Wood Stoves or Fireplaces & Home Insurance

Fireplace & Home Insurance

Heating our homes today has never been easier. We have various amounts of ways to heat our homes such as Natural Gas, Geothermal, Propane, Wood Burning Units, Radiant Heating, or even Baseboard Electric Heating to name just a few. With all of these options getting safer and safer as the years go by, it can be understandable to forget to consider that the way your home is heated will impact your house insurance.

Some insurance companies will go as far as giving you further discounts on your home insurance if you use one of their “preferred heating” methods such as Natural Gas or Propane. While other companies will surcharge house insurance policies that have any wood burning units or oil heating methods installed.

So why do insurance companies make it so hard to obtain insurance or charge you more if you heat your house using a wood burning unit? We hope to shed some light and some different perspectives about heating your home using wood when it comes to your insurance policy.

Why is it Harder to Get Insurance with a Wood Burning Unit?

It’s understandable that insurance companies would want to know more information about you starting fires in the house that they insure if it were to burn down. To put it bluntly, your house has a higher risk of catching fire if you have any sort of wood burning unit installed. That doesn’t mean your wood burning unit is unsafe or it isn’t a good idea to have these units in your home.

Insurance companies tend to just look at the statistics and make their decisions based on these. Not every person is equal in their abilities or understanding of their wood burning units, and not every wood burning unit was manufactured to the same standard. When the insurance companies make these decisions, they base it off of all the available data that they have, and that includes people who misuse their wood stove, and it also includes those wood stoves that were not installed correctly.

Using the information they have gathered over the years from claims they have had to pay, they have deemed wood burning units to be a higher risk of a fire hazard in a house.

What is Required to Get Insurance?

Insurance companies usually require that the wood burning unit be professionally installed and with a current WETT Certificate showing that the wood burning unit is installed correctly and up to today’s building code.

An example of the things that a WETT Certification will require of your wood burning unit:

  • Floor Protection
    • Protection against the radiant heat from the stove
    • Protection from embers (non-combustible material)
  • Appliance Clearances
    • The clearances around the wood burning unit need to meet all guidelines. There are guidelines as to how far the appliance needs to be from any combustible materials or applicable shielding installed.
  • No Dangerous Locations
  • Chimney meets all requirements
  • Flue Pipe meets all requirements

To learn more about WETT certifications, please check their website wettinc.ca.

The Lesson to Learn

It’s not impossible to get insurance with a wood burning unit in your home. You will most likely get a surcharge on your policy for having a wood burning unit and you will need to obtain a WETT Certificate.Give yourself ample time before you need to obtain the insurance to talk to your Insurance Broker. The broker will need to find out what companies will allow wood burning units and what companies will surcharge their policies for wood burning units. Most importantly, you will need the ample time to obtain the WETT Certificate that the insurance company presumably requires.