Holidaymakers from hell: One in five cause accidental damage to holiday homes

  • More than one in five UK holidaymakers have caused accidental damage to a holiday home during their stay
  • ·Over one in ten have caused damage of £200 or more
  • Londoners and young people (18-34) are the most frequent holidaymakers to cause damage
  • Over one in three Britons (36 per cent) are planning a staycation in a holiday home this year, including half of young people

Over one in five Britons (21 per cent) have damaged a UK holiday home accidentally, according to new research from Direct Line with more than one in ten (13 per cent) causing unintentional damage of £200 or more. (1)

Young people are the most troublesome age group, with over one in three 18-34-year-olds (34 per cent) saying they’ve been responsible for accidental damage during their stay. Londoners are the worst group regionally, with over half (54 per cent) admitting they’ve unintentionally caused problems in holiday homes.

Even more alarmingly, one in twenty (five per cent) said that they treat holiday homes with less respect than their own properties, and nearly a quarter (24 per cent) said they’d kept quiet about the accidental damage they’d caused – something UK landlords definitely won’t want to hear.  

Direct Line research shows that the average cost per claim for accidental damage last year, amounted to a hefty £1,296. (2)

And with over one in three Britons (36 per cent) planning a staycation in a holiday home in 2020, including half of the group most likely to cause damage (young people), there could be more unpleasant and expensive surprises on the way for landlords; if they aren’t protected, that is.

The most common types of accidental damage were:

  • Spilling food or drink on the walls, floors or furnishings
  • Spilling or rubbing beauty products on carpets and flooring
  • Ring marks on furnishings
  • Damage to paint work and walls
  • Breaking or blocking baths, toilets and sinks

All these problems aren’t inexpensive, as Direct Line’s claims data shows. The priciest types of accidental damage in 2019 were as follows:

  • Water damage, the second most common type of accidental damage, cost on average of £1,391
  • Soft furnishings and fixtures and fittings damage cost an average of £1,236
  • Carpets and flooring, the most common type of accidental damage, cost an average of £824

Matthew Boatwright, Head of Direct Line for Business at Direct Line, said:

“These findings serve as a warning to holiday home-owners. Whether it’s unfortunate spillages on carpets, ring marks on furniture or broken kitchen appliances, landlords need to ensure they’ve got the right protection in place for their properties.

“At Direct Line, we understand that no one knows their property as well as the owners themselves. That’s why we give them the option to create bespoke cover that’s just right for them. When it comes to giving them flexibility to choose the cover that best suits their holiday home, we’re on it”.

Direct Line’s holiday home insurance product gives owners the opportunity to choose from a range of cover options over and above standard buildings or contents cover. Optional covers include accidental damage, theft and malicious damage by guest cover and legal expenses cover for those properties being let out for a fee as a business.

For further information on holiday home insurance, please visit our webpage here:

For more information on Holiday let rules and regulations for landlords please visit:


Notes to Editors

1.     Opinium survey of 2,000 nationally representative UK adults, 30th June-3rd July 2020

2.     Based on Direct Line proprietary claims data, 2019

For further information please contact:

Direct Line Group
Unni Henry
Senior PR Consultant
Tel: 01903 636 149
Email: [email protected]

Michael Hindmarsh
Account Director
Mobile: 07415 396642
Email: [email protected]

About Direct Line for Business

Launched in 2007 Direct Line for Business now has over half a million customer policies, proving a flexible range of insurance products for the landlord, van and small business sectors.

Direct Line for Business insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England and Wales No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Direct Line for Business and U K Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc.

Customers can find out more about Direct Line for Business products or get a quote by calling 0345 301 4827 or visiting