Personally, getting removable wicks (mine were from Synergy, but Moodhoops also has some) was a really wise decision, as I downsized A LOT after starting to fire hoop. If you're going to get the wicks attached to the hoop, I strongly suggest you go down 3-4 inches in diameter from your usual size.
I don't know how long it's going to take for you to be comfortable with fire. Just be aware that you're probably not going to perform with it right away.
I second the removable wicks, they are great way to start fire hooping :) They are about the same price as a fire hoop but you don't have to worry about melting your hoop as your learning. If you do just take them off and put them on a new hoop :) Mine are the quick wicks from Synergy. As for insurance I'm pretty sure there are some treads on that already in fire forum have you done a search there?.
If you don't end up with quick wicks I suggest sacred flame fire hoops! I've been drooling over her fire hoops for years and will eventually own one! She has custom tape designs that are BEAUTIFUL and you won't find any where else! Also has really reasonable prices. I know many girls with her hoops and they are truly amazing. My trouble with quick wicks is that I don't own multiple hoops to attach them to, so for me a permanent fire hoop is the choice :) Happy hooping!