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Accidental damage insurance

From spilled paint to a knocked over TV, find out which accidents are covered by home insurance.

Our top pick: USAA home insurance

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Scared of getting red wine on your nice white carpet? Or a ball flying through the window during backyard football? Accidental damage coverage could be a great option to protect you against breakages and mishaps that you just can’t plan for. Most insurers will allow you to easily add it to your policy, or if you’re paying for a more comprehensive policy, you may find that accidental damage is already covered.

Do I need accidental damage insurance?

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.

Some of the reasons you may want to purchase accidental damage coverage include:

  • You have kids. If your toddler spills food all over your new couch or topples the TV, you might want extra coverage.
  • You have important electronics. Maybe you’re worried about your laptop getting knocked off your desk, or about sitting on your phone. The circumstances matter — water damage to your electronics will be covered in most cases unless the water escaped from a fault in your home’s construction. Also, some providers specifically won’t cover scorching or heat damage to your possessions.
  • You have belongings in your house that you’re fond of. It could be a particular pair of curtains, a beloved glass-top coffee table or a lovely rug. Often when these things get damaged or ruined, we just throw them away or live with it. With accidental damage coverage, you’ll be able to replace them without putting a dent in 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 may come along with.

Compare home insurance with accidental damage coverage

Name Product Storm & water backup Valuable property Enhanced rebuild Homeshare coverage Available states
Lemonade home insurance
Enjoy straightforward pricing, transparent flat fee from this completely digital insurer.
Allstate home insurance
All 50 states
Protect your home and belongings and save even more by bundling insurance with Allstate.
USAA home insurance
All 50 states
Enjoy great rates and wide coverage with USAA. Available to military members and family.
Policygenius home insurance
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This online marketplace does most of the work for you, matching you with quotes from 14 highly rated home insurers.
Liberty Mutual home insurance
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Invest in affordable insurance that protects your home and your property from damage no matter where you live.

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What does accidental damage cover?

Accidental damage coverage protects you from unforeseen incidents that cause damage to your property beyond the standard emergency situations home insurance covers. Insurance providers each define accidents a little differently, so be sure to check the extent of accidental damage or loss coverage when comparing policies.

Accidental damage insurance will cover many belongings inside your home including:

  • Curtains
  • Carpets
  • Jewelry
  • Mobile phones and other electronics

What kinds of accidents are covered?

Accidental damage often covers, but isn’t limited to, the following events:

  • Broken windows thanks to a misthrow during a game of backyard football
  • Food stains on the carpet
  • Spoiled food caused by a freezer or refrigerator with a breakdown, motor burnout or an electrical failure
  • Breaking, dropping or damaging mirrors, glass and furniture
  • A dropped phone or tablet that has functional damage as a result
  • If someone accidentally knocks over a television and breaks it

Accidental damage insurance for laptops

Laptops are one of those portable items that are a pain to replace without coverage. Your laptop will likely be covered under a personal property or 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 policy details to see whether screen cracks will be covered.

Things to watch out for

The accidental damage feature is often a standard inclusion in top home insurance policies, but can be added as an extra for those choosing a lower form of home or personal property coverage.

As with any policy, there are certain things that won’t generally be covered, including:

  • Most damage caused by pets. Very few policies will provide coverage 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 policy. This could include throwing something at a wall in anger or even a child deliberately drawing on furniture. If there is intent, it’s not an accident.
  • Wear and tear. The natural effects of time aren’t included under accidental policies. 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 pricey electronics, jewelry, paintings and a whole host of other things. Double check specific terms and conditions to see what’s left out.
  • Glass and ceramics. 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 may be covered under standard building insurance.

Bottom line

Accidental damage coverage only applies to a limited number of situations. That said, those situations 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 coverage can be a valuable addition to your existing home and personal property insurance policy — or a worthwhile investment to save you from those unexpected accidents that can have fairly severe financial consequences.

Questions about accidental damage coverage

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