In 2010 Massachusetts enacted a law to address oil leaks from home heating systems (Chapter 453 of the acts of 2008).
The law has two major provisions that required:
- The installation of either an oil safety valve or an oil supply line with protective sleeve on systems that do not currently have these devices; and
- Insurance companies that write homeowner policies to offer coverage from heating systems that use oil.
At the time, most homeowner policies did not include such coverage, leaving many to pay for costly cleanups – as much as $25,000 – out of their own pocket. Although it is now mandatory that insurance companies offer this coverage, the insurance is an optional purchase for homeowners.
What coverage is available?
- First party coverage (for the homeowners themselves) of at least $50,000 for the cost of cleaning up a leak to soil, indoor air, or other environmental media from a home heating system at the residence itself and reimbursement for personal property damages, and
- Third party coverage (for other claimants) of at least $200,000 for the cost of dealing with conditions on and off the insured’s property as the leak has or is likely to affect groundwater or someone else’s property
For homes to be eligible for the insurance coverage, homeowners must ensure their oil heating systems are in compliance with or exempt from the law. Exemptions:
- The oil burner is located above the oil storage tank and the entire oil supply line is connected to and above the top of the tank, or
- An oil safety valve or oil supply line with protective sleeve was installed on or after January 1, 1990, and
- Those changes comply with the oil burning equipment regulations; a copy of the oil burner permit from the local fire department may be used to demonstrate compliance.
Please note: Oil heating systems installed on or after January 1, 1990 are most likely already in compliance because state fire codes implemented these requirements on new installations at that time.
Next steps: Have your licensed oil burner technician give you a certificate of compliance and contact us to add this important coverage to your homeowner policy.
Please contact us with any questions. That is why we are here.