Almost 50% of renters don’t have contents insurance

Do tenants really need contents insurance? We take a look at everything you need to know about taking out home insurance if you’re renting a property.

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According to a survey by Nationwide, only around 50% of renters take out contents insurance on their belongings. But do you really need insurance if you’re a tenant? Let’s take a look. 


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What is home contents insurance? 

Home contents insurance covers the cost of replacing your household possessions if they’re lost, stolen or damaged. While exact coverage varies by policy, generally, your policy covers things like furniture, clothes, jewellery, electrical items and appliances.  

Some things might be excluded from a policy, such as:

  • higher value items (e.g. anything worth more than £1,000)
  • accidental damage 
  • wear and tear 

It all depends on the level of cover you take out.  

To be clear, contents insurance is not the same as buildings insurance, which covers the physical structure of your home. If you’re a tenant, it’s your landlord’s responsibility to take out buildings insurance, not yours. 

Why do tenants need contents insurance?

Well, since buildings insurance doesn’t cover personal items, you won’t be insured if there’s any damage to your property or it’s stolen from the house. So, if someone breaks in and steals your stereo, you’ll need to pay for a replacement if you’re not insured.

To be clear, it’s not up to your landlord to provide contents insurance – it’s your responsibility. While the landlord might also have contents insurance, this usually only extends to their own property, not yours. So, if you’re renting a furnished flat, the landlord’s insurance will cover the furniture they provide but not your own furnishings. 

Do I need contents insurance if I’m just renting a room? 

Yes, probably. If you’re lodging or you’re sharing a flat with others, then there’s even more reason to take out contents insurance.

If you’re a lodger, you might want to look at single room contents insurance, so shop around for insurers who offer this type of policy.  

Do you flatshare? if your housemates agree to it, you could all chip in and take out joint insurance – just be aware that these policies can be more expensive.  

Where can I get home insurance? 

Looking for contents insurance? Here’s where to start your search: 

  • First, look at price comparison websites such as MoneySuperMarket or GoCompare. You could also use a broker instead, or look at the deals available directly from insurers – they don’t all post their best deals on comparison websites.
  • Next, provide an accurate estimate of how much your property is worth. While there’s no need to provide an exact figure, it’s important you don’t underestimate the value. Otherwise, you might not be covered if you need to make a claim. 
  • Then, decide if you want to pay for extra cover like accidental damage. You can also choose to insure high-value items such as laptops separately.
  • Finally, check all of your details are correct and look over the policy before you sign it. 



While there’s no legal requirement to take out contents insurance, it’s worth it even if you’re only renting a property. Otherwise, you could end up with unexpected bills if something happens to your belongings. 

Do you need to make a claim? Be sure to notify your insurer right away, and tell the police if a crime such as theft or vandalism is committed.  

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