Insurance Companies and wood stoves...

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egclassic

Feeling the Heat
Jan 1, 2011
261
SW Ohio
well... you do know YOU are betting your house will burn down, right?

they are betting it won't..
Yeah, I'm betting they come out better in the end though!
 

Uncle

Member
Aug 8, 2011
66
Jersey Shore
I have Travelers also, the agent said as long as it was professionally installed we would not get an increase. A little OT, but when I went down to my local town hall to find out about permits they told me it was not nessesary. I hate having that "Am I going to regret this" feeling in the back of my head. When the times come that I finally do get my insert I am going to make 100% sure everything is signed off on.
 

tfdchief

Minister of Fire
Nov 24, 2009
3,336
Tuscola, IL
myplace.frontier.com
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!
I have Pekin Insurance, and they have insured me with an insert for many years, no extra cost. They don't care about an insert. Two years ago, when I installed the second stove, free standing, in the kitchen, they had to come out and inspect it and charged me $45 more per year. The inspector took pictures. Didn't ask who installed it, and obviously knew NOTHING about wood stove installation or codes. He did not measure the clearances nor did he look to see what was required. I asked him if he wanted to look at the chimney in the attic and he said no. I don't really understand the point of them coming out, but I was fine with the $45 extra per year.....reasonable in my opinion. I did get a quote from State Farm who said the stove was no extra charge, but they could not beat the excellent rate I had with Pekin because of so many years without a claim. Bottom line is, IMO, shop around. Someone will insure you at a reasonable rate.

Edit: One more thing. Make sure they know everything. If they don't and something happens, it will be much harder. My experience over 34 years in the fire service is that the majority of insurance companies have gotten much better about fire damage claims over the years. But they don't like surprises.
 
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thetraindork

Member
Oct 14, 2011
36
miamisburg, ohio
i'm in SW ohio myself, been with allstate since 16. paid cash for my house and the first thing i did was have a stove put in. the agent looked at it and said "nice stove" and that was it. i guess the world has too many idiots in it. most end up on youtube. they should give a woodstove IQ test before you can have a stove or an insert.
 
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egclassic

Feeling the Heat
Jan 1, 2011
261
SW Ohio
i'm in SW ohio myself, been with allstate since 16. paid cash for my house and the first thing i did was have a stove put in. the agent looked at it and said "nice stove" and that was it. i guess the world has too many idiots in it. most end up on youtube. they should give a woodstove IQ test before you can have a stove or an insert.
I was with Allstate for 12 years, just got sick of their $100 a year premium increases when I have been claim free for all 12 years.
Allstate has no problems with inserts, like mine, but they don't like free standing stoves.
 

northwinds

Minister of Fire
Jul 9, 2006
1,452
south central WI
Some companies don't like wood stoves. Others don't like inserts. I found out that it was difficult to find good rates when running both an insert and a wood stove.
Working with an independent agent, I ended up with IMT, an insurer from Iowa. Rates are good, and they stepped up to the plate when a tree fell on an outbuilding.
 

Brutus

New Member
Feb 23, 2013
6
Palmer, AK
Safeco.. no problem, they just want to know about it. Had to fill out a little questionnaire with stove dimensions, required clearances etc.
Same here. I have Safeco. Called before installing a freestanding woodstove in a house that had never had one - questionnaire, photos, and no change to premium.
 

Mr A

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2011
597
N. California
I asked my State Farm Insurance agent about installing a fireplace insert. No questions asked, she said it was fine. They also like my pitbull terrier and my rottweiler when I couldn't get insured for a reasonable rate anywhere else. A wood stove may be differtnt, but the insert in the existing masonry fireplace, no problem.
 

WES999

Minister of Fire
Jan 12, 2008
1,042
Mass north of Boston
My insu co ( Quincy mutual) only wanted proof that the install was inspected. I did the install myself, cost $25
for a permit/inspection from the town. After the town BI signed off the permit, I sent a copy to the isnu co and they were happy, NO rate increase.:)
 

tekguy

Feeling the Heat
Nov 12, 2009
368
west mass
just curious... why do some some companies require it to be dealer or professionally installed? around here wood stove installations reuiqre a permit and have to be inspected by the building inspector or they are considered illegal installs, if the building inspector signs off on the install I dont get the difference of why it matters who installed it

or do other areas of the country do not require wood stoves to be permitted and inspected after the install?
 

colin.p

Burning Hunk
Feb 26, 2011
219
Ottawa Canada
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. <>
I also have a mortgage and that is the only reason for my having house insurance. If I was free and clear, then I doubt I would have insurance as it's usually a no-win situation. If I had a catastrophic event, they would likely find some reason to not pay out anyway (the house can only burn down the third Tuesday of every other month). That and the fact that all the stuff I bought over the years needs replacing now anyway.:p
 

Buckeye 2012

Member
Sep 7, 2012
59
Central Ohio
They require it to be dealer installed so they can subrogate against the installers insurance which usually has 1 million dollar plus limits per occurrence. I work in insurance see it all the time. Installers usually are insured by excess and surplus carrier at a very high rate cause they are the top of the food chain in a subrogation claim.
 

ddahlgren

Minister of Fire
Apr 18, 2011
555
SE CT
They require it to be dealer installed so they can subrogate against the installers insurance which usually has 1 million dollar plus limits per occurrence. I work in insurance see it all the time. Installers usually are insured by excess and surplus carrier at a very high rate cause they are the top of the food chain in a subrogation claim.
Something to think about when you install your own stove.
 

Buckeye 2012

Member
Sep 7, 2012
59
Central Ohio
Anytime you have anyone do anything like install a stove you should get their certificate of insurance. This would go for any work you have done on your property. I realize we all use non insured people sometime because it is a relative or friend but anytime they have a workers comp policy and general liability policy you should get the info. In many states you have 10 years in basic construction defects to collect on something like a stove install it is much longer.
 

bag of hammers

Minister of Fire
Jan 7, 2010
1,447
Northern ON
They require it to be dealer installed so they can subrogate against the installers insurance which usually has 1 million dollar plus limits per occurrence. I work in insurance see it all the time. Installers usually are insured by excess and surplus carrier at a very high rate cause they are the top of the food chain in a subrogation claim.
That's a very interesting piece of information. Now I'm no lawyer so I'm going to ask - if I understand it, doesn't the above scenario imply that the installer is somehow negligent or at fault (e.g. they screwed up and their bad install is the cause of a house fire)...?

In my simple mind, if the insurance company asks for a pro install, you have to do it to satisfy the terms of their policy. If they don't ask for it (you do inform them you have a stove, your policy lists wood heat, you provide whatever details they do ask for, including pictures, clearances, specs, inspection, etc.) then you have satisfied the terms of their policy. In other words, as long as you meet the specific requirements set out by your insurer, the install is done to spec, and you're not negligent in any way, I would think you'd be covered regardless.

Unless you yourself were somehow responsible for the event / damages (e.g. you threw a can of gasoline in the stove and blew your place up, etc.)...?

Something to think about when you install your own stove.
I agree - it's always good to think about all these things, but I do believe a DIY install can be a quality job, and we shouldn't be afraid to do so, we just need to know the risks and implications and be sure the insurer is on board with the whole thing.
 

ddahlgren

Minister of Fire
Apr 18, 2011
555
SE CT
That's a very interesting piece of information. Now I'm no lawyer so I'm going to ask - if I understand it, doesn't the above scenario imply that the installer is somehow negligent or at fault (e.g. they screwed up and their bad install is the cause of a house fire)...?

In my simple mind, if the insurance company asks for a pro install, you have to do it to satisfy the terms of their policy. If they don't ask for it (you do inform them you have a stove, your policy lists wood heat, you provide whatever details they do ask for, including pictures, clearances, specs, inspection, etc.) then you have satisfied the terms of their policy. In other words, as long as you meet the specific requirements set out by your insurer, the install is done to spec, and you're not negligent in any way, I would think you'd be covered regardless.

Unless you yourself were somehow responsible for the event / damages (e.g. you threw a can of gasoline in the stove and blew your place up, etc.)...?


I agree - it's always good to think about all these things, but I do believe a DIY install can be a quality job, and we shouldn't be afraid to do so, we just need to know the risks and implications and be sure the insurer is on board with the whole thing.
With a DIY installation I think the smart thing is subrogate your risk by having a building official or fire marshall sign off for your protection and keep those papers in a safe place and do send a copy of them in a return recipt rquired letter to the insurance co , keep the recipt with your copies of the paperwork.
 
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Buckeye 2012

Member
Sep 7, 2012
59
Central Ohio
With a DIY installation I think the smart thing is subrogate your risk by having a building official or fire marshall sign off for your protection and keep those papers in a safe place and do send a copy of them in a return recipt rquired letter to the insurance co , keep the recipt with your copies of the paperwork.
SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY
 

CHeath

Feeling the Heat
Feb 18, 2013
273
Northwest NorthCarolina Mtns
I represent Erie and they are good with it as long as its cleaned properly every year. They want a sweep do do it but if you know what you are doing, its ok.
 

colin.p

Burning Hunk
Feb 26, 2011
219
Ottawa Canada
...cleaned properly every year. They want a sweep do do it but if you know what you are doing, its ok.
I fully expect that, sooner or later, insurance companies will demand wood stoves/chimneys be inspected and cleaned by a licensed sweep yearly. They already demand oil furnaces be inspected and cleaned. The annoying thing is they keep changing the codes as well.
 

Swedishchef

Minister of Fire
Jan 17, 2010
3,275
Inuvik, Northwest Territories
I think I will open a Canadian insurance company that allows for people to heat primarily with wood....good grief. I may implement a basic intelligence level questionaire (Question 1- Do you burn old tires in your stove?).

A friend of mine was just refused insurance on his 3 year old house because he has a wood furnace as primary heat source.

Andrew
 

bgoodwithwood

Member
Sep 26, 2008
45
Shrewsbury, Mass
I have travelers. It is a requirement that I provide them with proof of inspection and cleaning by a certified sweep.....and they never forget to ask me for it. It serves as a good reminder to have it done yearly.
 

ridemgis

Burning Hunk
I was with Allstate for 12 years, just got sick of their $100 a year premium increases when I have been claim free for all 12 years.
Allstate has no problems with inserts, like mine, but they don't like free standing stoves.
Not necessarily true. I told Allstate about our stove and they could not have been less interested.
 

Reckless

Feeling the Heat
Jan 24, 2013
379
Orange county, NY
Man Gieco were the only company that would insure me when I told them I had a wood burning stove. They told me that it would not effect my coverage and that if it had been an open fireplace that they would have turned me down. I think its really all about who you get on the phone and the amount of time and experience they have with this stuff.
 

pen

There are some who call me...mod.
Staff member
Aug 2, 2007
7,946
N.E. Penna
Man Gieco were the only company that would insure me when I told them I had a wood burning stove. They told me that it would not effect my coverage and that if it had been an open fireplace that they would have turned me down. I think its really all about who you get on the phone and the amount of time and experience they have with this stuff.
Based upon the responses I've heard from different folks, I'm wondering if there can be differences with the same company depending on one's region.

pen
 
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KB007

Minister of Fire
Oct 21, 2009
553
Ottawa, Canada
I called our SF agent and all they wanted was the wett cert for each of the woodstove and insert. Charge me $40/yr each. They did ask if I still have a working furnace, and apparently they see the furnace as primary heat and the stove and insert as secondary. Glad they don't rate things based on hours of use ;)
 
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