Wood burning stoves have a nasty reputation as far as home insurance is concerned. Many home owners will tell you how the stoves can cause your home insurance rates to skyrocket or even cause denied coverage. Those are extreme cases, but they are possible. Here are three things you can do to avoid becoming such an extreme example:
Have It Installed By a Licensed Contractor
If your stove hasn't been installed yet, resist the urge to handle it like a DIY project even if you want to save money. A poorly installed stove is a fire risk because of creosote (inflammable combustion residue) buildup. Your home insurance company will want to confirm that the stove was installed by a certified contractor. The contractor will ensure that the stove is professionally installed and doesn't increase the risk of fire in your home.
Ensure It Meets Code Requirements
Having your wood burning stove installed by a certified contractor ensures that it meets code requirements. If you have acquired a house with an installed stove, it's your duty to ensure it meets code requirements. The same is true if your stove has been in use for a long time because these codes change with time (to reflect the needs) of changing safety measures. Note that there are both federal requirements (as outlined by the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA) and state requirements that you must meet. An annual inspection and service is necessary to confirm that your stove is safe and meets all the regulatory requirements.
Install a Smoke Detector
Despite your best precautions, you can't rule out the risk of your wood smoke causing a fire outbreak in your house. Installing a smoke detector will help you identify and smother out such fires before they can cause serious damage. Ideally, you should have one smoke detector near the stove and others from different parts of the house. In fact, you should go a step further and install a fire extinguisher that you can use in case of a fire. Don't forget to install the extinguisher in an accessible location (not too far from the stove) and train all your household members on how to use it.
Anything that puts your house at risk has the potential to increase your home insurance rates. Therefore, you don't have anything to worry about as long as you can prove (to the home insurance company) that your wood stove is safe to use.