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Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Asbestos Removal?

Published: July 2020

Asbestos was a commonly used building material for almost 30 years. Its resistance to fire and its ability to insulate made it ideal for roofing material, home insulation and more.

Exterior of an older home.

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What is asbestos?

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Organization (OSHA), asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral that's known for its extreme durability and resistance to fire. It was used in both commercial and industrial building materials due to its ability to insulate well.

Asbestos was discovered to be a carcinogen in the 1970s (causing cancers like mesothelioma and other lung diseases after breathing in particles of the material) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enacted strict regulations that resulted in a sharp decline in use.

Where asbestos could be found in your home

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), here are a few places asbestos can be found in older homes:

  • House insulation in homes built between 1930 and 1950
  • Attic insulation
  • Cement roofing and siding shingles
  • Plaster and some forms of paint
  • Vinyl floor tiles and some forms of linoleum
  • Some types of glue that attach floor tiles to wood or concrete
  • Walls and floors surrounding wood-burning stoves

Why isn't asbestos inspection and removal covered by insurance?

Most home insurance policies have an exclusion for pollution, which includes things like chemical spills and asbestos.

But the EPA notes that asbestos only poses safety issues when it's disturbed and harmful fibers are released into the air. If you're renovating or remodeling an older home, call the professionals for an inspection.

Is asbestos removal covered by insurance?

If you are doing construction on a home that requires asbestos removal, you may need to pay more for the proper remediation costs. Remediation includes special handling, debris removal and possibly testing. If that reconstruction is not related to a covered loss, that would not be something covered by your insurer. If the remediation is needed for repair or replacement from a covered loss, the remediation might be covered.

Refer to your policy documents for information about what your particular homeowners insurance policy will cover.

Removing asbestos: leave it to the pros

Agitating areas in your house where asbestos may be lying dormant can pose a major health risk to you and your family members.

Before starting DIY renovations, it's best to have a licensed professional inspect your home first to determine if it contains asbestos.

What does it cost to remove asbestos?

Costs may vary depending on the extent of the particular job. According to Angie's List, removing asbestos can cost around $1,500 on average.

It's a good idea to have an older home inspected for asbestos before purchase.

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