Asbestos Liability Insurance

Information verified correct on October 26th, 2016

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Asbestos is a fibrous silicate mineral that was once a popular building material for domestic and industrial products. Its strength and fireproof qualities made it an attractive choice for ceiling insulations and tiles, roofing shingles, patching compounds and in appliances like irons. The use of asbestos was banned after the material was found to cause serious illnesses, including the cancers mesothelioma and asbestosis. Asbestos disintegrates with age, polluting the air and water with fine particles. The inhalation of these particles has been linked to various ailments. Amongst these are asbestos warts, pleural plaques, pneumothorax and increased pleural thickening. Asbestos becomes a health risk if materials containing asbestos are disturbed and the particles become airborne. This presents a particular risk to construction workers and house cleaners who are liable to unknowingly disturb the toxic material in their general maintenance duties.

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The Dangers of Asbestos to Human Health

Lung cancer

The risk of lung cancer is increased by asbestos exposure. A person who is exposed to the material has a higher chance of developing a small-cell carcinoma and non-small-cell carcinoma. This risk is even greater if the person is a smoker.


Asbestosis refers to the scarring of the lungs as a result of breathing in asbestos fibres. This is a non-curable disease where airways become so inflamed that oxygen is no longer able to pass from the lungs and into the bloodstream. Breathing becomes progressively more difficult, leading to shortness of breath, tightness in the chest and a dry cough. In the later stages of the disease, a sufferer’s skin tone may take on a bluish hue from the lack of oxygen. This disease is common in former asbestos manufacturing workers and asbestos miners. Symptoms must be treated with ongoing medical attention.


Asbestos exposure may lead to cancer of the pleura, also known as mesothelioma. This is a rare cancer that aggressively attacks the membrane that lines each of the body’s cavities. It grows quickly and spreads throughout the body before a patient presents with symptoms. This makes early diagnosis difficult and the survival rate low. Although there are few cases of mesothelioma, only small exposure to asbestos fibre is needed to trigger the cancer.

Pleural disease

The lining of the lung, known as pleural, can become inflamed and irritated as a result of breathing in asbestos particles. This inflammation in turn causes the pleural to thicken and fill with water, leading to shortness of breath and tightness in the chest.

The Importance of Being Covered by an Asbestos Liability Insurance Policy

An asbestos liability insurance policy is crucial to ensuring you are adequately protected from claims relating to asbestos exposure. Most standard public liability policies do not include coverage for damages over asbestos exposure, meaning that if your company is likely to deal with asbestos you will need additional insurance that is specific to asbestos liability. Asbestos liability insurance is an important safeguard against these exclusions. For example, if you were a tradesman working on a building site and a piece of asbestos fell and hit your car, most insurers would reject the claim because it involved asbestos. Purchasing asbestos liability insurance, provides you with an added level of security. If you are participating in the removal of asbestos, it is important to be covered. Asbestos liability insurance ensures you are covered for any costs associated with accidents or property damage while removing asbestos. Without insurance that is explicitly designed to cover asbestos exposure, you may be unable to claim damages for other workplace accidents. For a tradesperson or professional working in asbestos removal, it is important to make sure you are protected. Failing to insure yourself can result in costly claims and unpaid damages. A business that deals with asbestos removal faces an increased risk of accidental exposure. In case of exposure, it is very important to have insurance tailor-made to asbestos risk to cover any claims that may arise.

What Types of Asbestos Exposure does a Policy Usually Cover?

Asbestos liability insurance covers a broad range of situations where a person may be involved either directly or indirectly with asbestos. For those working in asbestos removal, the policy provides cover for demolition activities, transport and disposal of asbestos. Asbestos liability insurance provides additional cover for property owners and tenants exposed to asbestos. For tradesmen and professionals who are indirectly exposed to asbestos, cover is also available. For example, roofing contractors, electricians and plumbers require insurance specific to asbestos. Since most standard liability policies have an absolute asbestos exclusion clause, extra coverage is needed for those who work indirectly with asbestos. A building surveyor, for instance, who inaccurately reports the presence of asbestos in a building, would not be protected by public indemnity insurance. If the surveyor is found guilty of negligence, they would be liable for providing financial restitution to those affected. If the surveyor had asbestos liability insurance, these costs would be covered by the insurance company. Asbestos liability insurance provides cover to ensure anyone directly or indirectly exposed to asbestos receive protection from financial losses associated with asbestos risk.

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Fines and Penalties that can Affect your Business

Failure to responsibly the asbestos risk may result in severe fines and penalties. A business that does not adequately deal with asbestos may face civil penalties under Occupational Health and Safety Law and Environmental Law. If a business fails to comply with health and safety regulation, it may face fines of up to $550,000. The penalties for environmental damage can be as high as $5.5 million. These fines can have a devastating financial effect on a business and also damage future business relationships and opportunities. The cost of compensation to those who have been exposed to asbestos is also very high. Given the gravity of the health risks associated with asbestos exposure, damages awarded in these cases can be in the millions. A business must be aware of the fines and penalties relation to asbestos exposure in order to protect themselves from financial losses from compensation suits and statutory action.

Frequently Asked Questions about Asbestos Liability Insurance

What diseases qualify for asbestos compensation?

A broad number of diseases and conditions qualify for compensation. These include lung cancer, mesothelioma, asbestosis, asbestos-related pleural disease and pleural plaque disease

What type of compensation can be claimed?

A common law compensation claim may include damages for:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Reduced life expectancy
  • Past and future loss of earnings
  • Past and future cost of treatment and care
  • Past and future medical expenses.

Who is liable in asbestos compensation claims?

In an asbestos claim, multiple parties may be subject to pay damages for failing to protect a plaintiff from exposure to asbestos. A plaintiff must analyse their employment history with a lawyer to determine who is at fault. A claim may be brought against former employers, even if they have gone out of business, the manufacturer of the asbestos product and those in charge of the site where asbestos was present.

What does asbestos liability insurance provide?

Asbestos liability insurance provides cover for claims relating to asbestos exposure. It is an added protection for insurance claims that are not covered by standard public liability or professional indemnity insurance.

Who is covered by asbestos liability insurance?

Tradesmen or professionals who work directly or indirectly with asbestos are covered by the insurance policy. Tenants and owners of homes where asbestos is present can also apply for damages under asbestos liability insurance.

Who needs asbestos liability insurance?

This policy is very important to tradesmen and professional who work in the asbestos removal. Asbestos liability insurance is useful for those who are at risk of either a direct or indirect exposure to asbestos such as roof contractors, building surveyors, electricians, plumbers and repairmen.

What are the fines and penalties associated with asbestos?

A business that fails to comply with regulation regarding asbestos as outlined by health and safety regulations as well environmental law can face civil penalties of up to $5.5 million.

This policy provides cover for instances where standard liability insurance policies refuse damages because asbestos is involved in the claim. Asbestos liability insurance is very important for those who are direct or indirect risk of asbestos exposure.

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6 Responses to Asbestos Liability Insurance

  1. Default Gravatar
    PETER | August 8, 2016

    I do an Asbestos Removal job once or twice a month.Very small jobs usually $1000 or less. Do you have a liability insurance that suits me.

    • Staff
      Richard | August 9, 2016

      Hi Peter,

      Thanks for your question. is a comparison service and not an insurance broker. To speak with an adviser about getting liability insurance, please complete the contact form above and a broker will be in touch.

      All the best,

  2. Default Gravatar
    frank | January 28, 2016

    what does it cost for basic liability insurance for home and shed asbestos removal for registered home maintenance business.

    • Staff
      Richard | January 28, 2016

      Hi Frank,

      Thanks for your question. is a comparison service and not an insurer. If you enter your details into the contact form and advisor will be in touch.

      I hope this was helpful,

  3. Default Gravatar
    Manuel | October 29, 2015


    I would like to know how much is the cost of asbestos liability insurance for a commercial property that we are going to buy.

    There is a low risk asbestos in the building under control but we are looking for to get this insurance ASAP.

    Could you give me a call urgently because if we can get this insurance maybe we are not going to buy.

    Kind regards,


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