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Accidental damage – Do Landlords need this in their insurance?

What is accidental damage?

 
Accidents will happen but what does accidental damage cover in your landlords’ insurance? The definition is uniform across insurance policies. It is when damage occurs as a result of an unexpected, non-deliberate, external action. This means that it is unintentional and a one-off incident that harms your property or its contents. Common examples are dropping a laptop or spilling a glass of red wine on a new beige carpet.
 
However, not every policy has accidental damage. For instance, some will cover accidental damage but not cover any damage to unoccupied areas. Also, it may not cover damage caused by pets or malicious damage.
 

Is DIY damage included?

 
Unfortunately, it may not be. You may find there is protection under a buildings and contents policy but it depends on the job in question. Be aware that it won’t cover some plumbing and electrical work that an amateur has completed. Contractors will have their own insurance to cover their work.
 
Accidental damage accounts for nearly half of all contents insurance claims. However, these are mainly relating to home insurance cover and not landlords. It is important that you differentiate between the two.
 

What does it cover

 
It is normally the cost of repairing or replacing property or contents damaged in a one-off incident. The cover could come under your landlord’s contents insurance so it is important to check the level of cover. As previously stated not all insurers have it within their policy. It can also be taken out as an extra with some insurance companies. Accidental damage does not cover wear and tear of an item over a period of time. If the tenant has their own furniture or belongings within the property it does not cover these either.
 
It is important to familiarise yourself with your policy and understand what it includes and what it doesn’t. As accidental damage could be an extendable cover.
 

Summary

 
Accidental damage is closely linked with landlord’s contents insurance. It is rare that you can get accidental damage to replace a carpet when the tenant has been at the property for some five to seven years. The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors has a lot of articles on what wear and tear is. It is important to understand when the accidental damage has taken place. You would also need to make a claim within 30 days of the incident. So it is important that the landlord or letting agent communicate with the tenants on any damage that may have occurred. A landlord couldn’t make a claim at the end of a tenancy agreement when the incident occurred prior. It is always important to inspect the property on a regular basis.
 
Mark Harrington
 
Managing Director
 
iInsure365

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