A recent Court decision has established that damage is not "accidental" under a property insurance policy if it is inevitable, wilful or deliberate.

The Court held that Travelers Insurance Company did not have to pay out to Leeds Beckett University for their “accidental damage” claim.

The University built an accommodation block next to a canal despite Ordnance Survey maps showing a watercourse flowing over the land. Cracks soon began appearing in the property and the University attempted to claim under their policy. Travelers declined the claim.

The Court determined, amongst other things, that “accidental damage” is damage caused by a chance event and that damage was inevitable in this case. The University was aware of the facts but decided to go ahead with the development in any event. The University’s claim was dismissed.

This serves as a reminder that terms should be properly defined within an insurance policy to ensure that the wording is clear and not open to interpretation.

Read more about this case.