Does Renters Insurance Cover Accidental Damage? A Complete Guide

Renters face risks like theft, fire damage, and liability claims that can disrupt lives and finances. A renters insurance policy protects against these perils, but what about accidental damage? If you spill wine on the carpet or your child breaks an appliance, will renters insurance have you covered?

Understanding exactly what accidental damage is covered by a standard renters policy is key to getting the protection you need without paying for unnecessary add-ons. This guide examines how standard renters insurance handles accidental property damage claims.

What is Accidental Damage Coverage?

Accidental damage coverage protects against unintentional, unexpected damage to your possessions, whether caused by you or someone else. For example:

  • Unintentionally breaking or chipping an item

  • Spilling liquid on electronics, carpets, or furniture

  • Having a shelf collapse and damage items

  • A roommate or guest accidentally breaking your belonging

  • An item being dented, cracked, or scratched unexpectedly

Accidental damage is different than intentional damage or normal wear and tear. It refers to sudden mishaps and clumsiness rather than willful property destruction.

Does Standard Renters Insurance Cover Accidental Damage?

A standard renters policy includes limited accidental damage coverage:

  • Protects against accidents caused by specific insured perils – Fire, smoke, explosions, windstorms, vandalism, theft, and more.

  • Does NOT cover most damage from common household mishaps – Spills, drops, chips, dents, scratches, etc.

So if your laptop gets crushed by a falling AC unit in a storm, it would be covered. But if you spill coffee on it, the standard policy would not cover the damage.

Examples of Common Accidental Damage

Here are some examples of accidental property damage and whether a standard renters policy would provide coverage:

  • An appliance catches fire and ruins your kitchen – Covered, since it resulted from an insured peril (fire)

  • You spill red wine on the carpet – Not covered, because general clumsiness/spills are excluded

  • An unexpected storm blows a tree onto your car – Covered, since windstorms are an insured peril

  • Your child knocks over and breaks a TV – Not covered, because general accidents are excluded

  • A pipe bursts and floods your basement – Covered, because water damage from appliance malfunctions is covered

  • You drop and crack the screen on your phone – Not covered, because drops/cracks are excluded

As you can see, the source of the damage determines whether the standard renters policy provides protection. Damage tied directly to insured perils is covered, while general accidental damage is excluded.

Does Accidental Damage Coverage Raise Premiums?

Adding accidental damage coverage to your renters insurance policy does increase premiums. How much depends on factors like:

  • Your insurer and location

  • Amount of personal property coverage purchased

  • Your claims history

  • Whether you bundle with auto or home insurance

Typically you can expect a 10-15% increase in premiums when adding accidental damage coverage. So if your annual premium is $200, it could rise to $230 with the upgraded protection.

Higher value property and frequent accidental damage claims will result in larger premium increases. Bundling your renters with other policies can help offset the higher cost.

Is Accidental Damage Coverage Worth It?

Whether to pay extra for accidental damage coverage depends on your situation:

Worth it for:

  • Clumsy individuals prone to spills and drops

  • Families with young children or pets

  • Those with expensive belongings like jewelry and electronics

  • No emergency savings to pay for repairs out-of-pocket

May not be necessary for:

  • Careful singles with mainly clothing/furniture
  • Tech-savvy households with warranty coverage
  • Those with ample emergency funds for minor repairs
  • Households that can afford to self-insure

Think about your lifestyle, possessions, and budget to decide if expanded protection is right for you. Your insurance agent can also provide recommendations based on your specific risks.

Alternative Ways to Cover Accidental Damage

If you don’t want to expand your renters insurance, here are other ways to cover accidental damage:

  • Electronics insurance – Plans like AppleCare cover cracked screens and spills on laptops, phones, and tablets.

  • Warranties – Opt for furniture and appliances with optional protection plans.

  • Standalone accidental damage policies – Some insurers offer policies just for accidental damage.

  • Savings account – Self-insure by building an emergency fund for repairs.

  • Credit cards – Cards that offer purchase protection can cover some damaged items.

  • Separate valuable items – Take out standalone policies for expensive jewelry, art, musical instruments, etc.

A patchwork of specialized plans can provide affordable coverage for possessions vulnerable to accidents.

Filing Claims for Accidental Damage

To get covered accidental damage paid for, follow these steps:

  • Document damage immediately – Take photos/video of broken items before disposing or repairing.

  • File a claim quickly – Notify your insurer within days of the incident occurring.

  • Provide details on cause – Explain how and why the accidental damage occurred.

  • Submit evidence of value – Supply receipts showing original purchase price for damaged items.

  • Get repair cost estimates – Ask for a quote from vendors for cost to repair/replace damaged items.

  • Comply with insurer requests – Facilitate any inspections or provide additional claim documentation.

Follow your insurer’s claims process closely. Pay attention to any required timeframes for reporting accidental damage to qualify for coverage.

Our Take: Accidental Damage Coverage Provides Peace of Mind

While adding protection for accidental damage increases your renters insurance premium, it can provide financial and mental peace of mind. If you have precious belongings or a tendency towards spills and cracks, the extra coverage is likely worthwhile.

Review your possessions, lifestyle, and existing electronics/furniture protection plans. For clumsy individuals or families with irreplaceable items, accidental damage coverage can be a lifesaver when unexpected disaters strike. Protecting your valuables is often worth the small added expense.

Does renters insurance cover accidental damage?


Which one of the following is not covered by renter’s insurance?

Renters insurance does not cover major weather events like earthquakes, landslides, sinkholes and floods. The policy also will not cover pest infestations (including bed bugs) or your roommate’s possessions if they aren’t a named insured on the policy.

What is typically covered by renters insurance?

Renters insurance covers personal property, personal liability, medical payments and additional living expenses or loss of use, up to the limits of your policy.

Does renters insurance cover accidental damage to TV?

Whether or not your renters insurance covers a broken TV depends on the cause of the damage. If your TV is stolen, or if it’s damaged by fire or certain types of water events, it would likely be covered. If your TV simply stops working for no reason, or breaks due to simple wear and tear, it won’t be covered.

Does renters insurance cover damage to carpet?

Does renters insurance cover carpet and floor damage? Renters insurance won’t cover the physical structure of the apartment, condo, or house you’re renting. Your landlord’s policy may cover damage to the floors or carpet from a covered peril.

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