Should you cover accidents at home?

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Two in five people in Britain don't have enough insurance to cover all eventualities around the home, while a quarter plumped for the cheapest cover without really paying any attention to what it covered.

Leaving accidental damage off the policy is a tempting way to bring down the cost of cover. The question is whether it's worth the risk.

Accidental damage

Accidental damage cover is sometimes automatically included in cover, but is often offered as an additional extra. With so many of us watching the pennies, and so many extras to consider on a policy, it's easy to see how we end up turning down yet another additional cost.

Julie Fisher, head of home insurance for moneysupermarket.com, says: "It will cost you more, and depending on the provider will cost anything up to 15% or 20% on top of your premium."
With the average policy costing £143 a year, that's around £20 added to the cost of the bill.

The risks

However, we face more risk than we might think. According to Santander, 60% of us have experienced accidental damage or theft of our belongings at some point. Three in five people had the right sort of insurance to cover the cost of replacement. However, the rest had to pay for it themselves - at a cost of at least £200. And for one-in-five, that figure was over £500.

Carpets, rugs or upholstery were the most common items to suffer damage due to an accident, with over one-in-four saying this has happened to them. Some 20% have seen damage to electrical items like TVs and DVDs and 19% have accidentally ruined their furniture.

Loss or damage of gadgets like iPads, tablet computers and phones outside the home has happened to 9%of Brits and a further 9% have lost or damaged camcorders, camera or sports equipment.

Adults themselves are the main culprits for the costly damage not covered by home insurance, with 30% of these costs being blamed on themselves or other adults in the household. A further 11% of these uncovered costs were blamed on children in the household.

Is it worth it

In pure mathematical terms, the risk is well-worth covering. Assuming the claim costs £200, you would only need a claim every ten years to make it pay. If the claim was for £500 or more, you would only need a claim every 25 years to cover your costs.

Fisher says: "You need to consider your lifestyle, your risks and the kinds of claims or damage you have had in the past. Only then can you decide whether this type of cover is right for you."

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