Do you ever watch insurance commercials? Companies from Geico and Progressive to AllState and Farmers have perfected the art of the ad; they’re funny, entertaining, and memorable. There’s a good reason for this: insurance is incredibly boring! No one likes to curl up with a good policy or check clauses and conditions when they’re scrolling on their phone. We want insurance to protect us when we need it… and then we want to forget about it.

But when it comes to maintenance, repair, and replacement projects, it is critical that homeowners understand what their policies cover – and what they do not. So does insurance pay for a chimney when you’re replacing a roof?

Can Insurance Pay for a Chimney When You’re Replacing a Roof?

Sure. It can. But does it? That depends.

Confusing answer? That’s because it can be a confusing topic! Let’s start with insurance related to roofs to get a good understanding of what may be covered. Typically, the average lifespan of an asphalt shingle roof (the most common type in the US) is 20 years. Insurance companies typically limit or even exclude replacement coverage when roofs are older than 20 years. If you have an older roof, they may have done an inspection before agreeing to cover you; likely they may allow for actual cash value if it is damaged under certain circumstances.

Actual cash value is different from replacement value. If you have a 2000 square foot house with a relatively simple roof line, for example, you’re looking at between $4700 – $11,000 to replace it. If your roof has steeper slopes, gables, hips, and valleys, though, your costs will increase. You must also factor in the removal of existing materials, as well as replacing roof decking if yours has been damaged or is in poor condition. So let’s say your replacement cost is $11,000.

Depending on the age of your roof (and perhaps other factors outlined in your policy), your insurance company may only offer actual cash value – after your deductible. For a five year old roof, you may have an actual cash value of $8500. Ok, not bad. But you have a $4000 deductible. Your policy would pay $4500, leaving you to come up with the balance of $6500. Insurance will typically pay out $3000 (after deductible) for a 10 year old roof. And for a 20 year old roof, the actual cash value is $4000, less the $4000 deductible… leaving you with $0 covered.

Type of Damage

Now, the type of damage is also important. Your insurance company will likely pay for damage caused by certain natural and/or sudden events, such as a freak hailstorm or windstorm, fire, or a falling tree branch. They will not pay when you need to replace a roof that’s outlasted its lifespan, has a leak that led to water damage, has not been maintained, etc.

To recap: If you need to file a claim because your roof was damaged due to a chimney fire or a storm knocked a tree into it, you should be covered – if your roof is less than 20 years old. If your roof is not maintained adequately or wear and tear has caused issues, you will not be covered.

So what about the chimney?

Insurance can pay for a chimney when you’re replacing a roof in some cases. For example, if there is a storm that knocks a tree onto the roof and into your chimney, you will likely be covered. If that tree falls and causes your chimney to lean, you will also likely be covered for the cost of these repairs. But if your chimney was already leaning prior to the event, then damages are probably not covered because the chimney was due for improvements.

The odds of insurance paying for a chimney when you are replacing a roof are… Well, not all that great. Unless the roof and chimney were in good condition and were damaged by these natural or sudden events, you are going to have to foot the bill.

What if you just want to file a claim to replace your chimney? Same general guidelines apply. If it was damaged by a natural or sudden event, then yes, you should be good. If it was in need of improvements, then no, likely you need to pay for any repairs and replacements yourself.

Read Your Insurance Policy – and Call Us

Yes, they are dull… even mind numbingly so! But it is vital that you know what you are covered for and what is excluded from your policy. Take a look at your homeowner insurance documents and/or call your agent to learn the specifics. Do this even if you are not facing a crisis; it can be beneficial for your peace of mind.

There are many instances in which you will not be covered when it comes to your roof and/or chimney. This is why it is so important to maintain them properly.

While we aren’t roofers by trade, we do know our way around a chimney. Take the first – biggest – step in saving yourself time, money, and aggravation: contact Brick + Ember for a thorough chimney inspection and schedule your annual cleaning. We can’t control what your insurance covers, but we can ensure that you are as safe and protected as possible when it comes to your chimney.

We are here for you. For answers to all your questions, contact us at (317) 500-1250 or get in touch with us online.