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Accidental damage home insurance

Protect your home against accidental damage costs

Article author's profile picture
Written by  Alicia Hempsted
10 min read
Updated: 06 Jun 2023

Accidents can happen at any time, but insuring yourself against accident damage can protect you against repair and replacement costs – compare policies today

What is accidental damage insurance?

Accidental damage insurance is an add-on to home insurance that covers you for damage to your property or its contents that results from an unexpected and unintentional event.

Accidental damage insurance isn’t usually included as standard, but you can easily add it to your policy when getting a quote.

What is considered accidental damage?

The specific definition of accidental damage may vary between home insurance companies. However, it often includes things like drilling through a water pipe to spilling coffee all over the carpet, and from broken TVs to smashed windows, or even a vehicle hitting your property.

A tablet with coffee spilled over it

What’s covered by accidental damage cover?

The protection you get from accidental damage cover depends on the type of home insurance you own. You can choose home insurance that covers your building, your home's contents, or both. Below is what you get from an accidental damage add-on with both types of home insurance:

Buildings insurance

An accidental damage policy added to your buildings insurance can offer cover for:

  • Broken glass windows

  • Damage to toilet basins, sinks and other bathroom fittings

  • Damaged drains, pipes, cables and tanks connected to your home

  • Cracked wall tiles

  • Damaged kitchen units, including built-in appliances like ovens

  • Collision damage from a car, a tree or other forces

  • Putting a foot through the attic floor or making an unintentional hole in the wall

  • Damage to locks or keys

Contents insurance

An accidental damage policy added to your contents insurance can offer cover for:

  • Accidental damage to gadgets like your laptop, mobile phone or smartwatch at home

  • A TV that’s been physically broken

  • Damage to your home furniture, including sofas and mattresses

  • Spilling liquid such as red wine or coffee on the carpet

  • Damage to your property in your garden

Are my items covered outside my home?

You should check the terms of your policy and if items are not covered outside of your home, including your garden, then you should be able to purchase personal possessions cover as an extra.

It’s particularly worth checking out for laptops and electrical devices that you are more likely to take on your travels.

Also, when moving house, check whether your contents will be covered. Some policies will extend the cover to using a professional removal firm.

It’s also worth seeing if the company has its own insurance in place should any accidents happen.

Does accidental damage insurance cover TVs and laptops?

Yes, electrical items can be covered by an accidental damage home insurance policy, but check the terms to be certain.

Particularly, keep an eye on the single item limit for any pay out. Most providers will only pay out up to a certain amount for each item. So, if the value of your electronic item is greater than the per-item limit, insurance won't cover it in full. In cases like this, you may need to insure the item separately. If you want to protect your mobile phone or a laptop you use on the go, you also have the option of gadget insurance which will protect your gadgets even when you take them out of the home.

Also understand whether you’ll be covered if you take your laptop out of the property. Many policies do not extend to this so you may want to consider personal possessions insurance.

Will I be covered by damage caused by children?

Accidental damage is useful for protecting your bank balance against any mishaps around the home, particularly if you have children or grandchildren.

Most home insurance policies will pay out for damage to home entertainment equipment like televisions or stereos.

However, other accidents like marker pen on the walls or fruit juice spillages might require extended accidental damage cover if you want to claim.

Your policy documents will outline exactly what you can and can’t claim for, and if you have any questions you can always call your insurer to ask.

Will I be covered by damage caused by pets?

Although accidental damage can be bought as an add-on, many policies still do not cover much of the damage caused by pets.

This generally includes things like scratching, fouling, tearing and chewing. However, should your over-excited pet knock over an expensive item such as an antique vase, you may be covered.

It’s also likely your insurance won’t cover damage resulting from insect or vermin infestation. If you have pets, it’s even more important to check the terms to see if you’re covered and if not it might be possible to add enhanced cover.

How does accidental damage cover work?

When it comes to damage to the structure of your home – walls, floors, pipes, etc. – your accidental damage cover will simply pay out to help you cover the cost of repairs. However, if you have a contents insurance policy with accidental damage cover, things can get a bit complicated.

Insurers use more than one method to determine the value of an item which determines how much they will pay out to help you replace it.

If you have new for old contents insurance, you should receive a new like-for-like replacement or receive the equivalent in money or voucher for the items that were damaged. This is the most comprehensive type of cover you can get.

The alternative to this is indemnity cover, where the amount you’ll receive depends on the current value of the item. So, since most items depreciate in value over time, it's unlikely you'll get the full amount for brand new replacement. The pay-out, in which case, may help you buy a new one second-hand or can be used as part of the payment for a new replacement.

Does accidental damage insurance cover matching sets?

If one chair of a three-piece suite is damaged or the sink of a matching bathroom suite is cracked, you may not have the entire set replaced on accidental damage insurance.

Instead, you’ll receive the money to cover a replacement for the damaged item only and it will be up to you to see if you can purchase a single item from the range.

The exception to this is if you have matching set cover. In this case you can have the entire set replaced.

What is not covered by accidental damage home insurance?

While the policy should cover you for accidents, it’s not in place to insure against wear and tear or negligence. As such you might not be able to claim for accidental damage:

  • If the damage was caused deliberately

  • If the damage is a result of general wear and tear

  • If poor or defective workmanship caused the damage

  • If it’s electrical breakdown or mechanical failure

  • If the damage is caused by vermin or an infestation

  • If the item is above the single item value limit stated on your policy

Will I be covered by damage caused by DIY work?

Not necessarily. While accidental damage insurance should cover you for a burst pipe while putting a nail in the wall, insurers won’t usually pay out for botched work on the electrics or plumbing if you have a go yourself.

Read the policy before conducting any DIY work around your home because it could be more prudent to hire a professional tradesperson for skilled tasks.

What’s a home insurance wear and tear clause?

A wear and tear clause means if an item is damaged it won’t be replaced as new, nor will you receive the full cost for a new replacement.

All items are expected to wear over time meaning their insurance value depreciates. Your insurer will usually consider the age of the item and make a percentage deduction from any settlement amount offered.

How much does accidental damage insurance cost?

The cost of adding accidental damage to your home insurance policy depends on how much standard cover you take out and the value of your building and contents. Insurers will also factor in:

  • Your claims history: If you’ve made previous claims on a home insurance policy, insurers will see you as more likely to claim again in the future and will charge more

  • How often you pay: Paying monthly for home insurance spreads the cost of cover, but insurers often charge more in premiums versus an annual payment

  • The excess you pay: Excess is the initial amount you pay towards a claim before your insurer picks up the remainder. Paying more in voluntary excess indicates to insurers that you’ll only claim when it’s worth the higher cost, and in return they’ll offer lower premiums

Do I need accidental damage cover?

Accidental damage cover gives you more comprehensive insurance and offers peace of mind. It can help you resolve smaller issues that lead to bigger problems down the line. For example, if a window in your home is broken accidentally and you can't afford to fix it right away, the security of your home is put at risk.

However, as great as this cover seems, there are some things to consider before adding it to your home insurance. This increased protection means the overall cost of your home premium will increase. Making a claim under your policy will also reduce your No Claim Discount when you renew.

You also need to consider the policy excess, which is the amount you pay on any claim. If your excess is £200, for example, you’ll have to pay the first £200 towards any replacement costs, even when claiming for accidental damage.

Overall all, deciding whether you need accidental damage cover all depends on how much you think you need this cover and how much you may be willing to pay for it.

Do I need accidental damage home insurance if I’m renting?

As a tenant you are only responsible for your possessions, so it’s worth considering taking out an accidental damage policy for your contents insurance.

The building’s upkeep is your landlord’s responsibility, so they must decide whether they want to take out accidental buildings insurance.

Do I need accidental damage home insurance if I’m a landlord?

If you’re a landlord and have tenants renting your property then accidental home buildings cover could be a good idea should anything go wrong.

If the property is furnished, it’s also wise to take out adequate contents insurance. You can compare specialist landlord insurance quotes with MoneySuperMarket.

Compare accidental damage home insurance

Comparing home insurance quotes to find a cheaper deal is quick and easy with MoneySuperMarket.

Just tell us a little about yourself, your property and everything you want to insure, and we’ll put together a list of quotes tailored for your requirements from our leading panel of insurers.

You’ll be able to compare deals by the monthly and annual cost, the level of cover you’ll get for your money, and the excess you’ll need to pay if you claim.

Once you’ve found the policy you want, just click through to the provider’s site to finalise your purchase.

As with all insurance, the cheapest available deal isn’t always the best suited to your needs. It’s better to aim for a balance between cost and cover, so you can find the perfect policy without overpaying or underinsuring yourself.

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