Does Having A Wood-Burning Stove Affect My Homeowners Insurance?


UPDATED: JUN 2020 | 1 MIN READ

As with any potentially risky addition, adding a wood-burning stove to your home could affect your home insurance premiums.

If you want to own a log or pellet stove there are some ways to mitigate a potential increase in home insurance costs.  In this article, we’ll review some of the ways you can avoid insurance premium increases, and some of the conditions for coverage when it comes to owning a home wood burning stove.  

Man Relaxing in a cabin in front of a wood burning stove at peace with his home insurance rates

There are a lot of factors that affect your homeowner’s insurance and owning a wood stove is definitely one of them.  When insurance companies evaluate a home to be insured, they are analyzing risk factors, location, inspection requirements, and more in order to determine their level of risk over twenty or thirty years.  While some consumers may consider insurance a short-term cash grab, companies who are involved in homeowner’s insurance are analyzing all of their clients’ risk and projecting that assumed risk deep into the future.

  • Is a Wood Stove a Risk Factor for Homeowners Insurance?
  • Home Insurance Requirements for Wood Stoves
  • Conditions for Covering a Wood Stove
  • Does Location Matter When Installing a Wood Stove?
  • Questions to Consider before Installing a Wood Stove

Is a Wood Stove a Risk Factor for Homeowners Insurance?

Generally speaking, a risk factor in insurance terms is any addition to a home that can contribute to that home’s risk to insure.  The higher the risk to insure a property, the higher the insurance premiums will be.  Insurance companies don’t want to be at risk of losing money in the long-term let alone in the short term due to a fire or poolside accident.  

As far as risk factors go, owning a wood-burning stove or fireplace is not at the top of the list but you are sure to notice a small increase in your monthly insurance bills.  Pools, any fire concern, location, and even maintenance histories of a house can affect insurance premiums and an insurance company’s willingness to insure.  Less common risk factors include local weather history, pets, and even trampolines.  

Home Insurance Requirements for Wood Stoves

When beginning to consider if there will be any insurance requirements to validate the safety of your wood-burning or pellet stove you must first determine when the stove was installed.  If the wood-burning stove was installed by a previous owner without proof of a licensed contractor your insurance company may refer you to recent fire codes as a starting point.  It is common for fire codes to frequently change in regard to wooden stoves, required ventilation, and frequency of required inspections.  

If you have purchased a home where there is not an existing wooden stove, but you would like to put one in, work with a licensed contractor who is familiar with local fire and building codes!  Contrary to popular belief, wood-burning stoves have evolved quite a bit over the years and are a lot safer than their hundred-year-old counterparts.  If your new stove is properly installed, set up with ventilation, and inspected by your homeowner’s insurance company you may even be able to avoid a hike in insurance premiums all together! 

Conditions for Covering a Wood Stove

If you are looking at purchasing a historic home or a house that has yet to be renovated that contains a wood-burning stove it may be worth your time to research whether a building inspector has had a chance to look at the installation.  It is common for homeowners to install modifications such as wood-burning stoves without applying for a building permit or consulting an engineer with any knowledge of local fire codes.  Without proper ventilation, ducting, and insulation to deter sparks, your wood-burning stove may be a bigger hazard than you could have imagined.

When it comes to insuring an older home that has had a wood-burning stove installed as an aftermarket add on, any reputable insurance company is going to want an inspector to take a close look at the installation.  A wood-burning stove, if not installed correctly can prevent a fire hazard that insurance companies are all too familiar with.  For every potential fire hazard, the inspector deems a risk your insurance premium is sure to increase.  In fact, some insurance companies won’t even insure an older home without a fire inspector or other fire prevention expert first looking over the property and making recommendations for improvement!

Does Location Matter When Installing a Wood Stove?

Even when it comes to owning a wood-burning stove, location can have a massive impact on your homeowner’s insurance premiums!  If you live somewhere where fire risk is higher than average in the summer, your insurance company has to start to consider their potential risk beyond the assets contained solely on your property.  While wood-burning stoves may not be considered to be as dangerous as gas by some, they do produce a lot of embers which can be a problem in any dry climate.  In contrast, if you live along the coast where the highs in the summer are a breezy 70 degrees and the winters are wet, owning a wood-burning stove may not have much of an influence on your insurance premium at all!

Questions to Consider before Installing a Wood Stove

Before installing a wood-burning stove or purchasing a home with a wood-burning stove you may want to consider some of the questions listed below:

  • Do I live in a county with a high level of fire danger?
  • Does the stove have proper ventilation?
  • Has the wood-burning stove been renovated?
  • Are there any inspection records available?
  • What would be the cost of having a fire inspection performed?

Finding the answers to these questions before approaching an insurance company about insuring your home with a wood-burning stove may save you time and money!  While hiring a fire or safety inspector now may seem like an unneeded expense, if it means your homeowners insurance is $100 cheaper for the next 10 years it may be worth considering.

Should You Install a Wood Stove?

When searching for your perfect home, you should never be worried about fitting into specific categories or restrictions.  If owning a house with a wood-burning stove is your dream, you should be prepared to have a conversation with your insurance company about premiums and how they are affected by home appliances.  It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to fire hazards.

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