Renters insurance is a term for contents-only insurance for renters which offers a financial safety net against specific events, such as theft of, or unforeseen damages to, your belongings and valuable items. Some possessions that you can cover with contents insurance include furnishings, clothing, jewellery, portable items such as mobile phones and home electronics like laptops. If you’re renting, you don’t need to worry about home building insurance, as this is the responsibility of the landlord.
Without contents-only insurance cover, you’ll have to foot the costs associated with repairs, accidental loss or replacing your belongings should anything happen to them.
This type of cover is specifically designed for people who are renting, which is a big chunk of Aussies.
Find out more about the ins and outs of contents-only insurance, commonly referred to as renters insurance, how an insurance quote can help and how much cover may cost you through our comparison service.
Contents insurance for renters is important because while your home building may be protected by your landlord’s insurance, your belongings are not.
If your possessions are damaged or stolen and you don’t have contents-only insurance, it could cost you tens of thousands of dollars to replace your possessions. This might sound excessive, however, the ABS reported the mean value of property assets value of Australian dwellings at $731,100 in 2020.1
So, when was the last time you took stock of all your belongings?
It’s easy to underestimate the value of the household belongings you have and therefore underinsure your contents. But would you be prepared to pay for the damages caused by a fire, flood, storm or other emergency?
In 2021, the Insurance Council of Australia, (ICA) stated that 23% of Australians didn’t have insurance, or enough insurance, to cover the cost of replacing their home or household possessions.2
When taking out a renters insurance policy, which is contents-only insurance for renters, you need to make sure the sum you’re insured for is enough to replace all of your contents.
The factors listed below may impact your contents-only insurance policy:
When you’re renting a house or unit or living in shared accommodation, fire damage or theft of your valuables are some of the biggest risks you can potentially face. These risks can leave you unable to recoup total losses, without some items for a period of time or having to borrow from family and friends. Therefore, you need to take inventory of your belongings inside the rental property to get their replacement value as accurate as possible. This involves the following steps:
The cost of contents-only insurance for renters varies across policies, providers and customers. This is because not every policy provides the same coverage, and not everyone’s belongings are worth the same amount.
The following prices are indicative only and may not be an accurate representation of what your individual premium could be. If you’d like a more personalised quote, head over to our home and contents insurance comparison service for your free quote.
The average cost of contents replacement is based on content replacement costs (rounded to the nearest whole number) that customers entered into Compare the Market’s home and contents insurance comparison service in financial year 2020-2021.
|State/Territory||Average Cost of contents replacement||Average Indicative Annual Premium*|
|New South Wales||$ 59, 142||$ 465|
|Victoria||$ 53, 915||$ 495|
|Queensland||$ 55, 685||$ 444|
|South Australia||$ 52, 695||$ 417|
|Western Australia||$ 52, 500||$ 429|
|Tasmania||$ 64, 082||$ 329|
|Australian Capital Territory||$ 59, 778||$332|
*Indicative, annual premium based on the average of quotes provided by Compare the Market’s home and contents insurance comparison service as of October 2021. These quotes are for a tenant of a freestanding house built between 1980 and 1989 with weatherboard walls, COLORBOND® roofing and no security alarm, located in capital city postcodes: 2000 (Sydney, NSW), 3000 (Melbourne, VIC), 4000 (Brisbane, QLD), 5000 (Adelaide, SA), 6000 (Perth, WA), 7000 (Hobart, TAS) and 2600 (Yarralumla, Canberra ACT). These residences were not used for business purposes, policy holders at these residences didn’t take extra cover for specified contents above policy limits, they didn’t cover personal effects taken away from home, had no thefts or burglaries in the last five years, were not retired and paid an excess of $500.
Specific costs can be hard to determine, as they will vary depending on your situation. When you take out a contents-only policy, the cost of your insurance may be affected by a range of factors, such as:
Coverage does differ between contents-only insurance policies and providers; you may be covered for a certain event under one policy, but not under another. However, some things that are generally covered under renters insurance include:
All contents-only insurance policies might offer greater levels of cover, including:
If you’re after additional cover, you can also add optional extras to your insurance to cover:
You’ll also need to be mindful that any items taken out of the home need to be insured as personal effects.
Contents-Only insurance can also cover you from legal liability, should your belongings cause a visitor to injure themselves or damage their possessions at your place accidentally.
By using our free home and contents insurance comparison service, you’ll be able to see what’s covered under each available policy when comparing results. Be sure to read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) of a policy to see exactly what’s listed though, as coverage and exclusions can differ between insurance providers.
See below to find out about any exclusions you might face with Contents-Only insurance for renters.
As with any insurance product, you should consider exclusions when considering getting contents-only insurance cover. For example, contents-only insurance for renters will not cover:
When the dog chews up the carpet or a clumsy kid knocks a hole in the wall, it’s the renter who is responsible for the accidental damage to the rental property. Any damage that’s caused by the tenant or their guests falls to the tenant to repair.
Damage that happens over time, like cracks in the wall or other types of wear and tear, is the responsibility of the property’s owner to fix, as it’s their duty to ensure their property is fit for someone to live in. If you’re worried about having to prove whether damage is due to wear and tear, documenting it through photos and videos can help your case.
If you’re the one who is responsible for accidental damage to the rental property, you may be required to arrange and pay for the repairs yourself.
There are two main things you should consider before buying a contents-only insurance policy for renters:
Rather than just assume that your insurance policy offers automatic protection for your contents and any breakages, it’s better to have all bases covered by taking into consideration the following before choosing a suitable policy.
If you make a claim on your contents-only insurance for a damaged, stolen or lost item, one option your provider may choose could be to replace your item with the same or a similar model.
However, if your provider doesn’t replace your valuables with a suitable alternative, they might settle your claim by:
If you’d prefer a replacement as opposed to a payout, it’s a good idea to check that your contents insurance includes a new-for-old replacement benefit. Check your PDS to determine if your contents will be replaced with new items.
If you’re looking to compare renters insurance providers in Australia, Compare the Market’s home and contents insurance comparison service can help you do just that. While we don’t compare every provider in the market, our service can select policies for your comparison based on your details in just minutes.
1 Australian Bureau of Statistics – Household financial resources
2 Department of Veteran Affairs – Is your home at risk of underinsurance?