Standard homeowners insurance covers damage from fire and smoke, including accidental fires caused by chimney fires and fireplaces, but wood-burning fireplaces and stoves pose an increased risk to your home, which could mean higher insurance rates or lead to difficulty obtaining coverage. The exact amount of any possible surcharge could depend on the type and quality of the fireplace in your home.
Does having a fireplace increase home insurance?
If your home has a built-in fireplace, your insurance premiums may be affected. Whether your rates will go up will depend on your insurer and the type of fireplace you own. If you have a wood-burning fireplace, for example, you may see higher insurance rates. That's because wood-burning fireplaces are more likely to result in a fire than a gas-burning or electric fireplace.
Why does a fireplace increase insurance costs?
Home insurance costs aren't always increased by fireplaces, but they might be depending on the type of fireplace and the condition it is in. When calculating your home insurance rates, insurers consider how at risk you are of filing a claim. Because certain fireplaces are more likely to cause fires, you might see higher rates to offset that increase in risk.
That said, you can also do things to lower your risk and score discounts. For example, many insurers offer discounts if you safety proof your home with fire alarms, sprinklers, and smart home devices.
Does home insurance cover damage to a fireplace?
If your fireplace is damaged by a covered peril, like if your chimney unexpectedly catches fire, then your home insurance may cover you. That said, home insurance doesn’t cover wear and tear or maintenance issues, so if your fireplace caught fire because it’s in poor condition, your home insurance likely won’t cover you.
Fireplace safety: what you need to know
You can minimize the risks of fireplace-related hazards by maintaining it and having it inspected to make sure it’s structurally sound. Here are a few things you should keep in mind in order to keep your home safe and your fireplace in good condition:
Some fireplaces are safer than others
It's estimated that over 4,000 fires are caused each year by wood-burning stoves, according to The United States Fire Administration.  Additionally, wood-burning stoves are responsible for 150 deaths per year from carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.  Gas-burning fireplaces pose less of a risk to your home and health — and generally cost less to insure — than wood-burning fireplaces. Meanwhile, electric fireplaces, which are essentially fireplaces without fire, may not affect your home insurance rates at all.
You should clean your fireplace at least once a year
The U.S. Fire Administration also recommends that you hire a licensed professional to inspect and clean your fireplace once a year. Many issues can arise from a fireplace or chimney in need of necessary repairs including:
Cracks in your chimney, which might allow birds or rodents to come in and make nests
Creosote, or fuel that has not fully burned, can build up and pose a number of health risks like eye irritation and seizures, and it can also cause your chimney to catch fire
Chimney swifts, little cigar-shaped birds that live in sooty environments, may leave droppings in your chimney that can cause respiratory infection when inhaled
A well-maintained chimney lowers your chances of experiencing these health risks and better prepares it for your home insurance inspection. If your fireplace is in poor condition, that could make it more difficult to pass your inspection and obtain homeowners insurance.