If you own a home with a chimney, you may be wondering if your insurance covers damage. The answer is a bit complicated: it depends. Every insurance company and policy is different. Sometimes, insurance will cover unexpected damage to your chimney. But, if the damage is caused by a lack of proper maintenance, most insurance companies will leave repair costs up to the homeowner. Read on to learn more about what is and isn’t covered with an insurance policy. Remember, it is always best to refer your homeowner’s insurance policy.
What IS Covered?
There are a few cases in which insurance will cover the cost of chimney repairs. The most common reasons are lightning strikes and chimney fires.
The top of the chimney is typically the highest point of a home. Because of the height, this is a hotspot for lightning strikes. Additionally, chimneys are often equipped with metal chimney caps. Chimney caps are important, but sometimes the metal draws lighting. Don’t worry too much, though. Repair costs due to lightning damage are often covered in insurance policies.
Chimney fires are usually covered. What is a chimney fire? Sometimes, fire can break out inside the chimney. Chimney fires cause damage to the flue and can harm the chimney and even other parts of the home. For example, the flue or lining can become cracked. These seemingly minor issues can cause major problems in your home. Thankfully, this is one of the most common issues that policies cover.
What’s NOT Covered?
Failing to keep up with your chimney could cost you. Although your homeowner’s insurance will likely cover the above cases, insurance tends not to get involved with normal wear and tear issues. Most policies do not cover the maintenance and upkeep of your chimney. However, it is a good idea to keep up with the maintenance of your chimney system. It is important to keep chimneys well maintained in order to detect and address any potential problems.
The National Fire Prevention Association states that chimneys should be inspected and swept once a year. Not only does an annual inspection ensure that your chimney is working properly, it can also identify potential hazards that could lead to damage to your chimney. If they are caught early enough, minor damages can be quickly and easily repaired, preventing worse problems down the line. However, if you neglect your chimney, you may end up with some damage that insurance refuses to cover.
Making a Claim
Sometimes, insurance companies will give you a little wiggle room with what they can cover. Here are some tips to consider when making your insurance claim:
- Your approval chances are higher with a lower claim history.
- If you have been with your insurance company for a few years, they are more likely to approve your claim.
- Insurance companies are unlikely to approve any claims without proof of damage.
Keep in mind, it can be very hard to prove that unexpected damage occurred. The best plan is to take pictures and be honest with your insurance company.
Insurance policies can be intimidating and full of jargon. However, it is important to review and understand what exactly your insurance company will cover. If unexpected damage occurs to your chimney, don’t hesitate to call your insurance agent to confirm what your policy covers. To schedule your annual chimney sweep and inspection or a chimney repair, call your local chimney sweeps at Sootmaster.