What is accidental damage cover on home insurance?

Accidental damage cover is very important when it comes to home insurance. Not only is it one of the most common types of issues that people claim for, but it often comes at an extra cost that pushes up your premium. But what is accidental damage cover on home insurance? We discuss what it is, what it covers, and how it affects you.

What does accidental damage cover on home insurance?

Issues not covered under house insurance

Accidental damage caused by guests

Malicious vs accidental damage

Do I need accidental damage cover on my home insurance?

How do I make an accidental damage claim?

What does accidental damage cover on home insurance?

Accidental damage is a type of home insurance cover that protects you against unintentional claims that cause damage to your house or contents:

  • Buildings insurance: Covers the structural fabric of the property including internal walls, fixtures and fittings etc.
  • Contents insurance: Relates to damage to items in your home such as gadgets, valuables, furniture, etc. 

Accidental damage cover is often sold as an optional extra, so may not be included as part of your policy as standard. It’s worth noting however that this doesn’t usually cover wear and tear. Some common examples of accidental damage include:

Buildings InsuranceContents Insurance
Smashing a window.Dropping a gadget such as a phone or a tablet.
Damaging your kitchen hob.Damaging your television.
Snapping a pipe.Spilling paint on a carpet.
Broken locksBroken furniture
Blocked toiletDamaging valuables. 
Cracked bath or sinkDropping ceramics (e.g. vases)

Typically, accidental cover applies to damage inside your home. Additional personal belongings cover is often needed for claims away from your property. Before purchasing personal belongings cover, it’s worth considering whether you actually require it. If you already have gadget insurance (e.g. for a mobile phone) or travel insurance then purchasing additional cover under your home insurance may be unnecessary. 

Never assume that accidental damage is covered under all scenarios unless you’ve checked the policy wording or spoken to your insurer first. Some insurers may have specific exclusions or require you to specify certain items (e.g. gadgets or high value items) before covering you for them.

Issues not covered under house insurance

Accidental damage only covers you under very specific circumstances, meaning there are a whole host of issues where this cover may not apply. This may include:

  • Storm or weather damage.
  • Natural wear and tear of items.
  • Pet damages.
  • Escape of water.
  • Electrical faults.
  • Claims that arise as a result of negligence (e.g. lack of property maintenance).
  • Intentional damage. 
  • Guest-related damage (if cover for guest damages are excluded).
  • Pest infestation.
  • Damp.

Each insurer is different, so it’s important to check what your insurer covers.  

Accidental damage caused by guests

As we discuss over on our Airbnb insurance and holiday let insurance pages, most standard household insurers don’t fully cover guest-related claims whether you’re listing your home on Airbnb, Booking.com, or elsewhere. When you allow paying guests into your home, this increases the chances of accidental damage occurring significantly. Insurers therefore look at this risk differently compared to a situation where this does not occur. Speak to your insurer in the first instance as they may cover you even if this isn’t offered as part of their standard policy. Even if you have accidental damage included on your policy, your insurer may:

  • Exclude accidental damage cover when caused by a guest.
  • Refuse to offer any cover at all and instruct you to find cover elsewhere.
  • Cover you for this but increase your premium to reflect the changing risk.
  • Note your conversation down but take no further action.

Should your insurer confirm that they are happy to cover you for guest-related issues, get this in writing so that there are no complications when it comes to making a claim.

Pikl is a specialist provider offering cover to protect hosts and holiday let owners renting out their properties to paying guests. Click on the link below to get a quote today and you can get:

  • Extensive protection, including cover for guest-related accidental damage. 
  • An insurer panel that compares prices to get you our best deal.
  • Highly rated customer service, with hundreds of 5-star Trustpilot reviews.
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Malicious vs accidental damage

Malicious damage is similar to accidental damage but instead covers intentional events that were done deliberately. Definitions of malicious damage may vary depending on the insurer, but here are some examples that may be classed as intentional:

  • Someone breaking into your house and ransacking the place.
  • Airbnb guests having a party and trashing items in your home. 
  • Someone deliberately damaging an item in your home.

Don’t assume that all types of damage will be covered by your insurer. It’s really important that you check your policy booklet or speak to your provider to make sure. When it comes to intentional damage caused by a guest, cover for this may be more difficult to get through standard home insurance versus cover through a specialist provider such as Pikl.

Do I need accidental damage cover on my home insurance?

Choosing to buy accidental damage cover is an entirely personal decision and every individual has different needs. The following are some questions to ask yourself to establish if accidental damage cover is right for you:

  • How easily could you afford to replace or repair items in your home if you didn’t have this cover?
  • Have you made any accidental damage claims in the past?
  • Do people such as paying guests regularly enter and leave your property?

If you’ve said yes to any of these questions, there is a good chance that this type of cover is right for you. Whilst accidental damage cover often pushes up the cost of your premium, it’s also a common occurrence and something that definitely adds value when thinking about how best to protect your property and the items within it.

How do I make an accidental damage claim?

Claiming for accidental damage is similar to other types of damage claims. Here are some general steps to follow:

  • Take photos of any damage from several angles.
  • Where possible, take steps to mitigate any further damage. For example, if you have a broken window then take action by boarding it up. This protects your home from the elements and makes it a less enticing entry point for any potential burglars. 
  • Make a note of when the incident occurred and write down a timeline of events. This will be useful for your insurer to know and gives you something to come back to if anyone has any follow-up questions. 
  • List down any damaged items you want to claim for.
  • Now that you have evidence and a timeline of events, call your insurer. It’s important to contact them as soon as possible. 

If you have any guest-related insurance queries regarding accidental damage, malicious damage, or any other aspect of specialist cover in relation to short-term rentals, our expert team will be happy to help you. Alternatively, click on the link below to get a quote today.

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If you have a question or need to make changes to your policy, then please email us or give us a call.

Pikl Insurance Services Limited is a private limited company registered in England and Wales under company number 10449346 with registered office Suite B, 2nd Floor, The Atrium, St. Georges Street, Norwich, England, NR3 1AB. Pikl Insurance Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the FCA, firm number 773457.