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Tenants’ liability insurance

Protect yourself from damage charges as a tenant. If you're renting a private property, tenants' liability insurance can pay to fix accidental damage to your landlord's furnishings.

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What is tenants’ liability insurance?

Tenants’ liability insurance, sometimes known as renters liability insurance, can cover you against unexpected costs if you unintentionally damage your landlord's fittings, fixtures or furniture.

If you're living in rented accommodation, this type of specialist insurance could prevent you from losing your security deposit when you finish your tenancy.

In some instances, you may be required to buy a level of tenant’s liability insurance as part of the agreement with your landlord.

Is it different to contents insurance?

Yes, contents insurance is different to tenant's liability insurance - the main difference being what each policy covers.

Contents insurance is there to protect your belongings, but it won't cover you against accidental damage to your landlord's fittings, fixings and furniture.

So, it's worth considering tenant's liability insurance, particularly if you're moving into a fully furnished property.

How do I get tenants liability cover?

Tenants liability cover is usually included as part of a contents insurance policy. You can get a standalone policy but these can be relatively expensive, so it could be worth buying a contents insurance policy with tenant's liability insurance included.

But it's always worth checking with your insurer exactly what's protected and your cover amount. If the cover doesn't cover everything you need, you could increase the level of protection.

If it isn't included with your contents policy, tenants’ liability insurance should be available to buy as an optional extra.

What does tenants liability insurance cover?

It covers the cost of accidental damage caused to your landlord's property, this usually includes:

For example, if you stain a carpet by accidentally spilling red wine, your policy can help to pay for a replacement or repair.

Do I need tenant liability insurance cover?

Having tenants' liability insurance policy isn't a legal requirement. A landlord or letting agency could ask you to buy cover as part of your rental agreement, but this isn't mandatory.

As a tenant, you're expected to keep the property in good condition during the course of your tenancy. General wear and tear happens, but this isn't covered by this cover.

If you decide not to buy an insurance policy, and accidentally damage an item of furniture belonging to the landlord, you could lose your deposit. Your landlord could also charge you if they need to call out a tradesperson, on top of other admin fees.

Contents insurance is just one of the many different types of home insurance policies available across the UK. But roughly 1 in 5 (22%) private renters don’t have contents insurance.

If you're renting a private property or you're a student, you should consider policies that are tailored to suit your needs.

Universities and colleges that manage student halls could provide you with some insurance cover. You need to check this before you move so you don’t pay for a second policy unnecessarily.

When it comes to renting in a shared house, you won't need a buildings insurance policy. Your landlord is responsible for providing cover for the building itself.

This type of policy can cover a whole shared house on the same tenancy agreement, and could include tenant liability insurance. You should check with the landlord or letting agency, on what is and isn't covered.

You could also check with your housemates too, as this could stop you paying individually for something you could share the cost of.

How do I claim on my tenants' liability insurance?

You should report a claim as soon as possible. You might be entitled to unlimited claims during your policy, but this depends on the amount you're covered for.

When you make a claim on your tenants' liability insurance, you have to pay a compulsory fixed excess amount. This is a fixed amount you pay towards a claim.

Voluntary excess is optional - choosing to pay a higher voluntary excess could bring the cost of your policy down. This is because insurers don’t have to pay as much in the event of a claim. But always make sure you can afford to pay it, in the event of a claim.

Each claim has different steps, but usually you should:

  • Contact the police if a burglary has occurred.
  • If you can’t stay at the property, contact your insurance provider immediately. This is important if another party is involved or there’s a risk of further damage.
  • Check your home insurance documents or the company’s website to find the claims phone number and make a list of important facts about the incident.
  • Contact your insurer to tell them you want to make a claim. You need to provide details including your policy number, address, and full name.
  • Take photos for evidence and keep all receipts. Don't throw away damaged items - your home insurer may send a loss adjuster to asses the contents.
  • Keep track of all communications between you and your insurer, the police or witnesses.
  • Ask your insurer to approve any work that needs doing. Resist the temptation to get any repairs done until your insurer agrees, as you might not be able to claim for the costs.

What our home insurance expert says

‘’If you're a tenant, you might overlook tenants’ liability insurance. But this insurance could help to cover the cost of accidental damage to your landlords property, inside your rental.

Some accidental damage could end up costing thousands. And because of fees and charges, letting agents can often charge even more to fix damage. Tenants liability insurance can pay to fix accidental damage, so it's worth making sure you have this included alongside your contents insurance.’’

Matthew Harwood, Home & lifestyle insurance expert at Confused.com
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Does tenants liability insurance cover home emergencies?

Landlords or letting agencies are responsible for home emergencies that risk your health or your access to hot water or electricity, etc. If you are unsure whether a repair is the landlord’s responsibility, you should check the agreement you have with your landlord.

Accidental damage to a furnishing belonging to your landlord could be your responsibility, this is the key benefit of tenants' liability insurance.

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