Contents insurance for one room

If you live in a shared house, with people coming and going, you’ll want to make sure all your possessions are protected from theft and damage.

Find out how to get room-only insurance for your shared house.

If you live in a shared house, with people coming and going, you’ll want to make sure all your possessions are protected from theft and damage.

Find out how to get room-only insurance for your shared house.

Written by
Anna McEntee
Insurance comparison expert
Reviewed by
Rachel Lacey
Insurance and money expert
Last Updated
5 min read
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I live in a shared house. Can I get contents insurance for my room only?

Yes. If you share a house or flat with other people, it’s easy to buy cover just for the items in your room with rental contents insurance. Or, if you’re living in university accommodation, halls of residence cover should do the job.

Do I need contents insurance if I am living in shared housing?

You don’t have to buy contents insurance if you live with other people, but if it’s a busy household with lots of people coming and going, it could be a sensible investment.

You might have a flatmate who likes having everyone over after a night out, for example, or live with someone who always leaves their window open.

Contents insurance will cover the cost of replacing your possessions if they’re stolen or damaged in a disaster like a flood or a fire.

If you aren’t sure whether you need it, think about the total cost of replacing all your possessions, versus the cost of contents insurance – which is usually pretty cheap.

What does shared housing contents insurance cover?

Room-only contents insurance in a shared house will normally offer the same cover as standard contents insurance. This will likely include protection from:

  • Theft
  • Fire
  • Flood
  • Water damage from leaks
  • Storm damage
  • Vandalism
  • Explosions.

Your shared house contents insurance will typically include any belongings stored in your room up to the agreed level of cover. That could be:

  • Clothes, shoes and bags
  • Jewellery and watches
  • Furniture, such as your desk, bed and wardrobe
  • Electronic equipment, like your TV, computer, laptop, tablet and phone
  • Books
  • Money
  • Sports equipment
  • Musical equipment and instruments.

It’s important to estimate the value of your room contents accurately – this will make sure that your payout will be enough to cover the cost of replacing all your belongings. And watch out for the single-item limit. That’s the maximum you can claim for any one item and it’s usually around the £1,000 or £1,500 mark.

If you have belongings worth more than the policy’s single-item limit – such as a bike, high-spec laptop or musical instrument – tell your insurance provider and they’ll be able to list them separately on the policy. It might cost you a few quid more, but it at least means that your most valuable possessions are properly covered.

What doesn’t shared housing contents insurance cover?

As with standard contents insurance, you won’t be covered for general wear and tear.

And insurance providers might not pay out if you’re burgled and there’s no sign of forced entry to your room. To check, look for the exclusions under the “theft” section of the policy booklet or any endorsements that have been added to the policy.

If you’re insuring the items in your room only, you probably won’t be covered for theft or damage to any belongings while they’re in communal spaces. This could mean, for example, that your laptop won’t be covered if you’ve left it in the living room, or your bike if it’s parked up in the hallway.

You’ll also have to tell your insurance provider about any high-risk items – small, valuable items that are easily stolen, like a laptop or watch – to make sure they’re covered.

It depends on your policy, but your belongings may not be covered for accidental damage either, unless you add on extra cover.

What are the conditions of contents insurance for shared accommodation? 

Contents insurance for rented accommodation, also known as tenants’ or rental insurance, provides cover for people who rent. Some policies offer the option of covering your room only if you live in a shared house or flat. 

However, a few conditions could apply to room-only cover: 

  • You must be able to lock the door to your room.
  • The policy will cover you for damage or theft from your room only.
  • Your belongings won’t be covered when you take them out and about, unless you buy cover for them away from home. This is commonly known as personal possessions insurance.

Can I extend an existing contents insurance policy? 

If you’re moving away from home temporarily and your parents already have home contents cover, they may be able to extend it so your belongings are covered under their existing home insurance. Check with the provider to see if this is an option.

Even if your parents are able to cover the contents of your room while you’re away at university, you’ll still need to get personal possessions insurance to cover belongings like your laptop and phone against theft or damage while you’re out and about.

Do I need to get shared accommodation contents insurance if I am living in university halls? 

Most universities provide halls of residence contents cover, which often includes cover for communal areas as well as your room.

If you’re moving into halls of residence, check with your university to find out what (if any) cover is provided. Then decide if that level of cover is enough or whether you need to take out additional cover.

Whatever contents insurance policy you take out, check for exclusions and limits so you know exactly what you’re covered for.

Items such as bicycles and musical instruments may need to be added individually to be covered by the policy. You may also want to add extra cover for accidental damage in case of breakages.

Compare contents insurance

You can compare a variety of policies right here with us. Compare home insurance today and find the right level of contents cover for your room.

Frequently asked questions

Should I take out a collective contents insurance policy with my housemates?

It’s an option, and it might be the cheaper option, but it’s risky. Even if you know your housemates well, circumstances change. And if one of your housemates makes a claim, it will be recorded on your claims history and could affect the price of your home insurance in the future. Arranging individual cover might be the less stressful option.

Is shared house contents insurance more expensive?

Chances are shared contents insurance will work out more expensive. With more people coming in and out of the house – including people you may not know – the risk of theft and other incidents will be considered higher by the insurance company.

How much is shared house contents insurance?

Contents insurance is usually pretty affordable, but the exact price you pay for room-only contents insurance will depend on a variety of factors, including:

  • Where you live
  • Who you live with
  • The level of cover you want for your belongings
  • The security of your rented accommodation
  • If you have high-value items to insure
  • Your claims history
  • The amount of excess you’ll pay if you need to make a claim.

What is tenants’ liability cover?

Tenants’ liability insurance is sometimes included in rental contents insurance. It covers you for accidental damage to your landlord’s furniture, fixtures or fittings.

Anna McEntee - Insurance comparison expert

Anna’s all about delivering fantastic insurance products at a great price. Value is the most important thing for Anna, as she cuts through the jargon and finds what’s most important and worth your hard-earned money.

Learn more about Anna

Rachel Lacey - Insurance and money expert

Rachel’s a self-confessed money nerd who’s been writing about personal finance for more than 20 years. She spent 17 years writing for Moneywise, including a few years as Editor, and likes making complicated subjects like insurance, pensions, investing and tax, easy for people to understand.

Learn more about Rachel

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