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Council house insurance

Do I need insurance if I live in a council house?

Saarrah Mussa
Written by  Saarrah Mussa
5 min read
Updated: 01 Mar 2024

You might not own the council house you live in, but it’s still worth considering taking out home insurance. Our guide explains more

Do I need home insurance for my council house?

If you live in a council house you generally don't need home insurance as that will be covered by the council. However, home insurance can be split into buildings insurance and contents insurance. As the council owns your home, you generally do not need to pay buildings insurance. If anything goes wrong with the property, such as a leaking pipe or fallen roof tiles, then it’s the council’s responsibility to put right. However it is worth considering contents insurance to cover the replacement cost of your possessions should they be stolen, lost or damaged.

Contents insurance covers your personal belongings inside the house including furniture and will provide cover if your items are damaged, stolen or lost due to events such as a fire. The council's insurance alone will not cover them.

Temporary housing

Is the council responsible for contents insurance? 

No, the council is not responsible for your contents insurance for your council house. As the building itself will be covered by them, if there was a storm that resulted in damage to your roof, it will be the council's responsibility to fix that however, they will not be responsible or expected to cover any damaged items inside your house from the storm.

This means that the council do not provide cover for the cost of your insurance or any of your belongings inside your home.

Should I take out contents insurance?

The decision to get contents insurance ultimately depends on your individual circumstances and the value of your belongings. Its helpful to weigh up to the cost of your insurance premium against the potential financial burden of replacing or fixing your possessions if something unfortunate were to happen. fixing your possessions if something unfortunate were to happen.

Where can I purchase contents insurance? 

While some councils do offer contents insurance options for their tenants its always worth shopping around and comparing quotes before committing, you may also want to add additional cover for certain expensive items. The cheapest isn't always the best option, MoneySuperMarket can tailor your policy to your individual needs and requirements.   

What if damage to my belongings is the council’s fault?

The council won’t insure anything that belongs to you as the council tenant. This could include furniture, white goods and even carpets.

But if any damage caused is not your fault – such as a contractor causing a leak that ruins your carpet – it could be the responsibility of the council and you may be able to make a claim.

Different councils are likely to have different policies, so you need to check with them and if possible, get a copy of any policies in place so you can see what is within their remit to provide cover for. If your possessions have been damaged by circumstances deemed out of the council’s control, such as flash flood, it’s likely they’ll seek to reject any claim.

What if the council doesn’t take out buildings insurance?

Surprisingly, not all councils take out buildings insurance on their properties, but instead have a contingency fund to pay for damage.

Problems can arise if the damage is the tenants’ fault, for example, fire damage caused by a candle.

Because the repairs are not covered by insurance, the council may try and push some of the cost on to the tenant.

While this is an unfortunate situation, it has happened in the past, with tenants complaining they are not allowed to take out buildings cover to cover the eventuality.

One option is for tenants to buy tenants liability insurance. This should cover the risk of the tenant damaging the landlord's property, as well as any costs that are incurred.

What happens if I buy my council house? 

When you buy your council house, the situation with your insurance will depend on whether you become a freeholder or a leaseholder.

If you are a leaseholder, the buildings insurance, in most cases, the council will continue to be arranged and included in your annual service charge by the council.

However, if you are a freeholder, you become responsible for paying the buildings insurance and any additional cover you may require.

Whether you are a freeholder or a leaseholder, contents insurance will remain your responsibly.

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