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Contents insurance for renters

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What is contents insurance for renters?

Contents insurance for renters, sometimes known as tenants’ 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.

What does renters insurance cover?

Tenants’ contents insurance covers your personal belongings, including your clothes, jewellery, furniture, tech, collectables, musical instruments, sporting equipment and appliances. Many policies cover cash and even the food in your freezer.

Policies vary, so read yours carefully before buying. And make sure the cover is enough for expensive possessions like your bike and laptop.

You should typically be covered for

  • Theft and vandalism – if your home is broken into and your possessions are stolen or damaged maliciously, 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, as long as it’s not down to poor maintenance.
  • 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. Check your policy to be sure whether this cover is included.
  • Alternative accommodation – pays out for a place to stay while your rented property is being repaired after a fire or flood. Check your policy to see if this is included.
  • Freezer contents – to cover the cost of any food in your fridge or freezer that becomes inedible because of a power failure. 

     

What is not covered by tenants’ contents insurance?

Just like any type of contents cover, tenants’ contents insurance will have exclusions. These typically include:

  • Wear and tear – contents damaged over time through general wear and tear, or that break down due to mechanical or electrical faults.

  • 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 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 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.

  • Pet damage – although you can often add accidental damage cover to your policy, it may exclude damage caused by pets.

  • Negligence and poor workmanship – your claim may be rejected if it’s found to be caused by a lack of maintenance or shoddy DIY work.

Note that tenants’ insurance is there to protect the possessions you keep in your rental property. It won’t help you cover any missed rent payments. 

Do I need renters’ insurance in the UK?

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.

Top tip

Although tenants’ contents insurance could be a worthwhile investment for all renters, it could be particularly useful if you live in a high-risk area. For example, if your rented home is in an area that’s experienced a recent spate of burglaries or is at a greater risk of flooding.

What optional extras are available with contents insurance for tenants?

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.
  • 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, personal injury. 
  • Bicycle cover away from home – to cover your bike from theft and accidental damage when you’re out and about.  

Just remember that add-ons usually cost extra and could significantly push up the price of your premium. Only choose additional cover if you’re sure you need it.

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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 Compare the Market found home contents cover for less than £65[1].

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[1]
51% of our customers were quoted less than £64.98 for their contents home insurance in June 2024.

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.

 

What do I need to get a tenants’ insurance quote?

To compare rental contents insurance quotes with us, we’ll need to know a few details about you, the property you rent and how much cover you need. We’ll ask you about:

  • Where you live, including the address, number of rooms and when the property was built.
  • Personal details, such as your profession, who you’re living with and how long you’ve lived in your rented home.
  • Security details about your rented property, including the types of locks fitted and if there’s a burglar alarm.
  • The total value of your contents in your rented home.
  • Any high-value items worth £1,500 or more you’d like to insure, plus any bikes worth over £350. 
  • If you’d like to include cover for any personal possessions that you take out and about with you.
  • If you’d like to add additional cover to your policy, such as for accidental damage.
  • Your claims history.

 

Author image Anna McEntee

What our expert says...

“When comparing contents insurance for renters, it’s worth considering a policy that includes tenants’ liability. This useful cover offers financial protection if you accidentally damage anything that belongs to your landlord, such as carpets, bathroom fixtures or furniture.

Some insurance providers include tenants’ liability cover as standard with renters’ insurance. But it can also be bought as standalone cover.

Many of the policies we compare have tenants’ liability already included, but always check the details to make sure.”

- Anna McEntee, Home, pet and travel insurance expert

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Frequently asked questions

Can students get renters’ contents insurance?

Yes, you can get student contents insurance if you’re studying away from home. But it’s a good idea to first check whether your possessions are covered by your parents’ home insurance policy.

Is renters’ insurance the same as contents insurance?

Renters’ insurance is a type of contents insurance that covers your belongings if you live in rented accommodation. One thing that typically sets it apart from homeowner’s contents insurance is that it often includes tenants’ liability cover. This can protect you financially if you cause accidental damage to your landlord’s property, fixtures or furniture.

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 possessions – 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 the value of your home contents to see 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?

It’s possible to get room-only insurance 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.

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 12 JULY 2024
by Anna McEntee