Does homeowners insurance cover asbestos removal?

No, homeowners insurance typically doesn’t cover asbestos removal unless it was exposed by a covered peril.

Stephanie Nieves author photoJennifer Gimbel

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Stephanie Nieves

Stephanie Nieves

Editor & Home and Auto Insurance Expert

Stephanie Nieves is a former editor and insurance expert at Policygenius, where she covered home and auto insurance. Her work has also appeared in Business Insider, Money, HerMoney, PayScale, and The Muse.

&Jennifer Gimbel

Jennifer Gimbel

Managing Editor & Home Insurance Expert

Jennifer Gimbel is a managing editor and home insurance expert at Policygenius, where she oversees our homeowners insurance coverage. Previously, she was the managing editor at Finder.com and a content strategist at Babble.com.

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Homeowners insurance generally won’t cover the removal of pollutants, including asbestos. The only instance your insurance company may cover asbestos removal is if it was dispersed in your home due to a covered peril, like during a bad storm or fire. 

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Does homeowners insurance cover asbestos?

Homeowners insurance typically won’t cover asbestos removal unless the fibers are released into your home as a result of a covered loss or peril

Let’s take a look at an example.

Say a tree fell on your house during a bad thunderstorm, releasing the asbestos that was found in your roof shingles and the insulation in your attic into the air. In this case, your insurance company would pay for asbestos removal and remediation as part of your home’s repairs. 

But if you need asbestos removed as part of a home renovation or remodeling project you’re spearheading, you’ll need to cover the costs yourself. 

How much does it cost to remove asbestos?

The cost to have a licensed asbestos consultant remove asbestos from your home can range anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000, according to pricing data from HomeAdvisor. The national average cost for asbestos removal is around $2,049. 

How much you pay for asbestos abatement and removal will vary depending on where you live, as well as the size of the area that’s contaminated and where it’s located in your home.

What is asbestos?

Many homes built before the 1980s used construction materials containing asbestos, a mineral fiber used for its durability and resistance to fire. [1] Back then, asbestos could also be found in everyday household items and kitchen appliances, such as stove tops, heaters, and bottle warmers.

Years later it was discovered that when disturbed and inhaled in high levels, asbestos fibers can increase your risk for diseases and other health problems such as lung cancer. [2] That’s why in 1997, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enacted strict regulations to limit the use of asbestos and help prevent asbestos-related diseases. [3]

Is asbestos always dangerous?

No, asbestos isn’t dangerous as long as it remains undisturbed and in good condition. However, when the mineral is cut, scraped, or damaged in any way, it releases harmful fibers into the air that can lead to health problems when inhaled over an extended period of time. If areas of your home have been exposed to asbestos particles, consult a licensed professional.

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Where can asbestos be found in the home?

Many older homes have materials that contain asbestos, including:

  • Steam pipes, boilers, and furnace ducts. If you live in an older home, it’s possible that one or more parts of your HVAC unit may be insulated with an asbestos blanket or asbestos paper tape.

  • Paper, millboard, and cement sheets. Sheets containing asbestos were often used to insulate walls and floors surrounding a furnace or a wood-burning stove.

  • Door gaskets. Gaskets containing asbestos were often used to seal surfaces, joints, and pipes because it was inexpensive and fireproof.

  • Old appliances. For most of the 20th century, many appliances were lined with asbestos for its insulating and heat-resisting properties.

  • Vinyl floor tiles. Asbestos may be present in floor tiles made of vinyl, asphalt, and rubber — specifically the adhesives used to install the tiles.

  • Artificial ashes and embers. Gas-fired fireplaces in homes built before 1990 often used artificial ashes and embers containing asbestos.

  • Textured paint, patching, and joint compounds. Patching and joint compounds in walls and ceilings, as well as some forms of paint, may contain asbestos.

  • Roof and siding shingles. Asbestos can often be found in roofing materials of older homes.

How can I tell if there’s asbestos in my house?

It’s difficult to detect asbestos without extensive testing from a certified professional. But chances are if your home was built before 1980, it contains asbestos somewhere. If you want to know for sure, you’ll need to hire a licensed asbestos consultant to inspect your home.

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Can I remove asbestos by myself?

If you suspect your home has been exposed to asbestos fibers, do not attempt to remove it yourself — contact a certified professional. That’s because cutting, sanding, drilling, and tearing through a ceiling tile or insulation containing asbestos yourself can lead to major health risks.

Professionals are highly trained in minimizing the contamination and spread of asbestos dust in your home during the removal process. They also have access to the proper equipment and materials to keep both themselves and the residents of your home safe during the process.

Keep in mind that asbestos isn’t harmful as long as its particles aren’t exposed. If an asbestos-contained material in your home is in good condition, then the best thing to do is leave it alone