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Tenant insurance

Tenants’ insurance is a form of home contents insurance for people renting or living in shared accommodation to protect your possessions from flood and fire damage as well as theft. Read our guide to find out the rules and limitations around tenants contents insurance.

As a tenant, home insurance can help you replace your damaged or stolen items. However, there are a few things you should know before you compare home insurance for tenants.

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There are two main types of home insurance: buildings insurance and contents insurance. Buildings insurance covers the structure of the property, including the walls, roof and any other areas fitted into the structure such as bathroom and fitted kitchen. If you are a tenant and paying rent you won’t need to worry about this kind of insurance. Your landlord is responsible for the buildings insurance.

However, if you want to make sure your possessions are covered, then you will need to take out contents insurance. Home contents insurance protects all of your possessions in your home and garden up to a certain value. This means, for example, if your books and clothes get damaged in a fire, your home contents insurance will pay out to help you replace the items. Similarly, if you came home to find you were burgled and your DVDs and stereo were stolen, you could also make a claim with your insurer to replace them.

There are a few limitations in making claims and some things you should know if you are a tenant looking for home insurance. Read on to learn more about tenants home insurance.

What does home insurance for tenants cover?

As a tenant or a homeowner, your home contents insurance will cover more or less everything in your home and garden up to an agreed limit. Many insurers will ask you to separately declare any items if they are valued over a set amount.

For example, if your insurer’s single article limit is £500, then you must inform your insurer of these items and their value. It’s important to consider items like furniture, valuable jewellery and bikes.

The standard items you would expect a home insurance policy to cover include:

  • Clothes and towels
  • Books, CDs, DVDs and digital media
  • Gadgets and electronics
  • Cutlery and crockery
  • Jewellery (below a certain value)
  • Furniture, curtains and bedding
  • Vases, antiques and ornaments
  • Bikes (but sometimes only when they stay on the premises)

tenant insurance

Some items you take out of the home will not always be insured once they leave the home. So if you damaged your mobile phone or bicycle or had them stolen outside of the house then your home insurance provider may not cover it unless you have additional cover. See below (‘Limitations of tenants contents insurance’) for more information.

When you buy home insurance as a tenant you would expect that cover to protect those items whilst in the home in the event of:

  • Theft and burglary
  • Fire or smoke damage
  • Lightning damage
  • Water damage from flooding

Limitations of tenants contents insurance

As discussed earlier here, the cover you get depends on how much the insurer is willing to insure your items up to. Also, the cover is usually against theft, damage by fire and the elements, and usually excludes accidental damage.

Accidental damage home insurance is usually an extra you have to pay for with your tenants home insurance. This covers your items against accidents like dropping your laptop on the floor or smashing your TV. You may not need it for the extra price but it can be handy if you think you would not be able to afford to replace some of your treasured items if you had an accident.

Other limits on home insurance for tenants include the fact that you cannot insure items that belong to your landlord. It may seem obvious, but some insurers will even refuse to offer tenants insurance if the flat or house they live in came furnished by the landlord.

When you take items out of the house or lend them to a friend you may not be insured for this, so check the terms and conditions of the policy first. In most cases you will need personal possessions cover to insure items outside of the home.

Read our guides to mobile phone insurance and on bicycle insurance to learn more about getting separate cover for items you regularly take out of the house.

If you live with other people in a flat share then you will need to also consider how it will work to insure all your items together.

Home insurance if you live in a flat share

When you live in a flat share there will probably be more possessions to insure, and perhaps more risk.

Companies insuring tenants will see flat shares as bigger risks to insure because the more people in the flat the more risk there is of accidental damage or a door being left unlocked, so you might find it harder to get appropriate cover.

You could take out a joint policy with other people living with you to make it cheaper overall, but it could be tricky to arrange. This would involve arranging for others in the flat to pay their share of the premiums. Plus, if anyone moved out of or into your place you would need to amend the policy to add or remove those names.

You can compare home insurance for tenants using our free online comparison tools to help you find the right level of cover for you.

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