Last updated: 23/07/2020 | Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes
Shared home insurance
Students and young people frequently share rented accommodation. In expensive cities like London, young professionals can continue sharing houses and flats into their 30s. While those living in a house in multiple occupation (HMO) and other shared residences won’t need to have buildings insurance, it’s worthwhile getting contents insurance to cover the belongings brought into the property.
Some insurers will allow housemates to buy one contents insurance policy to cover the property. But this might not be practical: tenants come and go in shared residences and may not all be reliable—either with the premiums or with your possessions. So insuring your room separately might be your best bet.
In This Guide:
- Insuring contents in a shared house
- Getting an insurance policy for your room
- Insuring contents in student halls
- Other home insurance options for students
Insuring contents in a shared house
If you’re living in a shared house, you have two options for insurance: either you and your housemates can club together and buy contents insurance for the entire property or you can purchase separate policies for your individual rooms.
Not all insurance providers will cover entire shared houses and others might charge you steep premiums for the privilege. This is to reflect the risks associated with shared houses: the unreliability of flatmates, the constant flow of people through your door. Can you be so sure that your flatmates always lock their windows and doors to deter theft? Is that man in the kitchen your flatmate’s new boyfriend or is he an intruder who’s going to make off with the TV? Will the flatmate who always steals your eggs one day swipe your laptop? You won’t be able to claim on the policy for stolen items unless there are signs of forced entry.
Additionally, as flatmates move in and out of the property, you’ll need to update the insurance policy with their information, which could lead to an adjustment of your premiums, depending on the new tenant’s claims histories. And you might all see your insurance costs rise precipitously if one flatmate makes a claim on the policy. In many cases, therefore, it makes sense to take out a separate contents insurance policy for your own room in a shared house.
Getting an insurance policy for your room
Many insurance providers offer contents cover for individual rooms in shared houses. These policies will compensate you for the theft or destruction of the belongings kept in your room, including your electronics, clothing, books and music collections. There are some caveats, however.
You’ll need to fit an industry-approved lock on the door to your room and keep it locked whenever you’re out or your claims will be rejected. Additionally, your belongings won’t be covered if you leave them elsewhere in the house, including the living room, kitchen, bathroom or corridors.
Insuring contents in student halls
If you’re living in student halls, the university will likely have a contents policy in place which covers the entire building—including your room and any communal areas, such as kitchens and common rooms. When you move in, you should check with the university to see if they have cover in place for halls of residence and if it’s comprehensive. If it’s not adequate, you may want to look for additional cover.
Other home insurance options for students
If you’re a student, your possessions may be covered by your parents’ policies. Four out of five contents insurance policies on the market cover children living away from home who attend university. This coverage isn’t automatic, however. Some policies will only cover a student’s possessions if they are living in university halls and not in other residences. Policies may also only cover one child, so you and your brother can fight about that. And making a claim on the policy can wreck your parents’ no claims bonus, driving up their overall home insurance premiums, which can make for a frosty Christmas holiday.
Some insurers also offer specialised students home insurance policies. These will include contents cover for possessions kept in the student’s room in a shared house, HMO or student halls, and sometimes extra protections, including tenants’ liability cover and cover for walk-in theft. To purchase one of these policies you need to be in full-time education. The insurer will verify your student status by asking for your university ID and will also want to know the institution you’re attending and how long your course will last.