High heating bills are one of the biggest expenses during the cold season, and people often resort to backup heating sources throughout the winter to warm their homes without increasing the expense. But heaters and wood stoves pose fire hazards when misused and can cause flames, electric shock, and carbon monoxide poisoning.
According to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), two out of three home fires are caused by space heaters. If you are using a heater, make sure you understand what your Home Insurance the policy says about these devices and if you are covered against fires.
Does home insurance cover radiators?
As a homeowner, you should be aware of what your policy does and does not cover so that you can be better prepared in the event of a disaster. A standard home insurance policy includes three types of coverage:
House fires are included in home and personal property coverage. However, your coverage limits will determine exactly how much you get paid for a claim. If the fire was caused by your heater and the damage is more than your policy’s coverage limit, you will have to pay the remainder of the cost. When you file a claim, your insurance company will investigate the circumstances that caused the fire and whether negligence played a role in the disaster or if fire safety codes were broken.
According to Consumer Product Safety Commission, space heaters cause more than 25,000 house fires each year, resulting in more than 300 deaths. The NFPA believes that 43% of residential fires are caused by radiators and in 2014 alone, portable heating equipment the fires caused an estimated $ 1.3 billion in property damage in the United States
Requirements for radiators
A space heater is useful for keeping the home warm in cold weather and for offsetting expensive heating bills. But heaters are a known cause of home fires, and insurance companies cost claims every year. For this reason, your insurance rates are very likely to increase if you install a heater in your home. In the event of a radiator fire, the payment of your claim could be affected by the equipment and installation of the radiator or woodstove. It is generally recommended to have a heater installed by a professional to comply with fire safety codes.
Not only should your insurance company be notified when you install a heater or wood stove, but you should also make sure that the equipment meets all safety standards, has a Insurers’ laboratories (UL) or Intertek and undergoes regular checks and inspections. The NFPA states that heaters should only be placed on the floor, plugged into a wall outlet, and never left unattended.
While space heaters are useful for providing additional heat to a home, the following mistakes can often lead to a fire:
- Using an extension cord
- Use an old, obsolete or defective heater
- Run the cord under a rug or rug
- Leave pets or children in the room unattended
- Place the heater on furniture or near fabrics
- Exposure of the device to moisture
- Run the heater overnight
Do radiators increase home insurance rates?
Heating systems can have a direct impact on home insurance costs. The type of heating equipment you use will generally affect your premiums, although the specific impact may vary from company to company. The reason is simple: the higher the risk of fire posed by your heating system, the higher the insurance premiums you are likely to pay.
When you use a central heating system in your home that runs on electricity or natural gas, it may not have much of an effect on your insurance costs, as such systems have a lower risk of starting a fire. However, if you use an oil furnace, wood stove or heater, the price of your insurance could increase due to the increased risk of a home fire. Insurers are always wary of such risks and the damages they might have to pay. Since prices vary from industry to industry, the best way to find out the impact on your home insurance premium is to speak to your insurer or a local agent.
Fire safety discounts
As an owner, it is possible to save on insurance premiums by taking advantage of certain discounts. The safer your home looks to your insurer, the more likely you are to save on the annual cost. Since fires are the most common disaster to affect a property, some insurers may offer benefits and price reductions to homeowners who add extra layers of protection to their home.
You may be eligible for fire safety discounts by equipping your home with the following:
- Sprinklers: Installing a sprinkler system in your home can potentially earn you a discount on home insurance.
- Fire alarms: Even when fire alarms are not mandatory, installing them in your home may result in discounts with your insurer.
- Fire extinguishers: Not only should fire extinguishers be placed around the house for safety, but having them on your property can help lower the price of your insurance premium.
- Fire resistant materials: When your home is made of fire-resistant materials, such as concrete, brick, or gypsum, it is considered safer than a wooden or log home and may earn you a home insurance discount.
How to prevent radiator fires
When used properly, heaters are not as likely to cause a fire. The following safety precautions should be observed when using a portable heater and avoid accidents:
- Always place the radiator on the floor: Never place the radiator on a piece of furniture where it could fall, dislodge or break.
- Supervise pets and children: Never leave children and pets unattended near a radiator or wood stove, as contact with the equipment can cause burns and play with the cord. cause sparks and flames.
- Keep flammable materials away: from bedding and paper to perfumes and sprays, keep the heater away from anything that can catch on or start a fire.
- Only plug the heater into a wall outlet: never use extension cords for a heater, and if you absolutely must, make sure it is compatible with the device.
- Check the automatic shutdown functions: radiators that turn off automatically prevent overheating as well as the likelihood of starting a fire.
- Keep the unit in good condition: Never use an old heater that has not been operated for a long time. When you store the heater for the season, make sure it is in a cool, dry place.
Taking safety measures will not only allow you to operate your heater without endangering life and property, but will also help you avoid an insurance claim and save money.