Accidental damage can be essential if you want to protect your home adequately, but it doesn't necessarily come as standard. Read on to find out more
When you’re taking out home insurance, you may be offered the chance to take out accidental damage cover as an optional extra. It’s there to protect against the unexpected, and it’s available whether you’re buying contents-only, buildings-only or combined home insurance policies.
Do I need accidental damage cover?
If you’re taking out contents insurance, you need to ask yourself if you have any items in your home that you would want replaced if they were suddenly damaged or broken. It’s especially helpful for essential but expensive items like larger TVs and kitchen appliances.
While you personally may be conscientious around the home, you may want to consider adding the cover if you have children or lots of visitors.
If you’re taking out buildings or combined insurance policies, consider the cost of repairing your home after a DIY disaster, or replacing a kitchen work surface damaged by a hot pan.
How much does accidental damage cover cost?
The price of accidental damage cover varies depending on your exact circumstances and from insurer to insurer, so there’s no firm answer we can give here.
At Admiral, there are different levels of home insurance and different types of accidental damage cover.
Admiral Platinum home insurance policies include full buildings and/or contents accidental damage cover as standard.
Admiral Gold home insurance policies include accidental damage cover for external glass and internal sanitary fittings (like toilets and wash basins), mirrors and internal glass (like ceramic hobs and glass-top tables), and non-portable audiovisual equipment (like TVs and gaming consoles).
An upgrade to full contents accidental damage cover is optional. Accidental damage cover is entirely optional on the base level of Admiral home insurance.
What counts as an accident?
We define an accident as, essentially, any unexpected, one-off action that causes damage. So, using this definition, gradual wear and tear (like worn-out carpets on the stairs) or deliberate acts (like intentionally pouring a glass of water on your laptop) are not insured. These you would need to replace yourself. This is often the case with other insurers too.
Accidental damage to contents
Contents spans an enormous range of items, from valuable or treasured items like paintings and jewellery, to big-ticket purchases like sofas, mattresses and rugs.
One of the most common claims for accidental damage is damage to carpets – whether by spilled wine, toppled tins of paint or forgotten straighteners.
Accidental damage to buildings
Accidental damage claims for buildings are less common, but can often be larger and more complicated claims. Buildings for the purposes of insurance include windows, and fixtures and fittings in both the kitchen and any bathrooms.
If, for instance, you hammered a stray nail through a water pipe while doing a little ‘home improvement’, you would obviously need to replace the pipe – but also possibly the plaster on nearby walls and floor coverings.
Consider also the consequences of falling through the ceiling while exploring the loft in your new home, or replacing windows smashed by your little wannabe footballers. It’s worth stressing that accidental damage to stained glass windows is usually excluded from cover, but there may be the option to add it.
Accidental damage to personal possessions
Personal possessions are those portable things that can be worn or carried about your person, including your laptop or tablet computer, portable games console, jewellery and watch.
For these to be insured against accidental damage at home, you may need to have specified full contents accidental damage cover. If you have a laptop, tablet or watch that’s worth over a £1,000, it’s likely that you’ll need to list them as specified items on your policy.
For these to be insured outside the home, you can add optional personal possessions cover.
Under Admiral’s Home Insurance policy, the amount of cover you receive for a mobile phone depends on whether you have Admiral Home Insurance, Gold or Platinum.
If you’re an Admiral customer, check your policy documents to ensure your cover is sufficient for your needs.
Accidental damage caused by pets
Some home insurers specifically exclude any damage caused by your pets. This is because they cannot insure against poorly behaved or trained pets – because damage isn’t ‘unexpected’ in this circumstance.
At Admiral, while we will happily replace a TV knocked off its stand by a startled kitty or excitable puppy (for instance), you won’t be insured against any damage caused by chewing, tearing, scratching or fouling.
Accidental damage caused by guests
Imagine celebrating arriving in your new home with a housewarming party, and waking the next morning to discover a stained sofa and hole in one wall. You’d want these to be insured and they are with most policies. Accidental damage is covered, whether caused by a member of your family or someone who lives elsewhere.
The exception is if the damage has been caused by a paying guest, which can mean you need a different policy. In this instance, you may need to take out either Landlord insurance (for long-term tenants) or ensure your tenant is named as a resident on your home insurance.
There’s also Host insurance for short-term guests other overnight stayers, like Airbnb guests.