Does your business need environmental insurance? Probably.

Virtually every construction or commercial type of business has at least one environmental liability exposure. Conditions could include a discharge of pollutants brought to the work site, release of pre-existing pollutants at the site or other environmental issues. (By the way, a pollutant is legally defined as something that ends up where it doesn’t belong -- so it can be anything from chemicals to garbage to water.)

Here are 3 things you need to know about environmental insurance:

Problems can be sudden or gradually occur over time
Does your 50-year-old building have a clean record? It doesn't matter -- according to Traveler's Insurance, businesses face "new and historical environmental exposures" that can severley damage property and company reputations. Some are visible, like the chemicals used in a manufacturing process, and some are hidden, like the leakage from tanks that can contaminate a property. On the other hand, your brand-new office is not immune, either: leaks and contamination can happen suddenly and without warning.

Your neighbor's business is your business
Under federal law, as the owner of a property, you are ultimately responsible for the condition of that property -- “regardless of who caused the contamination.” So if your neighbors have an environmental loss, and that loss happens to come on to your property, you are legally responsible. This is where an environmental insurance policy can literally save your business.

You can bundle and save
Guess what? Adding environmental insurance to your business policy is not as expensive as you might think. It's really as simple as adding extra coverage to your existing policy. Coverage will be specifically tailored to your business, location and specific needs. By covering any potential gaps in coverage that a general liability policy may not cover, environmental insurance provides that peace of mind any business owner needs.

Sources: 1. Travers Insurance, Insurance for environmental protection liability risks |  2. IA Magazine, Like Cyber, Almost Every Business Needs Environmental Insurance and 3 Ways to Sell Environmental to Standard Commercial Clients.

Photo credit: ICMA Photos.
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