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Two construction workers handle materials with asbestos


October 6, 2022

Is Asbestos Liability Covered Under Pollution Insurance?

Construction sites are dangerous places to be in—and working in one makes you even more vulnerable to accidents and hazards. There are so many liabilities for contractors while on the job, whether it’s using heavy tools to grind or cut stones, or exerting a lot of effort into building infrastructure, employees and clients alike are always at risk.

One of the factors that make construction sites harmful to people is asbestos. In fact, asbestos is the number one cause of work-related deaths worldwide. This element is usually used in insulating materials, brake linings, or mixed into cement products for building ceilings and floors. Asbestos is harmful to the body as it irritates and scars lung tissue, making it difficult to breathe. A single fibre of asbestos can cause incurable chronic lung disease as well.

Luckily, asbestos isn’t used in construction sites anymore. However, it may still be present during renovations of older houses, commercial buildings, or demolition sites. This means that the danger is still present, and you and your employees need protection from it.

The question, therefore, is this: “Is asbestos liability covered under pollution insurance?” Keep reading to learn more about asbestos insurance and asbestos insurance claims

A danger sign for asbestos removal at a construction site

Asbestos Liability & Pollution Liability Insurance

The short answer is: yes. Some insurance policies offer coverage for asbestos exposure.

For contractors and consultants in both environmental and non-environmental operations, getting pollution liability insurance can protect you and your workers from costs related to asbestos exposure. 

If asbestos is found on your project site, you and your employees may be held liable for damages. This incident can even be grounds for a lawsuit. As such, you need to protect yourself from the costs arising from this situation.

Who Needs Asbestos Liability Insurance?

Asbestos liability holds companies legally responsible for injuries borne out of asbestos exposure. Thousands of people in Canada have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, a lung disease that’s caused by asbestos exposure. Although it’s been banned in Canada since 2018, it’s still causing the deaths of many people in the country each year.

Asbestos liability insurance is necessary for those who deal with asbestos, or might be exposed to the harmful chemical while on the job. Of course, contractors and other tradespeople who do renovations or demolitions regularly need this insurance coverage. However, other professions such as engineers, environmental consultants, restoration specialists, and occupational hygienists should be covered under pollution liability insurance as well. 

A good benchmark to use when thinking about getting asbestos liability insurance, is to ask yourself if your business regularly uses environmentally unsafe chemicals. If the answer is yes, then you need insurance coverage. Otherwise, you risk a pollution liability lawsuit.

Other professions that may need asbestos liability insurance are as follows:

  • Builders;
  • Electricians;
  • Carpenters;
  • Plumbers; and
  • Roofers. 

What Is Pollution Liability Insurance?

Pollution liability insurance protects your company from expenses related to pollution cleanup. It also usually includes coverage against liabilities from damages or third-party injuries caused by the pollutants your business works with or produces.

But what factors are considered pollutants? These are materials or substances that end up somewhere they aren’t supposed to be. Trash found in the ocean, for example, is considered a pollutant.

Some pollutants usually covered in this insurance type include:

  • Asbestos;
  • Oil;
  • Gas;
  • Pesticides;
  • Weed killers; and
  • Ammonia;
  • Legionella;
  • Petroleum; and
  • Cleaning chemicals. 

Some of the examples that trigger this insurance claim can include:

  • Demolition sites with traces of asbestos found within the premises;
  • Pesticides or other harmful chemicals making it into a community’s water supply;
  • Mould found at a project site;
  • An accidental dig at a construction site causing petroleum to contaminate land and/or kill local wildlife;
  • And more

One damage claim, serious injury lawsuit, or even an allegation could put you at risk of bankruptcy. Hence, pollution liability insurance is essential for business owners to protect their finances in the long run. 

A pollution liability insurance policy being signed

Get Personalized Insurance According To Your Needs

That wraps up our guide on asbestos insurance and pollution liability insurance.

Contractors insurance is one of the leading insurance brokerage firms in Ontario, Canada. We are an award-winning team that is known for our personalized insurance plans with no hidden riders or unnecessary fees.

Committed to excellence, we put our clients at the forefront of our decisions. Aside from tailor-fit insurance packages, we also provide the utmost transparency when it comes to personalizing your insurance plan. We want you to know everything, from your plan’s coverage and limits to the benefits and exclusions. With us, you get sound advice and technical guidance because we want you to be as involved in our process. We’re always just one phone call away.

If you are interested in purchasing an insurance plan from us, feel free to contact us today or get started with a quote!


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