Does My Home Insurance Cover Breakages?
Caeva O'Callaghan | October 23rd, 2020
If My Cleaner Broke A Very Expensive Vase – Is This Covered By My House Insurance?
More people than you may think employ domestic workers to help keep their home neat and tidy. But if your cleaner breaks something expensive, will your home insurance policy cover it?
If you have accidental damage cover on your contents policy, yes. If you do not have accidental damage cover, then no.
Accidental damage covers unintentional damage or breakage to items on the policy. On your contents policy, it covers all items in your home. This includes your furniture, possessions, clothes, art, electronics and other belongings.
In this article, we’ll answer questions such as:
- Do I need separate insurance cover for valuables?
- What happens if someone breaks something in my home?
- Will my cleaner pay for damages?
If your cleaner – known in insurance terms as a domestic employee – has their own insurance, this may cover the damage. However, you may still be left out of pocket.
What is accidental damage cover?
Accidental damage cover protects your home and valuables from accidental damage. In insurance parlance, this means unintentional acts like spilling spaghetti bolognese on the carpet or knocking through a window with a ladder.
If there’s one thing all insurance companies can agree on, it’s this: it’s always best to have accidental damage cover. Why? For the simple fact, that accidents happen. But insurance providers will only occasionally include accidental damage cover as standard on their policies. In most cases, it’s sold as an optional extra.
Without accidental damage cover, you’ll have to pay to repair or replace your valuables if clumsiness or mishaps occur. This includes incidents which are the fault of domestic staff such as cleaners, nannies and petsitters.
Valuables and artwork
For high-value pieces, it’s best to get a valuation certificate. You might want to get annual valuations on particularly ornate vases, as the price of gold fluctuates often.
Some insurers offer policies especially for jewellery and other valuables, although these are likely to raise your premiums. You may even have to approach a specialist insurer to find the cover you need. This is where having a broker comes in handy. At QuoteMe, we can help you find the perfect cover for your prized collection.
When you’re looking for specialist valuables insurance policies, check that your items will be covered in the event of theft, loss or damage. And of course, if you employ a cleaner or regularly have visitors in your home, accidental damage cover is a must.
It is also worth checking out your policy excess. If it is higher than the replacement value of the vase, then it is not worth claiming.
You should always inform the Gardai if someone else steals, loses or intentionally damages your valuables. Don’t forget to obtain a crime reference number if so.
What is public liability insurance?
If your cleaner is employed under a reputable firm, or takes their job more seriously than an occasional cash-in-hand enterprise, they may have public liability insurance.
A public liability insurance policy protects the policyholders (in this case, domestic cleaners) against claims made against them in respect of their legal liability for property damage. It may also cover them for personal injury arising during the course of the business. The policy protects the cleaner against the costs of any legal action against them, and the value of any awards made.
When you’re hiring a cleaner, it’s important to check to see if they have this kind of insurance. Just need an extra pair of hands around a messy, child-filled house where everything’s a bit scuffed-up already? You’re probably safe getting a neighbour in, or a local teenager who needs some extra pocket money.
But if you have a sleek, minimalist home full of valuables, the risk of substantial damage is higher. In this case, it’s best to seek out a cleaner (or a firm) with the right kind of public liability cover, just in case.
If they do, making a claim is the same as in any other case. The only difference is that the compensation you receive will come out of the cleaner’s insurance, not their own pocket. As always, check the policy excess, because both parties may be better off simply buying a replacement.