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Accidental damage insurance

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We compare prices from 41 trusted providers[2], including:

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[2] Correct as of March 2024.

What is accidental damage insurance?

Accidental damage insurance helps cover the cost of repairing or replacing items accidentally damaged at home. To be covered, the damage must result from a sudden and unexpected event – it can’t be done on purpose, or arise from wear and tear or poor maintenance.

Accidental damage cover is usually an optional add-on to your home contents insurance and/or your buildings insurance for an extra fee. Some more comprehensive, but typically more expensive, policies may include it as standard.

What does accidental damage insurance cover? 

Accidental damage insurance covers all sorts of mishaps, from kicking a football through a window to spilling red wine on the sofa. Some types of accidental damage fall under buildings insurance; others come under contents insurance.

Buildings insurance accidental damage 

Buildings insurance covers accidental damage to your home’s structure, plus any permanent fixtures and fittings.

Accidental damage typically includes:

  • Broken glass in windows, doors, conservatories and greenhouses
  • Unintentional holes in walls, ceilings and floorboards
  • Damage to toilets, sinks and other bathroom fittings
  • Damage to kitchen units, including built-in appliances
  • Damage to drains, pipes and cables
  • Broken locks or keys
  • Cracked tiles.

Contents insurance accidental damage

Contents insurance with accidental damage cover protects your belongings at home.

Typically included is damage to your:

  • Laptop, mobile phone or tablet
  • TV and stereo system
  • Furniture and carpets
  • Vases, mirrors and ornaments
  • Jewellery and watches
  • Belongings while moving house
  • Items you take with you when you’re out and about (if you have personal possessions cover).

What doesn’t accidental damage insurance cover?

Accidental damage insurance won’t usually cover:

  • Age-related degeneration or general wear and tear
  • Electrical breakdown or mechanical failure
  • Damage by vermin or insects
  • Chewing, tearing, scratching or fouling by pets
  • Fungus
  • Defective building materials or poor workmanship
  • Deliberate damage
  • Accidental damage to items not covered by your policy.

What counts as accidental damage?

The Financial Ombudsman defines accidental damage as something:

  • Unforeseen
  • Unintentional
  • That results in a loss of function (your item can’t perform the task it was designed to do).

For example, a blocked drain can be considered damaged even if there’s nothing visibly wrong with it. If it’s blocked, the drain can no longer do what it was designed for.

How much does accidental damage insurance cost?

The cost of accidental damage insurance depends on several factors, including how much cover you want and the value of your belongings.

But according to our data it costs up to £35.68[1] to add accidental damage cover to buildings insurance and up to £26.21[1] to add to contents insurance.

If you’ve claimed on your home insurance before, insurance providers may see you as higher risk and charge you more for accidental damage cover.

[1]51% of our customers were quoted less than £35.68 to add accidental damage cover to their buildings insurance and less than £26.21 to add accidental damage cover to their contents insurance between September and December 2023.

Does my home insurance include accidental damage?

Whether your home insurance includes accidental damage will depend on your policy. Accidental damage insurance, whether for contents or buildings, is usually sold as an optional extra alongside standard home insurance policies. You just need to select it as an add-on when you take out home insurance.

Cover levels and exclusions vary, so check to make sure you get the right level of cover for your needs.

Find out more about home insurance.

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What are the alternatives to accidental damage insurance? 

Accidental damage insurance can be useful, particularly in a busy household where mishaps can be a regular occurrence. But you may find other options provide more tailored cover.

Home emergency cover
Can pay out for the cost of a call-out and urgent repairs if you have a home emergency. For example, a blocked toilet or an electrical fault that leaves you without power.

Gadget insurance
The cost of replacing gadgets like smartphones, smartwatches, laptops and games consoles can quickly add up. Specialist gadget insurance can offer more protection than you get with a basic home contents policy with accidental damage cover.

Accidental damage pet insurance
Most standard accidental damage policies won’t cover chewing, scratching, tearing or fouling caused by pets. You’ll usually need to look for a policy that gives you extended accidental damage cover. Some pet insurance policies cover accidental damage by pets.

What do I need to get a home insurance quote?

We’ll need some information about:

  • You and your property
  • How much cover you need
  • Any extras you want to add, including accidental damage insurance.

Once we have the details we need, we’ll show you a list of quotes to compare.

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Frequently asked questions

If an item is broken, will I get a new one with accidental damage insurance?

If you have new for old contents insurance – which is fairly standard these days – you’ll receive a like-for-like, brand-new product or a pay-out to replace the item (once you’ve paid your home insurance excess).

An exception to the ‘new for old’ rule might be if you’ve damaged items like curtains, bedding or clothing. Here your claim could be reduced by a ‘wear and tear’ clause.

What about accidental damage insurance and matching sets?

Matching sets cover offers a pay-out for a complete set of items, like a three-piece suite, even if only one item is damaged and can’t be repaired or replaced.

If your policy doesn’t include matching sets cover, you may be able to add it for an extra fee.

Do I need accidental damage contents cover if I live in rented accommodation?

If you want to protect your belongings against accidental damage, consider getting accidental damage contents cover alongside your rental contents insurance.

Do I need accidental damage insurance for my buy-to-let property?

If you’re renting out a furnished property, adding accidental damage cover to your buy-to-let insurance can protect your belongings if they’re damaged.

Does accidental damage insurance cover damage by pets?

Many home insurance policies, even those with accidental damage cover, won’t cover damage caused by chewing, fouling, scratching or tearing by pets.

But accidental damage insurance might cover you for certain types of pet damage. For example, if your over-excited Labrador knocks over an expensive vase.

If you’re considering accidental damage insurance and are concerned about pet damage, read the small print so you know what’s covered.

Does accidental damage insurance cover damage caused by DIY?

Most accidental damage insurance policies won’t cover bodged DIY – that’s to say, skilled work that isn’t carried out by professionals.

But while a bad job isn’t usually covered, some DIY accidents might be. For example, if you accidentally hammer a nail through a pipe.

Does accidental damage insurance cover my belongings outside the home?

Accidental damage insurance won’t cover items you carry around with you when you’re not at home, like your phone, watch, jewellery and laptop. Instead, you’ll need to add personal possessions cover to your contents insurance.

What’s a home insurance wear and tear clause?

Insurance providers can sometimes reduce your pay-out on the grounds of wear and tear. This tends to happen with items like clothing, bed linen or curtains.

Your provider may take into account the age of the item and reduce your settlement by a percentage. Your policy documents will explain this in more detail.

Author image Helen Phipps

What our expert says...

“Some premier home insurance packages already include accidental damage cover as standard. It’s worth comparing these with standard policies with accidental damage as an added extra, to see which works out cheaper."

- Helen Phipps, Home insurance expert

Page last reviewed on 12 APRIL 2024
by Helen Phipps