September 22, 2023

Home Architecture

The Extraordinary Design

Heating Your Home With Oil Can Be Hazardous to Your Financial Health

2 min read

Heating your home with oil exposes you to significant liability should your oil tank ever leak. Whether your tank is located in your basement, buried in the yard or located next to your house, you should be clear as to whether your insurance policy covers damages from oil leaks. Most insurance providers no longer cover such damages, leaving the unsuspecting homeowner significantly exposed and at risk. Most people do not think twice about any risk to their financial well-being from heating their home with oil. Unfortunately, with the passage of time or through shoddy workmanship, your tank could be on the verge of sprouting a leak. Should this occur, you could suffer irreparable damages.

We awoke one Sunday morning to discover that our oil tank had sprung a leak in our basement and had been leaking gallon after gallon of oil while we slept. After corking the hole and contacting our oil company, we came to learn about the procedures that would be required to clean up the spill. This was not going to be a simple process as the Department of Environmental Conservation in our state had specific protocol for cleaning up oil spills. Failure to comply could result in having our house condemned. We then learned that our insurance company, like most, no longer covered damages due to oil leaks. Talk about a rude awakening!

We began the tortuous process of cleaning up the spill and restoring our home to its prior condition, absent the smell of oil. We also decided to convert to gas since there is no way of knowing how close your oil tank might be to sprouting a leak, despite its age. This has occurred even with newly installed tanks.

While the clean-up and restoration cost a bundle, it could have been even worse. Had we been on vacation and had oil seeped deep into the ground, a massive excavation would have been required to clean up the spill and remove the oil. If it had leaked into our neighbors’ or town’s properties, this would have been our responsibility as well.

Why would anyone ever want to be exposed to such a risk? Even if your insurer covers such damages today, they have the right to exclude such damages in the future. Take my advice: cut your ties and convert to gas. A leaky tank could sink your financial boat – hook, line and sinker.

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