If you rent your property then you’ll already know that there are many advantages to life as a tenant, like not having to turn to your savings if the boiler gave up the ghost.
Structural issues, such as problems with pipes and drainage or the roof will usually be the responsibility of your landlord. But there are some things to consider that won’t be covered, such as your personal possessions in the event of loss, theft, accidental damage, or damage caused by storms, floods or fire.
The types of home insurance
There are many types of home insurance, but usually only one that renters may consider.
Contents insurance relates to anything that could be taken with you when you move home and includes items such as fridges, laptops, clothes, books, beds, crockery and cutlery, etc.
Buildings insurance covers the structure of the building, including walls, guttering, drainage, roofing, garages and sheds, etc.
Landlord insurance covers the property, from a simple broken window to flood damage. Should the tenant be unable to stay in the property the landlord is covered for alternative accommodation while repairs are carried out.
Tenants insurance is a form of contents insurance specifically designed for tenants and their possessions.
Do I need contents insurance if I am renting?
It’s not a legal necessity to have contents insurance if you’re renting, but a fire, a break-in or a flood may potentially spell financial disaster.
At first glance, you might not think you have a lot that’s worth insuring, perhaps little in the way of valuables or priceless heirlooms.
However, when you tot up all your clothes, books, CDs, DVDs, LPs, your TV, your crockery and gadgets, it could come to a sum that few people would have to hand if all those possessions needed to be replaced.
What is covered by contents insurance?
Most policies will cover you if your possessions are stolen or damaged by fire or flood, but not always for accidental damage. You should consider taking out optional extras to make sure you are covered in eventualities.
Accidental Damage: One morning, in the rush to get ready for a meeting, you accidentally drop and smash your laptop in your bedroom. Ordinarily, you wouldn’t be covered in these circumstances, unless you add accidental damage cover (subject to excesses, exclusions and limits in the policy). This would only be covered inside your home, however, cover away from the home is explained below.
Personal possessions: Contents insurance means covering your items while they’re in your home. Personal possessions will add extra cover for while you’re out and about. This could be invaluable if your phone or laptop get stolen when out.
How to estimate the value of my contents
Go through your home, room by room, and add up the value of all your possessions if you had to replace them as new.
Yes, it will take time to work out the total value of everything you own, but it’s better to be thorough than just guess an amount.
Include all of your contents, not just the big-ticket items such as the TV and sofa.
Be as accurate as you can, although over-estimating could lead to a slightly higher premium, under-estimating will leave you underinsured which could result in a claims payment being reduced or the claim declined altogether.
Many contents insurance policies will have a single item limit.
This is the maximum value of one single item covered in your policy. If you have an item that exceeds this amount, such as an engagement ring or valuable musical instrument, this will usually need to be declared separately from the rest of your contents.
Home and away
Obviously not all your possessions spend all of their time in your home. Some, such as phones, jewellery and laptops, will be frequently taken out and about with you.
It is possible to add cover for your possessions against damage or theft when they’re out of the home. This is generally not included in contents insurance policies as standard but is widely available as an optional add on.
What if I am a student?
For a lot of students, this will be the first time they’ve lived in their own place. That new-found independence comes with a lot of new things to think about, things that were previously taken care of by mum and dad. That’s why we’ve created this handy guide to students contents insurance so you can find out a bit more about protecting your possessions when you’re a student and staying away from home.