Tenants and renters insurance

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What is tenants or renters insurance?

Tenants insurance, sometimes known as renters contents insurance, offers cover for your contents and personal belongings if you rent a property. While your landlord will take care of buildings insurance – and any contents they provide if the property is furnished – it’s up to you to insure your own belongings against theft and damage.

Is tenants insurance required in the UK?

No, rental insurance isn’t a legal requirement. But imagine if your home burned down and you had to replace everything you owned. Could you afford it? Even if your landlord has buildings insurance it won’t pay out for your possessions. Renters insurance provides a financial safety net for you if disaster strikes.

What does renters insurance cover?

Renters contents insurance covers your personal belongings, including your clothes, furniture, tech and appliances. Many policies cover cash and even the food in your freezer. Policies vary, so read yours carefully before buying. And remember, there are usually exclusions.

You should typically be covered for

  • Theft – if your home is broken into and your possessions are stolen, you can claim for their value.
  • Fire – if there’s a fire in your home and your belongings are damaged, you could recover the costs of replacing them.
  • Burst pipes and water leaks – you can claim for the cost of your possessions if they suffer water damage from a burst pipe or another type of leak.
  • Storms and weather damage – to help you recover the cost of contents damaged in a storm.
  • Flooding – covers the value of your belongings if they’re damaged in a flood.
  • Tenants liability cover – covers accidental damage to your landlord’s property, fixtures and fittings. 

What’s typically excluded from renters insurance?

  • Wear and tear – contents damaged over time through general wear and tear. 

  • Theft and unforced entry – if you’re the victim of a burglary but there are no signs of forced entry to your home, you’ll likely find your claim is rejected. 

  • High-value items – belongings that exceed your standard policy’s single-item value limit need to be listed separately on your policy to be covered.

  • Possessions outside the home – while some home insurance policies will cover possessions taken outside the home, others don’t. Check your policy documents carefully and arrange any additional cover if you need it. 

  • Business contents – if you use your home as a place of work, any equipment used for your business will need to be covered by business contents insurance. 

  • Homes left unoccupied – if you leave your rental property unoccupied for a long period (usually 30 days or more), standard tenants insurance won’t normally cover you.

Some polices cover alternative accommodation, which pays out for a place to stay while your rented property is being repaired after a fire or flood.

What optional extras are available with rental contents insurance?

Typical optional extras include:

  • Accidental damage cover – covers the cost of repairing or replacing an item if it’s damaged by accident: for example, spilling red wine on a sofa.
  • Home emergency cover – covers the cost of urgent repairs, like a burst pipe in winter or a broken window.
  • Personal possessions – covers valuable items that you take out and about with you, like your handbag, wallet and watch.
  • Legal cover – allows you to get legal advice for a range of common disputes and claims: for example, a property dispute with a neighbour.

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How much does tenants contents insurance cost?

How much you pay for renters insurance will depend on several factors, including where you live and how much cover you want. But 51% of people who used Comparethemarket found home contents cover for up to £63**.

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**51% of our customers were quoted less than £62.56 for their contents home insurance in November 2022.

How can I save money on renters insurance cover?

Here’s a few steps to help you get cheaper renters insurance:

  • Choose a higher excess. Just make sure you can afford to pay it if you need to make a claim.
  • Pay annually – if you can afford to, as you’ll typically be charged interest on monthly payments.
  • Accurately work out the value of your contents – if you overestimate how much they’re worth, you’ll end up over-paying for your insurance. But be careful not to underestimate, as you won’t be adequately insured.
  • Compare quotes – we’ll compare quotes from leading insurance providers to help you find the right level of cover at a price that works for you.


Frequently asked questions

Can I get insurance for accidental damage?

Accidental damage cover is usually bought as an add-on to contents insurance. Depending on the policy, it can cover:

  • Tech, including your TV, games console and PC
  • Jewellery
  • Furniture.

Find out more about accidental damage cover.

Can students get renters contents insurance?

Yes, you can get contents insurance if you’re a student. But it’s always worth checking whether your possessions are covered by your parents’ home insurance policy.

Find out more about student home insurance.

Is renters insurance the same as contents insurance?

Yes, but renters might want to look for policies that include tenant’s liability cover.

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 furniture, carpets and curtains. It won’t provide any cover for your smartphone, laptop or clothes, for example. You should still think about home contents insurance for tenants to protect your own belongings.

How do I work out how much cover I need?

You need to estimate how much it would cost to replace all your 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 need. When you get a quote with us you can use our contents calculator to help you estimate the value of your possessions

Can I get tenants contents insurance if I live in a shared house?

You should be able to find cover if you live in a shared house, but your choice of insurance providers may be more limited. Some contents insurance providers may refuse a tenant who lives in shared accommodation or they might exclude more items, especially if bedroom doors don’t have locks.

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

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

What is tenants liability insurance?

Tenants liability insurance covers you against common issues that may cause you to lose your security deposit, such as damaging your landlord’s furniture, fixtures and fittings. This may include accidental damage but doesn’t cover general wear and tear.

Page last reviewed on 13/02/2023
by Helen Phipps