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Tenant Liability Insurance Explained

While your landlord is responsible for protecting your rental property with an adequate buildings insurance policy, there are a number of tenant insurance policies available, too.

One of those is tenant liability insurance – but what is it, what does it cover, and do you need it?

This guide explains everything you need to know about tenant liability insurance…

What insurance do I need as a tenant?

There’s no legal obligation for you to have tenant insurance – but it can help you protect the things you own against damage or theft, as well as your tenancy deposit should your landlord’s property or possessions be damaged during your stay.

You could consider taking out:

  • Tenant contents insurance
  • Tenant liability insurance
  • Tenant insurance (contents and liability cover, plus other add-ons like accidental damage cover)

What is tenant liability insurance?

Tenant liability insurance protects you against accidental damage caused to your landlord’s property, fixtures, fittings, and furnishings that could lead to you losing your tenancy deposit.

Tenant liability insurance sometimes comes bundled with contents insurance and is sold as ‘tenant insurance’

But liability insurance can also be purchased as a standalone policy or as a bolt-on to a contents insurance policy.

‘’Tenant liability insurance is a great way of protecting yourself from unexpected costs,” says Rob Smith, Managing Director of Whitegates.

“No matter how careful you are, accidents can happen, and this insurance can put your mind at ease when you’ve stained the carpet or broken a fixture.

“This doesn’t replace your initial deposit but can put you at ease knowing you are at less of a risk of losing it at the end of your tenancy.”

Do I need tenant liability insurance?

If you already have a tenant contents insurance policy, you may already be covered for tenant liability, so be sure to check your policy.

If you’re worried about causing damage to your landlord’s belongings, fixtures, or fittings, tenant liability insurance can be a great way to protect your tenancy deposit against any deductions.

To help you decide if tenant liability insurance is right for you, consider your total deposit amount against the cost of any annual liability insurance cover.

What is the difference between tenant liability insurance and contents insurance?

Tenants’ content insurance protects you against loss or damage to your belongings while you’re living in a rented property.

Tenant liability insurance covers damage caused to your landlord’s property or possessions that could affect your tenancy deposit.

Tenant contents insurance typically covers your belongings against:

  • Fire
  • Water damage including leaks
  • Flooding
  • Storm damage
  • Subsidence
  • Theft through forced entry

What is covered by tenant liability insurance?

Tenant liability insurance covers you against damage caused to:

  • Rental property fixtures and fittings
  • Interior decorations
  • Furniture provided by your landlord
  • White goods and electrical appliances supplied with the tenancy
  • Carpets and soft furnishings

Tenant liability insurance can cover you for up to £10,000 to cover the cost of damage or replacement items, protecting your tenant deposit from any deductions.

However, tenant liability insurance won’t cover you for damage that’s caused deliberately either by you or someone you invite into your property.

It also doesn’t cover damage caused by fair wear and tear.

Do I need to pay a deposit if I have tenant liability insurance?

You’ll still need to pay a tenancy deposit even if you have a tenant liability insurance policy.

The insurance policy is in place to protect your tenancy deposit from deductions caused by accidental damage.

In the event of damage caused deliberately or through negligence, your landlord may request deductions from your deposit to cover this.

Can I buy tenant liability insurance on its own?

Tenant liability insurance can be purchased as a standalone policy, or as part of a tenants’ insurance policy with lots of different cover.

Tenant liability insurance also comes bolted on to some tenant contents insurance policies.

If you want to add accidental damage protection to your own belongings, you’ll need to take this policy out separately to any liability policy, or as an add-on to a contents insurance policy.

What does tenancy liability insurance cost?

Tenant insurance can cost as little as £4 per month, but the cost of your tenant liability insurance will depend on how much cover you need.

Most liability policies will cover you for £10,000 as standard.

To estimate the amount of cover you require, you should spend some time looking at the fixtures, fittings, and contents provided by your landlord and think about the potential costs to repair or replace items if they become damaged.

To help reduce the cost of your premium, you can:

  • Pay annually as monthly payments often come with interest added on
  • Choose a higher voluntary excess, but remember this is the amount you’ll pay towards any claim
  • Only choose the add-ons you need

How do I make a claim with tenant liability insurance?

Tenant liability insurance covers you as and when accidental damage is caused to your landlord’s fixtures, fittings, or contents.

So, most insurance providers will give you 30 days after the damage was caused to make a claim.

This can vary from provider to provider, however, so always check your policy as soon as any damage occurs so you’re aware of how long you have to make your claim.

Further reading…

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