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Get on top of tenants insurance
Tenants insurance is equivalent to home contents insurance for those who live in a rented house or apartment. In other words, when you take out tenants insurance you will be able to replace your worldly goods and belongings should they be damaged in the event of a fire, flood or theft etc.
The type of belongings covered under tenant’s Insurance includes electronic equipment such as games consoles, a hairdryer, smoothie maker and DVDs as well as clothing and sports equipment.
For higher value item, such as computer equipment, expensive jewellery, mobile phone or a bike then it’s a good idea to list these individually or even take out a separate policy known as personal possessions insurance. Be aware, though, that there will usually be a limit on every claim (usually between £1,500 to £2,500). And on that note, a recent survey by a leading insurance company showed that most people opt to add a laptop, bike or jewellery to their home or tenant’s insurance policy.
Even though contents insurance for a shared property will be higher, it’s important to let the insurer know this – otherwise, when you come to make a claim your insurance could be invalidated.
Different types of tenants insurance
Tenants’ liability insurance
This is an add-on cover to tenants insurance and covers your landlord’s property should you damage it via spilling red wine on a sofa or breaking a window. This way you will be able to pay for the repairs upfront without the landlord having to dip into your deposit.
Student insurance policy
Contents insurance will often be listed under a general policy specifically aimed at students but if not, it’s advisable to take out a contents insurance policy. And on that note, it’s easier to take out individual insurance cover rather than get everyone onto the same policy.
Walk-in theft insurance
This is for tenants who want to protect their contents but don’t have a lock on their door. Be warned though, it’s not an easy cover to obtain.
Shared house contents insurance
This is for individuals and couples who rent a room in a house shared with others who they’re not related to. The cover only applies if the contents remain in the room and not in the sitting room or outside the property. The good news is this could prove a less expensive policy than house contents since the cover is based on the number of rooms being insured.
Accidental damage insurance
This is when you damage your landlord’s property by spilling something on the furniture or carpet. It’s very similar to the tenant’s liability insurance. It could also encompass an incident such as the water machine flooding or damage to the bathroom suite. The money you receive from the insurance payout could be put towards court costs if you don’t feel it was your responsibility as a tenant i.e. if the washing machine was faulty anyway etc.
Personal possession insurance
This allows you to remove valuable items you have listed individually from the property e.g. a laptop, mobile phone or jewellery.
Tips on getting the best value tenant’s insurance
- Most tenants live in shared accommodation. This can raise the cost of premiums since the chances of getting burgled are obviously much higher. However, it’s possible to reduce premiums (and the risk of your possessions being stolen) by putting a lock on your bedroom door, and even the window.
- In order to lower your ongoing monthly premiums, it’s possible to ask for a higher voluntary excess (and hope you never have to pay it!). The insurance company itself will set a compulsory excess.
- If possible try and pay off your insurance on an annual basis in the one go, rather than monthly via direct debit. That’s because paying it off on the one go means you won’t be charged extra for the admin work involved in checking direct debits are received.
- Consider joining your local Neighborhood Watch scheme. Doing so could reduce your contents premiums by around five per cent.
- Don’t claim for minor breakages or loss. Instead, you’ll get a better deal from insurance companies by building up your no claims discount.
- Always compare quotes from different insurance companies rather than take the first one you find online or that a friend mentions to you. It’s surprising just how much you can save by shopping around. You can see yourself by filling in the website’s online calculator.
Does it matter who I’m renting from?
Actually, yes it does. That’s because if your rented home is from a housing association or local authority then it will be deemed to have adequate security measures. Other landlords could be in the private rented sector.
Could having pets invalidate my tenants insurance?
Yes, especially if you haven’t told your insurance company about your cat, dog, parrot etc.
Do I need to tell my insurance company about new items?
You should definitely let the insurance company know if you buy a new laptop, for instance, and how much it costs. That way you can even take it on holiday without worrying about losing it or it getting stolen.
Can some landlords demand that I take out tenants liability insurance?
It’s not a legal requirement but some landlords can refuse to rent their apartments or houses to individuals who don’t have it. They can even insist on this in their tenancy agreement.
Will an insurance company pay tenants’ insurance if my property is damaged by terrorist activities?
This is a categorical ‘no.’ Neither will your company pay out if, for instance, you didn’t lock the window and a burglar got in, or you failed to get a police number for the burglary because you didn’t report it. Another common reason for not paying out could be because you’d gone on holiday and left the property empty for more than 30 days.
What about if I get the landlord’s carpets professionally cleaned and the company causes damage?
This would be the responsibility of the cleaning company which, if professional, should have its own liability insurance.