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Comprehensive Environmental Liability Insurance in Ontario

If your company deals with hazardous materials regularly or even just on an occasional basis, it’s impossible to guarantee that those materials won’t be leaked into the land, air or water as a result of human error or an equipment breakdown. If you’re not prepared, the resulting fines and mandated clean up can bankrupt your business. That’s why you need pollution and environmental liability insurance.

Do you really want to take the chance that a simple mistake or equipment failure can destroy all that you’ve worked to build?

What is Pollution and Environmental Liability Insurance?

Environmental liability insurance provides protection when contaminants have been released into the environment, causing bodily injury or property damage. Coverage can be extended to include remediation (removal) expenses. 

Just a few examples include hazardous materials being released into local waterways due to cracked piping; carbon dioxide and other toxic gases being emitted into the atmosphere via improperly installed vents; or a contractor you hired to work on your site not following proper hazardous material handling procedures. 

In a nutshell, environmental liability insurance, also known as pollution liability insurance, extends to covering third-party bodily injury and illness, property damage and environmental damage as a result of sudden or gradual pollution events that occur on an insured job site. The costs that an environmental liability insurance policy may cover include: 

  • Emergency response costs 
  • Cleanup costs 
  • Environmental damage expenses 
  • Civil fines 


What Businesses Need Environmental Liability Insurance in Ontario? 

Basically, any business or sole proprietor whose operations may be exposed to pollution or hazardous materials should purchase environmental liability insurance to protect their company. This coverage may come in handy for more industries and types of businesses than you think, and it goes beyond your traditional general liability insurance. 

Common industries or professionals that require environmental liability insurance include: 

  • Construction companies 
  • Cleaning companies 
  • Restoration workers 
  • Demolition companies 
  • HVAC workers 
  • Independent contractors 
  • Sub-contractors 

That being said, any business that could deal with hazardous materials or pollution on some level should consider adding environmental liability insurance to their policy. You never know when it could come in handy. Talk with a CCV Insurance environmental liability insurance broker about its addition today. 


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Available Environmental Liability Insurance Coverages

At CCV Insurance, we understand that no two businesses are alike. That’s why we tailor our coverage to fit your specific needs. Environmental liability insurance isn’t designed just to cover your standard oil spills, waste dumping or anything of the sort. It can cover a variety of causes for pollution, liability expenses and more. It depends on your policy and what coverages you choose. 

Some of the available coverages include:

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Sudden & Accidental Pollution

Addresses sudden, unintended and unexpected pollution events and includes a time element requirement. Bodily injury and property damage must be found and reported within this predetermined time frame.

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Gradual/Broad Form Pollution

This coverage is designed to address any pollution issues that may have developed over time and not been discovered initially. 


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First-Party Coverage (Site Pollution)

Coverage for contamination of an insured’s property from external or on-site sources.


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Third-Party Coverage

Extended to provide liability to a third party for contamination of air, land or water due to the release of hazardous materials from the insured site.

Environmental Liability Insurance Claim Examples 

Here are a few examples of where having an environmental liability insurance policy can protect your business from disastrous losses: 

Incomplete Removal 

As an independent contractor, part of your job is clearing out mold and asbestos (an extreme health risk) from old structures to make way for new renovations. While you are normally very attuned to detail and you generally do not have any issue with completing such a task, on one particular residential job you overlook some asbestos growth. This reduces the air quality in the home once the new family moves in, causing breathing problems for some of the family members. 

The family might sue you because of their injuries or illness. If you had an environmental liability insurance policy, this incident could be covered under your policy, helping to offset your remediation costs, lawsuit costs and legal expenses.  

Residential Mold 

While working as a plumber on a job for a client, you make an error which slowly causes water seepage into the home. As a result, mold grows in the basement and middle floor, causing a significant decrease in the home air quality over the years. The issue is traced back to you, as the one who made the mistake. The client sues you for bodily injury and property loss, but that could be covered if you had an environmental liability insurance policy.  


How Much Does Environmental Liability Insurance Cost? 

Environmental liability rates are calculated using several different factors, including: 

  • Your business’ industry – Some industries may only deal with pollution as an extremely rare side effect of doing business, where others may deal with hazardous materials on some level every single day. For example, a painting company might have to dispose of unneeded paint materials/control paint fumes, but a waste removal company runs a higher risk of damages. 
  • Business experience – The newer the business, the likelier the company is to run into unexpected issues because of a lack of training. Businesses that have been around longer or that have more experience dealing with matters like pollution are better equipped to handle unexpected losses. 
  • Annual/projected gross revenue – If an interruption was caused by a pollution event, your insurer may need to know your typical revenue to gauge what you would lose for lost costs. You may receive lost costs as compensation if you have business interruption insurance with your environmental liability insurance package. 
  • Number of employees – Human error is one of the biggest causes of losses. Depending on how many employees you have, their training and protocol, the odds of a loss may be greater or less. 
  • Past pollution claims – If you’ve made multiple claims in the past five years, your odds of making a claim again in the future are likelier — or at least, they are in the eyes of insurers. You can prevent making claims by implementing adequate risk management solutions. 
  • Licencing and certification – Does your business have adequate and relevant training? If so, your risk may be less than if you were unlicensed, not certified and dealing with hazardous materials in such a way that put your business at risk.  
  • Physical location – Foot traffic, proximity to large bodies of water (i.e., for spill incidents) may affect your insurance rates. 

Get a free environmental liability insurance quote with CCV Insurance to see just how much your insurance package may cost your business or give us a call to discuss. 

Why CCV Insurance?

The environmental liability insurance brokers at CCV Insurance are experts in Ontario insurance. Providing our clients with optimal protection is our top priority. 

Whether you’re a company owner or an independent contractor, it’s critical to ensure that your financial interests are sufficiently covered by the likes of a comprehensive business insurance policy. If you have a risk of hazardous waste exposure at any point in your daily duties, then it’s a good idea to check with a broker and discuss the addition of environmental liability insurance to your policy. You cannot purchase insurance after an accident, and pollution is not covered under a standard general liability insurance policy. While it’s ultimately up to you whether to purchase environmental liability insurance, we highly recommend its addition to your comprehensive commercial policy to protect your business and bottom line. 

To learn more about protecting your company from the fines and cleanup expenses that can result from a hazardous material leak, and to request a free pollution and environmental liability insurance quote as a supplement to your existing business insurance policy, contact CCV Insurance today! 

Start a conversation with one of our expert brokers today to determine the right coverage for you.
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