Would you leave your kids home alone?

Melanie Wright
Written by: Melanie Wright
Posted on: 10 March 2016

The school holidays are fast approaching, leaving thousands of parents with the dilemma of how to juggle work and keep an eye on the kids at the same time.

Despite the temptation to leave older children ‘home alone’, it seems most parents simply don’t trust their teens to stay at home unsupervised.

According to research by Direct Line, 66% of 1,770 parents questioned said they felt their child would be unable to keep the house in the same condition it was left in.

Katie Lomas, head of Direct Line home insurance, said: “Whether you are out the house for five minutes or five hours, accidents happen, things get broken.”

Hardly surprising then, that one in five parents admitted to ‘dreading’ holidays and half-terms. Mums are the most distrustful, with almost half (46%) saying they wouldn’t trust their child if left home alone, compared to 36% of dads.

Regional differences

Interestingly, parents in the South tend to trust their children more than those living in the North, but it is parents in Wales who worry the most about leaving their teens at home alone.

More than half of parents from Wales said they couldn’t go out without thinking they’d be likely to return to some sort of damage. And it seems they have good cause for concern, given that one in 10 parents from Wales claim they come home at least once a week to discover their child has broken something.

In contrast, more than three-quarters (77%) of parents from the North East and 71% from the South West said they have never come home to an unexpected damage caused by their child.

Kids home alone

Kids home alone

Are you protected?

Of course, it’s not just teens that parents need to worry about when it comes to accidental damage. Let’s face it, toddlers can do their fair share of damage too, even though they’re never left home alone. Whether it’s running riot with pens, make-up or paint, many a parent has discovered to their horror that their child has used walls, carpets and even televisions as a canvas.

Don’t assume you’ll be automatically covered by your home insurance if there’s a mishap at home caused by your kids – whether you’re there or not.

Most insurers don’t include accidental damage as standard in their basic policies, so you will usually have to arrange this as an add-on. Many, however, offer a range of different policies, some with higher levels of cover which do include accidental damage, so you don’t have to request this as an extra.

According to research by The Co-operative Bank, more than 12 million households in the UK - almost half (46%) - don’t have accidental damage cover insurance, leaving more than £5.6bn worth of contents at risk.

So whether you’ve got troublesome teens, terrible toddlers, or kids aged somewhere between the two, make sure you swot up on the small print of your home insurance policy to check you’re protected in the event your little darlings run amok.

If you don’t have cover, your child could have to forgo an awful lot of pocket money in order for you to put things right.

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