Tenants Liability Insurance: what is it?

Tenants Liability Insurance, you say?! You may not have heard of it before, but the chances are that if you’re a renter then you’ll be asked to get it before long. Self-confessed insurance enthusiasts that we are, we thought that we’d give you guys the lowdown on this lesser-known insurance plan popping up around the UK. The below video gives you all the basics, but feel free to read the whole article for more details.

What is Tenants Liability Insurance?

Tenants Liability Insurance, which is required by some landlords and letting agents, can help protect your deposit if you:

  • Accidentally damage your landlord’s fixtures or fittings
  • Accidentally damage any of your landlord’s furniture

This can range from things as small as a stain on the carpet, or a broken lamp, to more serious operations like broken windows or burst pipes. 

Tenants liability cover comes included in our standard contents insurance policy, starting at £5 a month.

Most policies won’t cover you for your liability in causing fire, theft or flood damage, or any damage to the building (that would be covered by the landlord’s buildings insurance). No policy will ever cover you for wear and tear, or any damage caused deliberately or through negligence.

How is this different from my security deposit?

Tenant’s Liability Insurance (TLI) is not a replacement for your security deposit.

The cover is designed to reduce the risk that you will lose your deposit. It pays out for some of the most common reasons a landlord might keep your money at the end of your tenancy. It’s worth noting that you shouldn’t leave it until you move out to make a claim. Most insurance providers give a maximum of 30 days after the incident for you to make one.

It won’t protect your deposit if you haven’t paid all your rent or utility bills, or don’t leave the place sufficiently clean.

What are the different ways to buy cover?

There are two main ways to buy cover; as a standalone policy, or as part of a home contents insurance policy.

It’s usually better value to buy a home contents policy, with TLI included. It doesn’t tend to be much more expensive, and often gives a higher level of cover for Tenants Liability. Of course, you also get cover for all of your own property. With us, it’s included as standard in our contents insurance policies!

Standalone cover is usually better for people who don’t have many personal possessions and want to protect their deposit, or are being compelled to buy it by their landlord or letting agent.

Decided Tenants Liability Insurance is the way to go for you? Check out our policy which gets you £5k cover for just £40 per year.

Can a letting agent force you to get it?

what is tenants liability insurance? - friends having a dinner party

In recent years it’s become common for landlords and agencies to demand you get TLI. This would normally be written into your tenancy agreement (for advice on your tenancy agreements, read the Citizens’ Advice Bureau’s guide). If you would rather simply rely on your deposit, then your best option may be to look elsewhere. If that search doesn’t seem to go anywhere, then your best bet may be to shop around insurance providers until you find something at a price which suits you. Remember, an agent can never force you to buy insurance from a certain provider.

Worried about other things the agent might be telling you? The government has made a great guide called how to rent which should cover most of the bases if you’re ever in doubt about what is normal to expect when you rent.

How do providers differ?

Many home contents policies include TLI, but not all, so it’s worth checking your provider’s policy wording. There are hundreds of providers of home contents cover, so we won’t go into them all here.

Most of the providers of standalone TLI are specialists, so there are no real household names. Each of the providers in the table below are regulated by the FCA, so as long as you are careful to read the product information and terms on their site, you can buy with confidence.

The cover they offer mostly differs on:

  • Level of cover offered; between £2,500 and £10,000
  • Whether cover is just accidental damage, or includes fire, theft and flood
  • The price

Other things to look out for are:

  • Whether the policy covers landlord’s furniture, or just the fixtures and fittings
  • Whether the insurer pays the money to the policyholder (i.e. you), or direct to the landlord

What does it typically cost?

In case you didn’t realise, we love a bit of data. Here’s something we made earlier comparing price and coverage for standalone cover. As you can see, prices tend to fluctuate between £40-£100. The providers compared are Urban Jungle, Intasure, LetAlliance, Rentguard, and HomeLet.

Please not that Urban Jungle offers two levels of cover, £5,000 and £10,000, with the option of six months’ or a year’s cover. The prices range from £30 to £65 across all lengths and cover levels.

ProviderUnderwriterCover LevelExcessCover for 6 months?Covers Landlord’s Furniture?Pay monthly?Annual Cost (including IPT)*
Urban JungleUK General Insurance£5,000£100Yes, £30YesNo£40
RentguardAgeas£10,000£100NoYesYes – £8.85£79
LetAllianceUK General Insurance£5,000£0NoYesYes – £7.52£90.24
HomeLetAgeas£10,000£100NoYesYes – £10.49£102
IntaSureLloyds£4,000£50-1,000
(£100 used for pricing)
NoYesYes – £9.67£103.27

Table true as of January 2019

* IPT stands for Insurance Premium Tax, which is currently charged at 12% on all insurance products

How can you reduce your risk?

Whether you’re taking out insurance or not, you should take care of the property and its contents. It’s sensible to agree on some ground rules with your flatmates to look after you and your landlord’s stuff. These could range from cleaning rotas to ward off things like mould and damp, to rules surrounding parties (how big a party you can throw, if your flatmate’s dodgy boyfriend can bring his friends, etc.)

Basic things like cleaning your oven regularly and making sure you don’t put anything you shouldn’t in the washing machine could make your life a lot easier down the line. Similarly, be careful when it comes to hanging things up on the walls, as you could pierce a water-pipe and end up flooding the room. You could even go so far as to ask the landlord or letting agent to take any really valuable items away if you’re worried about damaging them. If you want a more in-depth guide, we wrote a blog about ways to keep your deposit, which may be helpful.

I’m a landlord, should I be thinking about Tenants Liability Insurance?

If you’re worried about your tenants damaging your things beyond the value of the deposit then it’s definitely worth considering it. However, many Tenants Liability Insurance packages are more expensive than they strictly need to be, and renters can be put off – especially in places like London where deposits can be many months’ rent. As a landlord, be wary of agents which will demand your tenants get liability cover from particular insurance providers, as this could lead to decreased interest in your property and won’t be much help to you in the long-term. How relevant Tenants Liability Insurance is will rely largely on the tenants you have, so that’s worth bearing in mind, too.

what is tenants liability insurance? - coffee spilling from its cup

Got any questions?

We know insurance can be a bit confusing, and we love talking about it, so if you have any questions, please contact us.

Decided Tenants Liability Insurance is the way to go for you? Check out our policy which gets you £5k cover for just £40 per year.

Or alternatively you get Tenants Liability included with our Contents Insurance, which you can get a quote for here.

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About us

Urban Jungle is a home insurance business, specialising in renters and sharers. We’re using technology to make insurance better for young people, but also care about helping people make life as renter better.

We offer great quality home contents insurance at competitive prices.

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