If you are a tenant, then it is highly unlikely that you will need to pay for buildings insurance. The upkeep and wellbeing of the structure of the building, as well as its fixtures and fittings, are the responsibility of the landlord, although your rent money will probably be going towards the cost of the buildings insurance premiums. For more information on landlords insurance see How Much Does Landlord Insurance Cost?
Who needs Tenants Insurance?
Anyone who is renting a property, or living in rented accommodation is eligible for a tenants insurance policy. However, there are separate insurance policies available that are suited to full-time students.
What does a tenant need to insure?
It is important to remember that your landlord is in no way responsible for covering your possessions, and it is up to you – as a tenant – to make sure that they are adequately covered in the event of theft or serious damage. It is a good idea to check with your landlord, or the lettings agency, exactly what level of coverage has been taken out on the property.
For example, if you are renting a furnished property, has the landlord got insurance for the furniture or do they expect you to cover this? If you are renting an unfurnished property, then you will certainly be responsible for covering all of the furniture, along with the rest of your possessions.
What does tenants insurance usually cover?
A typical tenants insurance policy will provide you with cover in the event of your possessions being stolen, or damaged in a fire or as a result of flooding, storms or leakages. Some companies will also offer a policy that includes coverage for accidental damage to your landlord’s property, i.e. damage to the carpets, kitchen and bathroom fittings, or walls. As a tenant this could prove to be an extremely valuable addition to your insurance policy, although it will mean slightly larger premiums.
Some things to bear in mind are: If you have told your insurance company that the property has a burglar alarm fitted, and you don’t use it, you will not be able to claim in the event of theft. Also, if you leave the property unoccupied for 30 days or more, your coverage may become null and void.
Remember: any information that you give the insurance company which turns out to be incorrect could invalidate your policy.
How much cover do you need?
When working out how much cover you need, and consequently how large a premium you will need to pay, tenants insurance works on exactly the same lines as contents insurance. You will need to give the insurance company your ‘sum insured’. This is the total amount that you will receive in the event of theft or fire and so on. It is very important that you are not under-insured, as this could leave you with fewer possessions than you started out with. To get an accurate figure of the total value of your belongings, go through each room and make a detailed list of all of your possessions and their value as new. The sum total of this list is your ‘sum insured’. You can take this to insurance companies to get a quote.
Always talk to a few different companies in order to get the best possible deal with the most reasonable premiums.