What Home Insurance Do I Need If I Rent?

Contents insurance is one of several types of home insurance, and is suitable for those who rent their homes and do not need to worry about buildings cover.

As part of your tenancy agreement, you will be expected to keep the property in good order, but ultimately it is the responsibility of your landlord to fix issues not caused by you. As a tenant you are only using the structure of the building (rather than owning it), so you have no obligation to insure it. However, you do have the responsibility of looking after your personal property. 

Home insurance when renting

You should take out contents insurance when renting your home if you want the contents covered. 

Contents insurance is designed to cover and protect all of the belongings that you use and keep in your rented property. Your items are usually covered if there is a fire, if they are stolen or if flooding occurs - these things will each be specified in your Insurance policy documents.

For example, if your home is burgled a contents insurance policy would typically pay to replace those stolen items, up to the limits and conditions of the policy that you have chosen. If a door was damaged in a burglary, however, it would be filed against the landlord's insurance not yours - because tenants are not responsible for claims against fixtures and fittings and the structure of the property outside of their control.  

What does contents insurance cover?

Even though each insurer is different in terms of what they include in an insurance policy, typically cover provides protection for: 

  • TVs, laptops and other electronics
  • Soft furnishings
  • White goods 
  • Books and DVDs
  • Bikes
  • Jewellery
  • Sporting Equipment

As a renter, you are liable for any damage you do to the property. If you don’t have contents insurance and something is damaged or broken that is not covered, the cost of repairs would likely be taken from your deposit. 

Why do you need it?

  • You need to protect your personal possessions. Even if you don’t have a lot of expensive items, it is still a good idea to get cover for your valuables.
  • If you damage a neighbour’s property by accident, or if a guest comes into your home and breaks something while visiting, you’ll be financially liable for the cost of repair or replacement. With insurance in place, the financial liability rests with the insurer. 
  • The insurance that your landlord will have most likely won’t cover any upgrades that you might add to your rental and pay for yourself, for example, built-in shelving and upgraded carpets. However, it’s unlikely you’ll be allowed to add these things to the property without written permission from them, so it’s always best to check first. 

Contents insurance can sometimes protect your personal belongings when they aren’t at home with you. Some policies will cover possessions in your car and when travelling, but this is something to check first before taking them out of the house. 

Do you think you could remember the details and costings of all your items in the event of a break-in or a fire? It’s worth taking the time to record all your belongings and their values in case something happens. Keep bills, receipts and warranties too, as these will serve as proof of ownership. Store this important information somewhere safe and secure. 

Getting the right contents insurance coverage as a tenant offers peace of mind and allows you to enjoy living in your home without worry. Take a look at RAC’s contents cover offerings today and find the right cover for you. 

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