When I was renting, a question that I asked was whether I needed insurance to protect my belongings or not, or even if it was worthwhile.
To quickly answer the question of whether you need home insurance when renting:
No, you do not need home insurance when renting. Renters insurance is not a legal requirement, so you do not require it by law – It is more a matter of personal preference and individual circumstances
In this article, I will outline what it is, what it covers, and other key questions that you may ask when considering taking out a new insurance policy so you can decide whether you need it.
One of the biggest things I learned was landlords do not need to provide contents insurance for you or your belongings and only have to insure the building structure itself – that is all!
What is renters insurance?
Renters insurance, also known as tenants insurance, is a policy that is designed to protect and insure individuals who are renting a property, such as a house or a flat. It is designed to cover you and your personal contents, but not the building or property structure itself.
You will typically find two types of renters insurance, one being Tenants contents insurance and the other Tenants liability, where each covers their own area in the renting world. They can usually be purchased either on their own or a combined policy, however, I like to feel fully secure, so I would personally recommend the combined policy as it often pays to be fully protected.
What does tenants insurance cover?
Tenants insurance as a combined policy provides coverage for your personal possessions, liability should you damage the property, and any additional living expenses that may be incurred should the property you are renting become inhabitable (e.g. flooded).
Tenant’s content insurance on its own will provides cover for your personal belongings in case of theft, accidental damage, fire, or natural disaster. Many policies will also cover any expenses that may arise from the property becoming inhabitable, such as hotel costs while it is being repaired, however, be sure to check the agreement when deciding on a policy.
Tenant’s liability will provide cover for any accidental damage that you may cause to the Landlord’s property and contents that they have provided. This is especially useful if you are renting a property that comes fully or partially furnished.
One, potentially major, thing to note is that if the insurer finds your claim is due to your own negligence (e.g. leaving a window wide open, keys in the door, etc), there is a strong chance they will not provide any cover or payouts.
Does it cover theft outside the home
As long as you have provided an appropriate level of cover when taking out your policy, yes, you will be fully covered even if theft occurs outside of your home! So, should you cycle to the shop, chain your bike outside, and when you come out your bike is stolen, you will be covered.
This is also why it pays to be honest when providing the value of each when applying for a policy – Yes it may bring the monthly cost slightly higher, but at least you get the correct amount back when claiming.
Similar to the content cover not protecting high-value items as standard, there are many policies that do not provide cover outside of your home as standard, so be sure to fully read the policy documents and terms and conditions
What doesn’t tenant’s insurance cover
Some policies will not cover high-value items, such as jewellery and collectibles, where you may need to take out a separate or add on policy. It is worth checking through the insurance company’s coverage should you need protection for these
Also, if you have a pet you will need to get a pet insurance policy separately, should your landlord allow them
Typically, most tenant’s insurance policies do not cover:
- General wear and tear
- Theft from your place of work
- Theft with no sign of forced entry
- Any issues that arise if the property has been unoccupied for a long period of time
- High-value goods
Does each tenant need renters insurance?
If you live in a shared house with roommates, each tenant will need their own insurance policy to protect their belongings. When you are taking out a policy you will need to let the insurer know that you are living in shared accommodation as this will affect the level of cover and price.
I, personally, think this is a good thing for a couple of reasons: one being your roommates may have expensive belongings, therefore driving up the monthly cost; and two, they may be careless, leaving their room doors unlocked, windows open, etc. meaning they are at a much higher chance of something happening (think no claims bonus)
Average cost of home renters insurance
According to Comparethemarket, the average cost of renters insurance between Dec 2019 and March 2020 was £96.95 annually, or about £8.00 a month.
So, for about the cost of two coffees a month, you can sleep safely at night knowing your possessions are secure!
I hope this article has helped and answered the main questions you may have had!
Do renters need home insurance?
It is not a legal requirement, so you do not need it per say, but is more a matter of personal preference.
Do I need buildings insurance as a tenant?
You do not need buildings insurance as a tenant as this is usually covered by the Landlord, however they are not legally obligated to have it. That being said, if they have a Buy to let mortgage, it is highly likely that they will have buildings insurance as most Mortgage lenders require it.
Is tenant’s insurance worth it?
Whether tenant’s insurance is worth it or not is a matter of preference and personal circumstance. It also depends on the area you live in as well as the property type. E.g. If you live in an area with a high theft rate, or if you live in a flat.
How to get renters insurance?
The easiest and best way to get renters insurance is to use a comparison website, such as Comparethemarket or Gocompare, and apply directly through their websites. This also makes comparing prices, policies, and what each cover much faster.
James Banerjee is an Account Director who graduated from the University of Kent in 2014. He works in SEO on clients such as HSBC UK and Nestle and he has a keen interest in personal finances and money-saving advice.