If you’re renting, you may well be wondering what happens in the case of a disaster or break-in? While the landlord will take care of the building, what about all your possessions?

The answer is simple: contents insurance is what all renters should always have.

Your landlord is ultimately responsible for the building you live in, so tenants don’t need to worry about the ‘home’ in home and contents insurance. But your landlord’s insurance will not cover damage or loss of your personal possessions.

For example: The property that you live in has a leaky roof which caused damage to your inside walls paintwork and your laminate floor. The landlord is responsible for fixing the leaky roof which is covered by his insurance, however, the damage to your furniture and fittings on the inside of the property are not covered. These items will be covered by your own home and contents insurance

This gives you the funds to replace items if they are destroyed or damaged in a fire or weather event like a storm, or if they are stolen or damaged in a break-in.

Not all policies are the same though, so it’s good to check the inclusions and exclusions. For instance, some insurers will automatically replace your blender if the motor burns out, or cover the cost of broken glass, while others may charge a separate fee.

We also recommend looking at “add-ons”, such as portable contents insurance, which covers items like your watch or phone that you often use outside of home, and potentially list your more expensive items, like bikes and golf clubs, separately to make sure you get the full replacement price.

If you’re a buyer, you will need to insure the building bricks and structure as well as the inside as mentioned earlier.  One of the most important things to get in order early on is your home insurance. More than just protecting your most valuable asset, the right home insurance policy can also help you sleep at night.

Buildings insurance covers the cost of rebuilding your home if it’s damaged or destroyed. It’s usually compulsory if you’re planning to buy your home with a mortgage and you may not be able to get one unless you take out buildings insurance.

Buildings insurance usually covers loss or damage caused by:

  • fire, explosion, storms, floods, earthquakes
  • theft, attempted theft and vandalism
  • frozen and burst pipes
  • fallen trees, lampposts, aerials or satellite dishes
  • subsidence
  • vehicle or aircraft collisions.

Buildings insurance will be a condition of the mortgage and must be at least enough to cover the outstanding mortgage. Your lender should give you a choice of insurer or allow you to choose one yourself. They can reject your choice of insurer but can’t make you use their own insurance policy unless your mortgage package includes insurance.

If you buy a house you should take out buildings insurance when you exchange contracts. If you sell a house you are responsible for looking after it until the sale is completed so you should keep your insurance cover until then.