Insurance and having your chimney swept

The most commonly asked questions I receive are:

"is my insurance still valid if I don't have my chimney swept every year?"

"do I have to send you my receipt when I have my chimney swept?"

I thought is would be a good idea to give you some hints and tips regarding this.

To comply with the guidelines set out in an AXA policy, the fireplace and chimney must be kept in good condition and swept regularly. There is no condition that states it must be done by a professional and there is no need to send the receipt to us.

Although I can only give you the AXA guidelines I would imagine it is similar for all insurers in France.

Sounds simple? Wait, keep reading.......

If there is a claim for a fire then your property will be visited by an insurance 'expert'. These are companies who review claims for insurers in France. They are independent from the insurance companies. When the expert visits your property, the first thing they will be asking will be "are the fireplace and chimney in good condition and has been swept regularly". If there is any doubt then a receipt from a professional company is the only way you can prove that you have complied with this (unless it has gone up in smoke with the rest of your belongings!).

Also from a personal point of view, I feel that 60€ to 100€ once a year is money well spent to have an expert check the condition of the chimney and fireplace. This is especially imprtant if it is an insert or closed fire. It is not just the cleaning of the chimney that is the fire risk, it is the condition of the seals and flue. A good chimney cleaning company should be able to not only clean it all, but also give you advice regarding the condition of the equipment.

I hope that helps to give you some answers

You have hit the nail on the head Mark. I would suggest never using anyone who mearly knocks on your door. Any good chimney sweep worth his salt will always be booked up in advance. I waited over 3 weeks for my appointment from phoning for our chimney sweep to come out :)

This old chestnut has been around for years! I think I first read this myth in a previous expat newspaper.

My sister who lives not too far from me had the misfortune to have a chimney fire one very cold winter night, fortunately there was very little structural damage. The cause was a badly installed liner (aluminium hot air ducting was used instead of steel tube).

The mayor visited the following day to be met by a very cold & downcast lady who explained that she assumed that her insurance would be invalid as she had not had the chimney swept for 2 years. The mayor assured her that it was a french myth but one that was not discouraged because it IS a good idea! ( How very true! A competent chimney sweep would have condemned hers immediately)

Sure enough, Axa paid for all repairs without question. No certificate was asked for or provided & no assessor inspected the damage.

The best thing is to check your policy small print & have your chimney regulary checked by a known chimney sweep - not the door knocking type - which will then give you peace of mind.

Hello my name it Jake and I’m a chimney sweep in the uk, I’m told that if a certificate can’t be produced to prove its been properly checked then it would invalidate your insurance policy against a chinney fire. I would say to mark that the fact the liner was the wrong material would have been the cause of fire rather than it not being swept so the installers are to fault.

It’s lucky that you are not trying to operate in France then.

Hi Jake…

somewhere in my mountain of paperwork… is the 70+ page booklet which gives full details about my Insurance Policy. I specifically asked to be able to read through this… and was told “not many people bother”.

Amongst other things, that booklet detailed the level of security needed on my home and also included the bit about needing to have the chimney professionally swept once every 12 months, plus us (or whoever) doing it as often as may be necessary…

Should I ever have a housefire and need to claim on my Policy… I do not want to be arguing the toss about whether or not my chimney was in good nick.

As you state…having the chimney professionally cleaned gives me peace of mind. I see no reason to skimp on the safety of my home and family.


The Insurance would indeed pay out to your sister… and then they would chase the Installer/Supplier of the faulty equipment if they felt the sum was worth pursuing…

Thanks, they will always have it somewhere in small print because as you know insurance company’s are not a fan of paying out, most say they need you to prove its been maintained and the only thing you can have is a sweeping certificate from a professional sweep, it’s the same everywhere though apart from Germany where you can go to prison for using a chinney that doesn’t have a certificate, also a master sweep can force entry in to your home to sweep it if he feels it’s necessary and he is well within the law to do so
, chimney sweeping is my life I can’t stress enough how important regular sweeping is!