Berlin wrote:insurance companies don't want the risk of a house freezing and the associated damage and loss cause by a heating system that has to be tended regularly. As long as they know that you have that automatic system and it appears you only dabble in solid fuel heating they feel there is less risk of loss
Actually it goes a little deeper than this. For instance NYS mechanical building code:
"Space Heating Systems - Interior spaces intended for human occupancy shall be provided with active or passive space-heating systems capable of maintaining a minimum indoor temperature of 68 deg. F. at a point 3 feet above floor on the design heating day. the installation of portable space heater shall not be used to achieve compliance with this section"
This could be subject to much interpetation by the local code official. A wood or coal stove would not meet this requirement due to lack of proper distribution even though it might bake you out. Hand fired equipment may not meet this due to lack of a sufficint burn time. A stoker furnace or boiler with a hopper and heat distribution system may meet this due to sufficient coal reserve. Similar to a oil system requiring a tank being filled.
An Axeman-anderson with it's tube stuck into a coal bin will be just as good as an oil system in my book but again it would be up to the local authority having jurisdiction.