What is “accidental damage”?

Adding accidental damage protection to your home contents insurance is a great way to protect your belongings if the unexpected happens. 

But what exactly qualifies as accidental damage – and what is and isn’t covered? Here’s our basic guide to the main inclusions and exclusions on accidental damage.

A simple meaning

Accidental damage refers to “any damage that occurs suddenly as a result of unexpected and non-deliberate external action”. Simply put, this means an unintentional one-off incident that causes harm or damage to your property or contents.

What’s included

  • Young children – A lot of damage can be caused by visiting grandchildren, and if the worst should happen, an accidental damage clause will have you covered. For example, most policies will cover for a young child knocking over a television or colouring on the walls or curtains.
  • Stains and spills – Red wine on a white carpet is every homeowner’s nightmare, but the good news is in many cases this eventuality will be covered by your accidental damage clause on your contents insurance policy.
  • Broken windows – If you extend your accidental damage to cover buildings as well as contents, fitted fixtures like windows and doors will also be covered. So if a neighbour or grandchild sends their football through your window, you’ll be able to claim it back.

What’s excluded

  • Wear and tear – Gradual and general wear and tear isn’t covered under accidental damage – if your sofa upholstery ripped for example, it wouldn’t qualify as accidental damage under your home and contents insurance policy.
  • Damage from pets – Pets are typically a key exclusion and one that many people get confused over, since pets are often the cause of much ‘accidental damage’ at home. Damage caused by chewing, tearing, scratching or fouling doesn’t count. Though vermin is often covered, squirrels for example usually aren’t – if there’s any confusion over damage caused by animals that you can claim for, check your policy documents.
  • Mechanical failure – If your computer dies suddenly or your old television box gives up the ghost, you won’t be able to claim it back citing accidental damage.
  • Bad workmanship – If an amateur electrician wires incorrectly and it ends up ruining a home appliance this isn’t covered under accidental damage, even though it’s an unexpected and one-off event. Be sure to choose any tradesmen carefully and check their references to be sure they’re capable of getting the job done right.




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