What insurance do you need when renting?

You’ve just rented a property and are looking forward to settling in to your new home. There’s the obligatory trip to Ikea and housewarming drinks party, but - hang on - have you remembered to organise your contents insurance?

How will you replace your personal belongings and furniture in case of burglary, fire or flooding? It does happen! Time to swat up so you can enjoy your new home worry-free.

There are quite a few different types of insurance relating to renting so here is a little explanation of the main types you may come across:

What is home insurance?

Home insurance is a catch-all term often used by banks and building societies when referring to the two main types of insurance relating to properties: buildings insurance and contents insurance.

What is buildings insurance?

Buildings insurance is an insurance policy which covers the physical structure of a property and all of the fixtures in and on it. So, that includes the building itself (walls, floors, roof) and permanent parts (bathroom, kitchen, cupboards) and all outside fittings (fences, shed, garage).

What is contents insurance?

Contents insurance is an insurance policy which covers all of your possession. So, things like clothes, furniture, appliances, jewellery, electronic items, chairs, tables etc.

What is tenant liability insurance?

Tenant liability insurance is a form of contents insurance taken out by a tenant to cover any damage that may occur to the property during their tenancy. Many landlords now include tenancy liability in the rental contract, to protect themselves financially from damage to their home caused by the tenant. However, as a tenant, you may decide to take out this insurance in addition to contents insurance (providing you aren’t already covered for this in the tenancy insurance). As always, shop around online for the best deal.

Do I need home insurance when renting?

While contents insurance is not a legal requirement, it may be sensible to purchase it to protect your valuable belongings in a rented property. Moreover, some landlords and estate agents now require you to have contents insurance if the property is furnished. But if you are renting, you do not need to worry about buildings insurance - this is the responsibility of the actual owner of the property (the landlord).

What type of home insurance do I need if I rent?

You’ll need contents or tenant insurance if you have valuable possessions that you would like to protect. Remember to use an online comparison website to seek out the best deal. First decide the level of cover you need. Gocompare.com explains that 'new for old' policies will replace your items with new equivalents, whereas ‘wear and tear’ gives a percentage of the item’s cost for depreciation. Using an online home contents calculator will help tot up the value of your belongings. Be careful not to underestimate!

Can I get contents/tenant insurance through my bank account?

Nope, unfortunately not. While many well-known banks do offer tenants insurance, it is not available through bank accounts, so don’t relax and think you’re probably already covered. If you haven’t taken out a separate policy, then you’re not. Time to do some research. However, most banks offer gadget/phone insurance which may cover your most expensive items.

How does home insurance work with flat shares?

It’s possible to buy tenants insurance for flat shares, however there may be some conditions required by the insurer such as making sure your room door has a lock. Students’ possessions may already be covered under their parents’ home insurance, so if you’re a student check that pronto.

Happy renting!