School holidays – you might never have known it, but these are the times when you are most likely to be making a claim for accidental damage under your home insurance policy.
That is the coincidence discovered in a recent survey of accidental damage claims received by home insurers Aviva, according to a story in the Express newspaper on the 3rd of July. Prime school holiday times in January, April, August and October herald a notable increase in claims for accidental damage.
So, why might that be and how can you minimise the risks? Since, however well insured you are, no one likes the fuss and bother of making a claim, having to contribute the amount of excess, or prejudicing their no claims discount.
Check your cover
At any time of the year, but especially when risks may be higher, it is important to check again just what your home insurance covers.
In this case, you need to check that accidental damage is included and satisfy yourself about just what it covers – bearing in mind that accidental damage cover is often an optional addition to your home insurance policy.
Pay particular attention to any personal possessions cover, for example, which generally distinguishes between “unspecified” and “specified” personal possessions – with items of a value typically in excess of around £1,000 needing to be specified in your policy.
More people, higher risks
Holiday times may put your possessions at greater risk of accidental damage simply because there are more people about – and children might not be the most careful.
No one wants to stop children enjoying themselves – even a little boisterously – when they’re on holiday, but it may be worth reminding them that accidents, spills and breakages are going to cost the family money.
Especially delicate or valuable items might be kept out of reach of younger children – but don’t underestimate their ability to get to your “out of reach” hiding places!
Our Home Insurance FAQs explain that cover for accidental damage is basically protecting your possessions from yourself and your family.
Out and about
But it’s not just when you and the family are at home, of course, when possessions might get lost, damaged or stolen.
On just about any outing away from home – and there is likely to be many of them during fine summer weather – you are likely to have with you gadgets, devices and possessions all worth more than you might have imagined.
Check that your home insurance typically extends to cover for those items you take away from home with you.
Any general insurance policy is likely to list exclusions to the cover provided – and that is true of accidental damage cover.
Wilful damage that you have caused is excluded from accidental damage by definition, of course. If you are the landlord of let property, any accidental damage cover included in your landlord insurance policy may also exclude malicious damage caused by your tenants or their visitors. To protect against such risks, you need to ensure that your policy specifically incorporates cover against malicious damage – preferably as a standard feature.
Whether it is your own home or let property bear in mind that not only wear and tear but also damage caused by pets is typically excluded.
Understanding exactly what your cover entails and taking preventative measures may help you have peace of mind and, hopefully, an accidental damage-free summer!