Get covered for accidental damage to your home by adding accidental damage cover onto your regular policy.
Scared of spilling red wine on your nice white carpet? Or a ball flying through the window during backyard cricket? Accidental damage cover could be a great option to protect you against those breakages and mishaps that you just can't plan for.
Most insurers will allow you to easily add it onto your policy, or if you're paying for the top cover, you may find that accidental damage is already covered.
Need accidental damage cover?
Is accidental damage insurance worth it?
The answer to this, as always, depends on your individual circumstances. If you're worried about things in your house getting damaged unexpectedly for any reason, it could make sense. Here are some of the more likely reasons that you may want to purchase accidental damage cover:
- If you have kids. Kids are great, but let's face it – they aren't the best at spatial awareness, staying clean and tidy and keeping their hands off valuable stuff. If your toddler spills food all over your new couch or topples the TV, you might want cover.
- If you have important electronics. Maybe you're worried about your laptop getting knocked off the counter, or about sitting on your phone. The circumstances do matter – water damage to your electronics will be covered in most cases unless the water escaped from a fault in your building's construction, but some providers specifically won't cover scorching or heat damage to your possessions. Also, most providers have a limit on how much they'll pay for a single item.
- If you have belongings in your house that you're fond of. It could be a particular pair of curtains, a beloved glass-topped coffee table or a particularly lovely rug. Often when these things get damaged or ruined, we just throw them away or live with it. With accidental damage cover, you'll be able to replace them without damaging your savings.
Be aware that while accidental damage insurance may help cover the costs of replacing or repairing your possessions or fixtures, it normally won't pay the cleaning bills that come along with it!
Who covers accidental damage?
The accidental damage feature is often a standard inclusion in top home insurance policies, but can also be added as an optional extra for those choosing a lower form of home and/or contents cover. We've put together a list of how some of Australia's insurers cover accidental damage.
What does accidental damage cover?
Accidental damage cover protects you from unforeseen incidents that cause damage to your property beyond emergency situations like floods, fire and burglary that standard home insurance covers for. Insurance providers each define accidents a little differently, so when comparing policies, check the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS). This will outline the extent of the accidental damage or loss cover that you will be paying for. Basic building insurance will usually cover you for accidental damage to your building, as well as glass, ceramic and sanitary fixtures.
- Accidentally burst water pipes
- External awnings
- Swimming pools
- Fences and gates
- Glass cooktops
- Mobile phones and other electronics
- Broken windows thanks to a badly hit ball in a game of backyard cricket
- Spilt red wine on the carpet
- The spoilage of food and other goods stored in a freezer or refrigerator, caused by breakdown, motor burnout or an electrical failure
- The breaking of mirrors and glass in furniture due to being dropped or bumped into
- A dropped phone or tablet that has functional damage as a result
- If a child, or even a pet, accidentally runs into a television and breaks it
Accidental damage insurance for laptops
Laptops are one of those portable items that are a pain to replace without cover. Your laptop will be covered under a contents accidental damage policy, and depending on the insurer, accidental damage that happens outside the home could be covered as well.
Accidental damage to your laptop includes dropping it, spilling liquids on it, stepping on it or damaging it in an auto accident. Just remember, it won't cover scratches, dings and dents if they don't affect your laptop's performance. You should also check the PDS to see whether or not screen cracks will be covered.
Things to watch out for
As with any policy, there are certain things that won't generally be covered. These include:
- Damage caused by pets. Very few policies will provide cover for pets. It's safe to assume that you won't be able to claim for your dog disembowelling the couch.
- Deliberate or malicious damage by someone at the address. Deliberate damage circumvents the "accidental" part of the cover. This could include throwing something at a wall in anger or even a child "deliberately" drawing on furniture. If there was intent, it's not an accident.
- Wear and tear. The natural effects of time aren't included under accidental cover. If your belongings accrue chips, cracks or scratches, your insurance policy won't help you out.
- Expensive or restricted items. Certain belongings, particularly the more valuable ones, may be excluded from or restricted in your policy. This could include laptops and other pricey electronics, jewellery, paintings and a whole host of other things. Double check specific terms and conditions to see what's left out.
- Glass/ceramic breakages. In a standard accidental damage policy, some glass is covered and other glass isn't. What's generally excluded is glass or ceramics belonging to fixtures in your home, for example, kitchen counters, bathtubs, fixed mirrors and so on. These are usually covered under standard building insurance.
Because accidental damage cover is quite a specialised type of insurance, when making a claim you may often have to consider whether another type of cover will be more suitable for certain types of damage.
For example, if you knock over a candle and set a small fire that burns out your laptop and scorches the wall, you might claim for your laptop under accidental damage cover, but use the fire cover that's part of your building insurance for repairing the wall. If you only have one and not the other, you may lose out.
Accidental damage cover only applies to a limited number of situations. That said, these are the kind of situations that can crop up quite frequently and become quite costly depending on your living situation.
If you want to protect your belongings and your home, accidental damage cover can be a valuable addition to your existing home and contents insurance policy or a worthwhile investment to save you from those unexpected accidents that can have fairly severe financial consequences.
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