Home insurance

How does tenant home insurance work?

If you’re renting a property, you’ll need to protect your belongings with the right cover. Here’s a guide to home insurance for tenants.

What is tenant insurance?

It’s a type of home contents insurance that’s designed for tenants who are renting a property. It covers your possessions and can protect them from theft and damage caused by fire and flood.

It covers everything from your clothes and jewellery, to electrical items, furniture and cash.

Why do you need it?

You don’t need tenant insurance legally, but it will protect you financially if your belongings are stolen or accidentally damaged.

Your landlord is responsible for getting landlord insurance which covers the property itself and any furnishings that come with it, but your personal belongings aren’t covered on their policy.

What affects the price?

There are a few things that can affect the price of your insurance policy including the:

  • Value of your belongings: The higher the value, the more expensive the cost to insure them. Spend time adding up the cost to replace all your items for new ones, to work out how much cover you need.
  • Cover level you choose: More basic packages are cheaper than policies that include extras e.g. cover for items outside the property and accidental damage.
  • Type of rental: e.g. if you’re renting a room in a shared house this may cost more as it’s seen as higher risk than renting the whole property (on your own or with a partner or family).
  • Security of the property: If the property has a monitored alarm, you may get a discount. If you rent a room in a shared house without individual bedroom locks, you’ll pay more.
  • Claims history: If you’ve made a claim before or haven’t protected your no claims bonus, you’ll pay a lot more than if you’ve protected it or never claimed.
  • Level of excess: If you increase the excess, you’ll pay less initially but it will be more expensive if you have to claim.

If you have any individual items worth over the maximum single item limit e.g. €1,000 you’ll need to declare them.

What is a no claims bonus?

This is where you get rewarded with a discount if you don’t make a claim for a consecutive number of years. The amount of discount you get goes up each year that’s claim free, until you reach the maximum level - around 50%.

You can pay extra to protect the no claims bonus that you’ve built up, so if you then had to claim, you’d still keep your discount.

How to make it cheaper

You shouldn’t scrimp on the level of cover you need but here are some ways you can save on your policy:

  • Build up your no claims bonus and protect it
  • Get the landlord to put a lock on your bedroom door if you rent a shared property
  • Get just enough cover for your belongings to be replaced with new ones
  • Look for new policy offers or multi policy discounts with an existing insurer
  • Buy online and in one go if there’s a charge to pay monthly
  • Buy from a specialist insurer as they’re more likely to offer better deals
  • Shop around for quotes yourself and through a broker

If you live in shared accommodation, you need to tell the insurer who else you’re living with to avoid any future claim not paying out.

For more tips on making your cover cheaper, here are 7 ways to save on your home insurance.

Choosing the right cover

You need to make sure that the cover you get matches your needs. For example, if you want any items to be insured away from the property, make sure you add this.

Don’t guess the value of your possessions because if you overvalue them, you’ll only get back what they’re actually worth, or a new replacement in a claim.

Check the details and then check again. You have 14 days to change your mind if you aren’t happy with the terms of the cover you’ve bought.

For more help on choosing the cover you need, read our guide on: How to get the right home insurance cover.

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