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Tenants’ liability insurance guide

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Tenants’ liability insurance is a type of cover that renters would be well advised to have. It protects tenants who live in a property owned by a landlord if they damage the property or anything else belonging to the landlord.

Tenants’ liability insurance is usually provided as part of tenant contents insurance. Some insurers also offer it as a standalone product. Either way, it’s worth understanding what this type of home insurance covers you for.

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What is tenants’ liability insurance, and do all renters need it?

Tenants’ liability insurance isn’t mandatory for renters, and neither is contents insurance. However, it’s standard practice for tenancy agreements to state that the tenant is responsible for anything in the property belonging to the landlord that they damage or destroy. 

Landlords normally ask for a security deposit when tenants move in. Any damage or unpaid rent at the end of the tenancy is deducted from the deposit before it’s returned.

Tenant liability cover is designed to cover the cost of damage a renter – or their guest – causes to a rented property or any of the landlord’s possessions that their tenancy agreement states they’re responsible for. This type of insurance can negate the need for your landlord to make deductions from your deposit.

For example, tenant liability insurance might cover the cost of a new carpet if you damage your landlord’s carpet beyond repair. Without this cover, the money would come out of your tenancy deposit when you move out of the property. If the deposit doesn’t cover the damage, your landlord could pursue you for the rest of the money.

What does tenants’ liability insurance cover?

Tenants’ liability insurance covers renters if they accidentally damage the property they live in or any of their landlord’s possessions, such as furniture or electrical appliances.

Tenant contents insurance is different. This type of insurance covers the tenants’ possessions – such as clothes, electrical appliances, gadgets, furniture and sports equipment – from a range of risks, including fires, floods and burglary.

If you rent a home, there’s no legal requirement to have tenant contents insurance or tenant liability insurance, but both are a good idea. 

Most renter or tenant contents insurance policies include tenant liability insurance, so there’s normally no need to buy a separate policy, but you should check your policy documents just to be sure.

Where tenant liability insurance is offered as a standalone product, it may not be worth it and better value for money may be found with combined contents and liability insurance. 

Tenant liability insurance is designed to cover the costs of fixing or replacing things that come with your rented accommodation, such as the following:

  • Fitted kitchens
  • Fitted bathrooms
  • Furniture
  • White goods 
  • Electrical appliances
  • Carpets 
  • Soft furnishings

How does the cover work?

Tenant liability insurance is designed to help cover the cost of repairs or replacement items in certain circumstances. This coverage protects renters from possible deposit deductions or disputes at the end of their tenancy.

This type of insurance is particularly useful if you rent a furnished property. For example, you might spill red wine on the sofa, break a shelf in the fridge or drop something that causes the bathroom sink to crack. Under most tenancy agreements, you’d be financially liable for the cost of these repairs, but tenant liability insurance covers these costs.

How much does tenants’ liability insurance cost?

Tenants’ liability insurance is normally included as part of tenant contents insurance. Contents insurance for renters is usually affordable and worth having – for a relatively low premium, you can buy tens of thousands of pounds worth of cover.

In most cases, you’re better off buying contents insurance that includes tenant liability insurance rather than buying separate products. According to MoneySuperMarket, renters insurance can cost as little as £5 a month.

The cost of tenant contents insurance depends on several factors, including the following:

  • Your location
  • The type of property
  • The value of your contents
  • Any specified items listed on your policy
  • The policy excess
  • Your claims history

If you rent an expensive property with a high-spec kitchen, bathroom and furniture, you should check if the tenant liability insurance included in your contents cover will be enough.


The best thing to do is buy tenant contents insurance and make sure it includes tenant liability insurance. Compare the coverage offered by different policies and check if it’s sufficient. 


Tenant contents insurance policies typically insure you up to £10,000 for tenants’ liability as standard. This should be enough for most people. 


When you buy renters contents insurance, use a price comparison site to shop around for the best deal. 


You can save money by doing the following:

  • Buying the right amount of cover (not over-insuring)
  • Opting for a bigger excess
  • Building up a no-claims discount
  • Paying annually, not monthly
  • Not letting your policy auto-renew

How do I make a claim on tenants’ liability insurance?

If you need to make a claim on your tenants’ liability insurance, you normally need to tell the insurer within 30 days of the incident. This could vary from policy to policy, so check what your particular policy says.

You’ll need to call your insurer’s claims line to start a claim. They’ll tell you what you need to do. For example, you might need to send photos of the damaged items, a copy of your tenancy agreement and a check-in inventory from when you moved into the property.

Your landlord might need to provide certain information too, such as proof of ownership of the item in question and evidence regarding its value and/or the cost of repairs or replacements needed. After an incident occurs that results in your landlord billing you for damage to his or her property, you should inform them that you’re claiming on your insurance.

How many claims can I make?

As with most types of insurance, you can claim more than once on a tenants’ liability insurance policy. However, you won’t be able to make further claims once you’ve reached the sum insured on your policy, which is typically £10,000. It’s worth noting that claims will only pay out if the damage is accidental, not deliberate.

Frequently asked questions about tenants’ liability insurance

Having tenants’ liability insurance will reduce the likelihood that you’ll lose some or all of your security deposit as a result of damaging the landlord’s property. The money will be paid by the insurance rather than deducted from your deposit.

Most renters’/tenants’ insurance policies, as well as standalone tenant liability insurance, offer £10,000 of cover, but you should check your particular plan, as some policies might offer differing amounts.

Renters don’t need buildings insurance – this is the landlord’s responsibility. In most cases, a contents insurance policy that includes cover for tenants’ liability will be sufficient, and there won’t be a need for separate policies.

emma lunn

Emma Lunn

Money Writer

Emma Lunn is a multi-award winning journalist who specialises in personal finance and consumer issues. 

With more than 18 years’ experience in personal finance, Emma has covered topics including mortgages, first-time buyers, leasehold, banking, debt, budgeting, broadband, energy, pensions and investments. 

Emma’s one of the most prolific freelance personal finance journalists with a back catalogue of work in newspapers such as The Guardian, The Independent, The Daily Telegraph, the Mail on Sunday, and the Mirror. 

As a freelancer she has also completed various in-house contracts at The Guardian, The Independent, Mortgage Solutions, Orange, and Moneywise. She also writes regularly for specialist magazines and websites such as Property Hub, Mortgage Strategy and 

She has a real passion for helping people learn about money – especially when many people are struggling to get by in today’s challenging economic climate – and prides herself on simplifying complex subjects.

Amy Reeves


Amy is a seasoned writer and editor with a special interest in home design, sustainable technology and green building methods.

She has interviewed hundreds of self-builders, extenders and renovators about their journeys towards individual, well-considered homes, as well as architects and industry experts during her five years working as Assistant Editor at Homebuilding & Renovating, part of Future plc.

Amy’s work covers topics ranging from home, interior and garden design to DIY step-by-steps, planning permission and build costs, and has been published in Period Living, Real Homes, and 25 Beautiful Homes, Homes and Gardens.

Now an Editor at the Independent Advisor, Amy manages homes-related content for the site, including solar panels, combi boilers, and windows.

Her passion for saving tired and inefficient homes also extends to her own life; Amy completed a renovation of a mid-century house in 2022 and is about to embark on an energy-efficient overhaul of a 1800s cottage in Somerset.