Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that was once used in building construction because of its fire-retardant qualities. However, the material has been found to be a health hazard and has rarely been used since the 1970s. If your home was built prior to 1980, there could be asbestos present that should be removed to preserve your health. The process requires professional help and, unfortunately, the cost is rarely covered by homeowners insurance.
Does home insurance cover asbestos removal?
Asbestos can pose a major health risk to both adults and children. Exposure could potentially lead to the development of lung cancer, mesothelioma or a separate lung disease called asbestosis. These issues can be caused by breathing in asbestos particles that have been disrupted.
You may opt to have asbestos professionally removed on its own, or in the natural course of repairs, such as if you’re already remodeling the area of your home where it is present. Check your state and local guidelines to find a properly certified asbestos contractor so you can be confident the removal is done correctly — and safely.
You will likely not be able to make a reimbursement claim through your homeowners insurance for this service. Instead, you typically have to pay the full amount out of pocket. Most homeowners insurance companies have a pollution exclusion, meaning mitigating a pollutant (including asbestos) is not covered. The exception is if a covered peril reveals or disturbs the existing asbestos. For instance, if a storm damages your home and displaces any existing asbestos, you may be covered. You’ll need to check your policy language or speak with a licensed agent to know for sure.
Is asbestos dangerous?
Asbestos is dangerous when it is damaged or disturbed, which allows particles to get in the air and inhaled. If asbestos is in good condition and doesn’t get chipped or exposed in any way, then it is less likely to cause damage to your health. When you see a part of your home that is covered in asbestos, you may want to check for cracks, chips or other signs of damage that could indicate fibers are being released into the air.
Where will I find asbestos?
Older homes may have asbestos present in several different places. Here are some common places to check for asbestos:
- Boiler, steam pipe, or furnace: asbestos blanket or tape
- Floor tiles: backing or adhesive
- Door gaskets on stoves
- Wall and ceiling decorative sprays, including textured paints
- Insulation in homes built between 1930 and 1950
How do I check for asbestos?
It’s not always easy to discover asbestos in your home. It may be easier to hire a professional to take samples if you suspect you have asbestos in your home. This is especially important if your home was built before 1980 and you’re about to take on a home renovation project. Since demolition can cause asbestos fibers to be released into the air, it’s best to mitigate the risk before it occurs.
A professional asbestos contractor can take samples to check. In the event asbestos is confirmed to be present, you usually have two options. …….