Accidental damage insurance

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What is accidental damage insurance?

Accidental damage insurance helps cover the costs of repairing or replacing an item that's been damaged or destroyed by an accident at home. It can be added to your contents insurance policy, usually for an additional fee. 

Does my home insurance include accidental damage?

Accidental damage insurance, whether it’s for contents, buildings, or both, 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 your policy, if it’s not included as standard.

Policy cover levels and exclusions may vary. Check the wording carefully before you buy, to make sure you’ve got the level of cover you need.

Find out more about home insurance.

Frequently asked questions

What is contents insurance with accidental damage cover?

Standard contents insurance typically protects your possessions if they’re stolen, or damaged or destroyed by a fire or flood. A standard policy won’t usually cover you if your belongings are damaged because of an accident.

Adding accidental damage means you can be covered for a repair or replacement if an item is damaged or destroyed by an accident at home. For example, if your toddler draws on the sofa with felt tips, or your wall-mounted TV falls off its bracket and breaks, you could get a pay-out to cover the costs.

It’s the most common type of home insurance claim, according to market research experts Mintel, so it’s a worthwhile consideration. 

What’s the difference between accidental damage contents insurance and accidental damage buildings insurance?

Accidental damage contents insurance covers you for the  items in your home. But you might need accidental damage buildings cover to protect you from damage to the  building structure itself. If you put your foot through the loft floor or drill through a water pipe, for example.

With accidental damage buildings insurance, you’d typically be covered for repairs to the damaged pipework, while your accidental damage contents insurance can cover you for any resulting water damage to the carpet, curtains or furniture. 

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

If you have new for old contents insurance – which is fairly standard these days – then you could be given a like-for-like item, or money or vouchers to replace the item as new. That’s once any policy excess has been deducted.

Read a guide to home insurance excess to find out more.

An exception to the ‘new for old’ rule might be if you’ve damaged items such as your curtains, bedding or clothing. In this situation, it’s possible that your claim could be reduced by a ‘wear and tear’ clause (see below).

Check your policy documentation carefully to see exactly what you’re covered for.

What’s a home insurance wear and tear clause?

For some items, your insurance provider could make a deduction to a claim pay-out on the grounds of wear and tear. This tends to happen where items like clothing, bed linen or curtains are concerned.

Your provider could take the age of the item into consideration and make a percentage deduction from any settlement amount offered. Your policy documents should outline this clause, if it applies.

What about accidental damage cover and matching sets?

Having matching sets cover means that you’ll get a pay-out for a full set, even if only one item in a set is damaged and can’t be repaired or replaced – one armchair in a three-piece suite, for example. 
This is important, because if your policy will only cover a single item in a matching set, you could end up with mismatched furniture.

You might be able to add matching sets cover to your policy if it doesn’t already include it, although this will involve an extra cost.

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

If you want extra protection for your own belongings, it might be wise. Though you may not own the carpets and curtains, you’ll want to make sure your own possessions are covered in the event of an accident. For that reason, it could be useful to get rental contents insurance, and you could consider taking out accidental damage insurance alongside it. Your landlord is responsible for the buildings insurance, so check with them to make sure they have cover in place. 

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

If you own a buy-to-let property, it’s your responsibility as a landlord to take out buildings insurance. If you rent out a furnished property, it’s also advisable to take out adequate contents insurance.  
Adding accidental damage cover to your buy-to-let insurance can give you the peace of mind that your property is fully covered, if an accident happens.

Does accidental damage insurance cover damage done by pets?

Many home insurance policies, even those with additional accidental damage, won’t cover damage caused by chewing, fouling, scratching or tearing by pets.  
However, there are certain types of pet damage that accidental damage insurance might cover you for. For example, if your over-excited Labrador knocks over an expensive vase.  
If you’re concerned about pet damage and are considering accidental damage insurance, read the terms and conditions so you know exactly what types of damage are covered.  

Does accidental damage insurance cover damage caused by DIY?

Typically, your policy won’t cover poor workmanship carried out by someone who isn’t a qualified tradesman. In most cases, especially where plumbing and electrics are concerned, it’s best to get professional help. 
It’s a good idea to read the T&Cs of your policy before you take on any heavy-duty DIY tasks. While a ‘bad job’ isn’t usually covered, some DIY accidents might be. For example, if you hammer a nail through a pipe by mistake, you may still be covered.   
Depending on the type of work you want to do, adding accidental damage to both your buildings and contents insurance policies could give you real peace of mind.

Does accidental damage insurance cover my belongings when they’re outside my home?

It depends on the circumstances. If you’re moving home and use a professional removal company, you may be covered if any of your contents are damaged in transit.   
But if you take items out of the home with you, they won’t usually be covered on an accidental damage policy. In this case, you’ll need personal possessions cover.

What’s not covered by accidental damage insurance?

Typically, accidental damage insurance won’t cover:

  • 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 any items not covered by your policy
  • any item over the single item value limit

Double-check the terms and conditions of the policy cover before you buy, so you know exactly what’s covered and what’s not.  

Comparing prices for accidental damage home insurance

For a simple way to compare building and contents insurance, use our handy comparison service.  
All you need to do is enter your details and the level of cover you need, then leave the rest to us. We’ll show you quotes from a range of trusted UK insurance providers, along with the key policy details, so you can choose the cover that’s right for you.

Looking for great value accidental damage cover? Compare home insurance now.

What do I need to get a quote?

To get a home insurance quote, you’ll need to provide us with some basic information, including:

  • your current home insurance policy details 
  • details about you and your property 
  • the level of cover you need 
  • any extras you want to add, such as accidental damage cover

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

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Chris King

From the Home team

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.