After buying a new home, people often find themselves asking the question: “Does home insurance cover chimney damage?” — unfortunately, the question is often asked too late; after the damage is done.
From flashing to fireboxes, damage to chimneys can be highly dangerous. Not just to your house, but to yourself and your family. So, you want to get it taken care of as soon as possible. That said, paying for the necessary repairs can be a struggle if you’re not sure whether you can rely on your homeowner’s insurance.
Keep reading to get an idea of what type of chimney repairs your insurance may cover and some they won’t.
Will Insurance Cover the Damages?
Not sure whether your personal property policy protects your chimney and fireplace? It’s a big question for many people when disaster strikes.
Does Home Insurance Cover Chimney Damage? In short: Possibly.
Your fireplace and chimney are part of your house, and most homeowner’s insurance plans will usually cover them. That said, all insurance plans are different. So, while there is a strong probability that your policy protects your chimney you may want to double-check to be sure.
While your policy may cover chimney repairs, insurance claims do not cover everything. Most insurer’s policies generally cover unexpected or “sudden” damage. Insurance providers do not cover issues that derive from average wear and tear.
Example of a Rebuilt Brick Masonry Chimney that was damaged. Before and After pictures show the old vs new unit built with the addition of Flashing/Crown/Caps/Brick Re-pointing.
See more examples of reconstructions in our portfolio
Can You Recover Your Losses?
If you’re reading this, then you’re probably trying to determine if your homeowner’s insurance will cover certain repairs or even complete chimney rebuilding.
We’ll show you the three most common claims we see people needing help with: leaks, fires, and chimney stack collapse. You’ll need to look at your policy and determine what caused the damage you’re trying to have fixed. The answer is dependent on the facts that your claims adjuster/inspectors uncover. Therefore we recommend that you start the process by calling your insurance provider for details and also getting the home damages evaluated as soon as possible.
Here are a few common issues and whether home insurance policies cover them (in our experience):
Leaks are one of the most common issues homeowners have to deal with over the life of their fireplace. Considering that most of your chimney: the crown, mortar joints, and entire brick structure faces the elements 24/7, it makes sense.
Unfortunately, people underestimate leak potential and, if not handled early, can result in the need to remodel your home (on a much grander scale than you might imagine.)
Does homeowner’s insurance cover a chimney water leak? Usually.
If the leak stems from damage caused by a bad storm or some other outside force, insurance plans will usually help cover the repairs. Again, we encourage you to call your company to discuss your covered losses. But, if you can trace the leak back to structural damage or general wear and tear and inadequate maintenance to your fireplace’s flue liners, you may have to foot the bill yourself.
Contrary to popular belief, insurance companies often label chimney fires as a sudden or unexpected event. Which begs the question:
Does homeowner’s insurance cover chimney fires?
Yes, more often than not. Just as you would in a house fire, you can usually rely on your insurance policy to help you cover chimney fire damage. Just remember, it all depends on the policy and the situation. There may be instances that do not fit the typical flue/house fire scenarios.
A stack of bricks or stone collapsing (and falling from your roof to the ground) may seem sudden to you. The event is certainly dangerous and shocking, especially if people were standing nearby when it happened.
However, when a chimney collapses, most insurance companies chalk it up to structural damage, which means your policy likely won’t cover your losses.
Structural Collapse May Not Be Covered by Your Insurance Policy
All the more reason to make sure to keep up with your annual inspections and regular maintenance tasks. Doing so helps keep the chimney system operating at its best for as long as possible! And, even if your chimney collapsed due to an unexpected event, it can be hard to prove structural damage didn’t weaken it ahead of time.
If you can prove that the collapse came from an unexpected external force, like a tornado, then your homeowner’s insurance would most likely cover it.
At the very least, your policy may cover damage to your house if it doesn’t cover the entire chimney. Be sure to check with your company or claims adjuster for specific details for your policy. If you’re looking for a new policy, then we suggest researching a few different insurance providers before making a decision.
In closing, there is no one definitive answer to whether or not your homeowner’s insurance policy will cover damages to your fireplace or chimney.
Your coverage might include chimney repairs, but every policy is different. So while we cannot tell you exactly what to expect from your insurance agency, we can tell you what to expect from our chimney and fireplace company. That’s the confidence in the complete evaluation report provided to you at the end of your appointment.
Trust only a Certified Sweep to inspect chimney damages for insurance claims.
One of our CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps will do a comprehensive inspection, then write a full report containing all the details you’ll need to assist in filing a claim. We will inspect your chimney and fireplace, then perform most repairs.
The chimney condition report provided to you at the end of your inspection appointment will also include high-resolution images of the damage to aid in your case. Your Full Service Chimney inspection report can then be submitted to your insurance after your appointment.
Not sure whether your insurance will cover your chimney repairs? Contact us for more information or to request a consultation today.