Does Insurance Cover Biohazard Cleanup?
Biohazard cleanup isn’t glamorous, or something that is top of mind – but as a business owner or property manager, proper biohazard cleanup procedures are important. In fact, your business could be liable for lawsuits if there are cases of infection due to improper biohazard cleanup. That could be devastating for any business, which is why professional hazardous waste removal for businesses is a service that your company should be familiar with.
Before we dive into the topic, let’s determine what biohazard cleaning constitutes. In this blog, we will discuss office biohazard cleaning and insurance, and answer the question – “Does commercial insurance cover biohazard cleaning?”
What is Biohazard Cleanup?
Biohazard cleaning is the process of removing and disposing of materials contaminated with blood, bodily fluids, or other potentially infectious materials. This type of cleanup is often required in the aftermath of a crime, accident, or natural disaster.
Since biohazard restoration for commercial spaces includes the handling of harmful substances, biohazard cleanup is a specialized field.
Why is biohazard removal for businesses important? Crime scene cleanup prevents the spread of infectious diseases and bloodborne pathogens. Biological materials like blood, bodily fluids, and even human remains often found at crime scenes and accident sites can contain a variety of harmful pathogens, such as HIV, hepatitis B and C, and other viruses and bacteria.
Does Insurance Pay for Cleaning Services?
Now that we have identified potential biohazards, let’s discuss business insurance and biohazard remediation. Does your commercial property biohazard coverage protect your company? The majority of commercial insurance policies cover crime scene and biohazard cleanup, but you should reference your policy to check that you have coverage for professional biohazard cleanup services.
Every insurer is different, so it’s difficult to say for certain what your policy includes. However, most business insurance policies will cover the costs of biohazard and crime cleanup or remediation services. Understanding your policy before a situation occurs is essential, so check with your provider to see if commercial contamination cleanup insurance is part of your coverage.
If your property experiences a biohazard disaster, you’ll want to call your insurer and find out exactly what your policy includes. Keep in mind that some smaller or older insurance providers may not include this type of coverage in their policies.
For those that do, some insurers will arrange for and cover the cleaning costs upfront. Others may require you to schedule and pay for the costs, then submit a claim and wait for reimbursement. Your insurer may even provide a list of approved cleaning services they work with.
Common Biohazard Scenarios
Biohazards include a wide range of common and uncommon substances, such as mold, fungus, waste, industrial chemicals, or pests. Here are the most common types of commercial property contamination claims and biohazard cleanup scenarios:
Crime or Trauma Scene Cleanup:
Crime scene cleanup is typically required when there is blood (and/or other bodily fluids) present after a homicide, suicide, or accidental death. This can expand to include accidents that don’t result in a death and situations where tear gas, vandalism, or assault are involved. As a business owner, or property manager, it is essential to understand your insurance policy and if business trauma scene cleanup insurance is in place to protect your business.
Sewer backups happen when sewage and/or dirty water (called wastewater) come up a sink, toilet or drain. They usually happen when something blocks the sewer pipe and prevents wastewater from flowing freely. Sewage backups are not only a pain but also can be dangerous to you and your health which is why they are classified as a biohazard. Sewage backups are classified as type 3 water damage or black water. It can include fecal matter, bacterial diseases, and chemicals that can be harmful.
The most common spilled or released chemicals are ammonia, natural gas, and hydrochloric acid, but chlorine releases caused the greatest number of injuries. Corrosive chemicals can cause severe burns when touched, damage eyesight, and cause harm to the respiratory tract. Some chemical spills have a delayed carcinogenic effect, such as asbestos inhalation causing lung cancer years after the initial exposure.
If you are a property owner or manager of a multi-family property, you might be confronted with a hoarding situation from one of your tenants. Industrial biohazard cleanup professionals must take protective measures when in a hoarder’s residence. The materials they have hoarded are a concern, as is the potential for cockroaches, mold, animal carcasses, and human feces to be present. Hoarding is also considered a mental illness, and the individual may be extremely volatile and possibly a threat to anyone who enters.
Factors Influencing Insurance Coverage
There are several factors that might influence biohazard cleanup insurance coverage, such as:
- Policy specifics and differences between insurance providers
- Location-specific considerations (state regulations, common regional risks)
- The significance of the cause of the biohazard (natural disaster, negligence, intentional act, etc.)
- Reporting time and its impact on claims
How to Ensure You’re Covered
By now, you can see the different types of biohazard cleanup scenarios that might impact your business. Now is the perfect time to start conversations with your insurance agent to ensure you’re covered. Other helpful tips include:
- Reading and comprehending your insurance policy.
- Regularly reviewing and updating your coverage.
- Documenting incidents promptly and thoroughly for insurance claims.
Working with Professional Biohazard Cleanup Services
Biohazard cleanup is not something you should try to tackle on your own. Hiring a professional cleanup company is critical as they have safety equipment, proper training in handling and disposal, and relationships with insurance companies. In the long run, partnering with a professional biohazard cleanup company can save you time and money, while focusing on safety as the top priority.
When you partner with a professional biohazard restoration company, like BMS CAT, we can coordinate directly with your insurance company on your behalf. That streamlines the process and makes it easier for you.
When selecting a reputable cleanup company, you will want to ask your insurance company if they have any recommendations. Once you gather a list of potential companies, be sure to vet them against each other. It is important to look at their years of experience, along with any online reviews.
Rely On Professionals To Help Navigate Biohazard Clean-up and Coverage
Biohazard cleaning is a service that involves cleaning, sanitizing, and deodorizing areas where a traumatic event has occurred. Attempting to clean these scenes yourself can be extremely dangerous and should be left to professional biohazard and remediation companies.
When it comes to commercial property insurance and pathogen cleanup, it is important to review your insurance policy before any type of biohazard situation arises. Commercial biohazard cleanup insurance can alleviate recovery expenses and decrease business interruption.
BMS CAT is Here To Help
If your commercial building or facility is faced with a biohazard cleanup issue, contact biohazard specialists for businesses – like BMS CAT. With locations all across the nation, we can help restore, rebuild and recover your property after a biohazard situation. Our specialized teams are knowledgeable and equipped with the right tools to properly dispose of biohazardous materials. Contact us today for more information.