Residential Oil Tank Leaks: Get the Most Out of Your Property Insurance

When was the last time you got your residential heating oil tank inspected?

If your answer is never, you might want to consider taking a good look at your oil tank.

Residential oil tanks can develop leaks over time, which not only cause environmental and property damage but can also be expensive to clean up.

It’s crucial to understand the dangers residential oil tank leaks can produce and how to prevent the need for repairs. Being proactive in managing your oil tank and knowing which property insurance policies are available will help you avoid the headache of property damage and a costly repair bill.


Why Oil Tank Leaks Are Dangerous

While utilizing a residential heating system is efficient and environmentally friendly, there are several dangers potential oil leaks can cause. 

A residential oil leak can be messy and produce harmful toxins dangerous to your health and the environment.

Faulty tanks, lines, or valves are often the cause of oil leaks. 

If you suspect an oil leak, it’s crucial to act quickly to mitigate the damage. Here are some signs to look out for:

  • Discoloration on the ground near your oil tank.
  • A strong gasoline smell near your oil tank or furnace.
  • Unusually high fuel bills.

If you notice any signs, contact a professional as soon as possible to have the problem assessed and repaired. Ignoring an oil leak can significantly damage your home and put you and your community in danger.


Property Damage

Residential oil leaks can also cause a substantial amount of property damage. In some cases, the damage may be so extensive that the home is no longer livable. 

Oil leaks can also contaminate standing water or even the sewer and septic pipes that stretch throughout the community. Take immediate action if you suspect an oil leak on your property to minimize the amount of damage.


Prevent Costly Repair Bills

On September 30, 2011, Massachusetts enacted a law, MGL Chapter 453 Section 3, which requires all homeowners to upgrade the oil line between your tank and burner if it is in direct contact with a floor surface. This bill is aimed to facilitate homeowner heating oil spill remediation. This law states that insurance companies will be required to offer optional pollution insurance coverage to homeowners that comply with certain oil tank system safety specifications. 

This includes requiring residential property owners with heating oil tanks that have a fuel supply line in direct contact with a concrete floor surface to 1) enclose the line with a continuous non-metallic sleeve, or 2) install an oil safety valve.

Preventing costly oil tank repair bills isn’t as complicated as you might think; there are several ways to keep an eye on your heating system to ensure you catch a leak before it starts. 

First of all, scheduling periodic maintenance and inspections every 1-2 years is the best way to make sure your tank is in excellent condition. Another way to prevent spills and leaks is to ensure your pipes stay clean. 

Residential heating oil tanks can erode over time, so it is essential to have any pipes cleaned or replaced close to reaching their life span. 

You can also upgrade the fuel used in your tank to keep everything up to standard and maintain safe and efficient operation.

Identifying these issues in advance will save you thousands of dollars in costly cleanup and repair bills and keep your family and home safe. 

Stay Covered With Property Insurance

Even if you commit to being proactive about maintaining your residential oil tank, it is best to talk with your insurance agent to see what additional coverage may be needed for your policy. Most insurance carriers base homeowner policies don’t cover damage to your home or personal property after an oil leak. In certain states optional fuel spill coverage is offered to eligible policyholders that provides limited coverage for damage to your home and personal possessions resulting from an oil spill and limited liability coverage for environmental clean up to prevent ground water contamination and other pollution damage. Coverage varies by company and can generally be purchased for less than $100 year.

At Northeast-MetroWest Insurance Agency, we work with over 25 insurance carriers and can provide a number of Property Insurance options. This is one of the advantages of having a relationship with an Independent Insurance Agency. To see more reasons to work with an Independent Insurance Representative like Northeast-MetroWest Insurance Agency click here.

If you own a residential oil tank and need property insurance to keep you covered, reach out to one of our representatives by calling (800) 443-7007 to find a policy that works for you!

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