Lightning strikes, floods, earthquakes, wind damage, or fire are just a few of the natural disasters that can cause major chimney damage. When these events occur, most homeowner’s first reaction is to call their insurance company to make a claim. However, before doing so it is important to understand your insurance policy in regards to chimneys as well as learn what will or will not be covered.
Is my chimney covered by my homeowners insurance?
Homeowners’ insurance policies differ from provider to provider as well as from customer to customer based on the level of protection you have. Because of this, it is important to understand whether or not your chimney is included in your homeowners’ insurance policy, as well as what kinds of chimney damage will or will not be covered.
Most insurance policies do not cover damage from floods or high winds; if wind blows a tree into your chimney, however, that may be covered. Likewise, long-term damage or deterioration is rarely covered; for this reason, unless it is caused by a sudden event such as a lightning strike a chimney leak is unlikely to be covered. However, even if your chimney is not covered, your interior damage may be; if a chimney leak causes sudden damage to your walls, ceiling, or interior furnishings, these repairs may be covered.
Common chimney claims
When it comes to chimneys, most homeowners’ policies will only cover sudden or unforeseen events. Two of the most common causes of chimney claims are lightning strikes and chimney fires. Because chimneys are typically the highest point on a home, they are more susceptible to lightning strikes. Lightning strikes to chimneys can be as minor as a damaged chimney cap or cracked masonry or as serious as major structural damage. Likewise, chimney fires – even in homes where the chimney has received regular maintenance – are cause damage throughout the chimney system. In serious chimney fires, flames can escape the top of the chimney and cause damage to the surrounding roofing materials. In both of these cases, insurance should cover the cost of repairs.
Why maintenance matters
Having regular chimney maintenance performed is an important part of having your chimney claim covered in the event of an emergency or natural disaster. Most homeowners’ insurance policies exclude damage that can be attributed to lack of maintenance or regular wear and tear. Because of this, problems such as leaks may not be covered if you do not have evidence that you have your chimney regularly swept or inspected. By having documented records of maintenance and the condition of your chimney, you are more likely to get your claim approved.
Before making a claim to the insurance company, you may want to have your chimney inspected. At Mason’s Chimney Service, we can perform a thorough inspection along with a video scan of your entire chimney system. This intensive inspection creates a comprehensive picture of the state of your chimney; this thorough documentation can help make the claims process easier.
If your chimney has been seriously damaged, putting in an insurance claim can help you afford to have it repaired. For help handling the insurance claims process, contact the experts at Mason’s Chimney Service today!