Rental contents insurance


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Frequently asked questions

  • Why do renters only need contents insurance, not buildings insurance?
  • What is home contents insurance for tenants?
  • Can students get renters’ contents insurance?
  • Will my landlord’s insurance cover me?
  • How do I work out how much cover I need?
  • Can I get insurance for accidental damage?
  • Does tenants’ contents insurance cover the possessions I take outside my home?
  • What about renters’ insurance if I live in a shared house?
  • How do I get a good deal on renters’ contents insurance?

Why do renters only need contents insurance, not buildings insurance?

There are three main types of home insurance:

  • Buildings insurance covers the structure of the building plus permanent fixtures, such as baths, toilets and fitted kitchens. It might also include other buildings, such as sheds and garages.
  • Contents insurance covers all the possessions in your home, including non-built in appliances, furniture, clothes, jewellery, televisions and tablets.
  • Combined buildings and contents insurance combines both in a single insurance policy.

When you’re renting your home, the building isn’t yours. If a wall falls down it’s the landlord’s responsibility to put it back up. You just need to worry about your possessions – so you only need home contents insurance if you’re a tenant.

What is home contents insurance for tenants?

Tenants’ contents insurance, or renters’ insurance, is another way of describing home contents insurance. 

As well as covering your personal possessions, contents policies often include cover designed for people renting:

  • options to suit you if you live in a shared house or flat
  • tenants’ liability cover, which typically covers certain types of damage to your landlord’s fixtures and fittings.
  • alternative accommodation cover, paying for a place to stay during repairs to the property after a fire or flood

All policies are different, so make sure you check exactly what’s covered.

Can students get renters’ contents insurance?

Tenant insurance policies will provide cover for students, but they tend to be considered a higher risk than other types of tenants. They’re likely to have a more limited choice of policies and might face higher premiums too. That said, there are insurance policies especially for students, so it’s worth having a look at those.

Find out more: Student home insurance.

Will my landlord’s insurance cover me?

Some landlords will have contents insurance on the property you rent – but it will usually protect only their possessions, such as the furniture, carpets and curtains. It won’t provide any cover for your smart phone, laptop or clothes. You should still think about home contents insurance for tenants to protect your own belongings.

It’s unlikely that your landlord will have accidental damage cover on their contents insurance, so they may use your deposit to cover the cost of any accidental damage caused during your tenancy.

Your landlord’s insurance may include alternative accommodation cover – cover that will put you up elsewhere if your accommodation can’t be lived in while repairs are carried out after a fire, flood or other insured event. 

You can find out what insurance is in place from your landlord, letting agent or housing association.

How do I work out how much cover I need?

You need to estimate how much it would cost you to replace all your own belongings. Be careful not to underinsure your contents (don’t forget to include any valuable jewellery or watches). But don’t overestimate as you could end up paying for extra cover that you don’t actually need. When getting a quote with us you can use our contents calculator tool which will help you estimate the value of your possessions.

Most policies will have a maximum limit that any single item can be worth before you need to specify it individually on the policy. Referred to as a single item limit, it’s often set at around £1,500 but could be lower or higher depending on the policy you take out.

Can I get insurance for accidental damage?

Yes, you can. Typically, there are two levels available to you with home insurance for tenants:

  • the basic level of accidental damage cover typically covers damage to audio visual equipment, such as your TV, games console or PC.
  • full accidental damage cover typically covers you for accidents like spilling paint or wine on your sofa.

Check your policy details to see if any of this cover comes as standard. If it doesn’t, you might like to include it as an add-on to your policy. 

Does tenants’ contents insurance cover the possessions I take outside my home?

Some policies will cover your possessions outside the home – but usually you’ll need to add this. Cover for items outside your home is often called “Personal possessions” or “Personal belongings”. You can check your policy to see if this cover is included as standard or needs to be added (but you may need to pay extra). 

What about renters’ insurance if I live in a shared house?

Sharing a property can make things a little more complicated. Some contents insurance providers may refuse to cover you if you’re in shared accommodation, or they might exclude more items, especially if bedroom doors don’t have their own locks. You should still be able to find the cover you need – but your choice of insurance provider might be a little more limited.

Don’t be tempted to avoid telling your insurance provider about sharing arrangements, as you may invalidate your policy should you make a claim.

Find out more: Can I get contents insurance for my room only?

How do I get a good deal on renters’ contents insurance?

Good news – it’s fast and easy. All you need to do is compare home insurance now. Give us a few details and our comparison page will show you a range of suitable policies, along with the price and key features.

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