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You may think that you’re a responsible adult because you’ve bought a property, however, despite your best intentions, accidents in the home do happen. Whether you class yourself as a DIY expert, a novice at home improvements or you become a bit clumsy after a few too many glasses of red wine, there’s a host of potential dangers that can cause damage to your property, and that’s why insurance exists.

When purchasing a property with a mortgage, your mortgage provider will usually require that you have buildings insurance in place to protect your property from damage by the likes of fires, flooding or storms. You should also purchase contents insurance, which protects your belongings from theft and damage, but this is not a requirement. For those of you who prefer to keep your finances in one, easy to access policy, you can purchase the above together in a handy home insurance package, which tends to be the most popular option.

While these insurance policies will protect your property from the likes of theft and storm damage, what about the everyday accidents that can lead to you needing a new carpet or something more serious?


What is Accidental Damage Cover?

Accidental damage cover is designed to keep your property and its contents protected against potential unplanned or unintentional damage that may happen for numerous reasons. Whether it’s a spilt drink or an unexpected nail through a pipe, the cover will account for any surprise accidents that you might have at home.

The cover can be added on to a standard home insurance policy as a bolt-on, so check in with your insurance provider to see if this is something that they offer, as you will more than likely need to opt-in rather than be automatically enrolled. Of course, add-ons also mean added payments, so weigh up your options before you commit.


What does Accidental Damage Cover protect against?

Accidental damage cover can be used to cover either the structure of the building, the contents inside the property, or both if needed. This is particularly important if you rent the property, as you will only need to purchase a policy that covers your belongings rather than the building itself. However, if you’re a landlord, any structural damage is your responsibility but you will not need to cover the contents in the property unless they belong to you and have been provided. If you own the house and live in it, it’s recommended that you get an insurance policy that protects both the buildings and its contents.

Not only will accidental damage insurance keep the main structure of your property protected from the likes of fires, floods and storms, but it can also offer financial cover for other cosmetic damages. The likes of broken windows, damaged drains and burst pipes are usually covered by the policy, as are cracked tiles, holes in the wall and damaged bathroom fittings.

While the above issues will be covered by accidental damage insurance, most insurance providers will have clauses in their policy documents that state what damages will not be covered by your accidental damage policy.

What is excluded from Accidental Damage Cover?

Although damage can be caused by a variety of unintentional reasons, insurance providers will often refuse to pay out for damages relating to certain circumstances. Damage caused by lights and atmospheric conditions will not be covered, neither will mechanical breakdowns, damages that happen while you’re away or gradual wear and tear to the property. If you are concerned about what you will or won’t be covered for, read the small print of the agreement and make sure that you understand what you are agreeing to before you sign.


Accidental Damage Cover for Contents

Accidental damage insurance for contents will help cover any physical items that you own inside of the home and will offer financial cover for any repairs required. Whether its damage to your laptop, a TV that’s been smashed by an out of control Wii remote or your lovely cream carpet getting destroyed by some expensive merlot, your policy will offer you the financial support needed while also covering the cost of a replacement, if required.


Accidental Damage Cover for Buildings

As with accidental damage insurance for buildings, your insurance provider will have clauses written into your insurance policy that will state what damages will not be covered by the agreement. This can include damage caused to bicycles, any money stored in the house, your clothes, contact lenses, damage that happens to your contents while the home is unoccupied and computer damage caused by a virus. 

Much like the accidental damage insurance for buildings, your contents policy is also unlikely to cover damage caused by lighting, mechanical faults and frost damage.


Does it cover damage from children or pets?

Like them or loathe them, children and pets are the source of a lot of accidental damage that appears in the home. Whether it’s an artistic masterpiece being drawn on your white walls in a felt tip or a cat deciding that the sofa is the perfect claw sharpening tool, children and animals are a property nightmare.

Even if you don’t have children yourself, a visiting child can wreak havoc in your home and cause damage to your much-loved belongings. They may be small, but toddlers still can topple your TV and cause mayhem in a short amount of time. Adding accidental damage cover to your home insurance policy will ensure that your property is covered from incidents like broken televisions or juice spills and impromptu food fights. It’s important to remember that certain damages will be excluded from your policy, so it’s best to keep children away from designer clothing and do not give them the password to your laptop. Ever.

Animals, much like children, can be cute. That said, they can also be a nuisance. Damage caused by your pet chewing, tearing, scratching or deciding to use your home as a toilet will not be covered by your insurance provider.

This stance is reflected pretty much across the board. However, some insurance providers do have optional ‘pet damage insurance’ should your dog decide to go on a rampage in another person’s house. This policy will cover the costs of repairing any damage caused by your pet in someone’s home, but not your own. 

It’s not just damage caused by pets that will be excluded; several insurance providers refuse to cover for damage caused by vermin, insects or woodworm infestations. Despite many people viewing them as vermin, squirrels are specifically excluded from this classification, so if you do find that a part of your property has been gnawed away by an animal, cross your fingers and hope that it’s a squirrel. If not, you’ll be lumped with the cost of repairs.

Enhanced Accidental Damage Cover

If you live in a particularly hazardous home that is crawling with children and animals, enhanced accidental damage insurance is available to help you should something happen to your property. The policy is designed to help you cover the cost of accidental damage in instances like pet-damaged sofas.

Unsurprisingly, enhanced accidental damage insurance will come at an added cost, so you need to evaluate whether or not you think you need it.


DIY and Accidental Damage

It’s not just children and pets that are a danger to your property. Regardless of your intentions, the moment you decide to perform some DIY home improvements, you instantly become a threat to the structure of your property and its contents.

Depending on the job at hand, you may need to have accidental damage cover for both buildings and contents, so check your insurance policy before you start a new project to see if you’re covered should something go wrong. You may think that you’re an expert, but some insurance providers will not pay out on plumbing and electrical work damage if it has been carried out by a complete amateur. 

It’s best to not risk it when it comes to DIY. As a general rule, if you’re not sure what you’re doing, hire a professional to do the work to avoid an unwanted hole in your wall and an avoidable claim on your insurance policy.


Do you need Accidental Damage Insurance?

So, is accidental damage insurance worth it?  The cover is opt-in, meaning it comes at an added cost on top of your home insurance. This can, understandably, put people off as their home insurance is already expensive enough as it is.

You need to assess the risk to your building and its contents to work out if accidental damage insurance is for you. Do you own things that you do not have the money to repair and replace? Is the added cost of the insurance worth the peace of mind you will get knowing your belongings are protected? There’s no right or wrong answer and the decision lies with you.

The details of accidental damage cover will differ depending on the insurance provider, so do not rush into deciding which provider you want to go with. The internet is full of comparison websites that you can use to help guide your decision and it’s wise to familiarise yourself with what you will be covered for before you commit to a policy.

As with all purchases of this nature, take your time, do your research and make sure that you fully understand the terms and conditions. If you are ever unsure about the details of the policy, never be afraid to ask your insurance provider or seek the help of a professional.

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