Tenants Contents Insurance: Why don’t renters get it?


We write a lot about all the rights and responsibilities of landlords, but not everything falls on the owner of a property – tenants’ contents insurance is the responsibility of the renters.

While tenants’ contents insurance is the responsibility of the renter, your landlord has some legal responsibilities to ensure the property they are letting is rented out fairly and safely, like making sure you have:

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On top of these things, we recommend that landlords protect themselves and their properties further with:

If a landlord has all of that in place, you, the tenant, are assured that the property is safe for your habitation and that any issues will be dealt with. 

However, none of this covers the things that make the property a home. 

Yes, one key insurance that renters will often overlook is Tenants Contents Insurance

Even if you rent a property fully furnished, you will be bringing all your own possessions with you. To cover your belongings from theft or damage you will need to get tenants liability insurance, but curiously many don’t. 

Let’s have a look at why that might be!

What is renters or tenants contents insurance?

It’s an insurance policy that protects a tenants personal belongings from theft and unintentional damage within a rented property.

When you rent, someone else owns the physical building – the landlord, and it’s their responsibility to insure the building against any damage.

But anything brought into the property while you are renting belongs to you – everything from your bed to your bike, laptop, phone and clothes to your teaspoons and food. All of this is covered against theft or damage by Tenants Contents Insurance

Mashroom’s Tenants Contents Insurance also covers you outside of your home, so the expensive items you carry around in your bag, like your laptop, phone or wireless headphones, are still protected when you’re out of the house, if they are lost or stolen.

Why should you get Tenants’ Contents Insurance?

While it may not be a legal requirement for you to take out contents insurance when you rent a property, we really advise that you do. 

Tenants liability insurance

Understandably, it can seem like an unnecessary extra expense on top of rent and bills, but consider the value of the possessions in your property. Even if you rent furnished, the most expensive things in the property are likely to belong to you – things like TVs, computers and mobile phones.

How many renters don’t take out tenants’ contents cover?

Earlier this year Property Industry Eye reported that a YouGov poll survey commissioned by Paymentshield found that 54% of those who rent don’t have contents insurance. 

That’s an enormous number of UK renters who are taking a big risk with their possessions. 

Amongst the tenants who took part in the survey, 16% said they had suffered unexpected or emergency situations including fire, flood, theft, burst water pipe, lost keys, or damage to their or their landlord’s belongings within the last year. 

Why don’t people buy contents cover?

The YouGov poll said that:

  • 39% of renters did not feel confident when it came to understanding what services contents insurance provided
  • 41% said they did not feel confident that they had the knowledge to buy the right contents insurance policy

This is understandable as you don’t want to be paying out for something that you then discover you can’t make a claim on when you need to. If you are unsure, you can talk to one of our team, who will be able to advise on how much it will cost and exactly what it will cover. 

While more than half of tenants are anxious about renting, due to concerns about rising prices and energy bills, protecting what you own is never an unnecessary expense.

Is it really worth paying for?

Some tenants avoid contents insurance due to worries about the cost. 

With the cost of living on the rise, interest rate hikes, rental price premiums and an increase in food and energy bills it is understandable to not want another monthly payment to add to the pile.

But saving on an insurance bill – which could be as little as £3.12 a month – in the short term might not be the most cost-effective solution in the long term.  The price of replacing valuable items lost to a burglary or a house fire will most likely be far higher than the monthly insurance bill would be. 

And if the worst happens and everything you own is lost, damaged or stolen, without contents insurance you could find yourself starting from scratch with zero funds to assist you.

Still, people often think:

If my TV breaks, I would rather pay for a new one than claim on the insurance and then have to pay an excess and a premium over the next five years.

And whilst it is true that many (though not all) insurance policies come with an excess attached, you often have the choice to set this for yourself. You also always have the option to shop around to find the best deal, and many insurers offer attractive discounts if you can pay annually rather than monthly.

It is worth weighing up the cost of a small monthly payment versus the potential risk and associated costs if you were to lose all of your possessions.

If you live in a house share or HMO, should you get tenants’ contents cover?

Things are a little trickier if you live with other people, and some insurers are often a bit more reluctant to provide cover for those who share as there is a greater risk of damage or theft at the property due the number of different people coming and going.

In these instances many insurers limit cover to room-only. This is still worth purchasing, and then keeping your valuables – your laptop, phone, jewellery, any designer clothes, or bikes – safely in your bedroom.

In these cases, most insurers will insist that you have a lock fitted on your door and that your door must be locked when you are not at home.  

Alternatively, you could look into taking out a joint contents insurance policy with your housemates. The downside of this is that if one of you makes a claim everyone else’s premium will go up when you renew. 

You’ll also have to declare the claim on any new policy taken out over the following five years.

We hope this has given you some food for thought regarding insuring your belongings. If you’re still uncertain, take some time to go around your home and jot down the price of everything in it that you own. You may be surprised by that final total! 

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