A Guide on Home Insurance for Renters - What Cover do Tenants Need?

A tenant receiving house keys

If you’re looking into renting a house in the UK, then there are a few things you need to be aware of when it comes to home insurance for your rental property.

While the building you’re living in is important in itself, it’s your personal belongings and prized possessions that you’ll want to protect the most, so it’s imperative to be aware of the type of home insurance you’ll need if you rent.

Don’t just rely on the insurance that your landlord has in place; always look into the type of cover you might need yourself as a renter/tenant.

What insurance do I need to rent a house?

As a renter, there are a few different types of home insurance policies you might want to look into, in order to ensure the property you’re renting and everything inside is well protected.

Take a look below at some of the types of home insurance you’ll need as a renter.

Home contents insurance for tenants

As a renter, you may be wondering “do I need contents insurance as a tenant?” and the simple answer is yes.

Home contents insurance for tenants protects your personal belongings, so while the responsibility of buildings insurance usually always falls on the landlord’s shoulders (more on that below), it is your responsibility as a tenant to ensure your personal goods are protected in the event of a fire, flood damage, theft or any other kind of damage.

Tenants insurance

This type of home insurance for tenants differs from home contents insurance as you might not want to cover the contents of the entire property - instead, you might just want to ensure that you’ve got sufficient cover for your own belongings.

Tenants insurance offers cover for your belongings to protect them against damage or theft from someone you don’t live with. It will also often include tenants' liability cover and sometimes will offer basic accidental damage cover for things like doors, glass and windows within the property, although each policy and provider will differ somewhat in what they offer, so be sure to double-check the terms and conditions of the policy before committing to it.

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Personal possessions insurance

This type of insurance differs somewhat to both home contents insurance and tenants insurance as it involves providing cover for your belongings such as mobile phones, laptop, cameras, jewellery or clothing that have been stolen or lost outside your home.

Some home insurance policies for renters will offer cover for any eventualities or damages to your belongings that occur outside your home, but in the event that your policy doesn’t offer this type of cover, it might be a good idea to look into personal possessions insurance for your own peace of mind.

Can I get insurance for accidental damage?

While home insurance for accidental damage isn’t always classed as a necessity by many people, it can be good to have for your own peace of mind as it helps you to cover the costs of any accidental damage that might occur in your rental property.

For example, if you spill red wine on the carpets of your rental home, or accidentally drill through a hole in the wall, then you’ve technically damaged someone else’s property as a tenant.

If, however, you have accidental damage insurance in place, you’ll be covered in such eventualities, which means you won’t have to pay to replace them and you won’t lose the deposit you put on the rental property; your home insurance will cover the costs.

Will my landlord's insurance cover me?

If you’re renting an entire house or flat, then your landlord will usually always be liable to pay buildings insurance, with you as the tenant needing to provide cover for your own belongings and possessions in the form of contents insurance. 

Buildings insurance covers the physical structure of the building you’re renting, including the exterior of the property, fixtures and fittings, as well as the water and central heating systems and this is almost always covered by the landlord or the building owner.

The type of insurance that your landlord has will very rarely cover you and your possessions, it will only cover the actual building itself.

However, it’s a good idea to check with your landlord so you know exactly what insurance they have in place for the property that you’re renting, so you know what protection you need to get to cover yourself and your belongings before you commit to a leasing period.

What insurance do landlords need?

Landlord insurance can offer you cover and protection for many different things, depending on the type of policy that is taken out.

It’s not actually a legal requirement for landlords to have specific landlord insurance in place, but it is very advisable to invest in even the most basic policy as regular home insurance won’t cover you and your property if you’re renting your home out to tenants.

If you have a mortgage on the property that you plan on renting out as a landlord, your mortgage provider may require you to have landlord insurance in place before you can rent your property to anyone.

Many types of landlord home insurance policies will offer both building insurance and contents insurance, but it really depends on the insurer and the level of policy that you take out. Always make sure you fully understand what you are and are not covered for with your policy.

Read more: A Complete Guide to Landlord Insurance

What does landlord insurance cover?

Landlord insurance will cover myriads of things, depending on the level of cover you have. Some of the things you might be covered for as a landlord under your home insurance policy include:

  • Buildings insurance - this is cover for the actual structure of your property.
  • Contents insurance - especially good to have if you’re renting a furnished property that houses your own belongings.
  • Loss of rent - if your property becomes uninhabitable due to fire or flood damage for example, and you are unable to rent your property during this time, you will be covered for loss of rent during that period.
  • Landlord’s liabilities - this will cover you if one of your tenants gets injured while living at your property.

Whatever insurance you plan on purchasing to cover you and your belongings, always ensure you are completely truthful when applying for cover (to avoid invalidating your policy) and ensure you know exactly what you are covered for under the insurer's and policy's terms.

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