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Tenants and renters insurance

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What is tenants insurance?

Tenants or renters insurance, is a form of contents insurance designed to cover your belongings in rented accommodation.

It will cover the cost of replacing your belongings if they’re stolen or damaged in a way that’s covered by your policy, helping to give you some peace of mind while you’re renting.

It won’t cover the building itself though. This is your landlord’s responsibility, and their buildings insurance should cover it.

There’s no legal requirement to take out tenants insurance. But a policy would provide you with peace of mind that your belongings are protected in the event of a fire or a burglary.

When should I buy renters insurance?

You should buy contents insurance as soon as you move in to your rented property, or buy it and set the cover start date for the day you move. This is because you want to make sure your items are covered straight away in case something happens.

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*Based on data provided by Consumer Intelligence Ltd, www.consumerintelligence.com (April ’23). 51% of home insurance customers could save £174.41 on a combined policy.
**Single annual policy. Shell Go+ account required. Only one £10 fuel reward can be used per transaction and each can only be used on fuel purchases of £10 or over. HelloFresh 18+ subscription service. Geographical exclusions apply. T&Cs apply

What does renters insurance protect me against?

If you’re a renter, tenants insurance will normally cover your belongings against:

  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Water damage
  • Flooding
  • Storms
  • Fire

Theft if you’re the victim of a break-in.

Vandalism that damages your belongings, though renters insurance won’t cover any damage caused to the building itself.

Water damage to your possessions, for example if water leaks through the ceiling onto your TV.

Flood damage, although you won't be covered for any damage to the building itself or anything that belongs to the landlord, such as carpets.

Storm damage, which is good to know as storms have been causing plenty of havoc over recent years.

Fire damage, preventing you from having to replace all your belongings out of your own pocket.

What is and isn't covered with renters insurance?

Most tenants insurance policies will provide cover for the following:

  • Clothes and jewellery
  • Electronic devices, televisions and other gadgets
  • Your furniture and soft furnishings, like curtains or towels
  • Cutlery and crockery
  • Antiques and family heirlooms
  • Your bicycle, if it’s stored indoors
  • Cash

However, bear in mind that renters insurance often has a single item limit.

This means that it may not cover particularly expensive items like high-end laptops and jewellery.

For these, you may need a high value insurance policy, or something more specific like jewelery insurance or gadget insurance on top of your tenants insurance.

It isn't automatically included but it could be worth adding accidental damage cover to your insurance for renters policy when you get a quote.

The things that aren’t covered by contents insurance for renters include:

  • Unforced entry
  • Wear and tear of your contents
  • Unspecified high value items
  • Items away from home
  • Rent arrears aren’t covered under a tenants insurance policy
  • Leaving the property unoccupied for 30 days or more

How much tenants insurance do I need?

If you’re taking out tenants insurance, you need to make sure you have enough cover in place to insure all your possessions.

You should therefore estimate the value of all your belongings and add up the total, comparing this to the level of cover on offer.

If you're a tenant in a shared property, you also have the option of getting contents insurance for one room. Rather than paying to cover the whole property, you just cover any belongings in your room.

Want to save some time? Let our contents insurance calculator do the hard work for you.

But for a quick overview, a renters insurance policy can typically give you up to £50,000 of cover for your contents.

As the average value of contents in a home is £35,000, according to the Association of British Insurers, this would be enough for the vast majority of people. 

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What do I need to get a quote?

To get a renters insurance quote, we’ll ask you a few questions about the property.

Your quote will be based on various factors, including:

  • The type of property, is it a house or a flat, and is it a listed building?
  • The number of rooms the property has.
  • Whether the property is used for business – this doesn’t include working from home if you’re usually office-based.
  • The approximate year when the property was built.
  • The type of heating the property has and whether you have a hot water tank.
  • Types of locks on the doors, such as an automatic deadlatch or multi-point locking system. If you’re unsure, check out our guide on the types of door locks.
  • Any no claims bonus (NCB) you have collected from previous contents insurance policies.
  • Any high value items you’d like to insure, their value and whether you want to cover them away from home.

How do I get cheaper tenants insurance?

If you’re looking for a cheap tenants insurance policy, there are a few things you can do to reduce the cost of your premium:

  • Improve your home security
  • Pay a higher excess
  • Install flood barriers
  • Pay for your insurance annually, if you can
  • Compare tenants insurance

Improve your home security measures by installing a burglar alarm or keeping valuables locked up. This could help to reduce the likelihood of theft, and insurers may lower your price. But before you install anything, check with your landlord because you might need their permission.

Pay a higher excess towards a claim. This shows insurers that you’re likely to claim only if there’s a good reason. Check out our guide on voluntary and compulsory excess.

Install flood barriers, if you live in an area prone to flooding. Get your landlords permission first – it may be something they can help arrange.

Pay for your renters insurance annually, if you can. Insurers usually charge more for monthly instalments so paying in one go could save you money.

Compare tenants insurance policies by shopping around to find the best deal for your needs and budget.

Compare cheap contents insurance for renters

What our home insurance expert says:

You might assume that it’s your landlord’s responsibility to replace your belongings in the event of a break-in. This isn’t the case. If you’re renting and want to protect your belongings from theft or damage, you’ll need contents insurance for renters.

Need more help?

Will renters insurance cover my work equipment if I have a home office?

Your office equipment might be covered on tenant insurance but you will need to check your policy. It all depends on the value of your items. If your tenants contents insurance policy doesn't cover the items, you may need to take out a separate business insurance policy.

If the items belong to your employer, it's worth asking them if they are covered under a separate policy too.

Can I get tenants contents insurance if I live in shared accommodation?

Yes, you can get tenants insurance if you live in a house share or student accommodation.

However, the cost of renters insurance can be higher if you live in shared accommodation as the risk of theft increases in a shared living environment.

If you’re a student, there also tends to be increased risk of damage to your belongings, which can further increase the price you pay.

The good news is that you can take out specialist student contents insurance, which is made for those living in student halls, or with others in private shared accommodation.

What is tenants liability insurance and do I need it?

Tenants liability insurance covers you if you damage any property belonging to your landlord that results in you losing your security deposit.
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