Renting a home can be a great experience; you have a place to live, and the landlord takes care of maintenance and repairs. Yet if you were a victim of theft, or there was a flood or fire in your home, the landlord’s insurance will usually only cover damage to the building itself, not to your personal items – meaning you would have to pay out for replacements. Fortunately, you can get a Tenant Insurance Policy, also known as Renters Insurance, which can help you protect your personal items and give you peace of mind.

There are two main types of Tenant Insurance cover: Tenancy Liability Insurance and Tenants Contents Insurance. Tenancy Liability Insurance covers accidental damage to your landlord’s contents and items they provide for you to use, whereas Contents Tenants Insurance covers your own personal possessions in case of theft, fire, accidental damage or other insured risks.

Generally, you can opt for Tenancy Liability Insurance only, you can opt for dual cover in the form of Tenants Contents Insurance which includes Tenancy Liability cover in the same policy, or just Tenants Contents to cover your own possessions. A Tenant Insurance policy does not cover the property itself; it will be the landlord’s responsibility to have their own Landlords Insurance including Buildings Insurance.

The cost of a Tenants Contents Insurance policy is around £4-£11 per month which will provide you with £50,000 for Contents (this figure will vary depending on Insurers). The cost of a Tenants Contents Insurance policy, including Tenants Liability Cover, is around £11-£15 per month. This will provide you with £50,000 for Contents plus £10,000 Tenancy Liability Cover as standard (this figure will vary depending on Insurers).

Do I need Tenants’ Liability Insurance?

Tenancy Liability Insurance provides protection for tenants during the period they are renting a property, for items they are liable for as part of the tenancy agreement. It ensures in the event of any accidental damage to items that belong to or that are provided by the landlord such as a fitted kitchen and other fixtures, white goods/integrated appliances including oven, fridge etc, carpets and soft furnishings, bathroom fittings and any furniture provided.

It may be stated in your tenancy agreement that Tenant Insurance is required to cover the landlords’ contents. However, Tenant Liability Insurance is not mandatory in the UK. To determine if you need this insurance, you need to decide if you have adequate funds to fix the landlord’s items if you accidentally damage them. If you do not think you have enough and don’t want to risk the cost to fix items to potentially be taken from your deposit, Tenancy Liability Insurance may be something you might want to consider.

If you accidentally damage your landlord’s property, Tenant’s Liability Insurance will cover the cost of either repairing or replacing their broken fixtures, fittings and furniture up to £10,000 (this figure will vary depending on the Insurers). This means that having this insurance could reduce the risk of end-of-tenancy deductions as it covers the cost of fixing accidental damage.

How much cover will I need for Tenants’ Liability Insurance?

Before you decide what cover you will need, look carefully at the fixtures, fittings and contents provided by your landlord. If you’ve decided to rent a furnished or part-furnished home, you will need to think about all the furnishings that are already there – use the inventory to help with this. Remember to also consider that the cost to repair the items may also include the labour of a tradesperson. For example, if you accidentally damage the carpet and a replacement is necessary, you’ll need to factor in the cost of the fitter’s labour.

If it is a requirement of your Tenancy Agreement that you have this insurance, your inventory will be key to understanding the value of items that your landlord has provided, so you have a clear picture of your liability should damage occur. Feel free to ask your landlord or property agent questions about the cost of an item if it is not apparent in the inventory, or ask questions about home security at the property. They will be happy to assist you to make sure you have the right cover as it will benefit them too. To find out more about inventories, read our The importance of property inventories blog.

Do I need Tenants Content Insurance?

If you’re about to rent a property, now is a good time to consider taking out Tenants Insurance, although you can take out this insurance at any time during the period you are renting a property. With Tenants Content Insurance you will be covered in the event of a claim for certain insured events, such as theft, flood, escape of water and fire for the following items:

  • Items of clothing including coats
  • Jewellery including clocks and collector’s items
  • Any personal furnishings in the property including lounge and bedroom, furniture
  • Soft furnishings including rugs, bedding and cushions
  • Electrical equipment including TVs, Blu-ray players, games consoles, speakers, stereos
  • Mobile phones (this will vary depending on Insurers)
  • Money and credit cards (although the amount will vary depending on Insurer)
  • Pedal cycles within the boundaries of your home
  • Contents in your locked garage, shed or outbuildings (this will vary depending on Insurers)

With certain policies, you will also be covered if you cause accidental damage to a TV, any audio, video, DVD players and games consoles plus personal computer equipment.

Excess will apply which will vary depending on each policy, but these can be used as a rough guide:

  • Contents: £100
  • Malicious Damage: £500
  • Escaping water: £250
  • Contents Accidental Damage Cover: £100
  • Tenancy Liability (accidental damage to landlord’s property, furniture, fixtures and fittings): £100
  • Specified Possessions: £100
  • Pedal Cycles excess: £100
  • Legal Expenses – £0 – except for claims relating to nuisance or trespass of a property, which each have a £250 excess

How much cover will I need for Tenants Content Insurance?

How much contents insurance for renters coverage you need is entirely up to you. It can be hard to decide what should be covered but think if you turned your home upside down, what would fall – clothing, furniture, crockery and appliances etc – and use this as a guide, note this is the same as all home insurance. Plus, it can also cover the items you would usually take with you when out of the home.

What’s not covered by Contents Insurance?

There are a few things you may expect to be covered by Contents Insurance, which are not on most policies. The main exclusions are:

  • Damage due to wear and tear
  • Acts of terrorism
  • Accidental damage to some items
  • Burglaries if there is no sign of forced entry
  • Some policies will require high-value items (for example, cycles, jewellery, gadgets) to be insured with separate Personal Possessions Cover
  • You may need to pay for optional extras to cover items you take out of the home

Note that it is important to always check the small print of any insurance policy. Generally, if the property has been left unoccupied for more than 30 days, cover for malicious damage, escaping water, and theft will not be provided, which will be important to note if you are away on business or are off travelling.

Please contact Pelin Martin to book a 30-minute complimentary property consultation on +0208 994 7327 –