Get covered - the beginner’s guide to contents insurance for landlords and tenants

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In a rented home, it can be confusing to work out who’s responsible for insurance – the tenant or the landlord.

Let’s start with the building. This is the landlord’s responsibility, and you can read our guide to landlord buildings insurance here.

But what about the contents? Who is responsible for making sure they are covered against loss or damage? And what items are included under contents?

This beginner’s guide will answer your questions, whether you are a first-time tenant or are renting out a property for the first time.

What does contents insurance include?

Contents insurance covers belongings at home that are lost, stolen or damaged, for example by flooding, fire, or bad weather. Accidental damage may also be included, and some possessions, such as jewellery, sunglasses and gadgets may be covered when you are out and about.

As a simple guide, contents insurance generally covers everything you could take with you if you moved house, including curtains, carpets, and free-standing appliances, but not for example a bathroom suite or built-in wardrobes.

All policies are different, so read the terms carefully before you take out insurance. There may be an upper limit on the value of a single item. And while some will provide new replacements, others will pay out what your items were worth when they were lost or damaged.

Who is responsible for insuring the contents of a rented home?

Whilst a landlord is responsible for insuring the building, the tenant is responsible for insuring their belongings with contents insurance.

However, if the property is let furnished, landlords may want to cover items they own, such as appliances and furniture.

And renters may also want to consider tenants’ liability insurance, which covers accidental damage to the landlord’s furniture and fixtures and fittings such as a bathroom suite.

This does not include usual wear and tear, or malicious damage, but can provide valuable peace of mind, especially as the cost of repairs may otherwise be deducted from your security deposit.

What about emergencies and damage to a tenant’s possessions?

Landlords insurance may include cover for emergencies, such as a broken boiler, and also damage caused to a tenant’s belongings, perhaps by a burst pipe.

You can read more about landlords insurance here.

How do I know how much my contents are worth?

It can seem difficult to work out how much you need to insure your contents for. You may know what a television or laptop would cost to replace, but what about all the clothes and shoes in your wardrobe, every book on your shelves, and a whole kitchen worth of crockery, cutlery and appliances such as kettles, toasters and blenders. Even the contents of your cupboards, including herbs and spices, oils, wine and spirits and detergents and cleaning products could cost hundreds of pounds to replace.

To decide how much cover you need, take a room at a time, and think carefully about everything in it, and what it would cost to replace.

There are online calculators which can help, and some policy providers will suggest a level of cover depending on the size of your home.

Most policies have a single item limit, so you will need to tell your insurer about any items that may be worth more - such as an engagement ring for example.

TSB's Pick and Protect contents insurance includes:

  •  Loss, damage and theft of your possessions while they're in your home, outbuildings or garden.

  •  Food in freezers up to £500

  •  Loss of rent and the cost of alternative accommodation up to £20,000

  • Tenant’s liability and improvements up to £10,000.

TSB Pick and Protect insurance is underwritten by Aviva Insurance Limited. Terms, conditions, and exclusions apply. You must be a UK resident and 16+ to apply.

TSB's Pick and Protect landlords contents insurance has three options, which you can mix and match:

  • Landlords Buildings Cover with unlimited rebuild and repair costs.

  • Landlords Contents Cover for furnished properties.

  • Landlords Starter Contents Cover if there are only a few items in your properties.

TSB Pick and Protect insurance is underwritten by Aviva Insurance Limited. Terms, conditions, and exclusions apply. You must be a UK resident and 16+ to apply