Tenants’ liability insurance

Cover accidental damage to your landlord's property with tenants liability insurance

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What's tenants' liability insurance?

If you’re living in rented accommodation, there’s a chance you could end up accidentally damaging your landlord’s furniture, or the fixtures and fittings.

And if this happens, it’s likely that you’ll be asked to pay for repairs or replacements.

Tenants’ liability insurance is a type of contents insurance that provides you with financial protection for unexpected costs like these.

With this cover in place, you won’t be left out of pocket or lose your security deposit if you (or one of your guests) accidentally break or damage something that’s part of your rented home.

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What does tenants’ liability insurance cover?

Typically, tenants’ liability insurance will cover accidental damage to things that come with your rented accommodation, like:

  • Household goods
  • Fixtures and fittings
  • Furniture
  • White goods and appliances
  • Carpets and soft furnishings

For example, if you spilled red wine on a carpet, tenants’ liability cover would help pay to repair or replace it.

But be aware that it won’t cover any damage that’s caused by wear and tear. Or for anything that was damaged on purpose by you, your housemates, or any guests you might have.

How does this type of cover work?

Whether you’ve cracked the bathroom sink or broken a window, if you’re renting your home, tenants’ liability insurance can help to cover the cost.

It’s designed to pay out if you accidentally damage your landlord’s furniture or property - which means it’s particularly useful if you’re renting furnished accommodation.

And you’ll generally be covered for the typical reasons your landlord might deduct money from your deposit - damage that your tenancy agreement says you’re legally responsible for.

Tenants’ liability cover works by covering the cost of repairing or replacing any broken or damaged items. So, you won’t be left out of pocket or find yourself needing to pay more if your security deposit doesn’t cover the damage.

Do I need tenants’ liability insurance?

This will largely depend on your tenancy agreement - in some cases, you might find that having tenants' liability insurance is a condition of renting the property. And even if it isn’t, it’s worth considering anyway.

You may already have contents insurance to protect your valuables and belongings. And by law, your landlord must have buildings insurance for the accommodation they’re providing. But it’s likely that neither of these will cover any accidental damage you cause to your landlord’s property and belongings.

Instead, this is something your landlord or their insurer will probably require you to pay for.

Tenants’ liability insurance can help by covering the cost of fixing and repairing any items that you damage by accident.

This means there’s less risk of your security deposit being affected or getting into a formal dispute with your landlord. However, tenants’ liability insurance can also cover legal costs if you did have to go to court over a dispute.

Is it a legal requirement for tenants?

No, it isn’t compulsory to have tenants’ liability insurance if you’re renting in the UK. Although it might be a requirement of your landlord or letting agency, particularly if you’re renting a furnished home.

However, either way, it’s worth considering taking out this cover to protect yourself from any unexpected costs. Especially if you’re relying on getting your full deposit back at the end of your tenancy.

When should I make a claim on tenants’ liability insurance?

You can make a claim on your tenants’ liability insurance if you’ve accidentally damaged something belonging to your landlord and you’re required to pay for it.

Most insurers will give you a maximum of 30 days after the incident happened to do this - but the timeframe can vary between providers, so check your policy to understand how long you’ve got to make a claim.

Making a claim for an accident soon after it happens can also help avoid any money being deducted from your security deposit at the end of your tenancy.

It’s a surprise to hear that, according to Nationwide, around half of renters in the UK don’t have tenants’ contents insurance, even though it could help cover the cost of replacing their belongings if something happened. Nearly a fifth of tenants also believe that it’s up to their landlord to sort out contents cover, but this isn’t true – it’s up to you to get cover for your own things.
Ceri McMillan - Home insurance expert

Frequently asked questions

Yes, this cover is designed to protect your security deposit and reduce the risk of you losing it if your landlord wants to be reimbursed for damaged items.

Security deposits are often equal to around one month’s rent, which may mean you have to pay out of your own pocket if you've caused a considerable amount of damage.

Whereas tenants’ liability policies can typically insure you up to £10,000 as standard to cover the cost of any repairs or replacements.

Yes, you don’t take out tenants’ liability insurance in place of a security deposit - instead, it’s there to protect it.

Tenants’ liability insurance only protects you against accidental damage. If other types of damage happen, like malicious damage or harm caused to the property due to negligence, your landlord will use your security deposit to pay for this.

Your landlord will be responsible for insuring the physical building, but it’ll be down to you to make sure your contents are protected.

You can take out contents insurance or, depending on your situation, you might prefer to take out tenants insurance.

As well as protecting your possessions, this often includes tenants’ liability cover and accidental damage to your landlord’s fixtures and fittings.

If you’re worried about accidentally damaging your own items, you can usually buy this type of cover as an add-on to your contents policy. You can also add personal possessions cover to protect any items you take outside the home.

Often this is included as part of tenants’ contents insurance, but if it isn't you can buy it as standalone cover.

If you’ve already got a policy, check to see what’s included. If you still need to take out tenants’ liability cover or tenants' contents insurance, you can shop around and compare providers.

Remember to not just compare prices, but to also check cover limits, exclusions and levels of protection.

The main difference is that contents insurance covers your own belongings from damage or loss. But unless your insurance includes tenants’ liability, it won’t cover your landlord’s property.

Tenants’ liability insurance will protect you against the costs, or deposit deductions, from any accidental damage you cause to your landlord’s property or belongings.

While it’s often included in tenants' contents insurance policies, it’s also possible to buy tenants’ liability insurance as a standalone policy from a number of providers.

Investigate what the costs might be if you were to accidentally damage something in the property, versus the price you’d pay for annual tenants’ liability cover.

Yes, this type of insurance will cover any accidental damage you cause to your landlord’s property and possessions.

If you want your own belongings to be covered for accidental damage, you’ll need to take this cover out separately, or as an add-on to your contents insurance policy.

Unless each tenant has their own tenancy agreement, you can have a shared contents and liability policy that will cover all of the tenants.

However, if you want to be sure you’ve got the right level of cover for your belongings, you may prefer to take out your own tenants’ contents insurance that also covers you for tenants’ liability.

And if there are other people living in the accommodation that aren’t named on the tenancy agreement, they’ll need their own insurance.

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