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Accidental damage

No matter how much you look after your home, everyone has the odd accident from time to time. It might be something small, like smashing your favourite vase, or a DIY mishap, such as putting your foot through the ceiling when you’re sorting out the loft.

Accidental damage cover is there to take the drama out of these little – or big – incidents, and give you peace of mind that your home and its contents can be repaired or replaced without too much trouble.

John Brady, Head of Commercial at John Lewis Insurance looks at accidental damage cover and how it can help protect your home and contents.

Q & A with John Brady

Q. What’s your background and what experience do you have in providing advice about Home Insurance?

A. I've worked in financial services for 20 years, including banking, credit cards and insurance. The last five have been spent at the John Lewis Partnership, where I’ve helped to launch and develop John Lewis Insurance, including our personal insurance cover for cars, weddings, pets, homes, events and travel.

Quotation MarksJohn Lewis Home Insurance offers a level of cover to
suit your needs.Quotation Marks

Q. What is accidental damage cover?

A. Accidental damage means anything that’s unforeseen and unintentional – so a one-off accident that’s caused damage to your home or its contents.

Q. How does accidental damage for buildings differ from accidental damage for contents?

A. When it comes to buildings, accidental damage cover usually includes cables, fixed glass items, underground services, fixed ceramic hobs and hob covers, greenhouses and bathroom fittings.

Accidental damage to contents, on the other hand usually means that your insurer covers TVs, CD or DVD players and other home entertainment equipment. Some companies might require you to pay an additional premium to cover things like DIY mishaps or spilling red wine on your sofa.

Q. What sort of things aren’t covered by accidental damage?

A. Anything to do with wear and tear, for example if your faithful old carpet finally gets worn down and develops a hole, claims to do with bad workmanship and gradual deterioration, such as the time when your old computer eventually stops working. Damage to food, drink or plants also isn’t covered by accidental damage.

Q. What about damage caused by children and pets?

Every insurance company is different, but there are few who will cover damage caused by pets or vermin chewing or scratching at your belongings. Most good policies will cover one-off incidents involving children, which could give you peace of mind where there’s a white wall and a felt-tip pen on the loose!

Q. What about DIY accidents?

A. Different insurance companies have different rules, so always check your policy before starting a DIY project, and if you can foresee any problems it’s best to call a professional in.

John Lewis Premier Cover provides Accidental Damage Cover for buildings so you're protected against accidents such as putting your foot through the ceiling while you’re in the loft.

Q. Am I covered for household accidents, like spilling wine on my carpet?

A. Every policy varies, but our Premier Cover offers Accidental Damage Cover for Buildings and Contents. This cover could provide a replacement for your carpet if it’s damaged beyond repair.

Our Matching Sets Cover gives you peace of mind. For example, if you have our Premier Cover and only one part of a three-piece suite is damaged, we’ll replace the whole set if we can’t find a matching replacement. 

Q. What about damage caused by other people, like removal men?

A. With John Lewis Premier Cover, if you’re moving house and you’ve bought in a professional removal company, we provide cover for accidental damage they may cause within the home. China, glass and porcelain is only covered if it’s been packed by professional removal contractors. 

Expert tips

Q. What should I look out for in a home insurance policy?

A. Use this checklist to make sure you’re getting the right level of cover:

  • Limits to what you can claim for

Some companies put a limit on the amount you’re covered for. For example, if you have individual items that are very valuable and you want them to be covered away from the home, you’ll need to specify them if they’re worth more than a certain amount. 

  • Damage to soft furnishings including sofas

John Lewis Home Insurance offers ‘Matching Sets Cover’, with our Plus and Premier Cover. This means that if you bought a three-piece suite, bathroom suite or kitchen unit as a set and one individual item is damaged and a matching replacement can’t be found, the accompanying items in the set could be covered too, up to the policy limits. In short: you get peace of mind that everything will still match.

Excess and specific types of accidental damage

When you take out your policy you can choose what level of excess you would like to pay, starting at £100 - this would be the amount you have to pay towards any claim.

  • If you choose our Essential Cover, you can add full Accidental Damage Cover for buildings and contents. 
  • Our Plus Cover provides some Accidental Damage Cover as standard and can be upgraded to full Accidental Damage Cover for buildings and contents. 
  • Premier Cover includes full Accidental Damage as standard.

Read more

John Lewis Home Insurance offers a great standard of service and good value for money.

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We have carefully selected Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc to underwrite John Lewis Home Insurance.


Terms, conditions, limitations, exclusions and eligibility acceptance criteria apply.

John Lewis Insurance is a trading name of John Lewis plc. Registered office: 171 Victoria Street, London SW1E 5NN. Registered in England (No. 233462). John Lewis plc is an appointed representative of Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc. John Lewis Home Insurance is underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc (No. 93792). Registered in England and Wales at St. Mark's Court, Chart Way, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 1XL. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (Financial Services Register No. 202323). Calls may be recorded and monitored.

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