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A guide to accidental damage insurance

Mishaps can happen in your home, whether it’s a glass of red wine spilt on a carpet or a broken window. The consequences can be expensive, though, so it helps if you have accidental damage insurance.

In this guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about accidental damage cover.

Do I have accidental damage cover?

You may already have accidental damage cover and not know it, as some home insurance policies include either limited cover or extended cover as standard. However, most insurers require you to add it as an extra, so it’s always best to check your policy documents, if you’re not sure.

Paying more to make sure that you’re covered for accidental damage can give you the peace of mind of knowing that, if something gets accidentally damaged and needs fixing or replacing, you won’t have to pay for it yourself, provided the conditions set in your policy are met.

What is accidental damage insurance?

Accidental damage insurance protects you from “damage that occurs suddenly as a result of an unexpected and non-deliberate external action.”[1] This could be caused by yourself or someone else.

It’s worth noting that this type of cover doesn’t include damage caused by general wear and tear, gradual deterioration, defective workmanship or deliberate damage.

Most policies have a single item limit, so you’ll need to inform your insurer if you have items worth more than this in your home, in order to make sure you’re covered if you need to make an accidental damage claim.

Damage caused by cleaning is not usually covered and portable electronic devices are often excluded for accidental damage insurance[2]. You may need to buy cover for personal possessions in order for this type of item to be covered for accidental damage.

If cover for damage caused by pests is required, you will almost certainly need to add it to your policy as an optional extra, but bear in mind that not all insurers offer this type of cover. If you have pets, any damage they do by chewing, fouling or scratching won’t usually be covered.

For your own peace of mind, if you’re a homeowner, you’ll want accidental damage cover included in both your buildings and contents home insurance policies.

Your bathroom suite, windows and kitchen units will be covered by your buildings cover, whereas your carpets, furniture and personal belongings will be covered by your contents cover. Without buildings cover, for instance, if you cracked your sink, smashed a window or put a nail through a water pipe causing a leak, you’d have to pay for the damage yourself.

Do I have to claim?

If something is damaged in your home but it’s only minor and you don’t want to claim, you’re under no obligation to do so. You can pay for the repairs you need, or buy a replacement item yourself. You might decide to do this because you’d receive little or nothing back from your insurer once you’d paid your excess or because you want to keep your no claims discount.

Like with any type of insurance, it’s important to shop around and compare not only the price, but what’s included in your policy. If accidental damage cover isn’t included as standard, you can usually add it to your policy as an optional extra, and the cost can vary considerably from one insurer to the other.

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