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Moving out? Here's 8 things you need to know about contents insurance

Discover expert advice from Urban Jungle

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Read advice from Naomi Davis from Urban Jungle, specialists in contents insurance for renters. Naomi has been working at Urban Jungle for a year and loves helping educate renters about contents insurance.

If you’re preparing to head off to university or moving out of your parents’ home this year, the last thing you’ve probably thought about is contents insurance. Contents insurance is designed to cover the stuff you own - from your phone to your jewellery, laptop and bike. Would you be able to afford to replace all of these if the worst happened? Probably not! Read on for the things you need to know to keep your stuff protected.

1 Choose the right level of insurance

It’s really important to make sure you have enough cover to replace your stuff. A common problem in insurance is being underinsured. This happens if you’ve chosen a level of contents cover that is less than your belongings are worth. Choosing the right level of cover can avoid nasty surprises when you have to make a claim.

If you don’t have enough cover, even if the claim is for a small amount, the insurer can choose to reduce the payout. For example, if you have £20k worth of contents but only choose £10k cover, if you made a claim, the insurer might decide that you are only 50% covered. That would mean a successful £10k claim would only get a £5k payout!

2 How to calculate the cover you need

Getting contents insurance for the first time can be daunting, especially after reading about underinsurance, but don’t worry, we’ve made a contents calculator which you can find here to help you consider every room! It would be a good idea to do this at home and walk around your house to make sure everything you own is considered.

Things to also consider when calculating are presents or gifts that you own. Clothing and shoes all add up and obviously the stuff you carry around with you.

3 What's covered in Student halls

If you’re going to be living in halls of residence, this may look a bit different for contents insurance. First, it’s always best to check if you’ll still be covered on your parents’ insurance as some traditional insurance companies will allow you to do this.
If not, fear not! At Urban Jungle and in partnership with Marmalade, we can cover you if you’re living in student halls of residence if your room has an exact address- “Room 12, 102 Town Road, EX1 1AM”.

If you share living areas with other students, you may need to add 'Common Areas Cover'. This type of cover will usually cover your belongings you keep in those spaces (like a shared kitchen or lounge).
Usually, for cover to apply, the common areas must be kept locked, not open to the public, and theft is not covered unless there are signs of forcible entry. Common areas cover is usually an add-on so it's worth keeping an eye out for.

4 Is my stuff covered outside the home?

By default, most contents insurance policies only cover your stuff when it’s inside the registered address. If you want to cover valuable items that you take out and about with you on a regular basis (like your phone, bike, laptop, etc), Out of Home cover is an optional add-on to your insurance policy that’s worth considering.

Out of Home cover will sometimes have a max limit per item but it’s usually quite high. At Urban Jungle we insure items up to £15,000 for example. You should always check the insurance policy document before purchasing to make sure the cover suits your needs.
Another thing to check is how you use your items outside. For example, many insurers will not cover your bike for theft unless you lock it, securing both the wheels and the frame to a permanent structure.

5 Do I need a lock on my door in a shared house?

Many insurers will require you to have a lock on your door if you are in a shared flat or house. This is usually to ensure that your housemates do not pose a risk to your stuff.
Luckily for you, if you’re living in a shared house or flat, Urban Jungle does not require you to have a lock on your individual room but cover will only apply to theft if there are signs of forced entry. If you are insuring your room in halls of residence, you will need a lock on the door of your room to be covered as your room will be your address.

Whether your insurance provider requires a lock or not, you may want to request for your landlord to add one anyway. Although you may know your housemates, you may not know the people they bring into your home. It's also an extra precaution if someone forgets to lock the front door.

6 Covering damage to your landlord's stuff

Will the wine stain ever come out of the sofa? How do chair legs break so easily? Who’s idea was it to put carpet in the bathroom anyway? We’ve all been there and this is where Tenants’ Liability Insurance comes in.
It can help protect your deposit if you accidentally damage your landlord’s fixtures, fittings or furniture. This can range from things as small as a stain on the carpet, or a broken lamp, to more serious operations like burst pipes.

Tenants’ Liability Insurance is not a replacement for your security deposit, it’s designed to reduce the risk that you lose it. 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. At Urban Jungle, we include Tenants’ Liability in our standard Contents insurance at no extra cost from just £5 per month.

7 How to keep the costs down

As a student or young renter, you may find you don’t need cover for the whole year, as you might move your stuff back to your parents during the holidays. In this case, it may be good to look out for monthly contents insurance as opposed to yearly.

Monthly contents insurance policies can be deactivated once you move back to your parents and will ensure you’re only paying for what you need. Be careful to do a good comparison as some insurers may charge extra interest to pay monthly or have fees to cancel your insurance. At Urban Jungle, we will never charge you to make changes to your policy or cancel it. It can all be done online in a matter of seconds.

8 Accidents may happen

We all know accidents happen whether you're in a shared student house or renting for your first time away from home. Accidental damage refers to unexpected and unintended damage or breakage caused by a single, sudden and one-off unforeseeable event. For example, this type of cover is designed for things like spillages. Note that accidental damage will not usually cover pet-related damage or deliberate destruction.

Unfortunately, accidental damage isn’t always included as standard in contents insurance. Most commonly it’s an option to add onto your policy even though it’s one of the most popular things claimed for in insurance! Fear not, Urban Jungle’s, Contents insurance provided through Marmalade includes accidental damage cover at no extra cost so you can be at ease.

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Get Contents cover from £5 per month!*

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