Does Home Insurance Cover Chimney Repairs and Other Brick Structures?

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Many homeowners have wondered 'does home insurance cover chimney repairs?' In this article we'll take a look at the chimney repairs, repairs for other brick structures such as patios and fireplaces, and what that means with insurance. For more information on everything to do with masonry, contact the experts at Royal Masonry now! 

Need masonry repairs? Starting a new brick project?

Does Home Insurance Cover Chimney Repairs?

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Answer: It depends.

Unfortunately, there is no absolute answer when it comes to questions about what home insurance will and will not cover, as every home insurance policy and provider varies. To make things even trickier, most insurance policies do not provide information specifically about chimneys. To find out exactly what your home insurance covers, you will need to contact your insurance provider.

However, in general, many home insurance companies will cover chimney repairs depending on the circumstances. So, the answer is both yes and no. If your chimney has been damaged by an unexpected, sudden incident (such as a tree falling on your chimney) then it is likely that your home insurance will cover chimney repairs. 

Two common chimney issues almost always covered by insurance include: if your chimney has been struck by lightning and damaged as a result, or if there has been a chimney fire that resulted in damage (source).  

Homeowners may find that their chimney, especially if it's an older home, is beginning to show wear and tear. Normal damage caused over time due to weather, winds and other elements is generally not covered by home insurance.

Not Covered When Poorly Maintained

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Unfortunately, most insurance policies do not provide coverage for damage due to poor maintenance. That's why it's so important that you regularly maintain and clean your chimney as necessary. That way, if something does happen, you will be more likely to file a successful claim. 

Not sure how to maintain your chimney? If you want to avoid extra work around the house, you can hire a professional to do it for you. If you are willing to put the work in, here are a few tips from DIY Network

  • Remove ashes - Simply sweeping up the ashes will stop build-ups from occurring and is the most logical place to begin
  • Remove soot & stains - To remove soot and stains, you'll need to clean a bit deeper with soapy water. For difficult stains, you can also use specially designed cleaners - but keep in mind, many contain harsh chemicals and may be toxic.
  • Examine external chimney - Do not attempt to clean your chimney from the outside unless you are a professional! However, you can check to see if mortar is in good shape, and see if any animals have decided to make your chimney their home. Regularly checking in will help you catch little problems before they become big!

Does Home Insurance Cover Other Brick Structures?

Answer: Once again, it depends!

Chimneys are not the only brick structures you may be worried about around your home. Outdoor buildings, retaining walls, and patios may be of concern, especially if you live in an area prone to extreme weather. See below to learn more about these common brick structures.

Retaining Walls

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Retaining walls are an attractive and practical way to support soil on uneven and sloped yards and properties. Retaining walls are often expansive and made built with a great number of bricks!

So, are retaining walls covered by home insurance? Like every other question, the answer is that it depends. However, it is actually likely that your retaining wall is covered by your policy. Retaining walls are usually covered under "other structures" in your insurance policy.

Of course, coverage does depend on what caused the damage. For example, if the settling of your foundation caused a crack or damage, that will not be covered. However, if an earthquake or other extreme weather caused sudden, immediate damage, repairs will likely be covered by insurance (source). 

Click here to learn more about maintaining your retaining wall!

Patios/Porches 

 
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Most home insurance policies include "dwelling insurance," which covers areas of your home beyond just indoor living space. Sometimes, patios and porches are covered by the dwelling insurance portion of your policy. 

Damage caused to porches and patios over time due to lack of maintenance or weathering will likely not be covered. Like most other issues, a sudden or unforeseen incident may be covered. The answer for patios and porches is not as clear as other structures, so it's important to contact your insurance provider and ask these questions before an incident occurs!

Sheds

 
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Though it's most likely that you have a metal, plastic, or wooden shed, some homeowners have heavy-duty sheds or other outdoor buildings built with stone or bricks. Are these structures covered? 

Once again, it does depend on the circumstances. However, many insurance policies will cover these outdoor buildings to an extent, under the same circumstances as other structures (i.e. repairs not covered if due to lack of maintenance or damage over time). 

How Easy Is It To Pay A Contractor Through Insurance?

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Making an insurance claim may feel like a difficult task, but it doesn't have to be difficult! Thankfully, when you make a successful claim, the insurance provider is responsible for paying your contractor. So, your biggest job is finding a reputable, professional contractor! 

Here are some tips from The Balance on finding a reputable insurance claims contractor: 

  • Check references & licensing - Make sure you look at online reviews, ask for references, and do your research! Check out their website, and make sure your contractor is licensed and insured. 
  • Check estimate costs - If you need temporary repairs, see how much the contractor suggests you pay for these. If you feel they are unreasonable, you may want to get a second quote or ask for an explanation. 
  • Read the small print - Did you know that with an insurance claim, you actually do not have the right to approve any repairs? The insurance company must approve the repairs first - so make sure that your insurance company has approved the repairs and contractor before moving forward! 

Royal Masonry - Choose The Trusted Professionals

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The team at Royal Masonry has built a solid reputation for superior customer service and the highest quality stone masonry craftsmanship in Southern Ontario. Our mission is to provide you with the best quality workmanship at the right price. You can be certain that we will get the job done right the first time.

Our professional approach and superior customer service mean that you can relax in the knowledge that your project is in safe hands. Trust the experts at Royal Masonry with any masonry service you require. Contact us today and find out for yourself why our customers highly recommend us to their friends and family.

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