Renting is a big enough cost in itself, so home insurance is just another unnecessary luxury, right? Wrong. Contents insurance is something you can’t really afford not to have. While you might not own the home itself, if your possessions are lost, stolen or damaged, the cost will fall on you. The average contents of a UK home is worth a jaw-dropping, so you can see how the price of replacing everything adds up. Losing your favourite things would be frustrating enough, so don’t let a lack of insurance add fuel to the fire.
What is home insurance?
The term ‘home insurance’ includes both buildings and contents insurance, but you might not need both. Buildings insurance covers the physical structure of the home you rent, so things like the roof and permanent fixtures. Contents insurance covers your possessions within the home - basically, anything that would fall out if you turned your house upside down, excluding any of your landlord’s contents.
The good news is, because you’re renting, you don’t need to worry about buildings insurance. Buildings insurance is often required by the mortgage lender when you buy a home, so your landlord will be the one to fork out for this. Contents insurance, however, is usually the tenant’s responsibility to cover their own possessions.
Standard contents insurance covers your belongings against:
- Fire damage
- Flood damage
- Earthquake damage
Bear in mind that cover will vary from policy to policy, so be sure to check the full product details before you get a quote as all policies have limitations and exclusions.
Why do you need it?
Don’t let a fire burn a hole in your pocket
Fire is one of the most expensive home insurance claims (it’s certainly not something you’d want to have to cough up the cash for if you weren’t insured). If you’re partial to a candle-lit bath every now and then or you like to smoke inside the house, it’s very easy for a fire to start without your knowledge. As winter draws in, be wary of portable heaters: leave one unattended near your curtains or clothing and they could quickly go up in flames. In the meantime, we recommend following theseto keep you and your home safe.
If you’re particularly accident-prone or if you have children, for an additional premium you might want to consider addingto your policy (it’s not typically included). That way, if you spill a glass of wine on your brand new cream sofa, your insurer will pay to replace or repair it.
Some things are out of your control
While the likelihood of your belongings being crushed in an earthquake here in the UK is pretty low, water damage is something to seriously consider. Water damage accounted for overwhich, given we live in one of the rainiest countries in the world, is hardly surprising. If heavy rain is forecast and you live in a high-risk area, there might be nothing you can do to prevent your home from being flooded. So it’s worth taking out insurance to protect against the unexpected. Better safe than sorry, right?
Burglary rates are rising
show that domestic burglary rates are on the increase. (If you’re wondering how safe your city is, shows crime statistics by city, so you can check how common burglary is where you live.) Try these to improve your home security (hint: if you’ve got a calendar visible from a window, you’re basically giving a burglar direct insight into when you won’t be home).
When you think of being burgled, the first image that comes to mind is probably that of a balaclava-clad intruder climbing through your window in the dead of night. But that’s not always the case. If you live in a houseshare, for example, it’s quite possible that your housemates have friends round or parties where you don’t know exactly who’s in your house. And if you don’t know who’s coming and going, it’s easy for things to go missing.
Find out more about making your home secure, if you’re concerned. We’re not suggesting that your housemates’ friends aren’t trustworthy, but it’s hard to hold people accountable when you don’t know who’s been where
Don’t forget your downloads
Some contents insurance policies will also include cover for things you’ve downloaded to desktop computer, entertainment, audio or video equipment in your home.
It’s worth bearing in mind that you won’t be covered if this is caused by a computer virus or hardware failure - check your policy wording for further details.
Stay safe on holiday
Some types of contents insurance policies will allow you to extend cover to include your personal possessions whilst you are away on holiday.
So if someone steals your stuff or you lose it while you’re abroad, you can still make a claim. This level of cover might cost more, so it depends how frequently you travel whether you think it’s a price worth paying.
Got a long trip planned?
Check your contents insurance policy before you jet off - you’ll usually be covered unless your home is left empty for 30 days+, but this varies by insurer.
Could you afford to replace everything?
You might not own the latest Playstation or a designer watch, but we’re guessing you own a phone. You might have a laptop and a TV as well. Imagine everything you own and consider the cost of each item; try adding it all up and you’ll probably lose track. So if anything happened to your belongings, could you afford to replace them? The bottom line is, if you can’t afford to replace or repair everything you own, it’s worth taking our contents insurance.
It won’t break the bank
You might be surprised to learn that taking out contents insurance won’t cost you an arm and a leg. In fact, the average cost of contents insurance is just. That could be less than it would cost to replace your phone alone, let alone the rest of your possessions. Most content insurance policies can work out just over £2 a week, so it might be worth forsaking that lottery ticket or extra coffee to keep your belongings safe.
Please note that with all policies, limitations and exclusions apply. For more details of what is and isn’t covered in your home insurance policy, please check your policy documents carefully or speak to your insurer.