Accidental damage is often defined by insurers as unexpected and sudden damage and cover is designed to pick up the pieces when something goes wrong. Accidental damage cover can usually be added onto your buildings and contents, or both.
Accidental damage to your buildings provides cover to the permanent fixtures and fabric of your home. i.e. it will give you cover if a stray golf ball or football smashes your kitchen window, or you scorch your kitchen worktop. Whereas accidental damage to your contents provides protection to the belongings in your home such as spilling drinks on the carpet or dropping your laptop on the laminate flooring in your bedroom.
Accidental damage can be an optional extra and is not necessarily automatically included as some customers might expect. It is often an optional extra with basic/standard or essentials polices, but will likely be included with higher or advanced levels of home insurance cover. It can be an important component of insurance and can lead to complaints when a customer assumes this is covered as standard only for their claim to be turned down. So, before you hit the purchase button on your next quote be sure to check if this is covered to meet your needs.
There are also exclusions to accidental damage cover so don’t assume all is covered. i.e. your dog chews the arm of your sofa or a paying guest or tenant causes the damage. Check with the individual insurer as they can have different exclusions.
It is worth noting that to be covered for accidental damage for your personal belongings out of the home, you may need to purchase a further optional extra, which is generally called personal belongings or personal possessions. This can be a useful extension to your contents cover, especially if you want to be covered in case you drop and break your phone while you're out and about or you scratch the face of your watch while helping your mate move house.