Lots of people and companies are fairly clueless when it comes to many of the new environmental laws that have been enacted over the past decade. Things that, in the past, would have been merely overlooked as a small spill, are now sometimes considered a major catastrophe with men in hazmat suits doing the cleanup. In addition to that, its quite possible for a spill or discharge to wreak havoc many miles away if it gets into a local stream, storm sewer, or happens in transport to another location. Even products considered edible for humans can turn into a major environmental cleanup in a stream or river. For this reason many companies are now getting what is called environmental liability insurance.
Many Policies Provide a Limited Amount of Environmental Insurance
General liability is a common coverage in nearly all business or homeowners insurance policies, however, these types of policies in general try to limit their exposure to environmental issues into the future. In other words, a spill that happens now but is not recognized until years into the future may or may not be covered by your standard insurance policy.
When thinking about how to choose environmental liability insurance make sure that your exposure is covered many years into the future for the cleanup, bodily injury, and property damage that might arise. There are many hidden environmental spill dangers that many people are not aware of that can become incredibly expensive when they are discovered.
A quick example might be a long-term heating oil leak from an underground tank that is discovered many years into the future and requires a huge cleanup involving the excavation of the tank and many tons of contaminated soil. Without the proper type of insurance the current homeowner, or the previous homeowner could be liable for many thousands of dollars in cleanup costs not covered by their insurance.
Some homeowners policies also limit their liability on slow leaks that should have been investigated and discovered before they became a problem. They only cover sudden and major leaks that are immediately found and repaired. A proper environmental liability policy would expand the coverage to make sure that the homeowner doesnt get a major lawsuit on their hands far into the future.
With all of the new environmental laws and regulations now enforce its important to make sure youre covered for all types of losses and environmental losses could be one of the most catastrophic and devastating that you could endure. Its important to ask your insurance agent what type of coverage you now have and see if that can be expanded either with a separate policy or additional rider on the one you are to have.