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Home insurance for a council house

Do I need home insurance for my council house?

There are two types of home insurance - buildings insurance and contents insurance.

As a council tenant, you don’t need to worry about buildings insurance – that’s the council’s responsibility. This means their insurance can pay for repairs if your home’s structure, fixtures or fittings –  the bath, sink, toilet and fitted kitchen cupboards for example – are damaged because of a fire, storm or flood. You shouldn’t need to buy this insurance as it should already be included in your rent.

But if you want financial protection for the possessions you keep in your home, you’ll need contents insurance. This can pay out if items like your furniture, laptop, TV, carpets and clothes are damaged or stolen from your home.

If you're not sure whether you need contents insurance, think about the stuff you have in your home. How much would it cost to buy your possessions again if they were damaged or stolen? If you couldn’t afford to replace them, then it’s definitely worth considering contents insurance.

To help you work out how much your possessions are worth, take a look at our handy guide to valuing your home contents. You can also use our home contents calculator when you get a quote.

Is the council responsible for contents insurance?

No, the council isn’t responsible for your contents insurance. If, for instance, a storm created a leak in the building’s roof, the council’s buildings insurance would likely cover repairs to the roof. But it wouldn’t cover your computer if it was damaged by the leaking water. Contents insurance is something you’d need to buy yourself if you want cover for your home contents. 

Where can I buy contents insurance for my council house?

Many councils offer tenants the option of taking out contents insurance through them. Before you do that, you could try comparing quotes to see what deals are available. You can’t assume that the council’s deal will be the cheapest or the best value – or that it will necessarily give you the cover you need.

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Frequently asked questions

Is council home contents insurance cheaper?

Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that it will be. How much you pay depends on how much your possessions are worth, the size of your home, where it is, and the insurance provider and policy you choose.

What about insurance if I buy my council house?

If you buy your council property it’s very likely you’ll be a leaseholder. In this case, the council will arrange the buildings insurance. This will be included in the annual service charge. You’ll still need to arrange your own contents insurance if you want it.

If you buy your home as a freeholder, or you buy the freehold later, you’ll be responsible for buying buildings and contents insurance. Also, your mortgage provider will probably insist you have buildings insurance.

Will contents insurance cover me if the council damages my property?

If a tradesman working for the council damages your property – a plumber accidentally disconnects a pipe and you have a flood, for example – you may be able to claim on your council’s insurance. See further details on GOV.UK

If you do the same thing yourself, the council’s insurance may not cover you. But you might be able to make a claim for damage to your possessions under your own contents insurance policy if you have accidental damage cover.

What if the council doesn’t take out buildings insurance?

The council doesn’t have a legal obligation to take out buildings insurance, but they are responsible for the building and any repairs that might be required.

However, in the absence of buildings insurance and when any damage is deemed to be your fault, e.g. you fail to address a leaking pipe which later bursts and causes water damage, the council may hold you accountable for repair costs.

While you can’t take out buildings insurance for a council home, you could take out tenant’s liability insurance, which could cover costs relating to accidental damage to the property.

How much does contents insurance cost?

Get contents insurance from £66 a year[1] 

[1] 51% of our customers were quoted less than £66.00 for their contents home insurance in December 2023.

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What do I need to get a quote?

Want to compare quotes for council home insurance? Comparethemarket can help. Just give us a few details about you and your home, and we’ll gather quotes from some of the UK’s most respected home insurance providers.

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Author image Helen Phipps

What our expert says...

“With council house insurance, your buildings insurance should be taken care of, but it’s really important to think about cover for your possessions. If something happened to them and you didn’t have contents insurance, you could end up seriously out of pocket.”

- Helen Phipps, Insurance expert

Why use Compare the Market?

We compare prices for 77 home insurance products[2]

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Correct as of December 2023.

[3]  As of January 2024, Compare the Market had an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 from 38,330 people who left a review on Trustpilot. The score 4.8 corresponds to the Star Label ‘Excellent’.

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Page last reviewed on 12 JANUARY 2024
by Helen Phipps