Why Your Business Needs Pollution and Environmental Liability

clean up Crude oil stainPollution related incidents are often considered limited to events such as the BP Oil Spill of 2010 and the Flint Water Crisis in Michigan this year, but these are not the only environmental accidents that occur. Many small businesses use chemicals that can endanger their customers in high dosages. Accidents are unavoidable for companies, and many of these offenses are accompanied by high costs. Pollution and environmental liability protects businesses from these consequences.

General Liability Is Not Enough

Most businesses have general liability that protects them against claims of slander, libel, bodily injury, and property damage. What general liability does not protect your business from is a scenario where it accidently exposes customers or the environment to pollutants. The costs of pollution as a negative externality can be quite high for a business. There is the ethical cost of endangering people’s lives, but this also comes with legal and monetary costs. Many contractors went bankrupt in the 1970’s due to having to clean and get rid of asbestos they used in previous construction projects. Along with the clean up of pollution, being environmentally liable covers a company if it purchases a building that was polluted prior to that business’s ownership, mistakenly declares a building to be free of pollutants, needs legal defense against any pollution related law-suits, and coverage of pollution that occurs over an extended period of time or a sudden pollution related event—such as an explosion, leak, or fire.

What Businesses Need Pollution Liability?

Pollution liability is not limited to large high-risk industries like nuclear power or oil refineries, rather it is a necessity for businesses of all sizes. Small businesses such as dry cleaners, hair salons, contractors, and garages all can benefit from environmental liability. This can also include companies that use herbicides and fertilizer, as failures to use or store them correctly can lead to serious fines. Any business that uses chemicals that are unsafe for the environment should be protected with environmental insurance policies. It can be tempting to only use general liability and simply act carefully, but this could involve high costs for any business since accidents do occur. Most cases where a company needs pollution liability are accidents, and can be costly for a company to cover without the aid of an insurance policy.

Common Air Pollutants

Many common chemicals are dangerous in high doses and are monitored by the US government. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) monitors levels of Carbon Monoxide, Nitrogen Dioxide, Ozone (smog), Lead, Particulate Matter and Sulfur Dioxide. A company runs into trouble with the EPA if levels of those particular pollutants are higher than the acceptable level—determined by the Clean Air Act. Unsafe levels of these chemicals have proven to be toxic to customers and are therefore punishable by law.

Protect Your Business

Any business that works with potentially dangerous chemicals needs the protection of an environmental liability policy. Environmental liability can protect your company from the high fees of clean ups, law suits, and other costs that pollution related accidents have. TJ Woods Insurance Agency can provide that protection at an affordable rate. Learn more about environmental liability and get a free quote today!