Should I Claim Chimney Leak Damage on Insurance?
All questions regarding homeowner’s insurance policies are best answered by the provider who wrote the policy. That being said, there are some general guidelines when it comes to determining if the provider will cover water damage caused by a leaky chimney.
A homeowner’s insurance policy covers unexpected damage to various areas of your home or property. This damage could result from flooding, fires, earthquakes, lightning and so on. The key word here is “unexpected,” which means “difficult or impossible to predict.”
A chimney can begin to leak for a variety of reasons. Your insurance adjuster will assess the leak and surrounding damage to find out if it was caused by an unexpected event such as gale-force winds or a lightning strike, or if the cause was lack of necessary maintenance and repair on your part.
Chimney leaks that could be prevented include:
- Deteriorating masonry
- Faulty chimney cap – or no cap at all
- Damaged chimney flashing
- Significant cracks in the chimney crown
These and other problems all can contribute to a leaky chimney. An annual chimney inspection by a certified chimney specialist can detect early signs of damage to the chimney and its components and initiate repairs right away.
Masonry can be rebuilt or patched. Chimney caps and flashing can be repaired or replaced. Chimney crowns can be sealed or rebuilt. When your chimney receives regular inspection and service, it’s unlikely you’ll ever have a leaky chimney.
While insurance companies seem to be in the business of paying out money on their policies, they’re actually in the business of making money, which means they tend to be pretty thorough in assessing a situation before paying out on it.
If you’ve neglected routine chimney inspection and maintenance and have a simple leak, you don’t need to involve your insurance carrier – just get the leak fixed. However, if a serious leak has caused significant damage to walls, the attic or other areas of the home, you may have trouble getting your carrier to pay for repairs if it can be shown that you failed to schedule regular chimney service.
The value of chimney inspection and chimney repair
Certified technicians who perform service on chimneys can add years – or decades – to the life of the structure. With the intense heat from fires and plain old age, chimneys eventually begin to show signs of wear and in many cases allow water to infiltrate the system. When spotted early, this damage can easily be repaired. If left alone, very expensive repairs and rebuilding work may be required to restore operational integrity to the chimney.
Bottom line: Make sure your chimney is in good working order, and deal with your insurance carrier only when something unexpected happens.
Hudson Valley Chimney Service of Poughkeepsie, NY, provides a full menu of chimney inspection, chimney repair and chimney cleaning services. Count on us to keep your chimney and fireplace working safely and at full capacity. With questions, or to schedule an appointment, call (845) 471-1071.