Why tenants should have insurance

In this article I’ll be explaining the importance of why tenants should have contents and liability insurance. Many tenants don’t think about this and assume any problems at the property will be resolved and covered by the landlord. This is however, a myth. While your landlord is responsible for insuring the building and any fixtures or fittings they own, they are not responsible for insuring your personal belongings. Therefore, it’s up to you to ensure that your possessions are protected against loss, damage or theft.

What are the benefits of tenancy contents insurance?

Firstly, insurance will give you peace of mind. You’ve worked hard to accumulate your possessions, and it can be devastating to lose them due to a fire, flood or burglary. With contents insurance, you can rest assured that you’ll be able to replace your belongings in the event of an unforeseen disaster.

Secondly, contents insurance can save you money in the long run. While you may feel that you don’t have enough possessions to justify taking out insurance, the cost of replacing even a few items can quickly add up. With contents insurance, you’ll only have to pay a small monthly premium, which could save you a significant amount of money in the event of a claim.

Also, you will find that contents insurance is often a requirement of your tenancy agreement. Many landlords and agents will include a clause in the contract that requires tenants to take out contents insurance, so it’s important to check your agreement carefully. Failure to comply with this requirement could result in you being in breach of your tenancy agreement.

So what circumstances would a landlord not be liable?

The following scenarios are not a definitive list but will hopefully give you some examples of where your landlord would not be liable:


Imagine that you have left a candle burning in your bedroom, which leads to a fire that destroys your belongings. While your landlord may have insured the building, they are not responsible for your personal possessions. Therefore, if you don’t have contents insurance, you’ll be responsible for replacing your belongings yourself. Also, its worth considering that if negilgence is proved, you may also be liable for the loss of the landlords effects too.

A recent case I’ve been made aware of by another agent, was where a tenant left a mirror in a place that reflected sunlight that burnt the UPVC window frame (see photo below). Thankfully this didn’t spread to any curtains, otherwise this could have been a far worse situation.

This type of situation is a bit of a grey area, as the damage is to the structure, which is technically the landlords responsibility. However, if negligence is proved, then it could be argued that this would need to be repaired at the tenants cost. so not having insurance could become a very expensive mistake to make.

Another example of negligence that can lead to damage, is failing to properly maintain appliances or equipment. For instance, failing to clean out the lint trap in a dryer can lead to a fire, or leaving a stove unattended can cause a fire or damage to the property. Without insurance in place, you will have the burden of the full cost of replacing your furniture and effects. Again, you may also be responsible for your landlords effects too.

Whilst I’m discussing potential fires, I’d like to remind you to check your smoke alarms regularly. Never ever remove batteries. House fires are devestating and deadly. Your landlord is responsible for replacing any alarms that become faulty but between inspections, you’re responsible for notifying them if this is the case.

Here’s a link to an article on Cornwall Live, regarding a house fire in Lelant Downs. It was caused by a candle: https://www.cornwalllive.com/news/cornwall-news/occupant-reported-trapped-house-fire-7985588


Similarly, if your property is burgled and your possessions are stolen, your landlord would not be liable. While they may have taken steps to secure the building, they cannot be held responsible for the actions of a third party. Therefore, if you don’t have contents insurance, you’ll have to bear the cost of replacing your stolen items.

Flood and storm damage

And finally, you will also need contents insurance to cover your personal effects should there be a flood or storm damage.

In summary

It’s important to remember that your landlord is not responsible for insuring your personal belongings. It’s up to you to ensure that they are protected against loss due to fire flood and theft. You should also make sure as part of your insurance that you have tenants liability insurance. Otherwise, in the worst case scenario, failure as a tenant to take out insurance may mean you could have the cost of replacing landlords effects as well as your own.

Our insurance company

We use Boswells insurance brokers, who specialise in tenant and landlord insurance but there are plenty of other great insurance companies to choose from. Insurance is only needed when its needed and so many people don’t see the relevance until its too late. Don’t be that person.

About the author

For those who don’t know me, I’m Deborah, one of the directors at CAM Lettings in Hayle. I love writing about all things property related. This can be anything from the current house prices (I’m avoiding that particular can of worms for the time being!), to safety and legislation information for both landlords and tenants.

Please note however, that all my blogs are just my opinion and designed to get you thinking, or point you in the right direction. In all instance, especially where I mention legal or insurance scenarios, you should always speak to an expert prior to making any decisions.

Feel free to give your feedback below. Or by all means get it touch with your thoughts or suggestions (remembering to keep your comments polite):



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