Accidents happen, but while household hiccups are common, it doesn’t mean they’re not a hassle. One way to keep stress levels down is to restore normality as quickly as possible.
If you subscribe to the ‘better safe than sorry’ school of thought, accidental damage cover can be a valuable add-on. It won’t stop your top-of-the-range TV tumbling off the wall but picking up the pieces afterwards will be easier on your pocket.
Our most recent Aviva UK claims report shows, in 2017 1, more than two in five (42%) home insurance claims were for accidental damage.
And school holidays can be tricky, with Aviva data 2 showing spikes in accidental damage claims when the kids are at home, especially during the summer break.
In August 2018, claims rose by almost a third 3 compared with June of the same year. Mobile phones in toilets, scissors through sofas and slime on the carpet are just some of the stories shared with our experts.
Here’s what you need to know if you’re thinking of adding accidental damage to your policy.
What is accidental damage?
Accidental damage is caused suddenly and unexpectedly by an outside force. It isn’t wear and tear or a break-down.
So, adding accidental damage to your contents insurance will protect you, for instance, if something falls off a shelf and cracks your bathroom sink. It won’t cover you if your computer crashes through old age.
Accidental damage cover can also bolster your buildings insurance and further protect the fabric of your home. Think balls through windows.
Pete, 46, lives with his wife and two children in Buckinghamshire. While hiding presents in the loft a few weeks before Christmas, he slipped and put his foot through the floor, leaving a gaping hole in the hallway ceiling.
“We took out accidental damage cover when the children were young as we didn’t want any nasty surprises while money was tight,” he says. “The repairs and redecorating were carried out quickly, even at that time of year. Without the cover, we would’ve struggled to pay for it ourselves.”
Pete’s experience isn’t uncommon. In 2017, we repaired 2.5 million square metres of cracks in walls and ceilings 1.
Do I need accidental damage cover?
Accidental damage is additional insurance that offers further protection, so it isn’t compulsory. You may prefer to cover the cost of any accidents or breakages yourself. However, if you can’t do that, it’s worth weighing up the pros and cons.
Most home insurance customers can take out accidental damage as a policy add-on. Aviva offers two levels of cover – ‘Limited’ and the more comprehensive ‘Extra’ – so you can choose which option best suits your needs.
It doesn’t include damage caused by faulty items, poor design or workmanship. Nor can you claim for anything ruined by a four-legged friend. Our standard home insurance policy covers flood water damage.
What are the pros and cons of adding accidental damage?
As accidental damage gives you more comprehensive cover, it offers peace of mind. However, it will increase your premium.
Aviva’s Digital Propositions Manager, Nick Gibbs, explains: “It’s difficult to be precise on the cost as it depends on circumstances, but it does increase the premium as accidental damage is the most common claim.”
You also need to consider the policy excess, which is the amount you pay on any claim. If your excess is £300, for instance, you’ll be liable for the first £300 of any replacement costs.
Does the insurance just cover damage or losses in the home?
You can only claim for incidents in your house and garden unless you have personal belongings cover, which protects your items away from home.
Can I add accidental damage to my contents insurance during the policy term?
Yes, you can. With AvivaPlus Home Insurance, you can change or cancel your level of cover, or add or remove extra protection, with no admin fee. You can manage your policy by logging in to MyAviva.
Will claiming on my house insurance accidental damage increase my policy price when I renew?
“Each renewal will be looked at on its own merits, but yes, it’s very likely to have an impact as will any claim,” says Nick.
How do I make an accidental damage claim?
Aviva Home Insurance customers can make a claim online by logging in to MyAviva. Alternatively, you can call 0345 030 6945 (lines are open 24 hours a day). If it’s an emergency, get in touch as soon as possible.
We’ll need to know what happened and when, plus details of what you’re claiming for. Photos of damage or receipts for lost items are helpful.