CGL Policies Contain Exclusion for Pollutants; Perhaps You Need Pollution Liability Insurance

If you are demolition subcontractor, abatement subcontractor, civil subcontractor, geotechnical subcontractor, underground utility subcontractor, or even a general contractor that is hired to perform these scopes of work, you probably want pollution liability insurance to cover risks related to pollution, contaminants, and environmental liabilities.

CGL insurance, however, contains an exclusion for pollutants that excludes pollutants and contaminants. Thus, risks you may encounter in your scope of work will not be covered under your CGL policy. The pollution exclusion typically will preclude bodily injury or property damage arising out of pollutants and pollutants will be broadly defined to include “any solid, liquid, gaseous or thermal irritant or contaminant, including smoke, vapor, soot, fumes, acids, alkalis, chemicals and waste.”

Moreover, there is oftentimes an endorsement to CGL policies that further excludes bodily injury or property damage arising out of mold, fungus, bacteria, virus and organic pathogens.

Read your CGL policy and consult with your insurance broker and/or counsel regarding risks that you encounter to ensure you have the right liability insurance in place. CGL insurance may not cover all of the risks you may encounter with your scope of work; therefore, it may not protect you from potential third party claims arising out of your scope of work.

Please contact David Adelstein at or (954) 361-4720 if you have questions or would like more information regarding this article. You can follow David Adelstein on Twitter @DavidAdelstein1.


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