Accidental damage

Why you might need accidental damage insurance

What a wonderful evening. The beef bourguignon was a hit with your guests, and it seems like just the right time to open another bottle of red. And then, catastrophe! The bottle slips from your fingers and crashes to the ground, dousing your new white carpet so generously with wine that you instantly know that it's ruined. Will my insurance cover this, you wonder?

Accidental damage insurance covers everyday mishaps like breakages, damage to household items – and wine spillages. Most providers define accidental damage as something that happened suddenly and as a result of an external, visible and violent cause.

Accidental damage

What will accidental damage cover?

Accidental damage is sometimes standard and sometimes sold as an optional extra on household insurance policies, so different providers will probably cover different things.

Also, you'll need to add accidental damage to both your home contents policy and your buildings insurance if you wish to cover all kinds of possible misfortune.

For example, accidental damage on your home contents policy might cover:

  • Accidents caused by children, such as knocking over the television or a vase.
  • Damage to audio or video equipment.
  • If someone tips some red wine on to your carpet.
  • Damage to furniture.

Accidental damage included in your buildings insurance should cover you:

  • If your pride and joy puts a football through the window.
  • If a well-intentioned DIY fan damages kitchen worktops or bathroom fittings.
  • If someone hammers a nail through a water pipe while hanging a picture.

As with any kind of insurance, policies will vary from insurer to insurer, so you should check your policy carefully to find out exactly what you are covered for.

What isn't covered by accidental damage insurance?

Accidental damage won't cover general wear and tear, such as damage by pets. If the cat likes to sharpen his claws on a particular leg of your sofa, or an anxious puppy shreds a cushion every time you nip out to the shops, most insurers probably won't be able to help.

Bad workmanship probably won't be covered either, so if a plumber mucks something up, you'll have to pay for it.

Other things accidental damage insurance may not cover include:

  • Damage to clothing.
  • Mechanical failure.
  • Deterioration with age.
  • Portable electrical equipment.
  • Items regularly taken outside the home, such as bikes or cameras.

Again, policies vary, so it's possible that some insurers may cover a few of the things listed here. You can add accidental damage cover to our own contents insurance to be sure your valuables and personal belongings are protected.

Should I beef up my home contents insurance with accidental damage?

It depends. If you live alone or with a partner, you might find that standard home contents insurance is perfectly fine for the kind of low-risk environment enjoyed by one or two adults. If children enter the frame, however, the routine calamity that follows could make you fairly keen to protect the house and its contents.

Accidental damage may also be worth exploring depending on the kind of area you live in. For example, some policies might cover you for damage done by wild animals that get into your house. Or in some cases, the aftermath of a storm might be classed as accidental damage.

If you fancy, we'd be happy to sort you out with a quote for home insurance. Our policies include accidental damage insurance for TVs, other non-portable home entertainment devices, as well as electrical and gas equipment. At the very least, it may help protect you from the threat of rampant children, would-be handymen, or rogue bottles of red wine.

Home insurance for £145 or less

That's what 10% of our new customers pay*

* Survey of new business sales from, September 2023 to February 2024. Prices based on standard joint cover only.