Contents Insurance for Tenants & Renters

If you rent your property instead of owning it outright, don’t assume that obtaining home insurance is someone else’s responsibility to arrange. While you may not own the house or apartment you’re living in, you’re likely to own some – if not all - of the items in it. Even if you’re renting a furnished property, you’ll have personal belongings that you’ll probably want to insure. As such it’s wise to take out contents insurance. This guide will look at why home contents insurance for tenants is important.


What does tenants insurance cover?

Tenants (contents) insurance is a form of insurance that provides cover for your belongings while you’re renting a property. 

What that actually covers depends on your insurer, and the contents insurance policy you take out. 

Typically, tenants contents insurance protects against any damage, loss or theft to your possessions that occur within the home. 

That can cover furniture, carpets, curtains and other items, and also damage and loss of electrical goods, clothes and jewellery. So, it can cover your TV, laptop, games console, and gadgets such as an ipad or iphone, for example.

What’s not included?

Check the details of your contents insurance policy to see what is covered. You might not be covered for accidental damage, and certain high value items might not be included as standard. If you have an item of high value, you may need to declare this and get specific items covered for peace of mind. Wear and tear of items isn’t usually covered, either.

Do I need to cover the property too?

No, if you rent a property the building itself is the responsibility of the landlord. However it’s always a good idea to check your tenancy agreement to make sure that’s the case for you.

House shares and other tenants

Obtaining contents insurance when living in a house share is different to when you rent a property on your own. If there are multiple people living in a house, some insurers might consider there to be a higher chance of damage, loss or theft of items. As such this may be seen as a greater risk.

You could look to see if you can be insured on a room only basis. However, it’s worth remembering that a claim from a roommate could affect your premium. 

Student Contents Insurance

Students living away from home in rented accommodation while at university may be covered under the home contents insurance policy held by their parents or older family members. If, as a student, your main permanent address is your parents’ home and you’re effectively living away from it for a period of time, the belongings you have at your university accommodation may be covered.

For example, RAC Contents Insurance can offer cover for a student’s possessions up to £5,000 at a UK university on their parents’ contents insurance policy. However, cover would not extend to shared properties, nor would a single policy covering multiple students be offered. 

If you’re looking to rent a property and need tenants insurance, get a home insurance quote and get covered.

Frequently Asked Questions

Even though you don’t own the property, if you’re living in it you’re responsible for insuring the contents you own within it. 

If the rental property is furnished, it is the landlord’s responsibility to insure the furniture and contents provided as part of the tenancy agreement.

Why don’t I need buildings insurance?

Seeing as the property isn’t yours, you don’t need to have buildings insurance - but the landlord and owner of the property must have it. However, check your tenancy agreement to be sure.

How accurate do I need to be with the value of my possessions?
As accurate as you can be - you don’t want to underestimate the value of your possessions and then, in the event of a claim, realise you won’t be covered for the full value. That’s why a cheap contents insurance policy for tenants isn’t necessarily the best option - you should consider a policy that covers you fully and decide for yourself whether this meets your requirements.
Will I be covered for both theft and damage?

Contents insurance may cover both theft and damage as standard, but as always you should check before you take out a policy.

Is any work equipment covered?
This might depend on what equipment it is. A business laptop might be covered as standard but larger, more expensive items may need specialist cover. If you run your own business, you may want to consider business insurance. Standard contents policies will not offer cover if you have business visitors visit your home.
Are my items insured outside of the property?
Usually, items that are kept within sheds, outbuildings and the boundaries of the property are covered - garden furniture, BBQ equipment, for example. This might include bikes, too, though if you have a high value bike you may want to consider specialist cover or specifying the bikes on your policy to make sure these are covered.
Will I be covered if I go on holiday?
Contents insurance usually covers a period for holiday but if you are going to be away from the property for an extended time – for example, over 30 days in one go - you should declare that to your insurer. An unattended property might be considered at greater risk of burglary.

Related Articles

RAC explain what home insurance you need if you are renting a property, click here to find out more.


Calculating how much you'll need to cover your home's contents due to a total/partial loss can be difficult - we've created a guide and calculator to help.


If you own a flat, instead of a house, does this make any difference to the cost of your home insurance? The RAC looks at the potential impact in this guide.