Contractors Pollution Liability (CPL): Coverage against an Expensive Mistake


Contractors – do you need Pollution Liability coverage? Have you discussed the pollution exclusion in your General Liability policy with your agent?

Contractor’s pollution liability (CPL) provides third-party coverage for bodily injury, property damage, clean-up expense, and defense expense as a result of your creation of a condition that is considered pollution. This condition can occur gradually or suddenly and most policies will respond.

What is a pollutant? These can include any solid, liquid, gaseous or thermal pollutant, irritant, or contaminant including, but not limited to smoke, vapors, odors, soot, fumes, acids, alkalis, toxic chemicals, hazardous substances, electromagnetic fields, low-level radioactive waste, and material, mold matter, Legionella, and waste materials (including medical, infectious, and pathological wastes.

Several scenarios should show how Artisan Contractors can be exposed to pollution claims.

Plumbing Contractor – Installing a new gas line for a gas range in a home exposes sealed asbestos and asbestos-laden dust becomes airborne. The site needs to be sealed and remediated.

Interior Renovation Contractor – Fumes, emissions, and spills from chemicals applied during construction or the use of the improper type of drywall for the application.

Residential Roofing Contractor – Toxic mold caused by water incursion from improper installation of the roofing system or improper site protection during the project.

Below is a chart that the International Risk Management Institute Inc. (IRMI) created to assist you in determining your need for CPL coverage as a contractor. Click here to see the entire article.


High Medium Low
  • Site/dirt work (excavation, paving, landscaping, and digging)
  • Drilling or any subsurface work
  • Moisture protection (roofing, sealants, and siding)
  • Mechanical, electrical, and plumbing
  • Environmental services/work
  • Demolition
  • Any building envelope work
  • Drywall
  • Doors and windows (doors, frames, hardware, glass and glazing)
  • Curtain wall
  • Concrete
  • Wood and plastic (carpentry, millwork, and vanity tops)
  • Structural steel
  • Masonry
  • Flooring
  • Painting
  • Electrical
  • Specialties (markerboards, toilets/accessories, and lockers)
  • Furnishings
  • Equipment (kitchen, theater, library, and athletic)
  • Conveying system


Don’t rely on your Commercial General Liability policy to provide coverage for your pollution exposure. To review your Contractor Insurance program, contact your Trusted Choice Independent Insurance agent at Richey-Barrett Insurance.

1. When to include contractor’s pollution liability Angela Samarel Parker/Smith/Feek 8.29.18

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