Lodger Insurance…Is there such a thing? (guest blog)

Here’s a guest blog post from the guys over at moneysupermarket.com on insurance for lodgers and flatsharers

When moving into a house/flat share it is always important to have your possessions insured. Look around your new room. The laptop you got for Christmas is worth £800+ alone, your IPod, your Fender Guitar, your mobile phone and lots more I imagine. You could easily add up thousands of pounds worth of items.

The landlord may have buildings and contents insurance themselves but this will not cover your items. So this is your opportunity to search the internet and get a tailored package that suits you and your possessions at a minimum cost.

What Insurance do I need?

To cover your items, lodgers need to take out a contents insurance policy and finding it is easy. Visit moneysupermarket.com where you can compare hundreds of providers and make sure that all your personal possessions are covered against, theft, fire or damage. Here are some key points to look out for when taking out an insurance policy.

  • Timeframes – You need to find out what is covered and when. Some policies will cover you all year round, whilst others may not cover you when you’re away on holiday.
  • Underinsurance – If the worst happens and you have to claim on your policy, the last thing you want is to find it doesn’t meet all your costs.
  • Reduce the risk – Ask the landlord to install window locks and an alarm, this will help reduce what you have to pay.
  • Away from home cover – Make sure your provider protects those items you would take with you when your out an about. IPod, mobile phone etc.
  • Bicycles – If you are a keen cyclist or just need a bike to get to and from your workplace, check your insurance covers bikes as not all of them do.
  • Excess Payment – In some cases, the higher the excess the lower your premium, but this can be a false economy as it can cost you more money in the event of a claim. Always make sure you can afford and are willing to pay the excess payment.

Valuing your Contents

To get an accurate figure of how much your possessions are worth use the moneysupermarket.com contents calculator. Do not confuse the purchase price with the replacement cost, as this is often a common mistake made by a lot of people. Use up-to-date retailers’ catalogues to get current prices, as the price could have shifted up or down since you bought it.

Outbuildings – Garages, sheds and greenhouses can be rich pickings for a thief, so do ensure that you inform the insurer if any items are to be kept outside. Tools, bicycles etc

In the event that something is stolen or broken and you are thinking about claiming, it is always worth considering whether it is worth it for something that may be relatively minor. In doing so your premium will more than likely rise the following year. Once you have calculated this into the equation, plus the excess you have to pay, then it’s sometimes cost effective to pay for minor incidents out of your own pocket.

Another month’s rent given away

We’re happy to announce the winner of Live Rent Free in September – Naomi. Once again we have a winner who won with one of their loyalty entries (extra free entries we give away for entering the competition every month). Naomi wins a month’s free rent paid by SpareRoom.co.uk – her prize, based on the average rent for a room including bills in her postcode (N5) is £619.66

The prize is calculated using SpareRoom.co.uk’s Room Rental Index

Naomi says:
“Wow! Thank you! I’m currently living in central London and used SpareRoom.co.uk recently, as one of my flatmates was moving, and filled the room immediately – the new flatmate moves in this weekend. I find the site easy to use and a really efficient way of filling a vacant room in a flatshare. The money will certainly come in handy!”

Don’t forget, for your chance to win a month’s rent enter now

Shelter’s new campaign to evict rogue landlords

We deal with a lot of landlords via SpareRoom and our other sites. By far the majority are honest, hard-working people but there are always a few who spoil the reputation of the many.

Housing charity Shelter are running a campaign to highlight the dangers posed by dodgy landlords and increase awareness in an effort to  make it harder for the bad landlords to operate.

Their basic intro to the campaign points out that:

  • 9 out of 10 environmental health officers working with tenants have encountered landlords who are harassing or illegally evicting them
  • 1 in 4 landlords say that their tenants’ deposits aren’t protected
  • Almost 1 million Britons have been the victim of a scam involving a private tenancy or landlord in the last three years

For more info on the campaign or to get advice on dealing with a problem landlord visit Shelter’s campaign page