Is Chimney Damage Covered by Your Home Insurance?

Is Chimney Damage Covered by Your Home Insurance?

For many, October signals the full swing of autumn with chilly nights and shorter days. If you own a fireplace, this means it’s finally time to start your first fire of the season. Before you light that match, it’s important to get a proper inspection. This inspection involves assessing any chimney damage and chimney sweeping. Make sure you’re prepared for cold nights by your warm and safe fire with these steps.

Inspecting Your Chimney

A simple inspection can be done yourself to assess any chimney damage. However, if you frequently used your fireplace last season and did not have it cleaned or inspected, you should contact a specialist. The three main places to check are the chimney cap, the inside of the chimney, and the chimney itself.

  • Chimney Cap: this is the metal barrier on most modern chimneys that prevent the elements and small animals from making their way down your chimney. Check these for any signs of critters living near or around your cap, as something as innocent as a bird’s nest can clog up your chimney.
  • Inside of the Chimney: The interior of your chimney builds up with creosote, which is the incomplete combustion of the oil in the wood. This can be a fire hazard, as well as cause ventilation issues in your chimney.
  • The Structure of the Chimney: The stonework, mortar connecting the stones, and the chimney liner must all be intact to begin having fires in your fireplace. If any of these three are compromised, having a fire could potentially be dangerous.

Chimney Sweeping

The need for a chimney cleaning depends on how much you use your fireplace. The reason for a chimney sweep is to remove soot, blockages, and built-up creosote from your chimney, firebox, smoke chamber, and damper. Creosote is a highly flammable substance that builds up inside the chimney or liner as a result of burning wood.

Both the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommend routine maintenance for a safe and efficient fire. Don’t risk the chance that an undiscovered defect could turn into an expensive repair or worse—a chimney fire.

Chimney Damage Coverage

If you do find damage to your chimney, the severity will determine whether your homeowner’s insurance will cover the costs of repair. Damage from age/wear and tear is typically not covered by your homeowner’s policy. Sudden and unexpected incidents such as a chimney fire or lightning strike are usually covered by insurance.

In the event a lightning strike or chimney fire spreads damaging your home, homeowner’s insurance helps by providing coverage to your home and possessions. The best way to avoid chimney damage and practice fire safety is to clean and service your chimney annually, as well as having a comprehensive homeowner’s policy. Contact the TJ Woods today.