What is home insurance?

Home insurance is protection against insured events that damage your home and/or your belongings.  It typically covers your home and your possessions within it against damage due to fire, flood, storms, subsidence, burst pipes and water leaks. It also covers theft.

What type of insurance do I need in a rental property?

There are two different types of home insurance: buildings and contents. These policies can be bought together from a single provider, or individually from different ones

When you rent your home, the building isn’t yours. If a wall falls down it’s the landlord’s responsibility to pay for it to be repaired. As a renter, all you need to worry about are your possessions so you only need home contents insurance. This will protect your possessions against things like theft and damage due to fire, flood, storms, subsidence, burst pipes and water leaks.  Some polices also cover alternative accommodation cover, paying for a place to stay during repairs to the property after it becomes uninhabitable.

What about the landlord’s insurance policy?

Some landlords will have contents insurance on the properties they own but if they do, it will usually only protect their own possessions, such as the furniture, carpets and curtains. It won’t provide any cover for your belongings – you will still need your own contents insurance in order to protect those.

Additionally, it’s unlikely that your landlord will have accidental damage cover on their contents insurance, which means if you spill red wine on the carpet, for example, they may use your deposit to cover the cost of removing the stain or replacing the carpet, unless you have your own insurance policy to claim from.

You can find out what insurance is in place from your letting agent or landlord.

How much cover do I need?

The cost of contents insurance can vary depending on many factors. For example, where you live, the contents you own, and what level of security the property has.  You will need to estimate how much it would cost you to replace all of the belongings you’d like covered. Be careful though – you don’t want to under insure your contents or pay additional premium on cover you don’t need.  When you open a policy you’ll be asked questions about what you own as well as the property (what type of locks are on the doors, whether there are window locks, etc.).

Some policies will cover your possessions outside the home as well as inside it. This cover is called “Personal possessions” or “Personal belongings” cover. You’ll need to check your contents insurance policy to see if it is included as standard or needs to be added (you might need to pay additional premium for it).

There are a number of useful contents calculators, some of the free ones are from Direct Line, Hiscox and AA.