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Most tenants uninsured and would pay for damage themselves

New research from insurance provider Paymentshield has found that over one in five UK tenants have experienced a negative property event in the past year that may have given rise to a contents insurance claim - including fire, flood, and theft.

The survey, conducted by YouGov with over 1,800 UK adults, revealed that 23 per cent of tenants have suffered a fire, flood, theft, burst water pipe, lost keys or damage to their or their landlord’s belongings in the last 12 months. 

Despite this, only 46 per cent of tenants have a contents insurance policy in place., 


The survey has shown that the vast majority of UK renters - 93 per cent - would cover the loss out of their own pocket. This is an approach that could put tenants at significant financial risk considering the contents of an average property amount to £25,126.

Some 33 per cent of tenants stated they would use existing savings to recoup the cost, 31 per cent would save up, 18 per cent would charge it on a credit card or overdraft, and 11 per cent would borrow from friends or family. 

Paymentshield’s Rana Ali comments: “What these figures capture is the vulnerability of renters to financial disaster, either due to not being covered by a tenants’ contents insurance policy in the first place, or by not being aware of what exactly a policy covers them for and when policyholders are eligible for compensation.

“These worrying findings send a clear signal to the industry: almost the entire cohort of renters is highly exposed to financial loss, regardless of having insurance or not.”

The research also shows that many tenants are anxious about the prospect of facing a detrimental event – over 1 in 3 renters worry about losing their belongings due to fire or theft and approximately 1 in 5 worry about having their possessions damaged because of floods. 


Ali continues:  “Despite relatively high levels of anxiety, many renters seem to falsely believe that nothing will ever actually damage their belongings. But detrimental events such as floods do happen, and, unfortunately, are becoming commonplace in the UK. Paying out of pocket to cover the cost of such damage could effectively wipe out people’s life savings. 

“We call on insurers and every party within the lettings chain – from landlords to tenant referencing firms - to go further in raising awareness both with current and prospective tenants on the value of contents insurance and the conditions for making a claim.”


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