Q

Does home insurance cover chimney repairs?

A

Yes, homeowners insurance covers chimney repairs if a covered loss caused the damage. But chimneys that are damaged due to normal wear and tear or neglect would not be covered.

Homeowners insurance typically covers chimney repairs if the damage is caused by a covered event, like a lightning strike or fire.

However, chimneys that are damaged due to age or normal wear and tear would not be covered. Maintenance-related damage, like a fire caused by creosote, may also not be covered by homeowners insurance since the presence of this flammable substance implies that the chimney was neglected for a long period of time.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Chimney repairs are covered by homeowners insurance if a covered peril caused the damage

  • Common causes of chimney damage, like lightning strikes and heavy storm damage, would be covered by homeowners insurance

  • A poorly maintained chimney would not be covered by a standard policy, nor any damage that results from a preventable issue

When are chimney repairs covered by home insurance?

A standard home insurance policy covers the structure of your home against covered perils, including your chimney. Dwelling coverage, one of the six basic protections in a standard policy, covers repairs to your chimney if it is damaged by a covered event. Homeowners insurance might also cover chimneys that collapse due to the weight of sleet, ice, or snow, but it may not cover chimney repairs if it was already damaged prior to collapsing.

Here are a few common examples of chimney damage that are covered by homeowners insurance:

Chimney fires

If your fireplace or wood stove causes an unexpected chimney fire, your homeowners insurance will probably pay to repair the damage. But if the chimney fire was a result of negligence and poor maintenance, your insurer may not cover the damage, which is why it’s a good idea to keep your chimney clear of soot and anything else that can lead to unexpected fires.

Lightning strikes

Lightning strikes and related fire damage would be covered by a standard policy. If lightning strikes your chimney causing it to lose bricks or lean over, homeowners insurance would pay for chimney repairs and damage to your home if your chimney were to collapse.

Fallen tree damage

If a tree falls and damages your chimney, homeowners insurance will pay to repair the damage and remove the tree.

When won’t homeowners insurance cover chimney repairs?

Homeowners insurance won’t always cover chimney repairs, and some of those instances include:

When it is neglected or poorly maintained

Homeowners insurance won’t cover maintenance issues of any kind, which means chimney damage that occurs over time due to neglect or improper care would not be covered. Fallen bricks and related repairs are also not covered and would be rejected by most insurers when you go to file a claim.

When your chimney is due for improvements

If your chimney is leaning and suddenly collapses, homeowners insurance may help cover the cost of repairs, but it depends. If what caused the chimney to lean was a covered peril, like a fallen tree, and you can prove that you took steps to repair it, then homeowners insurance may cover any property damage and chimney restoration costs. But chimneys that are due for improvements before the damage may not be covered, and escalated damage may also not be covered.

How much should chimney repair cost?

According to Home Advisor, chimney repairs can cost anywhere from $160–⁠$750. A full replacement can cost between $4,000 and $10,000.

Property and Casualty Insurance Expert

Stephanie Nieves

Property and Casualty Insurance Expert

Stephanie Nieves is an insurance editor at Policygenius in New York City, specializing in auto and home insurance. She's been writing about insurance, finance and financial planning since 2018, and loves helping readers get the knowledge they need to make financial decisions with confidence. Her words can also be found on PayScale, Fairygodboss, and The Muse.

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