Why Wood Burners Change a Premium

It’s not at all surprising that insurance providers would assess an additional premium for wood burners. Any time there is open fire, the potential for a problem or unwanted fire increases. Add to that fact the possible presence of installations by unskilled do-it-yourselfers and faulty or unrated equipment, and it is obvious that the risk to insurers is higher with wood burners than with other types of heating equipment.

Here are some of the top reasons why having a wood burner may increase insurance premiums:

  1. Increased risk to insurer. Open fire is always dangerous, even when it is supposed to be confined inside the heater.
  2. The wood burner is used as a primary heating source. Statistical risks of fire are greater when wood burners are the heating source.
  3. Improper installation. It is recommended that only a professional installs a wood burner.
  4. Creosote build-up in chimney. A build-up of creosote in the chimney is ready fuel that can cause a chimney fire and subsequent damage. The EPA recommends that a professional chimney sweep be contracted to do regular chimney cleanings.
  5. Systems are not Underwriter’s Laboratories approved. UL does extensive safety testing of products and is a reliable approval organization.
  6. Smoke damage. Potential for smoke damage is increased when a wood burner is used for heating.
  7. Combustible materials are near the burner. Proper insulation and protection must be provided between the wood burner and the floor, walls or other items that are near to the burner.

Homeowners need to be sure the wood burning device, flues, and chimney assemblies are properly installed and sized for the home and the burner. Even when a wood burner is properly sized, installed and used, the risks of fire remain higher than with other types of heating units.

Some insurance companies will decline insurance coverage for these devices. The amount of increase in premiums will vary by state and insurer; most are fairly reasonable and run from about 5% to 15%.

How to Obtain a Texas Insurance License

The state of Texas does not allow just anyone to sell insurance. An insurance license from the Texas Department of Insurance is required for those who want to sell property and casualty insurance, such as home and automobile insurance, in the Lonestar State. If you are interested in getting a Texas insurance license, there are several steps that you must follow. Here is a brief outline of the process:

1. Sponsorship — In Texas, a prospective insurance agent must be sponsored by an insurance company that already does business in the state. Obtaining a Texas insurance license, therefore, is impossible without sponsorship.

2. Insurance Exam — Applicants for a Texas insurance license must take and pass the insurance exam administered by Prometric. Agents who have been licensed in another state and have a license that has been expired for more than 90 days but less than a year may be exempted from the process.

3. Fingerprints — Every insurance agent in the state of Texas must have their fingerprints on file with the Texas Department of Insurance.

4. Applications and Fees — Obtaining a Texas insurance license requires the applicant to fill out the proper applications with the Department of Insurance and pay the applicable licensing fees.

5. Continuing Education — Once an individual has obtained a Texas insurance license, he or she is required to take continuing education credits in order to maintain the license. Agents must have 30 hours of education ever two years, and half of this education must include instruction in ethics.

Those in the state of Texas who follow these requirements should have little to no problem obtaining a Texas insurance license. They will then be able to offer Texas residents the Texas auto and home insurance that they will need to protect valuables and have peace of mind in the event of a theft or natural disaster.

Steps to take after an accident occurs

If you are in a car accident, whether it’s your fault or not, there are certain steps you need to take in order to ensure you are covered by your insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company.

The first thing you should do after an accident is pull over to a safe side of the road. Both parties should calmly get out of their vehicles and ensure that both parties are not injured. The police should be called in any accident so that you can fill out a report and have everything directed by a police officer.

The police officer will evaluate the accident, take both parties’ statements for the police report, and have you exchange insurance cards and contact information with the other involved party. The police officer might also take witness statements if anyone saw the acccident. If you feel like you might be injured, it is recommended that you visit the hospital or your doctor’s office within 24 hours.

Once you get home, you should call both your insurance company and the other involved party’s insurance company to file your claim. You will need your police report number, your name and policy number, as well as the other party’s information.

Once your claim has been made, you will then need to wait to be contacted by a claims adjuster. The adjuster may come out to inspect the damage and will file a report to the insurance company. The adjuster will also ask you about any medical issues you may have incurred during the accident. You will need to be honest and let the adjuster know everything so that you can be covered for any damage or injuries.

After everything is in order, your insurance company or the other party’s insurance company will make payments for your medical bills or your car repairs.

How to Compare Texas Auto Insurance

Residents of Texas who are in the market for auto insurance should compare Texas auto insurance policies offered by several different insurance companies in order to get the best deal possible on insurance. The best deal not only means the lowest premium, but also the best customer service. In addition, you should look for a company that expedites claims quickly and provides fair settlements of those claims.

Determining the Coverage You Want and Need

Before you can start comparing the auto insurance products offered by different Texas auto insurance companies, you will need to know what insurance you are required to have and any additional insurance you may want to have. Texas law requires all drivers to carry a minimum amount of bodily injury liability and property damage liability insurance. The minimum amounts of $30,000 in bodily injury for a single individual, $60,000 for all injured in a single accident, and $25,000 in property damage liability are usually not adequate for proper protection for most people. You may want to consider doubling or maybe tripling the basic liability coverage.

In addition to mandatory liability coverage, if you finance or lease your vehicle, the lender will require you to carry comprehensive and collision coverage equal to the value of the car and/or the amount you still owe on the car. If you do not owe anything on your car, you may still decide it is worthwhile to carry this additional insurance coverage.

Shopping Different Texas Auto Insurance Providers

Whether you choose to look in the phone book and call individual insurance companies, go online and get quotes from several different companies, or go to an independent broker who represents a number of Texas auto insurance companies, you need to do due diligence if you want the best deal on auto insurance. Get quotes for the exact same coverage so you can compare prices.

Determining which company provides the best customer service and claim payment service is a little more subjective. Ask a lot of questions and try to find out the average length of time it takes a specific company to settle a claim. With a little prodding you can get the insurance company to release some of its internal data that will be a good indication of how well the company is run. With an independent broker, they do most of the legwork, and you have to feel comfortable enough with them to take their word that they are getting you the best possible coverage at the best price.