Here are our top tips to help you get a policy that's right for you.
If you, your partner or family rent the home, simply buy standard contents insurance.
Let's be clear: tenants' contents insurance is NOT a specialist standalone policy that's different from the one you take out if you're a home owner. So if you're a family renting out an entire house or flat – it's generally a straightforward process to pick a policy.
It's only if you're an individual (or couple) renting a room in a house-share or flat-share that you'll need to check a few key extra conditions tailored to your circumstances, see our next point.
If in a flat-share, you might have to work a bit hardr to get cover
If you're in a lat-share, there are usually two categories you would fall under when trying to arrange insurance – you either insure the whole flat (or house) with your flatmates or just a room within a flat/house.
Sharing a rented home with non-family members usually boosts the chances of damage, theft or items going missing simply because the numbers of different people entering and leaving the property is treated as a much higher risk especially with communal events, eg, a party or celebration – with a higher premium to pay.
Because of this insurers will treat you as a greater risk.
Not all insurers are happy to insure you if you're renting just a room in a house-share or flat-share, or if you're a non-family group on a joint policy when insuring a whole house, so you could find the numbers offering a quote lower than usual.
If you're opting for room-only insurance, there are two key points to remember:
- To be covered against theft, you need make sure you have a lock on the door to your room. Also, make sure the door is locked when you are not at the home. No sign of forced entry is likely to have your claim declined.
- If your belongings are in the communal areas, again, do not expect these to be covered unless there is forced entry in to the home.
If you're opting for a policy covering the whole flat-share, keep in mind:
If you rent a room in a house either with a group of friends, or with unknowns when you first move to a new city, becoming a named person on a joint policy can bring unwanted consequences because of so-called 'association'.
In other words, if one of your housemates makes a claim, it will affect everyone else's premium at renewal. Plus, if you move out of the property, you'll likely have to declare any claim made on the previous joint policy on any new policy you take out over the next five years.
Don't under-estimate what your contents are worth, otherwise your claim may be cut
For contents insurance, under-insuring could lead to you getting less than the value of your items if you need when you claim. Add up everything, including smaller items such as clothes, on a 'new-for-old' basis. (See new for old for more.)
For example, if you insure £10,000 of possessions when you actually have £20,000, and you need to make a claim, then you'll only have 50% of your contents protected.
Students: check if your parents' policy covers you already
If you're a student and your parents have home insurance, you may automatically be covered against theft or loss under your parents' policy under its 'temporarily removed from the home' section.
The cover only applies while your goods are in your accommodation and as long as your parents' home is your main permanent address. Many policies allow this, so it's worth checking if your parents' insurance includes it.
And if you need cover for any mobiles or laptops, or items you normally wear or carry away from your home, your parents could – if they haven't already – also add the 'all-risks' or 'unspecified personal possessions' section to their policy, which specifically covers your stuff while it's out of your rented home.
Beware monthly repayments, they're really a loan
Pay-monthly options are essentially high-interest loans. Either pay your premium in full, or if you can't afford to, use a credit card with a low APR (or better, a 0% credit card for spending, ensuring your repayments are large enough to clear it within a year).