Why do renters need tenants' insurance?
- Tenants' insurance is essentially the same as home contents cover
- Renters shouldn't worry about buildings insurance - that's down to the landlord
- If you're in a shared property your insurer will need to know the details
Tenants' insurance is essentially the same as home contents insurance.
If you own rented property, you're not in the right place - you need landlord insurance rather than home contents.
When investigating a policy of your own, remember there are different levels of cover, and the right one for you fits your budget and needs.
Remember, an all bells and whistles plan will protect you in the event of flood, theft and fire, flooding, storm damage and escape of water.
It's true that legally you can get by without contents insurance, however you don't want to be the only one with a soggy bottom and no spare trousers if water damage leaves your bank account bone dry (especially as your landlord will have cover to protect their furnishings, but that policy won't extend to your stuff).
What's covered in tenants' insurance
Grow 30 feet, turn the rented property on its head and shake (or, if you're short of spinach, use your imagination) – everything that falls out can be covered.
Usually, you can protect almost everything you own. If you're having trouble remembering all the knick-knacks, we have a contents calculator to help you.
Tenants’ contents insurance will usually protect your handheld gadgets, sports equipment, electrical appliances, games consoles, musical instruments, CDs, DVDs, furniture, frozen food and clothing.
If you do have items with a higher value - such as jewellery or watches, a widescreen TV, bicycle or computer equipment - or want to protect items when you’re out and about, you'll need to list these items separately on the policy or get personal possessions cover.
Tenants' insurance for students
If you're a student tenant living in student halls or a house share - great news! There are dedicated student insurance policies, but contents insurance policies are still suitable.
If you accidentally damage the rental house, or the landlord’s furnishings and furniture, tenancy liability insurance could help you pay for the repairs so you don't lose your deposit.
It isn’t part of standard contents insurance but can be added on as extra cover.
Did you know...?
- Some insurance companies will provide cover for accidental damage to your landlord’s possessions, such as carpets
Cheap home contents insurance for tenants in shared accommodation
If your premium is high, think about your home safety and security.
For example, some insurers will refuse cover for shared accommodation, add extra exclusions or hike the price of the premium, limiting your choices if you're on a budget. But, don't despair.
If your bedroom doors and windows have their own locks (and you can identify them), that'll reassure your insurer that your security is tighter than Elton John's Oscar party and you're less likely to get burgled.
Don’t gloss over shared living arrangements to keep the costs down - in the event of a claim, it’ll invalidate your cover.
How to get a tenants insurance quote
To get a quote from an insurer, it needs to know the ins-and-outs of your home. As such, Gocompare will ask you about how you came to rent the property:
- From a housing association
- As a private tenant
- As a council tenant
- Shared accommodation
- A furnished or unfurnished property
The information you give will help calculate the premium, so don't hold back or be afraid to drone on about the details. Supplying wrong or false may invalidate your cover and quash any claim you make later down the line.
From that, you'll feast on a banquet of quotes and have the opportunity to pick your favourite.
Picking the right tenants' insurance excess
Alongside your quotes, you’ll see an excess - this is the contribution you agree to pay towards any claim, and insurers will often let you have a higher excess in exchange for a lower premium.
The excess is split into two different types, compulsory and voluntary:
- Compulsory excess - this is the amount your insurance company requires you pay towards any claim made on your policy
- Voluntary excess - this is the amount you agree to pay towards the claim in addition to the compulsory excess
Tenants insurance exclusions
Insurance companies won’t pay out for certain risks or some types of loss or damage; for example, where it results from, or is in connection with, terrorism.
These will be clearly set out in the terms of the policy and are known as ‘exclusions’. Other things that may affect or invalidate a claim you make are:
- Not using your burglar alarm when you’ve told your insurance company you have one
- Not reporting a burglary or theft to the police and not getting a crime reference number
- Leaving the property unoccupied for more than 30 days
- Failing to use key-operated locks on windows when you are away from the property
- Being burgled where there's no forced entry into your property (eg a door or window has been left open)
How to save money on tenants’ insurance
Don’t be shy. Use GoCompare to shop around for contents insurance that suits your tenancy and rental property.
You should never compromise on the level of cover you need, but read our article for more money-saving tips on home insurance and you might be able to cut the cost of your premium.
By Amanda Bathory