium but I'm also at the very end of a long run for the volunteer fire dept. I'm afraid there might not be much left to save e.g. in bad weather, if I had to run the half mile to get the neighbors up to call, etc. I think the stove might just be the straw that pushes me into the next risk bracket. Still won't trade it for propane or electric. Good points from all about leaving well enough alone.
  15. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

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    I pay $25 more per year what I easily recoup in savings. The worst I have seen here so far was $75 and that would be a reason for me to start shopping around for cheaper insurance.
  16. nellraq

    nellraq Member

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    A bit of advice...follow KarlP and get a letter from Amica stating that they know you have a wood stove and confirmation that this has no impact of your insurance premium.
    Further, keep a copy of the letter somewhere other than in your house.
    Just a thought ...!
  17. nellraq

    nellraq Member

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    I pay $125 premium for heating with wood. Recently my insurance agent told me that I will have to pay an additional $125 for the second stove that just got installed! Yikes!!

    Now...get this...I have to pay the extra $125 because I have a farm policy. A regular guy in a subdivision - rural or urban-- can have as many stoves as he wants -and still only pay $125. Go figure!!
  18. bluedogz

    bluedogz Minister of Fire

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    A fair suggestion, but isn't one of the things most of us do to save money to NOT call professionals for a lot of what we do?
  19. DanCorcoran

    DanCorcoran Minister of Fire

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    As I mentioned earlier, rates are set based on loss history. In this case, they must have a lot higher percentage claims from rural policyholders, related to woodstoves, than they do urban ones. They've carved out separate rates, so one group won't be subsidizing the other.

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