Tenants and renters’ insurance

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What is tenants’ insurance?

Tenants’ insurance, or renters contents insurance, is essentially home contents cover for those renting a property. While it’s not a legal requirement, tenants’ contents insurance can help protect your belongings and give you peace of mind while you’re renting. That’s because, although your landlord will take care of the buildings insurance, you’re still responsible for insuring any of your own belongings inside.

Renters’ contents insurance protects your possessions against theft and damage due to fire, flood, storms, subsidence, burst pipes and water leaks, by covering the costs of replacing any stolen or damaged items covered by the policy. Many tenants’ contents policies also include some tenant’s liability cover to protect you against accidental damage to your landlord’s fixtures and furniture. So, if you spill a glass of wine on the carpet or kick a football through the kitchen window, you won’t have to forfeit your deposit. Some polices may also cover alternative accommodation, paying for a place to stay while your rented property is being repaired after a fire or flood.

What is and isn’t included in tenants’ insurance cover?

Renters’ contents insurance covers the personal property you keep in your rented home – including clothes, furniture, gadgets, appliances, cash and even the food in your freezer – from certain unexpected events. Policies vary in terms of the scope and level of cover they include so it’s important to read the policy details carefully before you buy, and bear in mind that there are some common exclusions.

What’s typically covered?

  • 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 – with storms in recent years causing significant damage to our homes, storm cover could help you recover the costs of damaged contents.
  • Flooding – covers the value of your belongings if they’re damaged in a flood.
  • Tenant’s liability cover – covers accidental damage to your landlord’s property, fixtures and fittings. 

What’s typically excluded? 

  • Wear and tear – contents damaged over time through general wear and tear aren’t usually covered. 

  • 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 necessary. 

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

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

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How much does tenants’ contents insurance cost?

for 51% of people, for a year of contents cover.

While contents insurance for renters varies, 51% of people who used Compare the Market found home contents cover for an average of £58**.

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**51% of people could achieve a quote of up to £57.06 per year for their contents home insurance based on Compare the Market data in March, 2022.

How can I save money on my renters’ insurance cover?

If you’re looking to get cheaper renters’ insurance, there are some steps you can take to help bring the price down: 

  • Pay a higher excess – if you’re willing to pay more towards a claim, it could make your insurance premium cheaper. Just make sure that you can afford to pay if you do need to make a claim.
  • Pay annually – paying for your insurance annually will normally be cheaper, as you’ll typically be charged interest on monthly payments.
  • Improve your home security – while some home security improvements will certainly need input from your landlord, there are some steps to improve security that you can take yourself, such as installing a burglar alarm.

Compare quotes – one of the easiest ways of saving money on your renters’ contents insurance cover is by comparing insurance providers with Compare the Market. We’ll compare quotes from dozens of providers to find you a policy, and you can choose the cheapest quote with the right amount of cover.

How well does renters’ insurance cover my personal possessions?

As we mentioned above, renters’ insurance covers your personal possessions against theft and damage. But to make sure you have enough cover, you’ll need to value your contents accurately

High-risk, highly valuable items over the single-item limit – the most a policy will pay out for one item – need to be listed separately on your policy in order to be covered. This typically applies to items valued at £1,500 or more, but the limit varies between insurance providers, so be sure to check. High-risk items include jewellery and gadgets. Find out more about high-risk items.

Frequently asked questions

Can I get insurance for accidental damage?

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

  • Audio visual equipment, such as your TV, games console or PC
  • Jewellery
  • Furniture and ornaments.

Find out more about accidental damage cover.

Can students get renters’ contents insurance?

Tenant insurance policies can 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. It’s also worth checking whether you are, or can be, included on your parents’ home insurance policy. Just make sure you have the right amount of cover.

Find out more about 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 smartphone, 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 might use your deposit to cover the cost of any accidental damage caused during your tenancy, unless you have tenant’s liability cover in place.

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. However, your tenant’s contents policy should also provide alternative accommodation cover.

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 need. When getting a quote with us you can use our contents calculator tool to 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 the single-item limit, it’s often set at around £1,500 but could be lower or higher depending on the policy you take out.

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

Some policies may cover your possessions outside the home – but this is unlikely, and you’ll usually need to add this on to your renters’ insurance. 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 might need to pay extra).

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

Sharing a property could make insurance a little more complicated. 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 their own locks. You should still be able to find the cover you need – but your choice of insurance provider may be a more limited.

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.

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

Start here and compare tenants’ contents 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.

Page last reviewed on 16/06/2022
by Helen Phipps