Accidental damage caused by children

From spillages on sofas, to drawing on the walls, accidents often happen when there are young children around. But does your home insurance policy cover these types of mishaps?

Kim Jones
Kim Jones
Updated 30 December 2021  | 4 mins read

Does home insurance cover damage caused by children?

Buildings and contents home insurance policies cover damage to your home and belongings caused by disastrous events like storms, fires and floods, as well as crimes like vandalism and malicious damage.

However, accidents happen. Especially when there are little children around.

To be covered by your insurance,, your  policy will need accidental damage cover.

This sometimes comes as standard with comprehensive policies. But, with more basic policies, it’s often sold as an optional extra.

There are no age restrictions when making an accidental damage claim.

In other words, damage by children isn't specifically excluded from this type of cover.

Key points

  • Accidental damage cover may come as standard with your policy, but you’ll need to buy it as an optional extra in most
  • You may want to take out accidental damage cover on both your home buildings and contents insurance for complete protection
  • Tenants' liability insurance can cover you for accidental damage to items in a furnished rented property

What does accidental damage insurance cover?

Accidental damage is usually defined in insurance terms as sudden, unexpected and unintentional physical damage to an item that often results in the loss of function of that item.

It covers damage that occurs due to all those ‘oh no’ moments. For example, when an expensive vase slips out of your hand and smashes onto a tiled floor, or a heavy plant pot falls and cracks the washbasin in your bathroom.

It also insures against accidents that happen all too frequently when kids are around. Whether that’s a toddler spilling his beaker of blackcurrant juice all over your cream carpet, or an enthusiastic game of catch resulting in a smashed TV screen.

If the above scenarios sound familiar, you might want to ensure it’s included on both your home buildings and contents policies.

As part of buildings insurance, accidental damage will cover the costs of damage to the fabric of your home - a football smashing a window, for example.

Accidental damage as part of your contents policy will pay out for things like your mini Picasso using his finger paints on your leather sofa.

What doesn't accidental damage cover?

Accidental damage cover doesn’t include wear and tear, or the gradual deterioration of things that comes with age.

Other exclusions may include damage to money. So if your tot decided to cut up a wad of £20 notes to make a cute collage, you may not be able to make a claim.

Damage to bicycles and clothes is often excluded too.

And, your possessions won’t usually be covered when you’re out and about. For instance, if your child drops your mobile phone in the street, you’d have to fork out for a replacement.

You can take out personal belongings insurance for this type of accident, though.

It’s also worth considering any belongings that have a value higher than your single-item limit, as they won’t be covered. So, if you have a £2,000 TV, you might want to get additional cover for it, in case it gets damaged. 

Am I covered if my child damages someone else's property?

If your child accidentally damages something in someone else’s home, then you may want to offer to pay for the damage to end the issue quickly and amicably.

However, if the damaged item is particularly expensive, there’s also the option that the person could claim for it on their own accidental damage insurance policy.

Alternatively, your insurer may pay out for the damage if it can be proven that your child was legally liable for causing it.

If a situation escalates and someone wants to sue you for the damage that your child has caused, then legal expenses insurance could step in to help pay for your defence. This cover may be included as standard or as an added extra in your home insurance policy.

Am I covered if my child damages a rental property?

If your child accidentally damages something belonging to your landlord in a rented home, then it’s usually your responsibility to replace or repair it. If in doubt, check your tenancy agreement.

Tenants' liability insurance can cover you for accidental damage to items in a furnished rented property. Things like sofas and chairs, furnishing and fittings would be covered if you or your child accidentally damaged them.

How to prevent accidental damage in the home

Short of having eyes in the back of your head it’s impossible to keep tabs on what your children are up to at every moment of the day.

There are things you can do to minimise the chances of accidental damage happening, though.

  • Keep expensive items like ornaments out of reach of children.
  • Hide your mobile phone and laptop after use.
  • Put away scissors somewhere safe and out of reach.
  • Try to ensure children know that certain things are off-limits. That might include your home computer and the microwave (it’s surprising how many little ones like to see what might happen to a mobile phone in there!)
  • Keep all eating and drinking limited to the kitchen or dining room table.
  • Buy protective screens and hard-wearing cases for their iPads, tablets and mobile phones.

Compare home insurance than includes accidental damage today.