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Is Accidental Damage Buildings Insurance Worth It?

Standard home insurance policies, whether for buildings or contents, exclude accidental damage. This means that despite all the premiums you pay to your insurer, you’ll be out of pocket if you, or a visitor to your home, inadvertently knocks over your TV or breaks a window. You’ll have to repair or replace them yourself.

With some policies, however, you can tack on accidental damage cover for an extra charge on your premiums. On average, you’ll spend around £30 a year for accidental damage cover on your buildings insurance. So, is the expense worth it? We run the numbers and look at the terms.

In this guide:

What is accidental damage buildings cover?

Accidental damage buildings cover provides you with compensation to cover the repair and replacement of the physical structures and permanent fixtures of your property, including kitchen and bathroom fittings, should they be accidentally damaged.

Accidental damage is defined as damage that occurs as the result an unforeseen and unintentional external action by you or one of your visitors.

In contrast, standard home insurance policies only cover damage caused by hazards and disasters like fires, floods, storms, other natural disasters, and crime. For example, if storm knocks over a tree that breaks your window, you’d be covered under a standard home buildings insurance policy. But if your child kick’s a football into a window and shatters it, you’d only be able to claim if you have accidental damage cover added onto your policy.

Similarly, if a burglar breaks your door to gain entry into the property, you’d be able to claim on a  standard policy, but if you or one of your invited guests broke it, you’d need to have accidental damage cover in place for your claim to be accepted.

What does accidental damage building cover?

Accidental damage buildings cover can compensate you for the following events:

  • the breaking of fixed glass, for example that in windows and doors
  • damage to kitchen units and sometimes built-in appliances - e.g. fitted ceramic hobs
  • damage to sanitary fittings in bathrooms
  • holes made in walls
  • damage to roofs and ceilings
  • accidental damage to services, including drains, pipes, and the wires that deliver utilities to your home

For example, you’d be covered if you accidentally put your foot through the ceiling while in your loft, or if you drill through pipes and cables.

Accidental cover will typically exclude damage caused by the following:

  • gradual wear and tear
  • deterioration with age
  • deliberate acts
  • pets (although damage caused by children is generally covered)
  • faulty workmanship
  • cosmetic damage - e.g. scratches
  • damage caused by mechanical or electric faults or breakdowns
  • accidents that happen while your home is unoccupied

All policies are different however, so when you compare home insurance make sure to read the fine print to see what’s covered and excluded before committing.

Accidental damage cover for landlords and tenants

Landlords insurance, also known as buy to let insurance, is different from standard home insurance policies in that it does cover you against damage caused, either accidentally or deliberately, by your tenants. You therefore won’t need to have separate accidental damage cover.

Meanwhile, tenants don’t need buildings insurance, which should be provided for the property by their landlord. You may want to add tenant’s liability cover to your contents insurance, however. This provision, usually sold as an extra on tenants’ insurance, can cover the cost of repairing anything you accidentally damage in your rented accommodation - for example, the window you accidentally shatter or the carpet you stain.

Is accidental damage buildings insurance worth it?

Accidental damage caused to the structures and fixtures of our homes, including bathroom fittings like sinks, tubs and ceilings, can be expensive to fix. But adding the cover will inflate your insurance premiums, on average by about £30 a year. If you’ve made previous claims for accidental damage, you’ll pay even more.

Household accidents are common. Surveys have found that nearly a quarter of people searching for home insurance report a previous claim for accidental damage, making it the most common reason for claiming, above water damage, theft, and storms.

However, forgoing accidental damage cover is a good way to reduce your premiums and find cheap home insurance.

We can’t anticipate accidents at home, but we can determine if we’re more prone to them. Households with children are more likely to sustain damage, like a shattered window or cracked ceramics. If you undertake DIY projects regularly, you’re more like to nail through a pipe or drill into wires. But read the fine print of any policy carefully, because some specifically exclude damage caused by undertaking DIY projects, or at least DIY projects for which you don’t have the expertise and that could be judged to have been reckless.

You should also be aware that accidental damage buildings cover is different from accidental damage contents cover. If you have one, don’t assume that you have the other. In most cases, accidental damage cover makes more sense for contents policies - you’re probably more likely to knock over your TV or spill red wine on your carpet than put a hole in a wall or nail into a pipe.