As fuel prices rise and people continue to seek alternative methods for heating their homes, pellet stoves are becoming continuously more popular. In response, homeowners' insurance companies have had to consider these alternative heating appliances when writing policies for their customers. Despite the positive cost- and energy-saving benefits of installing a pellet stove, many people wonder how the stove may affect their homeowners insurance. Can using a pellet stove battery backup help reduce your insurance rates? We explore the answer below.
First, how do pellet stoves affect insurance?
Homes with pellet stoves are inherently more likely to suffer fire-related damages than homes that are heated with more traditional methods like gas or electricity. In order for pellet stove-related damages to be covered under your homeowners insurance policy, your insurance provider may levy a surcharge or add a rider to your policy.
You may also need to meet certain conditions in order for your insurance company to agree to cover your alternative heating appliance. Many insurers want to assess whether the stove has been professionally installed and meets all National Fire protection Agency and local fire codes. They will need to be sure that the stove is the proper distance from the wall and that the chimney is vented correctly. Your insurance company may also ask that you provide maintenance and service records. If you do not meet these conditions, your homeowners insurance company may not cover any claims relating to your pellet stove.
How do pellet stove battery backups affect insurance?
There are many ways a pellet stove can cause a fire or fire damage: improper ash disposal, insufficient clearance of combustibles, chimney fires, overloaded burn pots, etc. But one of the most common causes of fire damage related to a pellet stove is a power outage. If your pellet stove is operating when a power outage occurs, smoke can pour out of the stove and into your house. This causes a mild form of fire damage and covers the house with sticky black soot that is difficult to remove. So, despite properly installing and maintaining your stove, you could still end up with fire damage because you weren’t able to properly shut down your stove during a power outage.
A pellet stove battery backup monitors for the presence of power being supplied to your pellet stove. When you lose electricity and the AC power cuts out, the battery backup will automatically begin operating. This gives you plenty of time to properly shut down the stove (and keeps you warm if the power will be out for an extended period).
In order to consider covering pellet stove-related claims, many insurance providers actually require the use of a battery backup or generator to prevent a puff-back in a power outage. Even if your insurer doesn’t expressly require you to have a battery backup, installing one could nevertheless help decrease your rate. The same way some insurers offer discounts for having an alarm system or carbon monoxide detectors, there may be discounts available for using a battery backup. Talk to your insurance provider to find out exactly what they offer.
It’s frustrating—and expensive—when you think you are covered for an event only to find out after the fact that you aren’t. Be sure to let your insurance company know if you plan to add a pellet stove to your home, comply with all of their conditions, and keep the paperwork safe. Adding a pellet stove battery backup to your home’s safety devices will not only save you money on insurance, but it will keep your home safe.