On this page
Asbestos and Insurance
Disaster events such as house fire, bushfire, floods, storms and cyclones occur regularly in Australia.
Cleaning up after a disaster event is significantly more dangerous and more expensive for properties where asbestos is present, and you may find that your insurance doesn’t provide the cover you need.
You can lower your risk of accidental damage and uninsured costs if you check and plan for the presence of asbestos before disaster strikes and, if possible, have it safely removed.
Is your insurance policy asbestos ready?
Insurance policies may have exclusions for asbestos, or the level of coverage under a policy may not be enough to cover your actual expenses if asbestos materials are accidentally damaged or disturbed.
There is also a requirement for policy holders to take all reasonable precautions to manage any risk to their property and to declare any potential risks – such as the presence of asbestos – to the insurer when taking out an insurance policy.
While you still have asbestos in your property, speak to your insurer and make sure you understand what asbestos-related incidents are covered under your insurance policies.
Think twice about asbestos - Check and Plan
The information below highlights the problems you could face if there is a disaster event involving asbestos and will help you be more prepared.
Across Australia, asbestos is in 1 in 3 homes
- If a home was built before 1990 and hasn’t had a major renovation it is likely to contain asbestos.
Asbestos becomes dangerous if it is damaged or disturbed
- Asbestos causes cancer.
- During a disaster event, fibres from damaged asbestos can be released into the air.
- The risk of developing cancer increases when asbestos fibres in the air are inhaled.
- You have legal responsibilities to prevent harm to yourself and others and could be liable to pay considerable costs if there’s an incident that releases asbestos fibres from your home into the air, or on to surrounding properties.
The cost of clean-up after a disaster can be 10 times more if you have asbestos in your property
- Damage to asbestos materials – whether as a result of an incident or during renovations or repair – can release harmful asbestos fibres and may even result in extensive contamination.
- Cleaning up after a disaster event is significantly more dangerous and expensive where asbestos is present.
- It could be up to 10 times more expensive to clean up asbestos after a disaster event than to remove it beforehand.
How to check and plan for the presence of asbestos
- You can’t tell if a material contains asbestos just by looking at it.
- The best way to reduce the risk of serious illness and asbestos-related liabilities is to hire a licensed asbestos professional to accurately identify any asbestos in your property and to safely remove and dispose of it.
- While you still have asbestos in your property, speak to your insurer and make sure you understand what asbestos-related incidents are covered under your insurance policies.
- Work with your insurer to make sure your policies are current and suitable to your situation, and that the level of coverage is adequate.
- There may be circumstances where an insurance policy cannot respond to fully cover those costs or liabilities, even in the case of an accident or disaster.
- It is in your best interests to get in the know about asbestos and insurance so you can avoid any nasty surprises.
Questions to ask insurers
- What disasters does the policy cover?
- How do they define each disaster?
- How much will the policy cover?
- Does the policy provide enough insurance to cover the cost of rebuilding your house and any extra costs you might incur?
- Is your insurance adequate to cover the replacement of your possessions?
- Are your possessions covered for damage caused by potential hazards such as a storm, cyclone, flood or fire?
- In what circumstances will the insurer reject the claim?
- Are you covered for the cost of temporary accommodation if your home is uninhabitable?
- Does pre-existing damage caused by a previous natural disaster or lack of home maintenance impact eligibility of insurance claim payouts?
Who to contact for further information
For local information about asbestos and to organise an asbestos assessment of your home
|Find a list of state and territory contacts here, including your local Work Health Safety Regulator, who can assist you to find licenced asbestos professional in your area.|
|For information about your insurance policy and level of coverage||Contact your Insurer|
|For more general information about insurance and what it can cover||Contact the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA)|
|For local information about insurance and asbestos||See ASEA’s range of asbestos information fact sheets, including our fact sheets: Asbestos liabilities and insurance and our Asbestos liabilities and Insurance for trades who carry out work involving asbestos.|