Skip to content

Do I need home insurance if I’m renting?

Article author's profile picture
Written by  Rebecca Goodman
5 min read
Updated: 07 Feb 2024

Tenants don’t legally need to take out home insurance, but it can protect all the things they own from damage, loss, or if they’re stolen. It covers their contents, as tenants don’t need to take out insurance to protect their property, and it can cover the costs of replacing or repairing their items if something goes wrong.  

What is home insurance? 

To decide whether you need home insurance or not, it’s important to break down what this cover does and how it works. Home insurance is split into two parts, and you can buy a combined policy or one on its own. 

Buildings: covers the structure of a property and anything that’s fitted to it, such as a bathroom or plumbing system. It’s not taken out by renters. 

Contents: covers everything inside a house, from sofas and beds to TVs and jewellery. Think of everything inside the house that you would take with you if you moved, and these are the things that would be covered on this policy. 

couple sat on couch

What insurance do I need as a renter? 

Tenants do not need to take out buildings insurance, as this is the responsibility of the landlord. While it’s also not mandatory for the property owner to have, some mortgage providers will request a buildings policy is in place.  

Contents insurance is a valuable policy which can save someone a lot of money in the long run. You pay for it monthly and it covers the cost of replacing or repairing any of your things if they are damaged, destroyed, or if they are stolen.  

There are a huge range of scenarios that are covered from flooding and fire to theft, and you can also pay extra to cover your belongings when you’re out of the home too. 

What does renters’ insurance cover? 

Anything you own will be covered in a contents insurance policy. If you’re trying to calculate how much cover you need, think about how much it would cost to replace all of your things, if they were destroyed in a flood or fire, for example. You may also be covered for staying somewhere else while your property is repaired.  Most policies will cover your costs in the following scenarios: 

  • Theft 

  • Storms 

  • Water damage 

  • Flooding 

  • Fire 

What is usually excluded from contents insurance?  

It’s important to be aware of what is not included in tenant’s insurance, so you’re aware of what you can, and can’t, claim for. While every policy is different, the following are commonly excluded: 

  • General wear and tear 

  • Theft if you were careless - such as leaving windows or doors unlocked 

  • Items over a certain value such as expensive bikes or jewellery 

  • Things taken outside of your home   

  • Accidental damage 

  • Leaving a property empty for a long time (usually over 35 days in a row) 

What are the different types of contents insurance? 

Standard contents insurance covers all your belongings, and there are lots of providers offering it. You choose the level of cover you want, and the excess to pay - which is the amount of money you would pay if you made a claim - and you’re covered. There are a few other common types of contents insurance too, like the following: 

  • Living alone in a rented property: if you live alone, anything you own which you have brought into the property (and you will take with you when you leave) will be covered in your policy 

  • Living with another person in a rented property: You can take out a joint contents insurance policy with another person and this will cover all the things you both own 

  • Renting a room in shared accommodation: if you live in shared accommodation you’ll need a contents policy for shared occupancy, which covers your items within the home 

  • Renting a room at university in a student house: you can take out insurance to just cover the items in your room but there may be requirements from the insurer for this, such as having a lock on your bedroom door   

What other insurance do renters need? 

Renters’ insurance policies come in all shapes and sizes and there are usually lots of extras you can pay for. These will depend on the policy you buy but you can usually add-on the following features: 

  • Accidental damage: any accidents that happen should be covered, such as a broken antique vase knocked over by a cat or a drink spilled onto a sofa 

  • Personal possessions: you can cover any items you take out of the house 

  • High-value items: expensive items: things such as bikes or antiques can be covered if you list them separately as high-value items. There is usually a limit and items need to be above £1,500 to be listed this way.     

What insurance do I need as a student? 

If you’re a student and you want to protect the items you’re taking to university, you’ll need renters’ insurance. The type of insurance you need will depend on where you live, if you’re in a shared home you could either take out a policy just to cover your room, or one with your housemates, for example.  

Some insurance policies will also cover student belongings during term time so always check to see if you already have cover, on a parent’s policy, before paying for a new one.  

Frequently asked questions

Is furniture covered by my contents insurance?

Yes, furniture is covered if you own it, under a contents policy. This is because it covers anything that can be moved in or out of the property.  

How much contents insurance do I need?

You’ll want enough cover for your belongings so when you take out a policy you will need to calculate how much all of the things you own would cost to replace.  

Can I get contents insurance through my bank?

Some banks provide insurance as part of a paid-for current account. Always check to see if you have this cover before taking out a new policy, but make sure you read the terms and conditions to see how much cover is provided.  

Looking for home insurance?
Get a quote