Does home insurance cover asbestos removal?

Find out whether your home insurance policy covers you for the removal of asbestos and what you can do if you find any

Kim Jones
Kim Jones
Updated 26 November 2021  | 3 mins read

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a fibre that was widely used in the construction industry for things like building insulation, floor tiles and roofing.

It was banned from being used in the UK in 1999, but homes built before then may still have asbestos in them.

Left alone and intact, asbestos isn’t considered harmful.

If it becomes damaged or disturbed, fibres are released into the air. Breathing in these fibres can lead to serious health issues including asbestosis, a progressive lung disease, and certain cancers such as lung and larynx cancer.

It’s also the cause of a particularly aggressive cancer called mesothelioma which affects the lining of the lungs and the lower digestive tract.

Key points

  • Asbestos removal isn’t generally covered by home insurance
  • Asbestos is a fibre that was used in the construction industry but is now banned
  • Breathing in asbestos fibres has been linked to multiple health issues
  • If asbestos is damaged or disturbed, seek professional help to have it removed and disposed of safely

Does home insurance cover asbestos removal?

Home insurance policies won’t usually cover the cost of removing asbestos from your home.

However, if asbestos is discovered, damaged or disturbed by an event that your policy covers - a fire or flood, for example - your insurer may pay for it to be safely removed as a part of the claim.

What should I do if I find asbestos in my home?

You may come across asbestos in your home, garage or outbuildings if you’re doing DIY work or renovations.

It can be a highly dangerous material in the wrong hands, so it’s best you don’t remove or repair it yourself.

If you’ve damaged asbestos during DIY or decorating work, don’t try to vacuum it up as this can cause the fibres to spread widely through the air.

Contact the environmental health officer at your local authority. They can put you in touch with a specialist contractor registered with The Asbestos Removal Contractors Association (ARCA), who will then safely remove and dispose of it responsibly at a licensed hazardous landfill site.

Can I remove asbestos myself?

Some people attempt to remove asbestos themselves but, if you’re not trained in its proper removal, it’s not recommended. Without proper handling, you’re likely to release dangerous fibres into the air putting you and those around you at risk.

Does asbestos always need to be removed?

If the asbestos found in your home is found to be in good condition - undamaged and in an area that’s unlikely to be disturbed - it can be left alone. As long as it’s not releasing any fibres into the air, it’s generally considered safe.

If you’re considering any building work, you’ll need to inform tradesmen about the asbestos.

You should also arrange for removal of the asbestos if you’re doing any DIY work. This could be anything that involves drilling or hammering holes into walls. Even hanging shelves or a picture can disturb or damage asbestos, making it unsafe.

How was asbestos used in homes?

Asbestos was a popular building material because it was cost-effective and had excellent insulation and fire-resistant properties.

It was used throughout home building including in:

  • Corrugated roofs and ceilings
  • Textured coatings on walls, such as Artex
  • Vinyl flooring or sheeting
  • Insulation boards and lagging materials
  • Cement sheets, cement water tanks and pipe cement

Could there be asbestos in my house?

Any property or extension built before 2000 could contain some type of asbestos.

It was used predominantly between 1950 and 1990.

If you suspect you may have asbestos in your home or garage, or have identified what you think is asbestos, you can get a professional asbestos surveyor to visit your home to find out for sure.