The short answer to this question is yes and no. Homeowners policies cover chimney repairs when the damage is caused by one of the specific covered instances listed in the policy. On the other hand, there are several instances when damage to the chimney would not be covered.
Navigating one’s homeowner’s policy can be a tricky endeavor. It feels as if companies make coverage of something like chimney damage, intentionally confusing and unintuitive. I’m here to help you navigate through the weeds of chimney damage coverage.
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- The homeowners policy will cover chimney repairs if the damage is caused due to a covered peril outlined in the policy.
- Covered perils typically include storm damage, falling tree, lightning, fire, snow, and ice.
- Policies will not cover repairs if the chimney is already rundown, unmaintained, or damaged in some way that was outlined in the policy.
When chimney repair is covered by home insurance
There are six standard protections in any homeowner’s policy: dwelling, other structures, personal property, loss-of-use, personal liability, and medical payments. All standard homeowner policies cover the structure of the home itself under the first standard protection, dwelling. A chimney falls under the structure of the home; therefore, it is covered under any standard homeowner insurance policy.
If you were to look through your policy, you would find the covered perils outlined in the policy where any home structural damage would be covered. Typically, this includes, fires, falling trees, storm damage, snow, ice, sleet, lightning strikes, etcetera. Since chimneys are part of the structure of the house they are covered if those perils are the cause of any damage to the chimney.
Chimney fires happen for various reasons. Typically, this unexpected event is covered under a standard homeowner’s policy. There is the important caveat that if the fire is due to the homeowner’s lack of regular maintenance or cleaning, that claim could be denied.
Sometimes due to storms or several other causes, a tree may fall onto one’s house, damaging the chimney. This is the perfect example of when one’s policy would cover the repairs. That is an unexpected event that is difficult for a homeowner to protect against on their own.
Any damage to the chimney due to a major storm would be covered by under a typical homeowner’s policy unless the chimney was already damaged or not properly maintained.
As most people in colder winter climates know, snow, ice, and sleet can be major problems to contend with. If the weight of the snow pressing down on the chimney causes it to be damaged, that is an instance when the policy would cover repairs.
Lightning strikes could be the precursor to fire damage of a chimney or lightning could directly strike the chimney, causing damage that way. In both cases, a homeowner’s policy would cover repairs.
When chimney repair is Not covered by home insurance
On the flip side of the above, there are some standard instances when the structure of one’s home, including the chimney, would not be covered if damage occurs: rundown or unmaintained and damaged prior to a covered peril.
As with anything, over time the wear and tear from weather, age, etcetera, can begin to run down a home’s chimney. That general wear and tear that happens over time is a prime example of when repairs to the chimney would not be covered. If a homeowner doesn’t regularly maintain the chimney, leaving that wear and tear to weaken the chimney over time, when a potentially covered damage does happen, the insurance company will most likely reject that claim.
Damaged prior to a covered peril
Along with being unmaintained, damage that occurs prior to a covered peril would put one at risk of their claim being denied when damage occurs due to a covered peril. Regular upkeep and repairs by the homeowner are essential.
What’s the cost of repairing your chimney?
According to HomeGuide, minor repairs can cost anywhere from $200-$700 and major repairs or replacements can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $3,500.
Important to note
While this article speaks generally, every insurance company is different. It is important to read one’s homeowners’ policy to know what is covered by the company. Each company may have a different claims process as well, leading to potentially different outcomes of a filed claim.