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Contents insurance for renters explained

If you rent your home, a good contents insurance policy will ensure your belongings are protected against damage and theft. Here, we explain all you need to know. 

contents insurance for renters
contents insurance for renters

Do renters need contents insurance?

If you’re renting a property, whether on your own or with others, it will be up to your landlord to arrange buildings insurance to protect the structure of the property. But it will be your responsibility to insure what’s inside the property by taking out contents insurance.

Before buying cover, it’s worth checking whether your landlord has taken out his/her own contents insurance policy to protect any furniture, carpets, or curtains that have been provided in the home. But you’ll still need your own policy to protect your own belongings. 

Your landlord’s insurance might also include alternative accommodation cover which will allow you to stay elsewhere if the property can’t be lived in while repairs are being carried out.

What is tenants’ insurance?

Tenants’ or renters’ insurance is simply contents insurance for those renting a property. It protects your belongings, such as clothes, furniture, jewellery and electrical goods, against theft or damage caused by fire or flooding. 

Is tenants’ insurance the same as contents insurance?

In effect, yes, as both protect your belongings in the same way. However, tenants’ insurance will often include accidental damage cover for any damage you cause to your landlord’s contents, fixtures and fittings, which is not always included in a standard home contents policy.

What’s more, if you are renting a room in a flat or house-share, tenants’ insurance will often include a few extra conditions. This is simply because sharing a home with non-family members can increase the risk of damage or theft as a number of different people will be entering and leaving the property at different times.  

For this reason, some insurers limit cover to room-only. This means only belongings left in your room will be protected and you will need to have a lock on your door. Your room must be locked when you are not at home. If you leave items in a communal area, they are likely to only be covered against theft if there are signs of forced entry into the home. 

If you are offered cover for the entire flat share, keep in mind that if one person makes a claim on the policy, everyone else on the policy will have to pay a higher premium at renewal.

Is tenants’ insurance mandatory in the UK?

Tenants’ insurance is not mandatory, but it’s wise to take out cover to ensure you won’t be left out of pocket in the event your belongings were damaged or stolen. 

Some landlords may request that you have contents insurance as part of your tenancy agreement.

How much does tenants’ insurance cost?

How much tenants’ or renters’ insurance costs will depend on several factors such as:

  • the value of your personal possessions
  • your location – if you live in an area with a high crime rate, you’ll usually pay more
  • the size of your voluntary excess – the higher it is, the less you’ll pay
  • any extra cover you add to your policy
  • how secure your property is – burglar alarms can reduce your premiums, for example 
  • whether you have a no-claims bonus

What’s included with tenants’ insurance?

Your tenants’ insurance policy will typically cover your belongings if they are damaged as a result of the following: 

  • fire
  • flooding
  • storms
  • theft
  • vandalism
  • subsidence
  • burst pipes and water leaks

What is not included with tenants’ insurance?

As with most insurance policies, you’ll typically find a range of exclusions with tenants’ insurance. These could include:

  • Wear and tear – belongings damaged over time usually won’t be covered
  • Theft and unforced entry – if your home was burgled because you left a window open, for example, you won’t be covered
  • Unoccupied properties – you won’t usually be covered if your property is left empty for an extended period of time
  • High-value items – belongings worth more than the single-item limit (usually around £1,500) must be covered separately
  • Business belongings – items used for business purposes need to be covered under a business contents insurance policy
  • Possessions outside the home – some policies won’t cover items you take outside the home, such as mobile phones and tablets unless you take out additional cover.

Where can I find the best renters’ insurance quote?

One of the easiest ways to find the best contents insurance is to run several quotes using Quidco Compare. This will help you to find the level of cover you need at the best price and you could also earn up to £28 cashback.

Keep in mind that paying annually usually works out cheaper than paying in monthly instalments. If you can’t afford to pay for your cover in one go, consider using a zero-interest purchase credit card to help spread the cost. 

Increasing your voluntary excess – the amount you’ll have to pay in the event of a claim – will also help lower your insurance premiums. But make sure you could still afford to pay it.

What is tenants’ liability cover?

Tenants’ liability insurance will cover repair or replacement costs if you accidentally damage items that belong to or are provided by your landlord in the property. Many tenants’ insurance policies will include this as standard but make sure you check as it can reduce the risk of losing your security deposit. 

Do I need accidental damage cover?

Some tenants’ insurance policies will include accidental damage cover as standard, while others will require you to add it to your policy for an extra cost. Accidental damage cover will protect you in the event you smash your TV screen, for example, or spill tea on your sofa.

How much cover do I need when renting?

It’s important to be as accurate as possible when estimating how much your belongings are worth. If you underestimate, you risk being underinsured, and your insurer may only pay out a percentage of any claim you make. If you overestimate, you could end up paying more for cover than you need to.

The easiest way to work out how much your possessions are worth is to go round each room of the property and add up the value of all your belongings. Remember that if any items are worth more than your insurer’s single item limit, they will need to be listed separately on the policy. 

You may also want to add personal possessions cover to make sure your belongings are protected when taken outside the home. Some contents insurance policies will include this cover as standard, while others will require you to pay extra to bolt it on to your policy.

Get a contents insurance quote

Comparing contents insurance quotes with Quidco can help you find the right deal for you. Plus, you’ll get up to £30 cashback when you take out a policy.