Flat insurance

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What is flat insurance?

Flat insurance has the same kind of cover as a regular home insurance policy. There are 2 parts:

You can buy these policies separately from different insurers, or combine contents and buildings insurance into a single policy.

Do I need flat insurance?

The type of flat insurance you need – just contents, or both buildings and contents – depends on your personal circumstances:

  • You rent a flat: You only need contents insurance. Your landlord should have buildings insurance to cover the building and permanent fixtures.
  • You're an owner and leaseholder: You just need contents insurance. This is because responsibility for the flat's structure falls to whoever owns the freehold. You probably pay toward the cost of buildings insurance as part of your service and management charge. When you buy a flat on leasehold, your solicitor or mortgage company should ask for evidence that the freeholder has buildings insurance in place.
  • You're an owner and freeholder, or you share the freehold with others: You need buildings insurance as well as contents. If you have a mortgage, your lender usually requires proof of buildings insurance to release the funds.
  • You’re a landlord and rent out a flat: You need specific landlord insurance, which covers the risks linked to your rental property. Aside from covering the building (if you own the freehold), landlord insurance also covers fixtures and fittings such as carpets, kitchens and bathrooms that could be damaged during the tenancy.
  • You own and live in a property that’s part commercial and part residential, such as a flat above a shop: You usually need separate policies – combined home insurance for the flat and business insurance for the shop or restaurant under it. In this situation your buildings and contents insurance may be more expensive as there's a higher risk of something happening, such as a fire if you live above a restaurant.

Contents insurance isn't a legal requirement, but it could be useful if something happens to your belongings. Could you afford the cost of replacing your things if they’re damaged or stolen?

What does buildings insurance for flats cover?

Buildings insurance covers damage and loss to the structure of your flat, including:

  • Private garages
  • Exterior and interior walls
  • Roofs
  • Flooring

It also covers all the permanent fixtures and fittings of your flat against events like fire, flood, theft and vandalism.

If you get buildings insurance on a flat because you own the freehold or a share of the freehold, check the policy covers the costs of rebuilding the property.

What does contents insurance for flats cover?

Flat contents insurance covers your belongings against loss, damage or theft. These are items that aren't part of the fixtures and fittings of your flat such as:

  • Appliances
  • Devices
  • Jewellery
  • Furniture
  • Clothes

It works the same whether you’re renting your flat or if you own it through leasehold or freehold.

What’s covered varies with each policy, but you should make sure your contents are insured for events like fire, flood, escape of water and burglary. Our contents insurance calculator can help you work out how much cover you need.

With the cost of living increasing, getting contents insurance for your flat may be low on your list of priorities. But while not buying it could save you money in the short term, you may be left with a big bill if something happens and you don't have cover in place.

Contents insurance for student flats

If you’re a student living in a rented flat, you only need contents insurance to cover your belongings if they’re stolen or damaged.

Burglars and thieves are often drawn to student accommodation knowing students often have several devices like laptops, phones and tablets. Because of the increased risks, you may find fewer insurers offer student contents insurance, but you should still find a policy that suits your needs.

Before buying any insurance, ask your parents to check their home insurance. Some policies include cover for possessions taken to halls of residence and student accommodation, so you may be able to use this instead of buying a separate insurance policy.

Contents insurance for shared flats

Contents insurance for flat shares can also be more expensive and harder to find as the risks are higher. One concern for insurers is that an old tenant may still have keys to your flat. And as with student flats, burglars are known to target shared accommodation.

By shopping around and comparing policy features, you should find a good choice of insurers who can offer the cover you need.

You and your flatmates might find a policy to cover the entire property, but you might find it easier to manage an individual policy that just covers the things in your room. For more information, see shared house contents insurance.

How much does flat insurance cost?

If you're a tenant you're likely to just need to cover the contents of your flat, and can expect to pay £602 for an annual policy. Your landlord should have insurance in place to cover the building. But, if you own your flat and are looking for a combined policy for buildings and contents, the average price is £1882.

The exact cost depends on different factors, including:

  • When your flat was built
  • How big it is
  • The value of your flat
  • Where you live
  • Your job
  • Your claims history

The easiest way to find out how exactly much you might pay for flat insurance is to get a quote.

2Confused.com data. August - October 2023

What our home insurance expert says:

"If you’re looking to save money on your flat insurance, my top tip is to make sure you’re getting the cover you need and not over-insuring your flat. For example, if you own a flat with a leasehold, you probably only need contents insurance as buildings insurance is the responsibility of the freeholder.

Next, make sure you compare quotes. Don’t auto renew or jump at the first option."

Matthew Harwood, Home & lifestyle insurance expert at Confused.com
Home & lifestyle insurance expert Confused.com logo

Compare home insurance quotes from up to 64 insurance companies1

1Correct as of February, 2024

How can I get cheaper flat insurance?

There are lots of ways to lower the cost of flat insurance, including:

Paying annually: Paying for your home insurance in monthly instalments might be convenient but it's almost always more expensive. Insurers charge interest rates for the benefit of paying in instalments. You can avoid any extra charges by choosing a one-off payment, if you can afford to.

Increasing your excess: This can lower your insurance costs but means you need to pay more if you claim, so make sure the amount you choose is affordable.

Getting the right amount of cover for your flat. You might pay too much if your cover levels are too high. But if you underestimate the value of your home or contents you might not be able to claim as much as you need if something happens to your flat. Use our contents calculator or find out how to estimate and calculate your rebuild costs to help you get the right level of cover.

Shopping around: Comparing quotes is the easiest way to save money. You can often find a better deal with another insurer rather than auto renewing with your current provider.

It’s important that you answer the questions truthfully when getting a quote. Changing your answers may give you a cheaper price, but giving incorrect information risks invalidating your policy and means you can’t claim if you need to.

Read more tips to reduce your home insurance costs.

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What add-ons can I get with flat insurance?

When you buy flat insurance, you choose the type you need – just contents, or both buildings and contents – and the level of cover. Some home insurance policies have several features added automatically and others you may need to pay extra for.

Typical add-ons include:

  • Accidental damage: This covers damage caused by accidents, such as spilling something on your sofa, smashing a television or dropping an antique vase.
  • Personal possessions: Covers your possessions against loss and theft while you're away from home. This includes things you carry with you every day, such as jewellery, watches, handbags, laptops and mobile phones.
  • Alternative accommodation: Can help provide accommodation and cover the costs of moving out of your property if it’s uninhabitable, for example while work is carried out on your home after a flood or fire
  • Home emergency: This covers unexpected incidents, such as burst pipes or your boiler breaking down and can pay for the cost of calling out tradespeople in a household emergency.
  • Legal expenses cover or family protection cover: This gives you access to legal advice as well as covering legal fees relating to your flat. Some policies include this as standard but it's best to check if you need it.

When you get a quote we'll show you details of the policies available to you, including whether these extras are included or if they cost extra to add to the policy.

Types of home insurance

Home insurance guides

Page last reviewed: 29/11/2023

Reviewed by: Matthew Harwood