Shared house contents insurance

Find out what insurance you need to protect your belongings when you’re sharing accommodation.

Eve Powell
Eve Powell
Updated 21 December 2021  | 3 mins read

What’s shared home contents insurance?

This is a type of contents insurance policy for people who live in a shared property.

It’s typically designed for housemates, flatmates, renters and people living in university accommodation.

Also known as renters’ insurance, this will cover your belongings against damage and loss from things like flooding, fire and burglary while they’re in your shared house or flat.

Key points

  • When you’re staying in shared accommodation your belongings may be more at risk of accidents, damage and theft
  • You can choose between sharing a household contents policy or taking out cover to protect your own belongings
  • Some shared home policies will limit cover to room-only and you may need a lock fitted on your door
  • You might need to take out extra cover for more expensive possessions and items like musical instruments and bikes

Do I need contents insurance if I live in a shared house?

When you’re living with others there’s an increased risk of accidents, theft and damage happening to the things you own, so it’s a good idea to make sure they’re covered.

While your landlord will have insurance, this usually only covers the building, as well as any furniture and items they own in the property.

So, if you want your belongings to be protected, you’ll need to take out your own cover.

Although you don’t legally need to have contents insurance, it can protect anything from clothes and books, through to laptops and smart TVs, so it’s worth considering.

What’s more, it could help you cover some hefty costs if several items were stolen or damaged at once and needed replacing.

Can I buy regular contents insurance if I’m sharing accommodation?

When you’re sharing accommodation, there’ll be more people going in and out of the property.

For this reason, insurers tend to view occupants of shared houses as being at higher risk of making a claim for theft or damage, which can make your premiums more expensive.

A standard contents insurance policy will cover the entire home - so if one housemate claims on it, everyone else's premium would be affected when the policy’s up for renewal.

Instead, you can take out a stand-alone policy that covers just your room and belongings. This can help make sure you’ve got the right level of cover and keep your claims history as clean as possible, too.

What does shared housing contents insurance include?

Shared housing insurance will cover you, as the policyholder, and your contents. Policies will vary, but most will include:

  • Damage and theft cover for your possessions, including items like jewellery, electricals, and clothes
  • Legal liability protection if someone injures themselves in the property and it’s your fault
  • Tenants liability insurance for any accidental damage you might cause to your landlord’s furniture, fittings and fixtures
  • Cover for personal money stolen from your home
  • The cost of spoiled frozen food if your freezer breaks down
  • Bikes (usually up to a maximum value and only when they stay on the premises)

What’s excluded from shared housing contents insurance?

The exclusions tend to be the same as a regular contents policy. Again, these will vary between policies but exclusions typically include:

  • Damage caused by wear and tear
  • Theft of the possessions you take away from home - you may need to pay extra to insure these outside of your accommodation
  • Acts of terrorism
  • Accidental damage
  • Loss or damage when you’ve left your home unoccupied for more than 30 days in a row
  • Damage or loss caused by unforced entry through unlocked windows or doors
  • High value items that are over the policy limit - you may need to insure these separately
  • Damage from faulty communal equipment - for example, a broken washing machine
  • Theft or damage of home business belongings and stock

What types of damage does shared housing insurance cover?

Your renters’ contents insurance will typically cover your belongings in your rented accommodation against loss and damage from:

  • Storms
  • Water damage from flooding
  • Fire
  • Theft and burglary
  • Vandalism
  • Burst pipes
  • Lightning damage

What do I need to know about shared home contents insurance?

When you take out contents insurance for your belongings in shared accommodation there are some things to look out for:

  • You might have to lock the door to your room for your policy to be valid
  • Your policy may only cover items when they’re in your room
  • You might not be able to claim for belongings left in communal areas
  • If you take items out of the house or lend them to a friend, you may not be insured
  • If you’ve got high-value items, you might need to take out specialist cover or have them listed individually on your policy

It’s worth reading your policy documents carefully, so that you understand what is and isn’t included in your cover. And always contact your provider if you’re still unsure.

How much cover will I need for my contents?

To get the right cover when you live in a shared house, calculate the entire value of your household contents. It'll give you a rough idea how much cover you may need.

Do I need contents insurance if I live in university halls of residence?

Having your possessions protected while you’re at university means one less thing to worry about when you’re working towards your degree.

Valuable items like laptops, TVs, tablets and mobiles are all expensive to replace and are potentially more at risk of theft when you’re staying in halls of residence.

Many universities offer students contents insurance for their room in halls, so it’s worth looking into what this covers and comparing policies.

You’ll also find several insurance providers offer specialist contents protection for student tenants at university.

It may also be possible for students’ parents to extend their home insurance policy to cover their child staying in halls. This would cost extra, so again it’s worth comparing this with the price of the student taking out a separate policy.

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