Pellet stove and insurance

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Jls667

New Member
Jan 5, 2022
32
Pennsylvania
I'm curious if anyone else ran into this situation. I was all set to get a pellet stove to supplement my wood insert because my house's layout is not very open making it tough to really move the insert's heat. However I called my insurance company (California Casualty) in preparation for the project and they did not have a specification for pellet stoves and lumped it under the wood stove category. As a result, I needed to have all parts including the corners at least 36" from the wall (or 24" if I had a firewall behind it). I also needed to have it professionally installed, which wasn't a deal breaker but I was going to install myself to save some money.

Anywhere I'd put the stove would have been angled in a corner and even if I didn't, it'd stick out like a sore thumb with the required dimensions regardless of cornering the stove or having it straight out. It seems extreme and ridiculous given most pellet stove instructions require roughly 3" clearances from corners when angled.

Anyone ever navigate this without switching insurance companies? I know the obvious answer is switch companies or don't get a stove but thought I'd ask just in case someone had employed a clever solution before. I have a really good premium and they're very easy to work with so I don't want to switch just for a pellet stove but it was a bit deflating. I was really looking forward to having the pellet stove and insert going this winter.
 

zrock

Minister of Fire
Dec 2, 2017
1,277
bc
Your stove only has to meet manufacturer specs for distances i think mine is 1 on the rear and 3 on the sides. once a inspector signs off you are good to go.. Time to find another insurance company
 

johneh

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
4,365
Eastern Ontario
My insurance company only told me to install per manufactures specifications
They never even came to look at the insulation
 

ABusWrench

Burning Hunk
Sep 11, 2015
220
East Canton, Ohio
My local dealer installed my P61a in the basement. Have had Liberty Mutual, Safeco and now Allstate home owners insurance. As long as the stove was professionally installed and met the manufactures installation specs, I had no problems with any of the insurance companies. I was upfront and told the companies I had a pellet stove AND a fireplace. Brick home, no natural gas, propane or heating oil. Live in farm country and the closest fire hydrant is a mile away. If it's installed to factory specs you shouldn't have a problem. I'd change insurance companies!
 

Jls667

New Member
Jan 5, 2022
32
Pennsylvania
My local dealer installed my P61a in the basement. Have had Liberty Mutual, Safeco and now Allstate home owners insurance. As long as the stove was professionally installed and met the manufactures installation specs, I had no problems with any of the insurance companies. I was upfront and told the companies I had a pellet stove AND a fireplace. Brick home, no natural gas, propane or heating oil. Live in farm country and the closest fire hydrant is a mile away. If it's installed to factory specs you shouldn't have a problem. I'd change insurance companies!

Thanks for that info. I agree, they should only care about pro installation and meeting manufacturer specs. I sent an e-mail to them outlining again what the scenario is, hoping that maybe it'll find it's way to someone who knows a bit more about the topic rather than a rep on the phone. We shall see. The way I look at it, is they're entitled to their own requirements but the difference between manufacturer specs and their own is so large that I feel like the people I spoke to either don't know what they're talking about or the insurance company as a whole don't know what they're talking about. I'll update if I get any news incase someone runs into a similar situation down the road and searches the forums.
 
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Jls667

New Member
Jan 5, 2022
32
Pennsylvania
Just wanted to update as I said I would. I thought I was going to get no response by the insurance company but they e-mailed me back after running it by underwriting and go figure all I need to do is install to manufacturer specs and it'll be covered. So if anyone encounters something similar in the future, just make sure you have the right people look at your situation and policy since the reps were not prepared with the right answer for me.
 

blades

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2008
3,784
WI, Leroy
Not unusual. interesting though, that they insure you with no conventional system for back up. That's not normal.
 

Jls667

New Member
Jan 5, 2022
32
Pennsylvania
Not unusual. interesting though, that they insure you with no conventional system for back up. That's not normal.

Oil is my primary heat in the house. The pellet stove is to try and cut back on oil consumption. Heating with oil has been killer the last couple years and I don't think it's going to get much better in the future.
 
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Ocelot

Burning Hunk
Dec 27, 2010
119
Hudson Valley, NY
Oil is my primary heat in the house. The pellet stove is to try and cut back on oil consumption. Heating with oil has been killer the last couple years and I don't think it's going to get much better in the future.
I do sort of the opposite. My furnace is oil heat as well, but we use the pellet stove as our primary heat. Our furnace is used so little, we've only used 1/2 tank over two winters.
 

Jls667

New Member
Jan 5, 2022
32
Pennsylvania
I do sort of the opposite. My furnace is oil heat as well, but we use the pellet stove as our primary heat. Our furnace is used so little, we've only used 1/2 tank over two winters.

That's more what I'm aiming for as far as the balance of where my heat is coming from. But given that I have baseboard heating through the house but a pellet stove in one corner of a room, oil will still technically be my primary for insurance purposes. If all goes well I'll be heating the house with pellets/wood much more often than oil.
 

Ctwoodtick

Minister of Fire
Jun 5, 2015
1,780
Southeast CT
I’d look for another insurance co. Manufacturers directions should suffice. BTW that would be the same for woodstoves as well, which any newer one would have clearances likely we’ll below 36”.
I have Amica and no issues
 

wouldja?

New Member
Sep 27, 2022
6
Zone 5b
"...did not have a specification for pellet stoves and lumped it under the wood stove category"

If you feel like spending time, put together the manufacturer recommended clearances to combustibles and find someone at your insurance company who is willing to review with you. If you have an agency, ask them what other customers are doing.
 

VintageGal

Member
Mar 25, 2022
127
NorCal
For everyone suggesting that you change your insurance company in California good luck with that! As we face yearly dangerous devastating wildfires, insurance companies are only looking for a reason to drop you! If you can't find an insurance company locally you are stuck with the California unfair plan at 3 or 4 times the cost ... I appreciate that this member worked around the situation to his or her satisfaction. Best to keep a level head when dealing with the insurance company that you have and try to keep it. My 2¢
 

Chrisonthia

New Member
Nov 20, 2022
7
Connecticut
Your stove only has to meet manufacturer specs for distances i think mine is 1 on the rear and 3 on the sides. once a inspector signs off you are good to go.. Time to find another insurance company
If my inspector signed off on it do I need to show this to my insurance company? Thanks
 

shtrdave

Feeling the Heat
Feb 13, 2012
339
SW PA
I questioned my insurance when I was putting mine in. They asked what other heat sources I have. As long as I have a heat source other than the pellet stove I was good. I had a heat pump put in when the place was built for the AC. They never sent anyone to look at installation.
 
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