If you are renting a property, whether a house or a flat, or even if you are part of a house share, it is important that you safeguard your belongings by taking out renter’s insurance. This type of insurance, also known as tenant’s insurance, is designed to protect your possessions from theft as well as from damage incurred by flood and fire. Although not a legal requirement, this type of policy provides invaluable cover for all those who rent their home.
Unlike landlord’s insurance, which also covers the structure of the building, renter’s insurance covers the contents only. This generally includes: electrical gadgets and appliances, jewellery and clothing, CD’s, DVD’s and books, items of furniture that you own plus soft furnishings, crockery and cutlery, antiques and bicycles. Basically, all those items that you would take with you when you moved out would be covered under a renter’s insurance policy; which can often amount to quite a lot!
In order to find out how much content’s cover you require you can find a number of handy tools online which will help you to determine how much your possessions are worth. Alternatively, you can go around every room in your home and write an itinerary including the respective value of all items listed.
If you rent your home you do not need to take out buildings insurance as this is the responsibility of your landlord. They are responsible for the building and any permanent fixtures inside it, for example, fitted kitchens (including fitted appliances; cookers, dishwashers etc.), and bathroom suites. Therefore, if you were to experience damp problems in the home, or burst pipes, for example, these would be the responsibility of your landlord. In addition, if your rental property is furnished it is up to your landlord to take out an appropriate contents insurance policy.
You may think that if you are a student, or an individual sharing a house with others, then you do not need to take out renter’s insurance. However, this is not the case; in actual fact, it is probably more likely that your possessions will be at risk of theft or damage. The chances of someone leaving a door or window open inviting potential burglars is much higher in shared accommodation, as is the risk of your mobile phone or laptop mysteriously disappearing!
If you do share your home with others it is possible to take out an insurance policy that covers everyone’s possessions. However, this can lead to complications as the policy would have to be continuously updated as one housemate leaves and another moves in, and you would also have to ensure that everyone contributed towards the monthly premiums. Students, in particular, often house share to cut costs and specialist student’s insurance is available which covers expensive items such as laptops, tablets, and text books. This type of insurance is most often a better solution than a single contents policy.
Basic renter’s insurance will cover your possessions against theft, fire and flood, but most insurance companies also offer additional accidental damage cover. This type of cover protects your furniture or electrical devices if they are damaged accidentally, for example, you inadvertently smashed the screen on your expensive, widescreen television, or you spilt liquid on your up to the minute stereo system. Some renter’s insurance policies also offer tenant’s liability cover which will protect you should you accidentally damage any of the fixtures and fittings that belong to your landlord; for example, if you were to spill paint on the carpet.
The benefits offered vary enormously between insurance companies, as do the premiums. It pays to shop around if you are in the market for renter’s insurance, but remember that the cheapest deal isn’t always the best. Make sure that the level of cover is adequate for the contents of your home, and that the excess payable when making a claim is affordable. You can often save money on your insurance policy by taking out a policy with a high excess, but this is not cost-effective if you need to make a claim for just a few hundred pounds.
For the majority of people insurance of up to £25,000 will be adequate, but bear in mind that if you do have specific items that are singularly worth a substantial amount you will have to insure these separately. Many insurers also offer renter’s cover for personal possessions whilst outside of the home. This can be a useful add-on if you regularly take your laptop or tablet with you whilst travelling, and usually only adds a nominal amount to your premium.
Renter’s insurance gives invaluable peace of mind that your possessions will be covered in the event that there is a fire in your property, or it is subjected to flooding. In addition, if you are the victim of theft then you can also be assured that your hard-earned property will be replaced by your insurer; usually at the full, current retail cost, and not the depreciated value. So many people make the mistake of thinking that insurance is only applicable to homeowners, but whatever type of property you rent, whether alone or with others, renter’s insurance should be an essential consideration, and should be budgeted for accordingly in your list of monthly outgoings, along with your rental payment.