Most General Liability policies exclude Pollution. This coverage is designed to pay a 3rd party – someone else. You may think that since you are not carrying toxic sludge or nuclear weapons that this should not be an issue, right? Wrong! Insurance companies define a pollutant as follows:

“Any solid, liquid, gaseous or thermal irritant or contaminant, including smoke, vapor, soot, fumes, acids, alkalis, chemical, liquids, gases and waste. Waste includes materials to be recycled, reconditioned or reclaimed.”

In short, this means just about anything can be a pollutant. Things such as milk, concrete dust, orange juice, polyurethane overspray, and many other seemingly innocent items are a pollutant.

So do you need this coverage? We personally recommend ALL of my larger contracting clients purchase this coverage because #1) it’s usually cheap and #2) their General Liability policy, even if it covers some pollutants, is rarely adequate. If you are a polluting type company, it can get expensive, but if you are just a roofer, framer, etc, then we strongly recommend getting this coverage.

For the guys out there performing renovations, that “maybe” show $100-200K in work a year, I would carefully go over your work with your agent before you decide what to do. The minimum premium tends to be around $4,000 so that may make your decision right there.

Here is a great article describing some of the issues that you can have with regards to pollution and you General Liability policy

Also see our Pollution Risk Management page