Chesterfield woman fights insurance over refusal to cover chimney damage

Updated: Jul. 30, 2020 at 11:31 PM EDT
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CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WWBT) - Georgette Williams got insurance to make sure she could avoid financial headaches from moments like what she experienced back in late April when heavy winds and rain brought her neighbor’s tree down on her home, across her chimney and roof. Three months later, she says she’s still dealing with the damage.

“Every day that I’m in it and it’s not completed, I just get a headache,” said Williams. “I still have damage and I have not gotten anything other than the roof partially fixed.”

Williams’s insurance company, Liberty Mutual Insurance, says it won’t repair her chimney, which was cracked from top to bottom, claiming that it was not damaged by the impact of the tree.

Their inspection said that the damage is due to settling, that they were not paying for it,” said Williams. “There’s no way that the tree could have damaged just the roof and not the chimney - there’s just no way.”

Williams says an independent company inspected the chimney and determined it did sustain damage from the impact of the tree, including a damaged and leaking chimney crown and the chimney liner and mortar on the inside.

“They took pictures of the inside of the chimney, as well as the outside, and you can see from the top where it cracked and it comes on done to the cement bricks on the inside of the chimney,” said Williams

Williams says even after sending the report to Liberty Mutual, they still refused to pay and without their assistance, Williams says she will have to foot a nearly $13,000 bill according to the private inspection. Willimas adds that she can’t use her fireplace until the damage is fixed because it violates building codes in its current condition.

“It’s a hazard to a fire which would be my fault because I know that has not been repaired,” said Williams. “I will not be able to sell my house if that’s what I chose to do because the chimney from the damage will not pass inspection.”

NBC12 reached out to Liberty Mutal for a response; they say while they cannot publicly discuss the details of Williams’s claim but they will reach out to Williams to further discuss her concerns. Georgette says while she looks forward to Liberty’s response. She says her burden won’t be lifted until her chimney is repaired.

“I don’t have that kind of money to put into a chimney unless I have someone to help me... other than that, it won’t get repaired,” she said.

Insurance experts say if you find yourself in a similar position, you should contact your insurance claim adjuster directly and ask them what actions are necessary to prove that they should cover the damage to your property. If that doesn’t cut it you can also file a formal complaint with the insurance bureau to look into your specific claim.

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