Why Accidental Damage Cover Is So Important To Have This Christmas
21 November 2017
Christmas is a time for family and friends, and most of us here in Northern Ireland will be having some sort of get-together over the festive period, whether it’s a party amongst pals or the annual gathering of the in-laws.
But while we all love having people round, we don’t think we’ll be alone in admitting that it can sometimes be a bit of a headache too. Imagine waking up the morning after to discover red wine spilled all over your beautiful white rug, or that a precious vase was knocked off the mantelpiece and smashed to pieces by somebody’s errant elbow.
The worst thing about accidents like these is that you can never predict when they’re going to happen, but you can help mitigate the damage – or at least offset the costs of having your things fixed or replaced – with accidental damage cover.
Is Accidental Damage Cover Worth It?
Well, it certainly doesn’t hurt! If you’re taking out contents insurance for your home, you should consider whether there’s anything in your home that you would want replaced if it was suddenly damaged or broken. This can apply to valuables like vases and expensive glassware, but also items like large televisions or kitchen appliances.
In particular, you might want to consider adding the cover when you know you’re going to have lots of children or visitors over at your house. Christmas is possibly the best example, but it could also apply to birthdays, christenings or any other time of year you’re likely to host large gatherings.
Accidental damage cover can also be handy if you’re considering doing a spot of DIY to cover things like accidentally drilling through a water pipe, but it can also be handy for all sorts of mundane things like scorching a kitchen work surface by accidentally leaving a hot pan on top of it.
What Does Accidental Damage Cover Mean?
Accidental damage is pretty much what it says on the tin. Essentially, it’s any damage that’s caused by an unintentional, unexpected and one-off action, for example spilling that glass of wine or smashing a window with a football.
Accidental damage doesn’t cover things like wear and tear or deliberate acts, so if the carpet on your stairs is worn and threadbare you can’t get it replaced under accidental damage cover. Likewise, if you intentionally throw your telly down the stairs, unfortunately that’s your fault and you won’t be covered.
If you buy a new washing machine and accidentally topple it during installation, breaking a major component, that’s accidental damage. Your 10-year old washing machine developing a rattle or breaking as a result of being worn out? That’s wear and tear.
What Does Accidental Damage Cover, Er, Cover?
Exactly what’s covered by accidental damage cover will usually vary from policy to policy, but typical things covered will include the likes of windows, mirrors, internal glass surfaces and bathroom fixtures like toilets and sinks.
Accidental damage to contents can span a massive range of items, from valuables like paintings and jewellery to sofas, mattresses and rugs. Indeed, one of the most common claims for accidental damage is damage to carpets caused by the likes of spilled wine.
There are some things that likely won’t be covered, however, which usually includes expensive items like a particularly valuable piece of jewellery, sports equipment, pricey electrical items or maybe a rare musical instrument. You can instead list these as specified items on your insurance policy.
Portable electronics or possessions that can either be worn or carried about are often excluded from accidental damage policies too, so things like clothes, watches, laptops and tablets will often need separate cover. For the likes of laptops, tablets and portable games consoles, you can get specific gadget insurance.
Of course, it’s worth double-checking your policy wording and going over it with your insurance provider just to make sure you’re crystal clear on exactly what’s covered and what’s not. If you think you might be under-insured, it’s worth mentioning this and seeking additional cover. After all, accidents do happen!
What About Accidental Damage Caused By Pets, Kids Or Guests?
Damage caused by pets, children or guests can sometimes be a bit of a sticking point. For pets specifically, many insurers will exclude damage caused by pets from your accidental damage policy, given that damage caused by poorly behaved animals can’t be considered ‘unexpected’.
Damage caused to items by chewing, scratching or tearing will often not be covered, however depending on your policy you might find that you are covered by damage caused by insects or vermin, like mice chewing through wires or skirting boards.
Incidents involving children – toddlers in particular – are understandably common, and so accidental damage caused by kids often will be covered. It’s worth double-checking exactly what is and what isn’t covered, however; some policies will only cover damage to items like TVs, while others will allow you to claim for all sorts of maladies like spilled juice on fabrics or drawings on the walls.
Accidental damage caused by guests is an important one around this time of year, but you’ll be glad to know that it’s usually covered regardless of whether the guest is a member of your family, a friend or just someone who happens to be in your house.
The exception is if the damage is caused by a paying guest, in which case you’ll need a different kind of policy altogether. For long-term tenants or paying guests you might need to take out landlord insurance, while other types of policies are available for short-term guests, for example if run a guest house or an Airbnb property.
For more information on accidental damage cover, what it covers and whether it’s right for you, you can contact us via phone, pop into your nearest Autoline branch or get us to call you back by requesting a callback.