Asbestos, a fibrous mineral often used in building construction in the 1970s and prior, is known to be a potential health hazard. If your home was built before 1980, you may have asbestos hiding in your house, and it is important to consider having asbestos professionally removed in order to preserve your health. Unfortunately, homeowners insurance generally does not cover the cost of this service, but it may in some cases. Bankrate outlines information about asbestos below to help you understand the nuances of asbestos removal and homeowners insurance, as well as the potential risks of asbestos, where it can be found in older homes, and what options you have for dealing with it.

Compare rates and save on home insurance today!

Close X
Advertising Disclosure
This advertisement is powered by Coverage.com, LLC, a licensed insurance producer (NPN: 19966249) and a corporate affiliate of Bankrate. The offers and links that appear on this advertisement are from companies that compensate Coverage.com in different ways. The compensation received and other factors, such as your location, may impact what offers and links appear, and how, where and in what order they appear. While we seek to provide a wide range of offers, we do not include every product or service that may be available. Our goal is to keep information accurate and timely, but some information may not be current. Your actual offer from an advertiser may be different from the offer on this advertisement. All offers are subject to additional terms and conditions.
Mortgage

Compare home insurance rates

Answer a few questions to see personalized rates from top carriers.
Location-Icon
Your information is kept secure
Caret DownCaret Up
Caret DownCaret Up
Field is required
Powered by Coverage.com (NPN: 19966249)
Insurance Disclosure

Coverage.com, LLC is a licensed insurance producer (NPN: 19966249). Coverage.com services are only available in states where it is licensed. Coverage.com may not offer insurance coverage in all states or scenarios. All insurance products are governed by the terms in the applicable insurance policy, and all related decisions (such as approval for coverage, premiums, commissions and fees) and policy obligations are the sole responsibility of the underwriting insurer. The information on this site does not modify any insurance policy terms in any way.

Quick Facts
Moneybag
$382/year
average savings through Bankrate
Two Thirds
2 out of 3 homes
are underinsured
Insurance Home
1 out of every 20
insured homes makes a claim each year
Circle Check
100% of homes
need insurance before getting a mortgage
See more providers in
Choose from insurers in
Mortgage

Leaving so soon? Your custom quotes are just minutes away.

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.

Generally speaking, when it comes to home insurance coverage and asbestos, homeowners insurance companies typically exclude coverage for pollutants. Asbestos is considered a pollutant and the removal of it is, therefore, typically not covered by home insurance.

However, if a covered peril occurs and causes physical damage to your home that causes asbestos to be disturbed or exposed, your homeowners insurance may cover the cost of asbestos removal. Examples of covered perils include a tree falling on the house, snow damaging the roof, and vandalism. Still, you will 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?

Asbestos can be found in a wide range of building materials used in older homes. Keep in mind that it was used in building materials and incorporated into a number of vinyl products from the 1930s through the 1970s.

These are some of the most common asbestos-containing materials you might find in your home:

  • Paint, as well as wall and ceiling decorative sprays
  • Asbestos blanket, insulation or tape for boiler, steam pipe or furnace
  • Insulation in homes built between 1930 and 1950
  • Backing or adhesive of floor tiles
  • Asbestos board siding/undersheeting in ceilings and floors, insulation, roofing, siding, paper products and wallboard
  • Roofing felt for shingles
  • Vermiculite insulation used in attic insulation

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. The first is to simply contain the asbestos, particularly if you don’t plan to disrupt the area where it’s found. The second option is to hire a trained asbestos professional to remove it altogether.

How do I get rid of asbestos?

It is not generally recommended to spearhead your own asbestos-removal project. The EPA warns against even touching, dusting or sweeping up anything you suspect to be asbestos. An asbestos professional can repair the area by either sealing the material to prevent it from releasing into the environment, or by enclosing it to achieve the same goal.

Removing it can inadvertently release more asbestos into the air, which involves sealing off the area from the rest of the house and meticulously treating the area as a hazard zone. The asbestos contractor should continually spray the asbestos to keep it wet and avoid dry fibers from releasing. He or she will then seal up the removed asbestos and safely remove it from your home.

Frequently asked questions

    • An inspector does not remedy a problematic asbestos situation, but instead helps you confirm whether or not asbestos is present in the home and to what extent. In addition to a visual examination, the inspector can also safely take samples and provide you with a lab analysis. They will let you know how extensive the asbestos is and typically recommend the safest way to handle the situation.

      An asbestos contractor, on the other hand, actually performs the work. Every state has its own regulations regarding how asbestos should be treated and disposed of. It’s important to make sure your contractor has a good reputation and meets any local certification requirements.

    • It’s important to know the cost of asbestos removal since most homeowners insurance policies won’t cover it, except in rare circumstances. Some reports put the average cost in the U.S. for asbestos removal at $1,994, with the majority of that number going towards the labor and materials involved with sealing the contaminated area.

      Of course, the cost varies greatly based on the size of the area and how much needs to be removed versus encapsulated. Your total cost for asbestos removal also depends on your state’s specific fees for disposal permits. In Virginia, for example, the permit fee can range from $50 to $470 depending on the size of the area. In Oregon, fees start at $100 and can go up to $3,500 for large scale projects.

    • The EPA banned use of asbestos in 1989, but that law was overturned in 1991. That means asbestos is still legally allowed in most materials in the U.S. However, it is banned in the following materials:
      • Corrugated paper
      • Rollboard
      • Commercial paper
      • Specialty paper
      • Flooring felt

      However, even though asbestos is technically allowed, it is rarely used and production has been on a significant decline in recent decades.