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Shared house contents insurance

Compare contents insurance for shared houses

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What is shared house contents insurance?

If you're living in shared housing, you shouldn't need a buildings insurance policy. Your landlord is responsible for providing cover for the building itself. But it's up to you to insure your belongings with contents insurance.

Shared house contents insurance is a home insurance policy designed for people who share a property with others. This includes:

  • Students living in university halls of residence
  • Students living in private accommodation
  • Housemates renting a property together
  • Lodgers renting a room in a home

You could also consider tenants liability insurance, which is sometimes included or can be an add-on to a contents policy as a renter. This helps cover you for damage to your landlord's furnishings from accidental damage.

In a shared house, tenants liability insurance can be purchased individually, or for the whole rental, depending on the contract. If you know the other housemates and are on the same contract, it might be worth speaking to them so you're not spending more on individual policies. If in doubt, speak to your insurer or landlord to check what is and isn’t covered.

With contents insurance for shared houses you're covered for damage or loss of your belongings caused by:

Your contents are everything you'd take with you if you moved house. Including things like clothes and jewellery, devices, musical instruments and any furniture you personally own within your own room.

What’s the difference between standard contents insurance and contents insurance for shared houses?

Shared house contents insurance is different to a standard contents insurance policy because of the extra risks involved.

Contents insurance for shared houses:

  • Covers items that are in your room
  • Doesn't cover any items in communal areas like the kitchen or bathroom
  • Doesn't cover your possessions outside of your room

Standard contents insurance:

  • Covers the whole house, including communal areas
  • Could be cheaper than having individual policies for each housemate
  • Comes with a higher risk of someone making a claim, which could impact your costs

There are some exclusions that apply to both shared house contents insurance and regular contents insurance.

  • General wear and tear to items won't be covered
  • Unforced entry, where you're a victim of burglary and the burglar was able to enter the property because doors weren't locked, won't be covered
  • Accidental damage isn't a standard feature but you can add it to your policy for an added cost

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**Single annual policy. New and former Paramount+ subscribers only who sign up at ParamountPlus.com. Subscription required. Auto-renews unless cancelled. 18+. Just Eat website account required, geographical exclusions apply. The year-round reward is provided by Greggs, and consists of one regular hot drink per month for a year, only available via the Confused.com app. T&Cs apply.

How do I insure a single room in a shared house?

When you get a contents insurance quote with us, we'll ask you some questions about your living situation.

Under the 'policyholder' section, you'll find the question, 'Who will be covered by the policy?'. You can choose from a few options:

  • You as sole occupier
  • You and your partner / immediate family
  • You and your immediate family and / or partner's family
  • Just you in a shared property
  • Just you and your partner in a shared property
  • All residents in a shared property

If you want to insure a single room, select either 'just you in a shared property' or 'just you and your partner in a shared property'. This means your belongings are covered, regardless of how many people are living at the property.

But we still need information about the whole property. So under questions about 'number of bedrooms' give the number of bedrooms for the whole house.

Do I need to tell my insurer if I live in a shared house?

Yes. You should tell your home insurance provider that you lived in shared accommodation. Not doing so could void your policy.

Insurers tend to view shared housing as a greater risk. This is because there are multiple people in the same space who often don't know each other well.

With this comes an increased risk of having to make a home insurance claim.

If you make a claim and you've not told your home insurance provider about being in a shared house, it could void your policy. So it's best to be honest with them from the beginning.

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How much cover do I need?

When you get a home insurance quote, we'll ask you for the total value of your contents. This is how much it would cost to replace everything you own.

It's important to get as accurate a figure as you can. Overestimate and you could be paying too much for your policy. Underestimate and you risk not having enough cover in place. As an example, the average contents value is around £39,000 but this would be for a house. For a room, you could be looking at paying £54* if your contents value is below £10,000.

To get an idea of how much your contents are worth, use our contents calculator.

You'll need to list any high-value items separately. This includes:

  • Laptops or bicycles worth over £150
  • Any single items worth over £1,000

Contents insurance policies don't usually cover your possessions away from home. So if your phone is stolen from your bag while you're out, you're not normally covered. You can buy personal possessions insurance as an add-on, but it usually comes at an extra cost.

*Based on Confused.com data. January - March 2024.

Should I get standard contents insurance with my housemates instead?

It's sometimes cheaper for you and your housemates to get cover under a single contents insurance policy. This way the contents of the whole house are covered, including all communal areas.

So if the TV in your living room is stolen, or your kitchen appliances are damaged by flooding, you should be covered.

But with a single contents insurance policy in shared housing there's an increased risk of someone making a claim. This impacts your no-claims bonus, and is likely to increase your home insurance costs in the future.

If you know and trust your housemates, this might not be an issue. But if you're sharing with people you don't know well, you could be leaving yourself open to unnecessary risk. Your level of risk can be increased by housemates who:

  • Don't lock doors behind them, increasing the risk of burglary
  • Regularly invite people around that you don't know, increasing the risk of damage or theft
  • Don't really care about home maintenance, which could void any future claims

It's worth comparing shared house contents insurance policies with a single standard policy to see what's best for you.

What our home insurance expert says

''A lot of insurers look at shared accommodation as higher risk due to the number of different people who could be in the property. A shared house contents insurance policy helps cover any possessions that are in your own room including technology and furniture. By comparing quotes will give you the best chance of getting the best deal.''
Matthew Harwood, Home & lifestyle insurance expert at Confused.com
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Page last reviewed: 08/05/2024

Reviewed by: Matthew Harwood