Does homeowner’s insurance cover chimney repair?
At Elegant Fireside, one of the most common questions we get asked is, “will my homeowner’s insurance cover these chimney repairs?”
The short answer is, it depends.
There are many different types of homeowner’s insurance policies available out there, and the coverage varies from policy to policy. However, in our experience, we have found that most homeowner’s insurance policies do NOT cover the majority of chimney repairs.
To determine if you can claim the damage on your chimney, let’s take a look at what part of our chimney repair services may or may not be covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy.
What is covered?
Your homeowner’s insurance policy will usually cover any damage to your chimney that occurs as a result of a sudden, unexpected incident.
The two most common cases where chimney repairs are typically covered include:
- When the chimney cap or crown (often the highest point of a house) is struck by lightning.
- When a chimney fire occurs. In this case, the insurance company may argue that the fire was caused because you failed to keep the chimney in a proper working condition. But don’t cave in! Even if the fire were caused by your failure to make reasonable efforts to keep the chimney well-maintained, the repairs would certainly be covered if a fire was involved.
Also, keep in mind that wind and flood damage — though just as sudden and unexpected as lightning strikes and chimney fires — are not usually covered by homeowners insurance. However, if a tree limb falls on your chimney cap because of heavy finds and causes damage, then that may be covered by your policy.
What is not covered?
As a homeowner in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, it is your responsibility to keep up with routine chimney inspections (ideally, once every year) to ensure your chimney stays in proper working condition. At least in the eyes of insurance companies, it is.
During these scheduled inspections, you can identify minor issues (like flue cracks) and fix them before they get worse and turn into a more expensive problem. If you fail to inspect your chimneys regularly, you may end up with a pretty hefty repair bill that your insurance company will not be willing to cover.
So, if your chimney suffers any damage resulting from normal wear and tear or old age (neither of which are sudden and unexpected) because you failed to maintain it correctly, the repairs will typically not be covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy.
What are the most common chimney issues?
Listed below are some of the most common chimney problems you may have to deal with. If you see any of these problems during the inspection, you need to see that any needed repair is made before the fireplace is used.
Creosote buildup: Creosote is an oil that is produced when wood or other solids are set on fire. Over time the creosote can build up on the inside of your chimney. If there is too much buildup, it can ignite and cause a fire in your chimney.
Blockage: Another common chimney repair issue is having a blockage in the flue of your chimney. This can be caused by debris from material dislodging in your chimney or even by animal nests. Blockages, even small ones, affect the efficiency of your chimney in getting smoke, gases, and heat out of your home.
Cracks or holes in the flue: Some of the gases from a fire are quite corrosive and over time can damage your chimney flue and create the potential for blockages or even allow dangerous gases to seep into your home. Make sure that your flue gets an annual inspection to ensure that it is working correctly.
Brickwork problems: Another problem is caused if the flue starts to leak and erode the masonry and brickwork around the exterior and require extensive chimney repair work. Too much of this can cause significant structural damage, which will make your chimney repair much more expensive.
Chimney cap and crown: The chimney cap and crown make up the chimney roof that surrounds the flue and keeps water and debris from getting into the chimney. If this is cracked or missing pieces, it can allow water damage to the inside of the chimney and even damage the flue’s ability to channel gases and heat out of the home. This area also keeps animals, debris, and weather out of your flue.
By taking care of any needed chimney repair as soon as you see it, the costs for the repairs will be much less than if you let the problem get larger. Make sure that your chimney is inspected regularly, and it will give you years of safe use.
What to know before you make your claim?
Every homeowner’s insurance policy is different. So, when you think you may have a good case for chimney repairs that can be covered, be sure to gather and keep detailed and careful documentation. This includes photos, precise estimates of any maintenance or repair work, and all receipts for past repairs.
Whatever you do, do not lie about your claim as it is insurance fraud and can be prosecuted in court. Even if you are not taken to court, your name will be forever flagged as a person to watch.
Got denied? Now what?
The first line of defense is to understand what damages your insurance will cover. Insurance policies are not fun to read, but it is not hard to find the information you need. Information is not buried in long paragraphs you cannot make sense out of; there are subheadings, and each point or exception is made separately. So, take a close look at your homeowner’s insurance policy to see what is covered and what is not.
Insurance companies also have some elasticity when they are not constrained by the policy’s terms and will be more than happy to pay a legitimate claim. After all, these consumer-oriented companies would not want to get a bad name with the public. If you have the law on your side, there is no reason why your legitimate claim will be denied.
About Elegant Fireside
Are you looking for professional and reliable chimney repair services in Plano, Texas? Then get in touch with Elegant Fireside today! Give us a call for your chimney inspection, and we will let you know whether it needs to be swept/repaired. If your chimney requires professional sweeping or repairs, our chimney maintenance experts will do the job as per the requirement and your expectations.
Send us a mail at email@example.com or call us at (972) 846-4878 to learn more.