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Do Homeowner’s Insurance Policies Cover all Types of Chimney Damage?

This is a question a lot of New York residents ask – after all, we have some pretty intense winters here and use our fireplaces and chimneys quite a bit during the cold months.

The simple answer is: each homeowner’s policy is different, but in general, providers will cover chimney damage that falls under the “unexpected” category, but not damage that’s “expected.”

Here’s how to understand this.

What Is Unexpected Chimney Damage?

Again, each policy is unique, so consult your paperwork or check with your insurance carrier for details. Most insurance companies consider the following to be unexpected events:

  • Lightning strikes
  • Earthquakes
  • Tree branches or entire trees falling during a storm or
    for natural reasons
  • Some chimney fires
  • Powerful hail storms
  • Gale-force winds

These events are considered unexpected because you can’t accurately predict them and can do little if anything to stop them.

On the other side, there are expected causes of chimney damage that most insurance providers don’t include in their homeowner’s policy coverage.

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Expected Chimney Damage Insurance usually Won’t Cover

Chimneys can be damaged for the reasons above and related causes. But the damage we most often see in the field throughout the Poughkeepsie area is damage from neglect.

When a chimney isn’t cleaned, repaired and inspected regularly, an ongoing cycle of damage can start and wind up causing serious safety and malfunction problems. Deteriorating masonry, for example, won’t repair itself, and if left alone, it will only get worse and worse.

Chimneys that suffer structural or other damage due to neglect usually won’t be paid for through a homeowner’s insurance policy. When a chimney isn’t maintained properly, insurance carriers “expect” damage.

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A Simple Chimney Maintenance Plan You Can Follow

It’s not hard to maintain your chimney and only have to contact your insurance provider when something truly unexpected and out of your control happens.

A three-point chimney-maintenance plan includes:

  1. Annual chimney inspections: Your technician will check all visible areas of your chimney structure and components during a basic annual inspection.
  2. Annual chimney cleaning (particularly for wood burning fireplaces): Hire a CSIA-certified chimney sweep to professionally remove flammable creosote and soot from your chimney flue.
  3. Repairs performed as soon as they become needed: This way, you pay only a fraction of what a huge repair project would cost.

Are You Dealing with Estimates for a Chimney Repair Project?

If you currently are working to get your chimney repaired, you’re probably collecting estimates. If you’re covered by your homeowner’s insurance, you’re definitely putting together several estimates. Let us be one of your potential choices.

Our team regularly provides homeowners with additional estimates for chimney repair work as well as second opinions on previous estimates. Not all chimney companies are created equal, and it’s always a smart move to bring in an experienced individual to help sort through costs and projected tasks in a chimney repair project.

Hudson Valley Chimney of Poughkeepsie, NY, will fix your chimney, and we’ll provide the right cleaning, maintenance and inspection services to make sure it works safely and efficiently all year long.

Estimates and second opinions are always free, with no obligation.

Reach a certified chimney technician today at (845) 471-1071.


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