Home insurance: what every renter should know




Moving to a new rental property? Find out the kind of home insurance you’ll need – and how to make it work for you.

Home insurance is the collective term for two separate types of cover – buildings (which protects the structure and permanent fixtures of a property) and contents (which protects what’s in it). 

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If you’re a renter, here are some top tips on how to make home insurance work for you.

Tenants don’t need buildings insurance

As a renter, you’ll only need contents insurance as the property itself is the responsibility of the landlord, who owns it.

Contents insurance covers the cost of replacing your belongings should they be damaged, destroyed or stolen. It’s not an expensive insurance – and it’s easy to compare deals.

Already insured? Check your policy covers items in transit

You might already have contents insurance in place for the home you live in now. But what about when it comes to moving your belongings to your next pad?

Most home contents insurance for tenants covers what’s known as ‘items in transit’, on the condition you use a reputable removal firm. But not all, so call your provider to check.

If it transpires your contents won’t be covered during the move, consider switching to a different policy via a comparison site like uSwitch. You could even find it’s cheaper.

Alternatively, ensure your chosen removal company offers its own cover for the Move – and check any upper limits.

Pricey contents might fall outside cover

According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), the average contents of a three-bedroom family home amount to a value of £55,000.

But insurers impose a maximum claim amount for each item (known as ‘single item limit’) which is typically around £1,500.

If any of your belongings exceed the single item limit stated on your policy, you’ll need to call your insurer and arrange for extended cover.

Bear in mind that single item limits may be lower when applied to items in transit. Check your policy prior to the Move. 

Empty homes can invalidate insurance

It’s unlikely, but if the home you are moving to or from will be unoccupied for a long spell, bear in mind many home insurers will invalidate their cover after between 30 and 60 days.

Switching deals can pay off

If you have had the same contents insurance policy for some time, it’s worth jumping onto a comparison site and finding out if you’re still on the best deal – especially if you’ve bought new things for your next home which has pushed up the total value of your contents. 

But even a like-for-like contents policy could cost less than what you’re currently paying.

Terms attached to contents policies usually last for 12 months with a cancellation fee for closing it early. If you’re still tied into your policy, remember to weigh up the cost of this against any money you’ll save. 

You can pay less without compromising on cover

Here’s three easy ways how:

  • Pay premiums upfront: If you pay your quoted premium in one lump sum, it will cost between 10% and 30% less than spreading the payment over the year and paying monthly.
  • Build up your No Claims Discount: After 5 years of not claiming, this could translate into annual savings of up to 40%. You don’t have to stick with the insurer you built them up with to benefit either, you can transfer them to a new one.
  • Reduce your excess: The excess is the amount you need to contribute towards the cost of any claim. The more you agree to pay, the lower your premium will be. Just don’t take it so high it becomes a false economy.

Home insurance

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