Tenants insurance

Whether you rent a house or a flat, keep your possessions protected with tenants insurance.

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What is tenants insurance?

Tenants cover is a type of home insurance that can protect your possessions against risks like flood, fire and theft.

It’s very similar to contents cover, which is one of the two main types of home insurance available. Yet tenants insurance also protects against risks that are unique to renters, such as any damage you cause to your landlord’s fixtures and fittings.

When do I need to take out tenants insurance?

Still unsure if tenants insurance is for you? Here are a few situations where you would take out this type of cover:

  1. You’re a family renting an entire house or flat
  2. You’re living in a house or flat-share and you want to protect contents in just your room
  3. You’re living in a house or flat-share and everyone in the property wants to get out a joint contents policy

What does tenants insurance cover?

In general tenants insurance will cover you for the same things as a standard contents insurance policy. For instance:

  • Kitchenware. Pots, pans and white goods such as washing machines.
  • Furniture. Tables, wardrobes, beds, sofas and armchairs.
  • Furnishings. Curtains, carpets, cushions and bedding.
  • Decorations. Paintings and posters.
  • What you wear. Clothes and jewellery.
  • Gadgets and other electronics. Phones, laptops, TVs, games consoles.
  • Entertainment. Books, vinyl, DVDs.

Yet this type of policy will also cover you for tenants liability, which means it will pay for any accidental damage you cause to any furniture, furnishings or other possessions that belong to your landlord.

Should you accidentally spill a glass of red wine on the landlord’s carpet or burn a hole in their sofa with a cigarette, tenants liability cover can help.

What events are these items protected against?

Items in your home and in your garden will be protected against certain risks as standard with tenants insurance policy – theft for example. Yet you’ll have to pay more for certain additional levels of cover:

Leaking water
Sudden impact

What tenants insurance doesn’t cover

Like with all other types of insurance there are reasons the insurer will refuse to pay out. A provider typically won’t help to repair or replace your possessions in the following circumstances:

  • Any damage caused to a possession when someone cleaned it, repaired it or tried to restore it
  • Any damage caused to an item by a pet
  • An electrical item that has suffered a mechanical or electrical fault with no apparent signs of damage
  • Any items used for business purposes
  • Any deliberate damage to an item
  • Any damage inflicted by another tenant
  • Any damage that results from an illegal act by you or a housemate

How much cover do I need?

You and any flatmates who want to take out a policy will have to work out the cost of all your contents. Here are the steps you need to take:

  • Make an inventory. Go through your property room by room and make a tally of everything you own on a piece of paper, putting each item in a category: furniture, electronics, gym equipment, kitchenware, etc. With collections there’s no need to make a note of every DVD or piece of clothing you have. Simply write down “25 DVDs”.
  • Work out the value of each item or collection of items. Try to find receipts or find out the cost of replacing each item. Don’t put down what you think they’re currently worth. After all, if someone steals your five-year old laptop, you’re going to have to pay more than its current value to buy a new one.
  • Find out what your policy’s sub-limits are. See your policy document to find out the maximum amount it will pay for each item, then make a note of any items that are worth more than this limit. If the sub-limit is £2,000 for instance and you have a necklace that’s worth £5,000, put a star next to it on your list.
  • Calculate the totals. After doing a full inventory calculate the total value of everything on your list, then type up this list and total figure and send it to your insurer.

How much is tenants insurance?

In 2018 the average cost of home contents insurance was £127 a year, so the typical price of a tenants insurance policy shouldn’t be too far off this.

However, this is a general rule of thumb and several factors might mean you pay much less or far more than this:

  • The location of your home. Premiums are normally higher if you live in a neighbourhood with high levels of crime or if there’s a flood risk.
  • Your home security. Deadbolts, window locks, cameras and alarms all help to make your insurance cheaper, as do deterrents such as CCTV cameras or an alarm system.
  • Your level of cover. Naturally, the more optional extras you select, the more your premiums will increase. For example, if you opt for cover that will replace lost items with new ones, it will be more expensive than covering the replacement value, which depreciates over time.

Tips for getting cheaper tenants insurance

Let’s face it, we’d all much rather spend our money on the things we enjoy instead of insurance. So here are some tips for cutting your tenants cover premiums:

  • Only pay for the cover you need. Make sure you accurately estimate the value of your contents, otherwise you might overpay in insurance.
  • Pay annually. Insurance companies tend to charge customers who pay in monthly instalments more so try to pay for your tenants cover in an annual lump-sum.
  • Opt for a higher excess. By agreeing to pay a higher excess – the amount you have to cough up for a claim before the insurer starts contributing – you can lower your premiums.
  • Never auto-renew. Loyalty doesn’t pay when it comes to insurance, so when your contents cover is a few weeks from rolling over, shop around and compare quotes. You might just find a better deal.
  • Build a no claims discount. Avoid making small contents cover claims if possible and insurers could reward you with lower premiums.
  • Install alarms. One quick and easy way to lower costs is to install burglar and smoke alarms. When it comes to tenants insurance you might have to put a lock on your bedroom door too.

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