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Does your home and contents insurance policy cover accidental damage?

Does your home and contents insurance policy cover accidental damage?

A home and contents insurance policy may cover some types of accidental damage only when verified by an adjuster. Consider checking with your insurer for details.

It goes without saying that the items in your home are precious to you, so it’s understandable that you would want them protected, even from accidental damage. That’s why it’s a good idea to consider ensuring your home and contents insurance policy covers any unintentional harm to your household items.

Such accidental damage may be caused by a range of incidents, including vandalism, rainwater, lightning, earthquakes, storms, fires, and theft. Keep in mind, however, that when you file an accidental damage claim, your insurance provider will send an adjuster to confirm that the damage wasn’t simply a result of regular wear and tear, which could indicate poor maintenance or negligence on your part. 

For instance, if the damage is caused by leakage or seepage that seems to have built up over time, you may not be able to claim a settlement for accidental damage.

Even if the accidental damage appears to be similar in nature, coverage can vary based on the incident causing it. Damage from a stormwater pipe bursting may be covered as accidental damage in your home and contents insurance policy, while damage from a flood may not be covered. Similarly, if an electronic item is damaged, you may only receive compensation for incidents that affect its performance.

Consider comparing home and contents insurance policy quotes online to get a sense of the coverage offered for accidental damage as well as the limits of such coverage. Some insurers may only cover accidental damage as an add-on, which means you'll need to pay a higher premium for it. Reading an insurer’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) can help you understand their coverage for incidents causing accidental damage and tell you if you need to buy additional coverage for specific incidents or some of your high-value items.

Should I buy additional accidental damage cover if I have a home insurance policy?

It may be more beneficial to buy a home and contents insurance policy rather than just a home insurance policy, as this could provide cover for your belongings in addition to your house, including coverage for incidents likely to cause accidental damage. Consider checking what type of incidents the policy covers, as well as any limits, to ensure that the most damaging events are adequately covered.

For example, you may need to buy additional coverage for high-end mobile phones, or you may need fusion damage cover to replace motor wiring. While you might not be able to replace your possessions entirely, you may at least get compensation for their value. 

If your insurer only offers accidental damage cover as an add-on, you may be able to choose coverage for specific items that are most precious to you and are likely to get damaged easily. For instance, you may have an easily breakable heirloom or collectible which you’d like to get insured. You should also consider buying accidental damage coverage if you live in a neighbourhood prone to theft, vandalism, or civil commotions. You can get an idea of the cost of adding on accidental damage coverage by comparing home and content insurance policy quotes online.

Is buying accidental damage coverage with home insurance really worth it?

Even if you own only a few high-value items, you can’t say for sure that they won’t ever be damaged. Undertaking repairs for damaged items can prove quite expensive and may not restore the object’s value, meaning that you end up bearing the cost and the stress. Ensuring your home and contents insurance policy covers accidental damage could help you both with covering the expense as well as reducing the stress. You can choose the accidental damage coverage limits based on how much you are willing to pay for the coverage. 

There are a few simple steps you can take to ensure you get the most out of your home and contents insurance policy’s accidental damage coverage. Consider listing the high-value items in your home, including the cost of replacing them, and then compare this list with what different insurance providers are offering.

You can easily compare home and contents insurance policy quotes online, but also consider reading the insurance providers’ Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to get the full details of the policy. Once you find a policy that offers the most types of coverage, you can negotiate with that insurer to include any missing items or to increase coverage limits.

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This article was reviewed by Head of Content Leigh Stark before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.

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