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Are you renting a room and need contents insurance? Here is what you need to know

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In research conducted a few years ago by the Police Federation, it was discovered that rates of crime including burglaries are higher amongst tenants in the private rented sector than elsewhere.

The findings were attributed to the generally poor state of security (locks on doors and windows) in much of the let property surveyed and an overall lack of community cohesion amongst a more transient sector of the population.

Therefore, the statistics point to the importance of arranging contents insurance if you are renting a room – so, what do you need to know?

Your landlord’s responsibilities

  • your landlord has a fundamental duty to ensure that the accommodation you occupy is safe and free from health hazards;
  • unfortunately, when it comes to the level of security that safety demands, the law is less than clear – it is up to you, when negotiating your tenancy agreement, to persuade the landlord to upgrade locks on the doors and windows or to install any further security devices;
  • at the end of the day, you are responsible for insuring your own belongings and possessions against theft, loss or damage;

Room contents insurance 

  • the answer to that need for your own insurance is likely to lie in room contents insurance or contents insurance for tenants;
  • by taking stock of everything your own in each room you are renting – and including items owned by the landlord, but for which you are responsible – you may arrive at the total sum of the contents to be insured;
  • as with any other type of property contents insurance, the settlement of any claim for theft, loss or damage may be made on the basis of replacement on “new for old” or, after a deduction of an element representing “wear and tear” (or depreciation) of the items concerned; 
  • the basis for settlement depends on the insurance policy you choose – where replacement on a new for old basis is likely to incur higher premiums than one based on fair wear and tear;

Your tenancy

  • your room contents insurance may also vary according to the type of accommodation you are renting – and here at UKinsuranceNET, we are able to tailor that insurance to suit any kind of tenancy; 
  • you might be renting and occupying the whole house or flat, for example – from a private sector landlord, the council or a housing association; 
  • alternatively, you might be sharing the house with others (a favourite with students), but have your own room and need insurance cover for the things you own;
  • rented accommodation might also include a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), where the shared facilities with families quite unknown to you may make the risk of theft higher than otherwise;
  • as someone who owns a share of the freehold or a leaseholder who has set up a Right to Manage company, you still need separate insurance for the contents of your home; and
  • if you are a lodger in someone else’s home, you may want the security and protection of knowing that your possessions are safety insured. 

Contents insurance for tenants, lodgers and house-sharers, therefore, may provide an essential degree of comfort and security in knowing that your own possessions remain protected whatever the nature of your tenancy.