Now that fall is finally upon us and winter is ahead of us, doesn’t mean that you have close up your backyard. A fire pit can make a cold evening an enjoyable adventure and according to landscapers, fire pits are growing in popularity and are a hot choice for outdoor living areas.
There are some things you should do before installing a fire pit, such as checking with your homeowners association and local fire officials. Some associations and towns ban having a fire pit on your property, so make sure before you start. Whether you are installing a permanent fire pit or have a portable one, it is recommended that you place the pit at least 10 feet away from your home. It is also important to not have the pit under a tree or close to other structures of your property (garage or shed). You should also contact your local utilities to come out and mark out lines and pipes of where the gas and electrical lines run.
Am I Covered?
The big question now is whether or not your new fire pit is covered by your homeowner’s policy. (An open fire is always a risk.)
In almost all cases you should be covered but make sure you look over your policy limits to make sure you have enough protection in the event you burn down your house or even worse your neighbors.
Industry experts suggest that a portable fire pit is considered a personal belonging and any damages caused by it would fall under your personal property coverage on your homeowner’s policy. A permanent fire pit is considered a separate unattached structure and would be covered under a different portion of your policy.
Unattached structures are only covered for a certain percentage of the amount of insurance you have on your entire home. In most cases that runs about ten percent of the policy value, so if you cover you home for $150,000, the coverage for your unattached structures on your property would be $15,000. While this would be enough to cover your fire pit, if there was a fire that also burned down your garage or shed, you could be on the hook for a substantial portion of the rebuilding costs.
You should also review your liability coverage limits to make sure you have enough coverage in the event you accidentally burn down your neighbor’s home. Give Frimark/Keller & Associates a call before you start your fire pit project to review your coverage and to make sure you are completely protected should the worst happen.
Once your fire pit is complete be sure to practice fire safety and always have a fire extinguisher or hose nearby. Don’t forget to enjoy some s’mores too.