What is accidental damage?

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Accidental damage cover forms part of a household contents insurance policy. The cover is intended to insure your possessions against damage caused by accidents around the home such as breakages and spillages.

It’s important to make sure your insurance policy provides a sufficient level of accidental damage cover, as your claim could be refused if:

  1. Your insurer finds that the damage was not accidental
  2. Your policy does not cover the accident
  3. You were not covered for accidental damage in your policy

How is accidental damage defined?

An insurer generally defines ‘accidental’ as an event that is unintentional and unforeseen and ‘damage’ as an event which both causes damage to an item and a ‘loss of function’, meaning the item cannot fulfil the task it was designed to do.

An example in and around the home is a blocked drain, which could be considered damaged as it could not fulfill its intended function.

An insurer must be satisfied that an act of ‘accidental damage’ was a result of a visible, external cause.

What is covered under accidental damage?

Accidental damage contents insurance covers items that most of us have around our homes, such as:

  • Furniture
  • Carpet
  • TVs
  • Computer equipment 

A specialist accidental damage insurance policy for buildings covers:

  • Windows
  • Doors
  • Kitchen worktops
  • Cables
  • Bathroom suites

If you are a DIY enthusiast or you are planning to update your home, it’s worth checking your policy to see if you have sufficient cover for your planned work. If you were to accidentally hammer a nail into the wrong place in the wall and burst a pipe, you may need to claim on both your buildings insurance and contents insurance.

What is excluded from accidental damage?

Typically, a standard insurance policy would not provide accidental damage cover for:

  • General wear and tear
  • Deterioration due to age
  • Damage by pets
  • Deliberate or wilful damage
  • Product failure
  • Defective workmanship
  • Damage to clothing
  • Insect infestation
  • Vermin (may exclude squirrels)

What is all risks cover?

An optional level of cover, ‘all risks’ covers items against loss, theft or damage when they are outside the home.

There are two different types of all risk cover available:

  1. Specified all risks cover

If you have specific items that you regularly take outside your home that are classified as high value, you can insure them under specified all risks cover.

Any items that you have chosen to specify on your policy will be noted in the policy cover details, along with their description and value.

  1. Unspecified all risks cover

If you have a number of personal items that you take outside the home and are classified as lower in value, you can insure them under unspecified all risks cover. This cover is often used to insure items such as jewellery, handbags and watches that you carry with you regularly, as you don’t then have to insure each item individually.

Any items of jewellery that are of a particularly high value may need to be specified on your policy if they exceed the single article limit specified on the policy.

Certain items must be specified on the policy in order to be covered.

To discuss your own individual insurance needs, contact us and we will be happy to help you find the right policy for you.