When will I need renters insurance?

Header Image

If you’re renting your accommodation, whether it’s in a house or flat to yourself, a house-share or a halls-of-residence, you can benefit from a renters insurance policy.

It can prove useful in a number of circumstances, where without the right level of cover you could face costs running into the thousands to repair or replace your belongings.

Looking for renters insurance?

Protect your belongings with MoneySuperMarket

Compare now

 

Most common claims

Here are some of the most common reasons people claim on their home insurance:

Fire

Fire

Thief

Theft and burglary

Water

Escape of water

Damage

Accidental damage

Form illustration

Flooding

Read on to see why, even if you’re a tenant, having the right cover in place can be a lifeline.

Escape of water claims

One of the most common claims made on home insurance policies is for damage caused by escape of water 

– when water leaks out of your pipes or water storage tank. This usually happens as a result of cold weather, where water freezes, causing it to expand. When it thaws again, it can end up damaging your water pipes – leading to a leak. It can also happen due to old or rusty pipes, faulty appliances or a blocked drain.

Will renters insurance cover escape of water?

A renters insurance policy will cover you for the cost of damage caused by escape of water. So for example if a water pipe in your bathroom bursts and the leak drips down into your living room, it could affect your furniture, clothes or electrical equipment.

Will renters insurance pay for repairs to plumbing?

Escaped water can also result in other costs, such as hiring a plumber to locate and repair the leak – but this will be down to your landlord. It won’t be covered by your renters policy, which only applies to your belongings.

Image

What can I do to prevent damage caused by escape of water?

There are steps you can take to prevent the escape of water or to reduce the damage done before it becomes serious.

1

Clear gutters and downpipes

This keeps your plumbing from getting blocked

2

Repair dripping taps or broken seals

Before the problem becomes more serious

3

Insulate your water pipes

Or ask your landlord to do it – this will prevent them from freezing up during cold weather

4

Set heating to come on every day if you’re away

Even if it's just for an hour, as this reduces the chance of indoor pipes freezing

5

Learn how to turn the main water pipe off

So you can prevent any further damage if you spot a leak

6

Ask a neighbour to check in occasionally

So if there are any leaks while you're away you can take the necessary action

Fire claims

It’s an unbearable reality to face, but fires do happen – and for a number of reasons, such as a candle left lit or an improperly discarded cigarette. And while a fire might start small they can spread quickly and cause significant damage.

Safety should be your number-one priority, making things like smoke alarms and fire extinguishers vital – but once the smoke clears you’ll have to deal with the fallout.

Does renters insurance cover fire damage?

Your belongings should be covered under renters insurance, so you’ll be able to claim for at least part of the cost of repairing or replacing anything that was harmed in the fire. For example, your insurer should pay out for replacing furniture, clothing and gadgets that were burned, or repairing any jewellery that sustained fire damage.

However, any of your belongings that are valued over a certain amount will have to be declared separately, and these are likely to raise the cost of cover. Most insurers set the single-item value limit at around £1,000 or £1,500.

Image

Will I have to pay for building repairs or new accommodation?

Your landlord’s insurance should cover the cost of repairs to the building itself, so this won’t be your responsibility. However you should ask if they have alternative accommodation cover too, as it means their insurer will pay for a place you can stay while the property is being repaired.

How else can I prevent fire damage?

Taking the following steps will help prevent the risk of fire damage:

1

Make sure you have a working smoke alarm on each floor - and if you don't, contact your landlord

2

Keep a fire extinguisher handy on each floor

3

Avoid smoking on beds or furniture as these can be exceptionally flammable

4

Don’t plug too many appliances into your power sockets – which means being careful with power lead extensions

5

Keep flammable substances and objects away from open flames and heat sources

Theft and burglary claims

The risk of theft and burglaries will depend on the area you live in, and in most cases having the right security measures in place should keep your home secure. At the very least, it means you’ll still be able to claim on your renters insurance policy if a burglar does find their way in. Unfortunately burglaries do still happen, and they cause a lot of distress.

Can I claim for theft on renters insurance?

With renters insurance in place you should be able to claim back the cost of replacing any belongings that were stolen or damaged during the theft. 

In fact many insurance policies include what’s known as ‘new-for-old’ cover, which means the insurer will pay to replace your damaged belongings with brand new ones. However not all do – check if your policy offers new-for-old or ‘indemnity’ cover which will account for usage and wear-and-tear damage, meaning the pay-out may well be lower.

Will I have to claim for damage done to the property?

Burglars won’t always just take your things; they may also leave damage in their wake as a result of the break-in. For example, they may break your locks or smash through your windows and doors – which would all come under damage to your building.

As a tenant you shouldn’t have to claim for this as it will be covered by your landlord’s building insurance policy.

Will I be able to claim for all my belongings that are stolen?

Anything that was stolen should be covered by your policy, so long as you recorded it all when you took the cover out. 

This means you should:

Tick

Have an accurate estimate of the value of your contents

Tick

Separately declare any items worth more than £1,000, as these may be over the single-item value limit. They should still be covered, but you might have to pay higher premiums to make sure

Tick

Keep receipts for your purchases to prove ownership and value of stolen belongings 

If your home has been burgled, you should contact the police as soon as you can and get a police report and crime number. This will be important during the claims process.

How can I make the claims process for burglary easier?

Burglary claims are an extra headache on top of an already stressful situation, but doing the following will make the process easier – and it’ll also reduce the chances of your home being burgled in the first place:

Image

1

Install the right window and door locks

Or ask your landlord to. They're proven to be secure and indicate you took the right preventative measures

2

Don’t be negligent

Don’t leave your windows or doors open or unlocked, or publicise your holiday plans online

3

Install a burglar alarm

Or consider smart home technology such as wi-fi connected doorbells and security cameras so you can monitor your home

4

Get a lockable safe to keep your valuables secure

Insurers usually offer lower premiums on contents cover if you keep certain items locked away

5

Avoid leaving your property unoccupied

If your home will be empty for an extended period you may need unoccupied home insurance

6

Keep valuables away from windows

This includes car keys, as burglars will often see this as an opportunity to steal your car if they can access your keys 

Accidental damage claims

As anyone with young children, an enthusiasm for DIY or a general sense of clumsiness will know, accidents can happen. And whether you’ve knocked a glass of red onto your white carpet or shattered your telly while trying to shift it into another room, some accidents do end up being costly.

Can I claim for accidental damage with renters insurance?

Your renters insurance policy should cover you for accidental damage if you’ve included it as part of your policy. 

They’ll generally pay out for damage to gadgets and laptops, furniture, and home entertainment systems.

Image

1

Will renters insurance cover accidental damage caused by children?

You’ll generally be covered for damage to home entertainment systems, but if your kids get creative with crayons and finger paints on your sofa or curtains, you might need more extensive cover to make a claim. 

2

Will renters insurance cover accidental damage caused by pets?

Unfortunately most insurers won’t pay out for pet-related damage, so if your pup’s been chewing on table legs or scratching away at your sofa this will come out of your own pocket. We suggest keeping pets away from expensive furniture until they’re fully house-trained. 

3

Will renters insurance cover accidental damage caused by DIY?

If they are happy for you to start a project, check with both their insurer and yours to make sure DIY 

work is covered under both your landlord’s buildings insurance policy and your renters insurance policy. 

If you are worried about your house being burgled you should consider installing additional security measures.

Flood claims

Flood reports are becoming increasingly common in the UK. Flooding can lead to significant damage – if water breaks into your home it can affect electronics, furniture and plastering among other things in and around the property.

How can renters insurance help?

Your renters insurance policy should cover damage resulting from flooding, so long as it’s due to natural occurrences – for example, a river overflowing or exceptionally high rainfall.

This means you’ll be able to claim for a new TV, stereo and sofa so long as they fall under the single-item value limit – and if they don’t you’ll need to declare them separately, and likely pay a little more for cover.

If your landlord provided any furniture, they should have a contents insurance policy that covers the cost of replacing it.

Will damage to the building be covered?

So long as your landlord has buildings insurance in place, they should be covered for flood damage – but it’s always worth checking to be sure. It means your landlord's insurance will only cover you for:

Fire

Drying out your home

Water

Removing debris

Damage

Legal action

Form illustration

Architect fees

Thief

 Restoring fittings and fixtures

You should also ask if their policy covers alternative accommodation, as you may need somewhere else to stay while your home is being repaired.

Will I be covered if I live in a flood-risk area?

Most insurers do offer cover for flood damage, but if you live in an area that’s close to water or which has been flooded before, your premiums will be higher.

A joint scheme by the government and insurance industry called Flood Re should reduce the cost of cover for these homes – so your insurer will pay for flood damage and Flood Re will reimburse them for the cost. You will have to pay a £250 excess fee for any claims you make, however.

What should I do if I live in a flood risk area?

If you live within 400m of water or in a previously flooded area, so the following precautions can help with the potential fallout:

Tick

Use the government’s flood map for planning services to see whether you’re in a high flood risk area

Tick

Sign up for free government flood warnings via text message

Tick

Install anti-flood measures like flood boards and brick covers to prevent water from entering your home

Tick

Create an action plan so you know what to do in an emergency

What should I do if my home has been flooded?

If your home has been flooded, taking the following actions can help ensure your provider will cover the cost of damage:

Tick

Tell your insurer as soon as possible if your home has been damaged by flooding

Tick

 Gather evidence of the flood using photos and videos - and make a note of the depth of water 

Tick

Try not to clear debris or remove your belongings until after you’ve talked to your insurer

Tick

Ask your insurer to appoint a loss assessor, or contact your own if you’re prepared to pay the fee