Do tenants need contents insurance?

The simple answer to the title of this piece is yes, tenants are well-advised to have contents insurance for their rental property.

Next obvious question: what exactly is contents insurance and why do tenants need it? Simply put, contents insurance is there to help protect your possessions if anything bad happens to them. No matter how careful you are, there’s always a risk that your personal possessions could be stolen, damaged or broken.

To give you peace of mind, contents insurance ensures that, should the worst come to the worst and your personal possessions are damaged or stolen, you’ll have the means to cover and recoup the cost. 

What’s included in a policy and how much does it cost?

A good contents insurance policy doesn’t only protect your personal possessions, it also covers accidental damage to a landlord’s furniture, fixtures and fittings, giving you further peace of mind. If you know you won’t be liable for accidental damage and the cost this accrues, it’ll help you to feel far more at ease in the rental property you call home.

What’s more, contents insurance doesn’t cost as much as you might think. At HomeLet, for example, our insurance starts from £11 per month for £50,000 of contents cover.

Contents cover includes protection from fire, thefts and floods. Such disastrous events are, thankfully, rare, but you can never say for sure what’s around the corner, so it’s wise to be covered for most eventualities.

Personal computers, clothes, jewellery, TVs, DVDs, video and audio equipment and other electronic items are all included as part of the contents insurance cover, with other additional extras often available. 

Do most tenants have contents insurance?

For many tenants, insurance may not be considered a priority – seen as a luxury or a nice thing to have rather than a necessity. Research we’ve recently carried out backs this up, particularly among younger tenants. According to our comprehensive HomeLet Tenant Survey 2017, just over 40% of tenants don’t have contents insurance, with under 40s – a demographic often bracketed as millennials or Generation Y (and the most likely demographic to be renting) – the least likely to have cover.

Only half of tenants under 40 have contents insurance, a figure that jumps to 70% for over 40s, a demographic which is perhaps more likely to have higher disposable income and more personal possessions.

It’s noticeable that older tenants are much more likely to have contents cover, with 79% of tenants aged 51-60 keen on maximum protection and 84% of tenants aged 60 or above ensuring they’re covered. By contrast, younger tenants tend to have a far more blasé attitude, with 18-20 year olds, 21-25 year olds and 26-30 years old virtually split in half between those who have contents cover and those who don’t.

Are older tenants and families more likely to have cover?

As tenants start to get older, into the 31-40-year-old bracket, the number of tenants with contents cover starts to rise, up to 55%. In the 41-50 age range, it goes up dramatically again, with over 70% of tenants opting for contents cover.

There are also some interesting differences between household types. For example, single parent households are most likely to opt for contents cover (67%), closely followed by couples with children (64%), one person households (63%) and couples without children (63%).

By contrast, tenants who house share – most likely to be students and young professionals – are by far the least likely to have contents insurance, with 60% of households where tenants share with other tenants saying they have no cover.

Don’t put yourself at risk...

While it’s encouraging that 60% of tenants do have contents cover, the remaining 40% are leaving themselves at possible risk by not doing so. If you don’t have contents insurance, and your possessions get damaged or stolen, you’re left in a bit of a bind and will have to pay out from your own pocket to replace the items. What’s more, accidental damage can sometimes be inevitable during a tenancy and, if you don’t have cover, you’ll once again be liable to pay the costs for repairs or replacements.

In an ideal world, you’ll never need to use your contents cover, but the risk’s always there. As a result, you have to ask yourself whether or not it’s worth the gamble? Or is covering yourself, which costs from as little as £11 a month, a much better solution?

As a tenant, you might already feel like you’re paying out too much in fees and other costs for various things, but contents cover has real value and can help give you much-needed peace of mind. To help avoid confusion, at HomeLet we combine contents cover and tenancy liability cover together in one simple, accessible and tailored policy, to ensure all bases are covered.

In life, we take many steps to protect ourselves, from online banking passwords to locks on our doors. We also take out life and travel insurance to give ourselves further peace of mind. So it only seems wise to do the same for our personal possessions.


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