We love using our fire pits in the backyard and are always sparking them up all year round, but are they covered in our homeowner’s insurance?
The use of both permanent and portable fire pits is usually covered by your existing homeowner’s insurance, which applies to damaging your own property. However, you may need extra liability insurance for fire pit damage to your neighbor’s house, fence and outbuildings.
Let’s consider this topic in more detail, and find out precisely what is and isn’t covered when it comes to home insurance and fire pits…
Is a Permanent Fire Pit Covered By My Home Insurance Policy?
An open fire is always a risk. Fortunately, in most cases, there will be a provision in your existing homeowner’s insurance policy to at least partially cover damage from this type of recreational use of fixed or permanent fire pits.
The most important thing to do if you are considering installing an outdoor fire pit is to consult with your insurance provider and ask about any policy limits concerning BBQ grills, fire pits, campfires, and the like.
You want to know whether or not the provisions that cover incidences like these provide enough coverage to make the risk acceptable.
It is also a good idea to consult your neighbors about their insurance policies since airborne embers can easily drift onto an adjacent property.
Unattached structures such as a shed or gazebo may not be covered at all, or may only be partially covered. It is also advisable that you review any policy limits to ensure you’ll have sufficient coverage in the event that you accidentally burn your neighbor’s house down.
The experts say you should look over your options to make certain you are fully covered should the worst case scenario become a reality.
Your risk profile may increase if you built the fire pit yourself, and/or if it is not finished with a heat and flame barrier and a surrounding non-flammable ground cover.
Take care to ensure any fire pit you use or build is up to a high standard of quality and safety, otherwise your claim may be denied. It is also a good idea to have a fire extinguisher and other safety measures on hand. This can help reduce your premiums and reduce your risk profile.
Is a Portable Fire Pit Covered By My Homeowner’s Insurance?
With a portable fire pit, you will face the same risks that you would with an in-ground fire pit, a BBQ grill, or other similar recreational fire appliance or area.
Just as with a traditional, in-ground fire pit, many home insurance policies will cover possible damage from a portable fire pit.
Coverage limitations pertinent to portable fire pits may include;
- The structural integrity of the unit, IE; build quality
- Built-in safety devices such as a grill over the combustion compartment
- Standard and available covers for the unit
- Guarantees (or a lack thereof) provided by the manufacturer
A professionally made portable fire pit could help you in negotiations with your insurance provider, especially if the manufacturer offers guarantees of safety and quality.
Other considerations might include whether or not you moved the unit with a lit fire inside when a fire related incident occurs. These and similar considerations and possible coverage limitations should be considered when purchasing your plan.
Do I Need Separate Specialist Fire Pit Insurance?
As stated above, most homeowner’s insurance policies will have coverage for this type of damage. There are a number of circumstances in which specialist insurance may be a good idea.
Circumstances where specialist fire pit insurance is advisable include;
- A fire pit that is considered to be too close to your home or other structures
- A fire pit that is too close to a neighbor’s wooden fence, property, or other outdoor structures
- A potential for people to trip or fall into the fire pit and become injured
These are the most common liability issues that stem from the use of outdoor fire pits. If these risks can be eliminated or effectively mitigated, your premiums may reflect as much.
Otherwise, your insurance company will either deny you specialist coverage or charge you for the elevated risk profile. In most cases, it will be easier and cheaper to remedy any of the risk factors listed above if possible.
Should I Get Liability Insurance For Fire Pit Injuries To Guests?
There may be circumstances in which a person or persons may be prone to an injury involving your fire pit, and in this case it’s a good idea to look into getting extra liability insurance.
If you hold Halloween parties or events with low light, entertain large crowds, or if children use the area frequently, and so on, this could be an area of concern. In any of these instances, specialist liability insurance may be an option.
Before buying this type of supplemental insurance, it would be wise to do your best to guard against any such accidents. This can be done by building or obtaining a cover for an in-ground fire pit. Installing garden lights, a retaining wall, or both around the perimeter of the pit.
Another important measure might be to ensure your yard is well and fully fenced off so that curious children and pets will not fall into the fire pit when it is unattended and not in use.
Taking any of these measures may reduce your premiums, or make specialty liability insurance unnecessary. Naturally, there are circumstances in which owning an outdoor fire pit will come with risks that cannot be easily mitigated. In such cases, injury liability insurance may be a good investment.
Do I Need Liability Insurance In Case My Fire Pit Damages My House?
Liability insurance for homeowners with an outdoor fire pit is a wise investment. Even if your existing policy covers you in the event of a fire, there are many circumstances that can cause ordinary fire insurance coverage to be denied when a fire pit is involved.
Festive events, the use of alcohol, and any number of unusual and unpredictable circumstances may make liability insurance a wise addition to your homeowner’s insurance coverage package.
Your existing home insurance policy may protect your home, sheds, unattached garages, fences, and other property against damage from electrical fires, a fire pit related incident, or other forms of accidental fire.
Your policy may also cover damage to trees, plants, and landscaping. If you become displaced from your home due to a fire, additional living expenses may be covered.
Do I Need Liability Insurance For Fire Pit Damage To My Neighbors House, Fence or Property?
Even if you have great coverage for your home, property, expenses, and injury in the event of a fire- chances are, any potential damage to your neighbor’s property will not be included in the policy.
Liability insurance will help to cover any claim in which unexpected property damage or injury occurs, especially when your neighbor’s property is involved, especially if a lawsuit is leveraged against you.
If a fire originating in your fire pit does damage your neighbor’s person or property, it is possible that the only way he can be made whole is to sue you.
This is a common event, especially when a fire crosses over from one yard to another. This is the kind of thing liability insurance is designed to cover, and it is highly recommended that anyone with an outdoor fire pit invest in a liability policy.
As mentioned, we use our fire pits regularly, so it’s good to know damage to our own home and outbuildings is covered under the existing homeowner’s insurance policy – this goes for both our fixed fire pit and the portable one.
The only thing I was unsure about until researching into this – is that we perhaps need specialist cover in case using our fire pit accidentally damages our neighbor’s property.
We get on well with the folks next door so burning down their fence or damaging their house would be a disaster! 🙂