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Chimney Issue

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What is the name of your state? North Carolina

I purchased my home last year. It was built in 1986. I had a full home inspection completed prior to closing. In that inspection, it was noted that my fireplace, chimney foundation were fine. The only recommendation was to add a flue cover which I had installed by a contractor soon after closing. When the contractor arrived last year to install, he also had intended on completing a full cleaning. However, upon his inspection, he stated that the chimney appeared to have never been used and it was like new. I was thrilled to have a nice large masonry fireplace for the upcoming winter. I happily used it several times last winter :)

Recently, I contacted the same chimney sweep/contractor to conduct a cleaning and inspection. He cleaned and performed the inspection. Unfortunately, his written inspection, with pictures, stated that I should not use my fireplace until certain repairs had been completed :eek: Apparently, several interior flue tiles had cracked and/or had large gaps between them. He also noted that my chimney appears to be pulling away from the house and suggested I seek an evaluation from a structural engineer.

His written inspection and written estimates to repair will cost upwards of $5000. He claims that if I elect to continue to have fires in my fireplace, I had a good chance of having a chimney fire to contend with. :(

The contractor stated that this could be an insurance issue. Would you recommend that I file a claim with my insurance company? I am perplexed with issues such as this when it comes to home insurance. The insurance documentation is not specific regarding this type of problem. Will an insurance company be willing to pay for a repair of this nature which is perhaps more preventative. However, if not done, it could cause a much larger claim. :confused:

Thank you in advance for your advice.
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