This fact sheet provides information about asbestos related health and financial risks, how to reduce those risks and whether insurance can help. The information will be of use to anyone planning minor or major renovation work in a domestic property that might contain asbestos.

Key facts

  • If your house was built or renovated prior to 1990, there is a good chance it has some asbestos. Exposure to asbestos fibres can cause life threatening illnesses.
  • You have legal rights and responsibilities in relation to preventing harm from exposure to asbestos.
  • It is important to check and plan for the presence of asbestos before you undertake any home renovation and make sure you and any trades people you engage are fully insured to cover accidents involving asbestos.
  • You could face significant expenses, as well as risking your own health and that of others, if something goes wrong during home renovation work that causes asbestos fibres to be released into the air.
  • In most cases standard insurance policies will either have exclusions for asbestos or will fall far short of covering your actual expenses against these liabilities, and you could find yourself with a large debt.
  • Individuals and organisations that are qualified to work with asbestos can readily obtain the types of insurance required to cover clean-up and compensation costs if there’s an incident that results in asbestos contamination or exposure.
  • If you plan to undertake renovation, the best way to reduce the risk to your health and your liabilities, is to engage licenced asbestos professionals to accurately identify any asbestos that is present and then safely remove and dispose of it.
  • When you hire a person to remove asbestos you should ask them for information on their license, their insurances and how they will carry out the work to protect you and your family from exposure to asbestos fibres.

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