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Tenants and renters insurance

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What is tenants insurance?

Tenants or renters insurance covers your belongings in rented accommodation.

It's not a legal requirement to get a policy, but it covers the cost of replacing your belongings if they’re stolen or damaged. This helps give you some peace of mind while you’re renting.

It doesn't cover the building itself though. This is your landlord’s responsibility, and their buildings insurance should cover it. Your landlord will also be responsible for any urgent home emergencies and costs relating to this, such as boiler or electrical issues.

What is and isn't covered?

Most renters insurance policies provide cover for:

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

Bear in mind that renters insurance often has a single item limit, usually set at £1,000. It might not cover expensive items like high-end laptops and jewellery that cost more than £1,000, unless you declare them to the insurer.

For these items, you need to declare what they are when you get a quote so the insurer can factor it into your policy price. Depending on the value of the item, you might find this gives you fewer policies to choose from and makes your cover more expensive. If it gets too expensive, it's worth considering a separate jewellery insurance policy.

Things that aren’t covered include:

  • Unforced entry, such as leaving your door unlocked
  • Wear and tear of your contents
  • Unspecified high-value items
  • Items away from home
  • Rent arrears
  • Leaving the property unoccupied for 30 days or more

It's also worth considering accidental damage cover. This is the most common claim for contents insurance according to our data*. With this cover, your belongings are protected against accidental damage like a cracked tablet screen or spills causing staining to expensive clothes . The average claim for accidental damage to contents inside a home is £910*. You can add it as an optional extra when you get a quote.

*Confused.com data, January - March 2024

What does renters insurance protect me against?

Theft

If you're the victim of a break-in, your policy should cover you

Vandalism

Any damages to your belongings should also be covered

Water damage

If a burst pipe leaks water onto your TV for example, it will be protected along with any other possessions damaged by water

Flood damage

Any possessions damaged by flooding should be covered. Although you aren't covered for any damage to the building itself or anything that belongs to the landlord, such as carpets.

Storm damage

Any of your belongings destroyed or damaged by a storm, you should be able to claim for

Fire damage

Fire can be particularly devastating to the contents of a home, tenant insurance could help protect your possessions

When should I buy renters insurance?

You should make sure you're covered and buy your policy as soon as you move into your rented property. Or buy it earlier and set the cover to start on the date you move in. This is because you want to make sure your items are covered straight away in case something happens.

What our home insurance expert says:

"It’s not your landlord’s responsibility to replace your belongings in the event of a break-in. It's up to them to insure the building, but not your possessions. If you’re renting and want to protect your belongings from theft or damage, you need contents insurance for renters.

You might be tempted to pay monthly due to the nature of moving from one rented accomodation to another. There's certainly an advantage to it but be mindful of the cost. Choosing to pay for 12 months of cover in one go could save you money as you're not paying interest on the outstanding amount. Even if you decide to cancel the policy, you should still be able to get a refund for any full or part months' cover left on the policy, minus a cancellation fee."

Matthew Harwood, Home & lifestyle insurance expert at Confused.com
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How much tenants insurance do I need?

If you’re looking to get cover, make sure the policy you choose offers enough cover to insure all your possessions.

To do this, estimate the value of all your belongings and add up the total. Then compare the total to the level of cover on offer. If you're struggling to work out how much you need, our contents insurance calculator can do the hard work for you.

If you're a tenant in a shared property, or a lodger, you have the option of getting contents insurance for one room. Rather than paying to cover the whole property, you could just cover any belongings in your room. But any of your belongings or any shared belongings in communal areas usually aren't covered.

According to our data, the average contents value for a home is £39,000*. A typical renters insurance policy can give you up to £50,000 of cover. So if you're looking for cover just for your belongings then you should have more than enough.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) estimate the average value of contents in a home is £35,000. So £50,000 of cover should be more than enough for the vast majority of people. If you choose not to cover your belongings with contents insurance, you'll have to replace anything damaged or stolen out of your own pocket.

*Confused.com data, January - March 2024

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What do I need to get a quote?

To get a quote, we’ll ask you a few questions about the property and your contents, including:

  • The type of property - is it a house or a flat? Or 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've earned 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 cut the costs?

Improve your home security

By installing a burglar alarm or keeping valuables locked up, you can help protect your valuables. This could help to lower the risk of theft, meaning insurers may lower your price. But before you install anything, check with your landlord because you might need their permission.

Pay a higher voluntary excess

Paying more excess towards a claim shows insurers that you’re only likely to claim if there’s a good reason. Our guide on voluntary and compulsory excess includes more information on home insurance excess.

Install flood barriers

If you live in an area prone to flooding, flood barriers could help reduce your premiums. Get your landlord's permission first – it may be something they can help arrange.

Pay annually

If you can afford it, paying yearly could be the cheaper option. Insurers charge more for monthly instalments due to interest and admin fees, so paying in one go can save you money. According to our data*, a paying monthly for contents insurance is £71 but an annual policy costs £60.

Compare tenants insurance

Compare policies by shopping around to find the best deal for your needs and budget. Avoid auto renewal, as you can often get a cheaper deal than your current insurer, by comparing prices in minutes.

*Confused.com data, January - March 2024

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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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Home insurance guides

Page last reviewed: 23 April 2024

Reviewed by: Matthew Harwood