Keep Your Vacation Rental Safe and Warm
Caroline Knecht

Keep Your Vacation Rental Safe and Warm

Is there anything better than relaxing by a fire after spending a chilly day hiking, skiing or enjoying the outdoors? Having a fireplace or wood-burning stove in your vacation rental property creates a cozy ambiance and inviting aroma that guests love.

While fireplaces and wood-burning stoves are popular features for vacation rental properties, they’re also among the leading causes of home fires. And half of home heating fires occur in December, January and February, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Fortunately, you can reduce the risk of fires this winter and let your guests enjoy these amenities with a little preparation and a few precautions.

Get Started Right

Heater and fireplace safety starts with proper installation and ventilation. Install stationary heating equipment and fireplaces according to your municipality’s local codes and the manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure all fuel-burning equipment is vented to the outside and that the venting area is always clear.

Proper maintenance is also critical to fire prevention. Having your heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected by a licensed professional each year before the cooler weather arrives is a wise decision, and usually required by your insurance carrier.

Make a Safety Zone Around Heating Elements

It might seem obvious, but it’s really important to keep ignitable objects away from heating equipment. Blankets, electrical cords and decorative items are often found around fireplaces and create a major hazard. Prevent an accidental fire by establishing a clearance area of at least three feet around your heating equipment. This designated area should always be free from anything that could catch fire. As an added precaution, make sure wood-burning fireplaces have a sturdy metal mesh screen in place to prevent embers from escaping. 

Help enforce your safety zone by telling your guests about the fire safety radius in the set of house rules that they agree to before booking your space.

Be Prepared with Safety Equipment

Accidents can happen no matter how careful you or your guests are. The right safety equipment can help keep everyone safe and minimize fire damage.

Red Cross guidelines state that smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should be installed in each sleeping area or bedroom and that alarms should be connected so they all sound together. Our inspection guidelines also require additional smoke detectors in every hallway and stairwell. Carbon monoxide detectors should be placed on each floor with a bedroom and in any bedroom located above a garage.

Keep up with your devices! Test your smoke and CO detectors as part of your regular post-stay property inspection.  Batteries for these devices should be changed every six months and CO detectors need to be replaced every five years.

Portable fire extinguishers are another important safety tool and should be readily available on your rental property. The NFPA recommends a multi-purpose fire extinguisher that can be used on all types of fires. Fire extinguishers should be easily accessible and placed near all cooking areas, fireplaces, wood-burning stoves and outdoor firepits.

Include your fire-related safety measures on your vacation rental listings to build trust among guests and show that you are a reputable, trustworthy host.

Provide the Necessary Supplies

Your guests are more likely to build a safe fire if you provide the proper supplies and tools. A functional set of fireplace tools, including a poker, shovel, tongs, broom, are a must.

Make sure your guests have newspaper or kindling wood to start the fire, as well as matches or a commercial firelighter.

Wood-burning stoves and fireplaces should only be fueled by dry, well-seasoned logs or wood pellets. Provide enough of these items for your guests’ stay.

Create a Fireplace Safety Guide

Your guests may think they know how to safely start a fire, but chances are your equipment will be unfamiliar to them. A little guidance can go a long way in making sure they can build that relaxing fire of their vacation dreams and stay safe while doing so. Why not create a fireplace or wood-burning stove user guide for your guests?

Your fireplace guide should be focused on providing clear directions on the ins and outs of your fireplace. Tell them how to open the flue, how to turn the gas on and off and how to properly extinguish a fire.

Tell your guests about the approved supplies you’re providing for ignition and the fire and make it clear that only the materials provided should be used. Remind them that flammable liquids should never be used to start a fire.

Be sure to include emergency contact numbers and addresses and an escape plan that maps out exits and fire extinguishers.

Don’t Get Burned By Inadequate Coverage

These heating device tips can help to keep your vacation rental property safe and warm, but is your vacation rental adequately covered in the event of a fire? Find out if your current insurance policy meets your unique needs as a vacation rental property owner. Request a free consultation with one of our insurance experts. 


This blog may contain scenarios that are provided as examples only. In an actual claim situation, coverage is subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions of the policy issued. The information provided is general in nature and may be affected by changes in law or the interpretation of such laws. The reader is advised to contact a professional prior to taking any action based upon this information.

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About Us

CBIZ Vacation Rental Insurance, a division of CBIZ Insurance Services,Inc., is the largest insurer of short-term vacation rental properties in the United States. As part of an $850 million New York Stock Exchange traded company (CBZ), we are the first broker to develop specific policy coverage to meet the needs for vacation rental properties and the amenities offered by these businesses. We have insured vacation rental properties since 2002.

The CBIZ Vacation Rental Insurance team knows insurance, specifically the risks and exposures related to short-term vacation rentals.We won't confuse you with technical "insurance speak" ~ our representatives are well versed in explaining your coverage in plain English. With hands-on, personal customer service, we guarantee swift communication and a 24/7 claims team that is ready to respond to your call any time of the day. As specialist in the industry, we leverage our knowledge and passion to ensure you and your business are adequately protected.