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Accidental damage home insurance

Protect your home against accidental damage costs

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

By Mehdi Punjwani

Published: 11 February 2021

A tablet with coffee spilled over it

Looking for home insurance?

Home insurance can give you a range of protection for your home, from helping to pay for repairs to damaged brickwork to replacing valuable items should you be burgled. But will your home cover also extend to accidental damage – and if so what exactly are you covered for?

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.

Do I need accidental damage cover?

Accidental damage cover for both buildings and contents insurance can be a useful extra – especially because it’s unlikely to be included as standard with your home insurance policy.

If you’re renting then your landlord is responsible for the buildings insurance, but you should still consider protecting your contents.

What’s covered by accidental damage cover with 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
  • Flood, fire, storm and other water damage
  • 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

What’s covered by accidental damage cover with contents insurance?

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

  • Accidental damage to 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
  • Damage caused by a professional contractor when moving home
  • Damage to your belongings when you are travelling, provided you have personal possessions cover

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.

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 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

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

Accidental damage is a useful add-on, but can increase your home insurance premiums

Based on combined buildings and contents insurance policies. MoneySuperMarket data collected between July and December 2020, accurate as of January 2021

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.

If an item is destroyed, will I get a new one with accidental home insurance?

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. This is the most comprehensive type of cover you can get.

But check your policy’s terms as the alternative is indemnity (or wear and tear) cover where the amount you’ll receive depends on the current value of the item.

For example, if the dishwasher is five years old, then you will receive a similar valued item or amount to replace it.

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.

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.

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 mobile phones?

Yes, as long as the accident happens within the home and the amount you are claiming for does not exceed the single item limit on your policy, you can claim for your mobile phone.

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 and whether you’ll receive new for old cover or if wear and tear is taken into account.

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.

What if my home insurance claim is rejected?

If our insurance claim is turned down or you’re not happy with the pay out offered, you should contact your insurer and explain your reasoning.

If you can’t come to a resolution, you can take your case to the Financial Ombudsman Service who will assess the situation and try to determine a satisfactory outcome.

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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