What is tenants’ liability insurance?
Tenants’ liability insurance is specifically designed for renters. It offers tenants protection against some of the most common situations that might lead to them losing their security deposit – namely, accidental damage to a landlord’s fixtures, fittings or furniture. This includes items such as the bath, toilet and white goods, which could prove very expensive to repair or replace if damaged accidentally.
It’s worth noting, however, that tenants’ liability cover won’t pay out for general wear and tear. It also won’t cover any damage that was caused maliciously.
How does tenants’ liability insurance work?
As a tenant, it’s your responsibility to keep your home in good condition and use it in a ‘tenant-like’ way. This means that if you cause any damage to the building itself or any property belonging to your landlord, you’ll have to pay for that damage - or the cost could be deducted from your deposit at the end of your tenancy.
Tenants’ liability insurance can cover the costs of any accidental damage to your landlord’s property and belongings that you’re liable for as part of your tenancy agreement. For example:
- fixtures and fittings
- white goods and appliances
- carpets and soft furnishings.
Let’s say you put a heavy dish in the fridge and break the shelves. Tenants’ liability insurance could help cover the costs of replacing them.
Another benefit is that tenants’ liability can help cover the costs of any damage as it happens. This can help protect you from possible deposit deductions or disputes at the end of your tenancy.
You can take out tenants’ liability insurance at any time; whether it’s at the start of your tenancy or after you’ve been renting for a while.
Is tenants’ liability a legal requirement?
Tenants’ liability insurance isn’t required by law in the UK. However, there are many landlords who will insist on tenants’ liability cover when you sign a rental agreement – especially if they’re leasing a furnished home. They’re entitled to set this requirement, so if you’re not keen on taking out a tenants’ insurance policy it might be worth finding a different landlord.
Do I need tenants’ liability insurance?
If you have rental contents insurance, check the policy terms and conditions. Some insurance providers include tenants’ liability as standard, so you may find you’re already covered.
Landlords are responsible for buildings insurance but, as a tenant, it’s your responsibility to insure your own belongings with contents insurance if you choose to. If you’re taking a lot of your own possessions – such as TVs, a bed and soft furnishing – into your rental property, it’s worth considering a contents insurance policy.
When you’re comparing contents insurance quotes, you can check if tenants’ liability cover is included. To work out how much cover you might need, total up the value of the fixtures, fittings and furniture that belong to the landlord, as you’d be liable for these if you accidentally damage them. If you decide against buying contents insurance, for example because you’re moving into a fully furnished property, you can get tenants’ liability insurance as a standalone option.
It’s best to weigh up the value of your security deposit versus the cost of annual cover, in case you do accidentally damage something.
Frequently asked questions
What’s the difference between tenants’ liability and contents insurance?
The main difference is that contents insurance will cover your belongings. If it doesn’t include tenants’ liability, it won’t cover any damage to your landlord’s belongings.
If you damage your own belongings, it won’t affect your deposit return. Damage to your landlord’s belongings could cause problems when you want your deposit back at the end of your tenancy. This is where tenants’ liability insurance could help.
Do I still need a security deposit if I have tenants’ liability insurance?
Yes. Tenants’ liability insurance isn’t a replacement for your security deposit, but it can help you hold on to it. This type of cover has been specifically designed to reduce the risk of you losing your deposit, due to accidental damage.
See more in our guide to deposit protection schemes.
What other home insurance might I need?
As well as contents insurance, you might also want to consider:
• Accidental damage cover - can help cover the costs of repairing or replacing your own belongings if they’re accidentally damaged. This type of cover can be bought as an add-on to your contents insurance.
• Personal possessions cover - this can also be added to your contents insurance. It covers items you take with you outside the home such as your smartphone, jewellery, purse or handbag.
Where can I get tenants’ liability cover?
Here at Compare the Market, we can help you compare home insurance quotes from a range of trusted UK providers. When comparing contents insurance policies, several of our providers include tenants liability as part of the policy – you’ll just need to check their documents. All you need to do is tell us a little bit about yourself and we’ll find you a list of relevant policies in a matter of minutes.
What do I need to get a quote?
When you fill out our online form, we’ll ask you some basic questions such as:
- your personal details
- details about the property you’re renting, including the address
- the level of cover you need.
We’ll then send you a list of suitable quotes to compare.
From the home team
“If you’re one of the many households that rent a property in the UK, you’ll want the peace of mind that you’re protected financially if you damage your landlord’s property by accident. Insurance for renters isn’t always obligatory, but it can safeguard you against risks to do with your living situation. The home insurance market is incredibly competitive, so shopping around and comparing quotes is a great way to get a cheaper deal.”
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**Correct as of November 2020.
***On average it can take less than 12 minutes to complete a home insurance quote through Compare the Market based on data in November 2020.
****For the period 1st September 2020 to 30th November 2020, 1,785 people responded to the question “When completing a quote using CtM, how did you find it?” 1,717 responded with ‘easy’ or ‘very easy’ (96.2%).