Home insurance is an insurance policy designed to pay out for damage to your property or its contents in the event of a fire, flood or storm damage. You can also get cover if your possessions are stolen or if your property is vandalised. However, if you accidentally damage an item within your home when doing DIY, for example, you may not automatically be covered by your home insurance policy.
In this article, we look at what a standard home insurance policy usually covers, how much it costs to include cover for accidental damage insurance and how to insure your home for accidental damage.
What does standard home insurance cover?
There are two types of home insurance and each policy covers your home for different things. Buildings insurance protects your home against structural damage to the building or permanent fixtures inside your home e.g the kitchen or bathroom. Contents insurance provides cover for your personal possessions and can also cover carpets and curtains, depending on your individual policy.
Standard buildings and contents insurance policies will typically cover damage caused by fire, storms, flooding and vandalism but you are unlikely to be able to claim for damage as a result of wear and tear, pests or failure of mechanical or electrical possessions. You can often enhance your home insurance policies by purchasing additional cover, such as legal expense cover, emergency home cover and cover for accidental damage to the property or personal possessions, but this usually comes at an additional cost. For more information on home insurance and the additional cover you can get, read our article, 'What is home insurance?'
What is accidental damage insurance?
Accidental damage cover can usually be added to your buildings or contents home insurance policy as an optional extra and provides cover for accidental damage to your belongings or your property. Accidental damage insurance will only cover claims caused by unexpected events and will not cover deliberate damage to property or damage caused by DIY work that you were not qualified to undertake. Home insurer AXA says that accidental damage claims are one of the most common claims it receives but most are rejected as policyholders are not aware that accidental damage is not included as standard on the policies.
What does accidental damage insurance cover?
Accidental damage insurance will usually cover accidental, unforeseen and unexpected incidents e.g spills on the carpets or a football through the window. Whether you are covered for accidental damage will depend on the home insurance policy you have in place. Below we explain the accidental damage cover you can expect with buildings and contents insurance.
What does buildings accidental damage insurance cover?
Exactly what you will be covered for varies depending on the home insurance provider but standard buildings accidental damage insurance will usually cover the following:
- broken glass e.g windows or doors
- damaged to permanent fixtures e.g bathrooms/kitchens
- damaged or broken keys or locks
- accidental holes in floors, ceilings or walls
- damage or blocked pipes, cables or drains
- damage caused by children
What is not covered by buildings accidental damage insurance?
Accidental damage cover on your buildings home insurance policy does not typically cover the following:
- General wear and tear
- Poor maintenance
- Damage caused by pets
- Appliances electrical failure
- Building work or faulty workmanship
What does contents insurance accidental damage cover?
The exact cover for accidental damage on your contents insurance policy does vary depending on the provider, but as standard you can usually expect the following cover:
- Damage to electrical items within the home
- Spillages or damage on carpets or furniture
- Damage to TVs
- Damage to jewellery
What is not covered by contents accidental damage insurance?
Accidental damage cover on your contents home insurance policy does not typically cover the following:
- General wear and tear
- Damage caused by pets
- Appliances electrical failure
- Deliberate damage
Do you need accidental damage insurance?
Accidental damage insurance isn't always necessary as your possessions and home can be covered in other ways. When considering taking out accidental damage insurance you will need to weigh up the cost of the policy and the level of accidental damage cover included within your policy. You should also consider the policy excess amount because if the cost to repair the accidental damage is less than the excess on the policy it is not usually worth making a claim.
Pros and cons of accidental damage insurance
Below we have listed some of the pros and cons of accidental damage insurance.
Accidental damage insurance pros:
- Covers accidents around the home
- Could be a good option for landlords renting out property
- Offers peace of mind
Accidental damage insurance cons:
- Most home insurance policies do not include it as standard and so it is an additional cost
- Does not cover damage caused by pets
- Does not cover poor workmanship
How much does accidental damage insurance cost?
The amount you pay for your home insurance policy depends on numerous factors including where you live and the type of house you live in. In addition, policy extras and the amount you are insuring will affect the cost of your policy. In the following table, we have compared quotes from 5 home insurance providers to show how the addition of accidental damage cover can affect the cost of your home insurance policy. The quotes are based on a 3 bedroom, mid-terraced home in the South East and are for a combined buildings and contents insurance policy with and without accident only cover. The rebuild value of the home is £320,000 and the contents insured are a total value of £30,000; individual quotes can vary depending on the amounts that need insuring.
How much is accidental damage insurance?
|Policy excess||Monthly combined buildings and contents insurance cost (not including accidental damage cover)||Monthly combined buildings and contents insurance cost (including accidental damage cover)||Monthly cost of accidental damage cover|
|Policy Expert Gold||£100||£18.43||£20.85||£2.42|
How to claim for accidental damage
If you want to make an accidental damage home insurance claim you first need to ensure you have accidental damage cover included in your home insurance policy. You will be able to find out by checking your home insurance policy documents. Unfortunately, if you don't have the appropriate cover you will not be able to make a claim.
If you have accidental damage cover included on your home insurance policy you can make a claim by contacting your insurer through their website or by calling them directly. Check your policy documents to see if there is an excess applicable when making a claim. A policy excess is an amount that you have to contribute towards the cost of a claim and depending on how much this is, will determine whether it is worth making a claim. For example, if you are claiming for a new television due to accidental damage to the screen but your excess is £200 and the new TV is £250, it may not be worth claiming on your insurance policy.
For more information on claiming on your home insurance policy, read our article 'How to claim on home insurance'.
Accidental damage insurance alternatives
If you are unsure as to whether you need accidental damage insurance, there are some alternatives you can consider:
- Gadget/Phone insurance - If you don't want to pay extra for accidental damage on your contents home insurance policy you could consider gadget insurance to cover accidental damage to the electronic devices in your home. If you have phone insurance this is also likely to cover your phone against accidental damage.
- Pet insurance - Accidental damage insurance does not usually cover damage caused by your pet but some pet insurance policies, such as Animal Friends and The Insurance Emporium can cover accidental damage caused by your pet in someone else's home.
How to buy home insurance with accidental damage cover
If you want to purchase home insurance with accidental damage included you will usually need to purchase a more comprehensive policy to have it included as standard. If accidental damage cover is not included it may be possible to purchase this as an additional extra.
A quick and easy way to compare multiple policies at once is via a comparison site such as Quotezone*. Comparison sites allow you to find the best and cheapest policy for your need but are not always whole of market so you may find a better deal elsewhere. We have partnered with Quotezone* so that you can search and compare cheap quotes from over 40 UK home insurance providers. When comparing quotes via a comparison site, ensure you select the option to include accidental damage cover in your comparisons so that you are only comparing quotes that include accidental damage.
If a link has an * beside it this means that it is an affiliated link. If you go via the link, Money to the Masses may receive a small fee which helps keep Money to the Masses free to use. The following link can be used if you do not wish to help Money to the Masses - Quotezone