Rental contents insurance

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Rental contents insurance

There are three main types of home insurance: buildings insurance, contents insurance, and combined buildings and contents insurance. If you’re a tenant, the buildings insurance is the responsibility of your landlord. It covers the structure of the building, including walls, windows and roof, plus permanent fixtures, such as baths, toilets and fitted kitchens. It might also include other buildings, such as sheds and garages.

Contents insurance covers all the possessions within your home, including appliances, furniture, clothes, jewellery, televisions and tablets. This is the type of insurance you might want to take out if you’re a tenant.

If you live in rented accommodation you’ll still need home insurance, but only contents cover to protect your home contents and personal possessions. Here’s what you need to know.

What is contents insurance for tenants?

Tenants’ insurance, or rental contents insurance, is essentially the same as home contents insurance but tailored to meet the specific needs of those who rent their home. Tenants’ insurance is intended to cover your personal home contents, whether you live in a self-contained property or a shared house or flat.

Tenants’ insurance policies will provide cover for students, but students 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.

Will my landlord’s insurance cover me?

Some landlords will have contents insurance on the property you rent. This is particularly likely if you rent your home furnished. You can find this out from your landlord, letting agent or housing association.

A contents policy taken out by a landlord will protect only their possessions, such as the furniture, carpets and curtains. It won’t provide any cover for your smart phone, laptop or clothes, so it’s still a good idea to take out your own personal rental insurance to protect your own belongings.

It’s unlikely that your landlord will have accidental damage cover on their contents insurance, so they may use your deposit to cover the cost of any accidental damage caused during your tenancy. Be aware, though, that some rental contents policies include tenants’ liability cover, which typically covers certain types of damage caused to your landlord’s fixtures and fittings. It’s worth checking whether it’s included in your policy.

Your landlord’s insurance may include cover that will put you up elsewhere if your accommodation can’t be lived in while repairs after a fire, flood or other insured event are carried out. This is usually referred to as alternative accommodation cover and an amount for this could also be included in your contents policy.

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 neither do you want to overestimate as you could end up paying for extra cover that you don’t actually need.

Most policies will have a maximum limit that any single item can be worth before you need to specify it separately. Referred to as a single item limit, it’s often set at around £1,500 but could be lower or higher depending on the policy you take out.

Can I get insurance for accidental damage?

Yes you can and, typically, there are two levels available to you. The basic level of accidental damage will usually cover damage to audio visual equipment, such as your TV, games console or PC. Or you could take out full accidental damage cover, which would cover you for accidents like spilling paint or wine on your sofa. Check your policy details to see if any of this cover comes as standard. If it doesn’t, you might like to include it as an add-on to your policy. 

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

If you want to ensure your belongings are covered while you’re out and about, you’ll need to check whether your rental contents insurance includes personal possessions cover outside the home. If it doesn’t, this additional cover could be available as an optional add-on when you take out your contents policy (but you may need to pay extra).

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

Sharing a property can make things a little more complicated when it comes to contents insurance. Some providers may refuse to cover you if you’re in shared accommodation or exclude more items, especially if bedroom doors don’t have their own locks.

That said, you should still be able to find the cover you need, although your choice of insurance provider might be a little more limited. Don’t be tempted to avoid telling your insurance provider about sharing arrangements though, as you may invalidate your policy should you make a claim.

How do I get a good deal on rental contents insurance?

All you need to do is start a quote. Give us a few details and our comparison page will show you a range of suitable policies. The cheapest policies will be listed at the top. Key features of each policy, such as the excess and total amount covered, will be clearly shown. Spend a bit of time comparing the different policies and you’re sure to find the right deal for you at a good price.

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