What is tenants’ insurance?
Tenants’ insurance is cover you take out for your home if you’re renting a property.
Do I need home insurance as a tenant?
Even if you’re renting a property from a landlord, you’ll still need home insurance if you want cover for your own possessions. This is why tenants’ insurance is mainly focused on protecting your home contents.
As you don’t own the property itself you don’t need buildings insurance – which should be your landlord’s responsibility.
Won’t my landlord’s home insurance cover me?
If your landlord has a contents insurance policy in place, it’s likely only to apply to items they own and have placed in the property – for example, any furniture or carpets they provide. It’s also worth checking if your landlord has other forms of insurance:
- Accidental damage cover: If your landlord has accidental damage cover in place on their contents policy, the insurer will pay out if you unintentionally damage something. If they haven’t got this, the landlord may recoup the cost of repairs from your deposit
- Alternative accommodation cover: An alternative accommodation policy means the insurer will pay out for a place for you to live if the property is uninhabitable
What does tenants’ insurance cover?
The cover you’ll get from your tenants’ policy will depend on the extras you choose and the level of insurance you take out. In general, you should expect a contents insurance policy to pay out if your possessions are damaged as a result of the following:
- Escape of water
What isn’t covered by a tenants’ insurance policy?
Like many types of insurance, a policy for tenants is likely to come with some exclusions, such as:
- Wear and tear: You won’t be able to claim for items that have been damaged through general wear and tear
- Unoccupied: If you leave your home empty, whether because you’re on holiday or selling up, you’ll need a special policy for unoccupied properties to insure your belongings while you’re away
- Unforced entry: If your belongings are burgled and there’s no sign of forced entry you might not be able to claim – for example, if you left a window open or door unlocked. Check your policy details for specifics as the rules can vary between insurers
- High-value items: Most contents insurance policies will have a single-item value limit, meaning you won’t be able to claim on items that exceed a certain value. For these expensive items, such as gadgets or clothing, it’s likely you’ll need to take out separate cover
- Business belongings: If you use your home for business any items you have for that purpose will have to be covered by a business contents policy
- Away-from-home: Not all insurance policies will cover your belongings if you take them out with you, so remember to check in the policy documents to make sure. Around 60% of renters who took out contents insurance from January to June 2019 added cover for outside the home*
Will my contents be covered for accidental damage?
Accidental damage cover might not be automatically included in your contents insurance, so check beforehand. You might also have to consider different levels of accidental cover – some might not offer protection for things such as spilled wine or broken gadgets unless you pay extra.
How much cover do I need with tenants’ insurance?
The specific amount of cover you’ll need for your contents will depend on you and how you value them. You’ll have to give an estimate as to how much you think it’ll cost to replace all your possession – it’s best to do this room by room to make sure you don’t miss anything.
Overestimating your contents might seem like a safe option but it will mean you’ll end up paying over the odds for cover you don’t need, while underestimating can leave you unable to claim if something goes wrong.
Data collected by MoneySuperMarket from January to June 2019, accurate as of August 2019
Will I be covered if I share a home with other people?
If you live in a shared household you might find it harder to find contents insurance. This is because some insurers refuse to cover you due to the higher risk of having to claim – especially if the bedroom doors in the property don’t have locks.
You should still be able to find a policy, but be prepared for higher premiums. Remember that if you don’t tell your insurers you live in shared accommodation, this will likely void your policy, and you won’t be able to claim at all.
Will I be covered if I live in a flat not a house?
Insurers will still cover your contents if you’re renting a flat rather than a house – just be sure to tell them when you take the policy out.
Will I be covered for contents in student accommodation?
As with shared accommodation, you might also find that contents insurance for students is higher on average, though some insurers offer policies designed with students in mind.
What is tenants’ liability insurance?
Tenants’ liability insurance covers you if something happens that results in you losing your security deposit, for example if you damage the landlord’s fixtures or fittings in the property.
How much does tenants’ insurance cost?
The average cost of contents insurance for tenants between January and June 2019 was £59, but the actual amount you’ll pay will depend on a number of factors:
- Your location: Premiums tend to be higher in locations at a high risk of flooding or criminal activity, while properties in London almost always carry higher insurance costs
- Your claims history: If you’ve made home insurance claims before, insurers will see you as likely to claim again in the future, so they’ll charge more for cover
- Your policy: Adding optional extras to your home insurance policy will boost your cover for a variety of situations, but you’ll need to pay extra for the benefits
How can I reduce the cost of tenants’ insurance?
Factors like your location are mostly beyond your control, and other changes might require you to get your landlord’s permission. Taking the following steps can help you get a cheaper insurance quote:
- Home security measures: Improving the security of your home reduces the risk of theft, so insurers will lower your premiums as you’ll be less likely to claim. Examples of this include keeping your valuable items in a locked safe, setting up burglar alarms or joining your local neighbourhood watch
- Fireproof: Installing smoke alarms will also lower your premiums as insurers take into account the reduced risk of claiming for fire damage
- Pipe insulation: Burst water pipes can cause a lot of damage, not only by leaking water inside your home but also by damaging the soil structure surrounding your property. This can lead to subsidence, which is expensive to repair. Insulating your pipes can prevent them from bursting, but you might need to ask your landlord to do this, or to give you permission to do it yourself
- Flood barriers: If your home is in a flood risk area, installing barriers and other protective measures reduces the likelihood of you have to claim for flood damage
- Pay annually: Paying your insurance premiums in monthly instalments can be a good way to manage the cost, but in return for the spread payments insurers generally charge more –similar to charging interest
- Pay more excess: Excess is what you pay towards a claim before your insurer picks up the remaining cost. Volunteering a higher excess payment tells insurers you’ll only claim when it’s worth the cost, so they’ll lower your premiums in return
Compare tenants’ home insurance quotes
If you’re renting and looking for cover, comparing home insurance quotes on MoneySuperMarket is the easiest way to find a better deal. Just tell us a little about yourself, the property and the contents you want to insure, and we’ll compile a list of quotes tailored to your exact requirements.
You’ll be able to browse and compare deals by the overall monthly and annual cost and the level of cover you get, so you can find the policy that gives you everything you need. Once you’ve chosen your preferred deal, just click through to the provider to finalise your purchase.
As with all insurance products, the cheapest option isn’t always the best. We recommend aiming for a balance between cost and cover, so you can avoid under-insuring yourself or overpaying for a policy you don’t need.