According to the Central Statistics Office (CSO), 30 per cent of the Irish population are now living in rented accommodations, a figure that has tripled since 2000.
So why the sudden uptrend in renting? Is it because of ever-increasing property prices, or are we simply becoming more European? Well, both, it seems. While some of us, particularly the younger generation, like the flexibility that comes with renting accommodations, others simply cannot afford to buy their own home, and with residential property prices soaring by 13% in Ireland in the last 12 months alone (CSO), the outlook is bleak for those who want to get their foot on the property ladder.
A re-growth in the rental market may be great news for landlords, but there are concerns that tenants are not getting the advice they need when it comes to Renters Insurance. Many people automatically assume that they are covered under their tenancy agreement, but in most cases, they are not.
What is Tenants Insurance?
As the name would suggest, Tenants Insurance, otherwise referred to as Renters Insurance or Contents Insurance, is a policy designed to protect the personal possessions of people who are renting their home. While your landlord must have Buildings Insurance in place to cover structural damage and will most likely have contents insurance if you have rented the property fully furnished, it will only cover their possessions, and not yours.
It is therefore essential that tenants take out a Renters Insurance Policy to cover their personal belongings in the event of theft, fire, water damage, or loss.
What Does Renters Insurance Cover?
Your rental insurance policy should cover everything that you own. So, if you were to move to a new house tomorrow, your policy should cover all the items that would take with you, including:
- Clothing & shoes
- Electronic devices and electrical appliances
- Decorative items (picture frames, rugs, lamps, ornaments, cushions, throws, etc.)
- Luggage, bags
- Sporting equipment
- Valuables (jewellery, cameras etc.)
- Kitchenware (pots, pans, cutlery, crockery etc.)
- Bedroom, bathroom and kitchen linens
The list is extensive, and every tenants list is different, but essentially, you need to put a value on what your worldly possessions would cost to replace.
Many contents insurance policies have a maximum limit per item, and so high value items (usually over €1,500) may need to be insured separately, and you might need to add on a few ‘extras’ such as liability insurance to get the coverage you need.
Shared / Student Accommodations
People living in shared accommodations, such as students, should also consider taking out a Tenants Insurance Policy, but different rules may apply. Your insurance broker will need to know if you have your own room, if there is a lock on your door, and other things such as how many people have access to the property in which you live. In this situation, you may be more open to theft and damage, and so it is vital that you insure your belongings. Tailor-made Student Insurance plans are available, so speak to your broker.
Tenants Insurance Liability
Being a tenant comes with certain responsibilities in Ireland, and if your landlord’s property is damaged or items are stolen, you could be liable to pay for repairs or replacements under your tenancy agreement. This is why renter’s liability insurance is essential. Depending on the type of policy you take out, this could also cover legal expenses incurred as a result of a dispute with your landlord and accidental injuries.
When taking out a Renters Insurance Policy, you will have the option to add extras such as bicycle cover, locksmith cover (in case you lose your keys), and even credit/debit card cover, so if your cards are stolen from your home, you are fully insured. The cost of your tenant insurance plan will depend on the estimated value you choose, so calculate wisely, and speak to your broker if you need further advice.