If you’re a homeowner, you know that your homeowners insurance policy can cover a range of unexpected damages. However, when it comes to chimney leaks or other chimney damage, it can be a bit confusing to determine if they are covered or not. The last thing you want is to find yourself facing costly repairs and not knowing where to turn.
Luckily, Wolfman Chimney & Fireplace has your back when it comes to taking care of your chimney and fireplace repairs, as well as helping you better understand how your system works. Knowledge is power, so let’s dive into what causes chimney leaks, how to prevent them, and – most importantly – if they’re typically covered by insurance.
Let’s Talk Homeowners Insurance & Chimneys
As a homeowner, you know that unexpected issues and damage can happen, even when you take all the precautions and preventive measures. That is where having a quality homeowners insurance policy can come in handy to help alleviate some of the financial burden of costly repairs.
Many homeowners assume that their chimney is automatically covered under this policy since it is part of the house. However, what most people do not understand is that your chimney will typically only be covered if the damage occurs due to a sudden event, like a lightning striking, tornado, chimney fire, or some other natural disaster that results in damage to your home or chimney.
Typically, damage due to normal wear and tear, weather exposure, animals, or water leaks will not be covered under your policy because often these issues can be avoided with regular inspections and maintenance. This is why it is important to go over your policy with your insurance agent to ensure that you understand what coverage you have and the parameters required for using it. If you have a policy that does cover damages like wear and tear, be sure to know what annual maintenance records are required to maintain this coverage.
I Need to File an Insurance Claim for My Chimney – Who Do I Call?
If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of needing to file an insurance claim related to your chimney, you will want to start by talking with a Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified chimney technician that has experience working with homeowners. This will help you better understand the extent of damage, as well as the event that caused it. This can be very helpful when navigating the questions you will encounter when you call your insurance agent.
Once you have a better understanding of the damage, call your insurance agent or their claims department to get started and see what their process is for scheduling repairs – and what kinds of coverage you are entitled to. Insurance policies can vary in what they cover, but typically you can count on coverage for the costs to tear down damaged sections and for repairs of masonry work.
What Causes Chimney Leaks?
Chimney leaks can be caused by a variety of factors. Some of the most common reasons include:
- Damaged Chimney Cap: The chimney cap is a metal protective covering that is installed over the chimney opening. It’s designed to prevent water, debris, and animals from entering your chimney. If the cap is damaged or missing, it can allow water to enter your chimney or exhaust vent.
- Cracked Chimney Crown: The chimney crown is the concrete slab that sits on top of the chimney. It’s designed to keep water from entering the chimney and to send it away from the masonry walls. If the crown is cracked or damaged, water can seep into the chimney and adjacent walls.
- Damaged Flashing: The flashing is comprised of thin strips of metal that are installed where the chimney meets the roof shingles. It’s designed to create a watertight seal between the chimney and the roofing materials. If the flashing is damaged or missing, water can enter your home.
- Absorbed Water: Chimneys are made of porous materials, such as bricks and mortar. These materials can absorb water, especially during heavy rainfall. If the chimney can’t dry out properly, it can cause leaks.
How To Prevent Chimney Leaks
Prevention is always better than a cure. Keeping your chimney in good condition is crucial for preventing leaks and further damage. Here are some tips to help you prevent chimney leaks:
- Regular Maintenance: Regular maintenance and inspections by a professional chimney sweep can help catch any potential problems before they become severe. Make sure to have your chimney inspected at least once a year.
- Waterproofing: Applying a waterproofing repellant to your chimney can help prevent water from seeping into the bricks and mortar. This can be especially helpful if you live in an area with frequent rainfall.
- Chimney Cap Installation: A chimney cap is a cover that sits on top of your chimney, protecting it from rain and other debris. Installing a properly-sized chimney cap can prevent water from damaging your chimney crown and flue liner.
- Flashing Installation: Flashing is installed around the base of your chimney to prevent water from seeping in between the chimney and roof materials. Make sure your flashing is in good condition and properly installed.
- Tree Trimming: Trim back any trees or branches that are close to your chimney. Falling branches can damage your chimney, and leaves and debris can accumulate on the roof, blocking drainage and causing water to pool.
By following these tips, and working with the certified chimney technicians here at Wolfman Chimney & Fireplace, you can help prevent chimney leaks and maintain the integrity of your chimney, fireplace, or wood stove.
Let Us Ease Your Chimney Burdens
While not all chimney damage can be prevented, taking the proper steps to have your chimney, wood stove, and fireplace inspected and serviced annually is a great way to be proactive in addressing issues as they arise – and long before they can get worse. The certified chimney technicians at Wolfman Chimney & Fireplace have the knowledge and expertise to spot potential issues early and will work with you to develop an action plan to keep your chimney in prime condition.
Dealing with your insurance and navigating chimney repairs can be stressful, but rest assured, our experts will be there with you from start to finish. If you have leaky chimney issues, give us a call. We’ll have you back to enjoying your fireplace and chimney in no time.
Reach out at 830-620-9130 or schedule online today.