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Shared house contents insurance

If you live in a shared house, with people coming and going, you’ll no doubt want to make sure your possessions are protected from theft and damage. But how does shared house contents insurance work?

Find out everything you need to know about room-only contents insurance for your house share.

If you live in a shared house, with people coming and going, you’ll no doubt want to make sure your possessions are protected from theft and damage. But how does shared house contents insurance work?

Find out everything you need to know about room-only contents insurance for your house share.

Written by
Anna McEntee
Insurance comparison expert
Last Updated
10 JUNE 2024
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, shared house contents insurance can cover just the possessions you keep in your room.

Room-only contents insurance is designed to cover the risks housemates, flatmates, renters and lodgers face living in a shared property. It could also cover students living in university halls of residence.

Do I need contents insurance if I live in shared housing?

You don’t have to buy contents insurance if you live with other people. But house share insurance is one way to financially protect yourself from the loss of your valued possessions.

Even if you’re extremely careful with your belongings, the behaviour of your housemates is out of your control and could potentially put you and your belongings at risk. Room-only contents insurance could cover the cost of replacing your possessions if they’re stolen or damaged in a flood or a fire.

If you’re not sure whether you need shared house contents insurance, think about the total cost of replacing all your possessions and consider whether you could afford to do this yourself.

Can I take out a shared house contents insurance policy with my housemates?

Some insurance providers will let you and your housemates take out a joint renters’ contents insurance policy.

This could allow you to split the cost of cover for any shared belongings – like appliances and the living room TV. But make sure you explain your situation as some of these policies are designed for couples or families renting a property, rather than sharers renting a room in a house.

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 is likely to include protection against:

  • Theft
  • Fire
  • Flood
  • Water damage from leaks
  • Storm damage
  • Vandalism and malicious damage
  • Explosions
  • Subsidence and heave.

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 gadgets, 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 to make sure you have enough cover for 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. It’s usually around the £1,500 or £2,000 mark but it could be higher or lower, depending on your insurance provider.

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 these high-value items separately on the policy.

It might cost you a few quid more, but it will mean that any pay-out could cover the full cost of replacing your most valuable possessions.

What doesn’t shared housing contents insurance cover?

There are some common exclusions to be aware of with room-only contents cover. For example, you probably won’t be covered for:

  • General wear and tear, or for items that suffer a mechanical breakdown or electrical fault.
  • Theft, if there’s no sign of forced entry to your room.
  • Belongings kept or left 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 in the hallway.
  • Accidental damage – although you can usually add cover for this as an optional extra, for an additional cost.
  • Theft or damage to your belongings when you take them out and about, unless you add on personal possessions cover.
  • Loss or damage if the house or flat you share has been left empty for more than 30 days in a row.

Room contents insurance policies may also include the condition that you must be able to lock your room door. It’s important to make sure you have a working lock installed and that you secure your door when you’re out. Otherwise, any claim for theft could be rejected on the grounds there was no forced entry.

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

Some universities provide halls of residence contents cover, which typically includes cover for possessions stored in your room against theft or damage caused by fire, storm or water damage.

Not all universities provide this, so if you’re moving into halls check with your university to find out what (if any) cover is provided. And make sure it’s adequate to protect your belongings.

You could also check if your possessions are covered by your parents’ contents policy while you’re studying away from home.

High-value items, such as bicycles and musical instruments, may need to be added individually to be covered by your parents’ policy. And check with your parents whether they have accidental damage cover, 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.

Shared house contents insurance: key points to consider

  • You can choose to get a shared contents policy with your housemates or get cover for your room only.
  • If you choose room-only cover, your possessions won’t be covered in communal spaces.
  • You’ll typically need a lock on your door to make sure your room-only cover is valid.
  • You’ll need to list any high-value items that are over the single-item limit.
  • You’ll need personal possessions cover to protect any valuable items you take out and about.

Frequently asked questions

Is shared house contents insurance more expensive?

Shared house contents insurance could work out more expensive than it would for a family home. 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 provider.

How much is shared house contents insurance?

How much you’ll pay for room-only contents insurance depends on a variety of factors, including:

  • Where you live
  • 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 covers you for accidental damage to your landlord’s furniture, fixtures or fittings. It’s sometimes included in rental contents insurance.

Anna McEntee - Insurance 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.

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