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Wood-Burning Stoves

Guidelines for homes with wood-burning stoves

Our goal in developing an insurance program for homes with wood-burning stoves is to make certain these homes do not present excessive risk of fire danger to you and your family. Our research shows that wood-burning stoves continue to be a leading cause of home fires in Wisconsin. There are three primary factors which all homeowners with wood-burning stoves should be concerned:

  1. Quality of the stove and chimney and proper installation.
  2. Cleanliness of the chimney.
  3. Damage that can result from the high levels of heat from the wood-burning stove.

WEA Member Benefits requires wood-burning stoves to meet certain specifications for your home to be eligible for a home insurance policy with us (see below). If your stove does not meet these important safety standards, we cannot insure your home.

Specifications for wood-burning and pellet-type stoves

Our specifications for wood-burning or pellet-type stoves stipulate they must be:

  • Approved by Underwriters Laboratories.
  • Installed on a fireproof pad and have an approved masonry-lined or Class A all-fuel chimney.
  • The only wood-burning stove on your premises.
  • The only device attached to the chimney flue.
  • Meeting the manufacturer’s specifications for clearances. The clearances between the walls and the wood-burning stove must be at least three feet.
  • Located in a room that has a working smoke alarm.
  • On the same floor that has a working fire extinguisher.

Your wood-burning or pellet-type stove cannot be:

  • Located in a garage or detached building.
  • The primary source of heat for the home.
  • Located in a cabin or seasonal residence.

Safety issues

Tips for using your wood-burning stove

  • Burn only wood or wood products that are intended for use as fuel for a wood-burning stove.
  • Make sure the wood you burn has been seasoned or dried for at least six months.
  • Furniture and other combustible materials should be kept a safe distance from a wood-burning stove.
  • Dispose of ashes in a closed metal container. This container should not be stored in the house or garage.
  • Never start a fire in your home with flammable fluids.
  • Don’t let a fire in your wood-burning stove or fireplace burn unattended or overnight.

Safety inspection by an expert

If you have a home with a wood-burning stove and would like a premium quote for home insurance, call our office at 1-800-279-4030. You will need to have your wood stove inspected.

After the inspection, we will notify you if your wood-burning stove meets our guidelines and you’re eligible to obtain a home insurance policy with us.

This requirement does not apply to outdoor wood-burning stoves located more than 25 feet from the home.

Encouraging responsible use

To encourage the safe and responsible use of your wood-burning stove, the policy requires an annual inspection and cleaning of the stove. We will review pellet-type stoves every three years. If you have your chimney cleaned and inspected by a chimney sweep, the policy provides a unique benefit—reimbursement of up to $75 per year toward the cost of the inspection and cleaning.

Cost-sharing arrangement

Our policy also has a unique cost-sharing provision which says that for damage caused by the use of a wood-burning stove, the deductible is $500. The next $2,500 of damages are shared—we pay 60% of the cost and you pay 40%. We pay 100% of any remaining damage up to your policy limit.

This means that your out-of-pocket maximum cost is $1,500 for any loss caused by your wood-burning stove. For all other home insurance losses, your regular deductible will apply, and you will not have a co-payment.

The cost-sharing arrangement and required inspections do not apply to pellet stoves as long as they meet the wood-burning stove specifications.

WMBT 2758-290-0417 (W)

Effective April 2017. Policies and programs described are subject to change at any time.