Dec 11, 2020
Fireplace Safety And Insurance Coverage
Fireplaces bring a sense of togetherness, especially over the holidays. Is there anything more comforting than coming home on a snowy day to a hot cup of tea and cozying up to a fire with your loved ones?
However, they do pose risks. Each year in Canada, there are around 24,000 house fires resulting in 377 deaths and 3,048 injuries.
If your property has a fireplace, or if you are thinking about adding one, read this blog post to learn how it can impact your annual premium and how to be as safe as possible.
Does A Fireplace Increase Home Insurance?
No matter how modern or new your fireplace or wood-burning stove is, it will spark an increase in your insurance costs because it increases the risk of a claim. The price increase depends on the insurer, the type of fireplace, and if it is the properties main heating source.
Your annual rates could increase by $100, or more, depending on these factors. Keep in mind, although gas fireplaces are less of a risk, they can still increase your premiums.
Before getting coverage for wood fireplaces, you will likely be required to get a WETT inspection. Professional inspectors will ensure correct instalment, building codes, and if it is safe to use. If you are DIY-ing a fireplace, you may want to consider having a professional install it, so all requirements are met, and you can be adequately insured. Some insurers will also require an annual fireplace inspection to ensure your fireplace runs at its safest capability.
What Happens If You Do Not Disclose You Have A Fireplace On Your Insurance?
You may think you can save money by not declaring your fireplace on your insurance coverage. Failure to inform your insurance company that you have a fireplace puts you and your loved ones at risk. If you suffer a loss that is related to the fireplace, they can decide not to reimburse your claim and void your policy.
Fireplace Safety Tips
Along with regular maintenance and inspections, Canada Safety Council offers these tips to enjoy your fireplace safely this winter :
- Never use starting fluids or fuels.
- Only burn small amounts of dry, well-seasoned wood.
- Make sure fire alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are working.
- Place a fire extinguisher nearby.
- Do not store newspapers and other combustibles near your fireplace.
- Have your chimney professionally cleaned and serviced annually to prevent tar and creosote buildup. If you use your fireplace daily, aim for every four to six months.
- Check often for hazards such as excessive soot or rust.
- Never leave pets and children alone around a burning fire.
- Close and properly position the screen to keep embers contained.
- Remove ashes after they have completely cooled and keep them in a metal container.
- Never leave your house when a fire is burning.
How To Put Out A Fire Properly
Before you go to sleep, make sure you use a poker to spread out any remaining embers to help them cool faster. Never leave the room or house until a fire is entirely out. Keep the damper open until the ashes have cooled down – a closed damper can cause the fire to heat up again. The next day, it should be safe to use a steel shovel to empty the ashes into a metal container. Store ashes away from any structures or any combustible materials.
Fireplace Safety FAQs
Keep your dwelling and family safe by practicing fire safety. Here are the most commonly asked questions about fireplace safety :
Yes – if you do not disclose your fireplace to your Ontario home insurance provider, they do not need to cover you in the event of a claim.
At a minimum, you should have your fireplace inspected, and your chimney cleaned yearly.
You should never leave a fire burning while you sleep or leave the area. Always extinguish fires properly before going to sleep to avoid any accidents from sparks or carbon monoxide.
Gas fireplaces are safer, but they still pose risks and can affect your premium.
Yes – gas and wood fireplaces can emit carbon monoxide. Ensure your chimney has proper ventilation, open a window a crack, and make sure the space has good airflow to limit exposure.
Understand The Costs And Risks Of Fireplace
No matter what type of fireplace you are getting installed or currently have, make sure you understand the costs and risks associated with them. Always practice fire safety and make sure your home insurance provider knows about your fireplace.
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