-Translated from french article-

Do you heat with oil, in whole or in part? Are you shopping for your home insurance? Be patient.

Many insurers refuse to cover a house heated with oil, or if the tank is located in its cellar. No insurer will agree to cover a tank buried in the ground.

Insurers don’t say it openly, but they hate oil tanks. For what? Because a leaking tank risks contaminating your land and, worse, that of your neighbor.

One tiny hole away from disaster

And often, it is insidious: a pinhole in the tank can leak 1,000 liters of fuel oil, and the leak of one liter of fuel oil can contaminate 1 million liters of drinking water, recalls the Insurance Bureau of Canada (LAC). A leak can last for years and often goes unnoticed. Imagine the astronomical cleanup costs of a leak contaminating the groundwater…

Therefore, it is not uncommon for an owner to have to carry out $50,000 worth of work to replace contaminated soil. To this project is often added the replacement of part of the foundation and the basement slab (if the tank was in the cellar), landscaping and… the oil tank itself!

Limited coverages

Oil heating systems are not covered by home insurance contracts because oil is a pollutant. Some insurers offer an endorsement (addition to the contract) that covers damage caused by fuel oil, but prices are high and coverage is limited, both for direct damage (to your property) and for civil liability insurance (the insurer must defend you in court if you pollute your neighbor).

And the insurers are suspicious. Before accepting, they will ask more questions about the condition of your system and the tank. And you will have to follow strict standards for its installation or replacement.

This must in particular be perched on a concrete structure far enough from the ground, if possible installed in a concrete slab with edges, to prevent infiltration into the ground. The tank, pipes and fittings must also be protected from falling ice and snow accumulation.

A tank must be replaced every 10 years if it is located outside, and every 20 years if it is in the house. As soon as you detect an odor, call the company that services your heating system as well as the insurer. Request inspections every two years..

Finally, heating with oil is less and less economical and tolerated by the authorities, because of the fight against greenhouse gases. You can obtain subsidies to switch to another heating method. Info:


Thursday, March 30, 2023 7:30 p.m.
UPDATED Thursday, March 30, 2023 7:31 p.m.