Asbestos and homeowner's insurance

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Latest post 10-20-2009 10:18 AM by Drew. 5 replies.
  • 10-14-2008 3:48 AM

    Question [=?] Asbestos and homeowner's insurance

    I own a rental house that was built in the 1950s. Like many houses built in this area during this time period, the attic has vermiculite in it, which we now know has more than likely asbestos mixed in. On top of the vermiculite are seveal layers of fiber glass insulation. In other words, the vermiculate isn't disturbed, hasn't been in decades. I have done quite a bit of research on vermiculite, and it is my understanding that it is very common in houses built during this time period. I also understand that if left undisturbed, its impact on the residents is minimal.

    I have been having a lot of problems with the tenant living on the premises. I am trying to sell the house, and the tenant has been out and out trying to sabotage it. He is threatening to call the building inspector and cause trouble for me owning an "unsafe house". He is threatening to call my insurance company and tell them all about it, in an effort to have them cancel my policy. He is threatening to call local real estate agents and appraisers and notify them that I have asbesos in the attic in an effot to ensure I can't sell the house. I'm afraid if I end up evicting the tenant, he'll actually spread asbestos all of the house to "teach me a lesson".

    I have regular homeowner's insurance on the property. Does your regular, run-of-the mill homeowner's policy cover asbesos abatement? What if the tenant spreads if all over the carpets, thus effectively destroying the house? What if it is condemned over asbestos?

    If it did come to my insurance company's attention that there's asbestos in my attic, do I have to worry about them cancelling my policy over it?

  • 10-14-2008 2:54 PM In reply to

    re: Asbestos and homeowner's insurance

    I was a landlord for 20 years. I learned a long time ago (what you are learning now) is that trying to sell a house with the tenant still in it just doesn't work.

    If he's on month to month, I'd give him proper notice and get him out. Then put the house up for sale.

    If he has a lease, I'd wait till the lease expires and get him out. Then put the house up for sale.

    If he's a lunatic, he's going to do what he's going to do and you'll take your lumps. Sorry, but that's the facts of life of being a landlord.

    "I have regular homeowner's insurance on the property. Does your regular, run-of-the mill homeowner's policy cover asbesos abatement?"

    No.

    "What if the tenant spreads if all over the carpets, thus effectively destroying the house? What if it is condemned over asbestos?"

    Vandalism is vandalism and is covered.

    "If it did come to my insurance company's attention that there's asbestos in my attic, do I have to worry about them cancelling my policy over it?"

    That's always a possibility.

    Idaho appears to have little or no restriction on when and why an insurance company can cancel. All I've been able to find is:

    "Idaho Code § 41-2401 1(j): "Every fire [homeowner] policy shall contain language that provides for a thirty (30) day written notice to the insured prior to cancellation of the policy." Except in the case of a non-payment, then there is a 10 day requirement."

    Beyond that, the cancellation provisions written into your policy would prevail. READ THEM.

    Insurance companies generally have the right to cancel or non-renew when an increase in hazard occurs.

    And it's not your opinion of the hazard that counts, it's their opinion (subject to being upheld by a court if it gets that far).




    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • 10-14-2008 2:59 PM In reply to

    re: Asbestos and homeowner's insurance



    Correction:


    Insurance companies generally have the right to cancel or non-renew when an increase in hazard occurs OR BECOMES KNOWN.




    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • 10-15-2008 8:55 PM In reply to

    • DPH
      Consumer
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 10-08-2001
    • TX
    • Posts 7,474

    Idea [I] re: Asbestos and homeowner's insurance

    You might consider contacting a licensed abatement company to find out exactly how much it would cost to remove the asbestos. You might be surprised at the cost as it may not be as high as you think.

    Do you know if you will be required to disclose the presence when you sell? If so, you might have some difficulties selling without abatement.

    Find out what it will cost you to make that problem go away and the tenant problem could go at the same time.

    "Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience."  -  Mark Twain

     

  • 10-20-2009 10:02 AM In reply to

    • mark_jon
      Consumer
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on 10-20-2009
    • Posts 1

    Re: Asbestos and homeowner's insurance

    The majority of insurance companies deem the asbestos as a "pollutant". Therefore the most of insurers put it in the same category with recent exclusions just as the mold infestations. You can file a report and mention that the tenant is threatening you to spread asbestos all over your property. You have to pay out of your pocket to remove the asbestos to keep your homeowners insurance rate low.

     

    This webpage might help you

    homeowners insurance

  • 10-20-2009 10:18 AM In reply to

    • Drew
      Consumer
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 03-30-2000
    • PA
    • Posts 49,335

    Re: Asbestos and homeowner's insurance

    No matter what you do this tenant seems destined to try to frustrate your sale. Tenant is free to mouth off to anyone willing to listen.  Frankly I'd not engage him in a debate about asbestos --your insurance company might just drop you because they want no parts of problem tenants either!  And if you have a "reqular" homeowners policy on a rental unit that may be totally wrong tool---and you are inviting problems to open debates. Me, I'd just shut up and do nothing on insulation topic.

    I'm happy to be retired from most of my residentual rentals.

    What kinds of other  problems with tenant--like not paying rents? Or stuck with low rents?

     

    While I'd try to avoid winding up with an empty unit that needed to be heated in dead of winter , I would make my first priority the termination of the lease and eviction of this tenant by whatever mechanism is legal to use.

    As an aside--few buyers want a problem tenant either!



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