GUIDES & RESOURCES

Contents Insurance for one room

Whether you’re a landlord that needs to sublet a room, or a tenant that’s about to start sharing a house with an owner-occupier, there are some things to consider when looking for a Contents Insurance policy.
Flood insurance
*iSelect does not compare to all home and contents insurers in the market. The availability of policies may change from time to time. Not all policies made available from iSelect’s providers are compared by iSelect and due to commercial arrangements, area or availability, not all policies compared by iSelect will be available to all customers. See below for our range of home and contents insurers. Some policies are only available from iSelect’s call centre or online. Our advice on this website is of general nature and does not consider your situation or needs. Consider if any advice is appropriate for you before acting on it.

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Contents Insurance can help cover the cost of repairing or replacing personal belongings in your home if they’re lost, damaged, or stolen. But policies can vary depending on whether you’re a landlord living with sub-letters, or a tenant living with your landlord. Contents Insurance policies can typically help provide cover toward the cost of replacement for things such as clothing, appliances, technological devices, jewellery, and sporting equipment.

What does Contents Insurance cover for landlords that are renting out a room?

It’s important to remember that standard home and Contents Insurance policies generally won’t help provide cover for your property or belongings that are damaged by a housemate/tenant or anyone else that may live with you who isn’t a family member.

What do these policies generally help cover for both tenants and landlords?

Here are a few things that are generally covered under contents insurance policies in the case of damage, loss or theft. As always, these can vary from policy to policy, so check with your provider.

  • Defined events: A policy with cover for defined events typically includes storms, fires, theft or vandalism. So if any of your things are lost as a result of one of these defined events, then your provider may help provide cover for these belongings.
  • Specific items: Some insurers have limits on certain items such as computers or jewellery, so you might want to specifically list these items under your policy. However, this may add to your premium.
  • Accidental damage: This could be handy in the case where household items are accidentally damaged.
  • Flood cover: Repair or replacement of items damaged as a result of a flood. This type of cover may also come with a higher premium.
  • Motor burnout: Repair or cover for burnt-out electric motors in household appliances.
  • Commercial storage: Items you have paid to be stored in a commercial storage facility.
  • Portable contents/personal effects: Things you take with you outside of your residence, e.g: mobile phone, laptop, jewellery.

Read the product disclosure statement to understand what can and can’t be covered by the policy

Tips for tenants when renting a room

If it’s time for you to rent out a room in someone’s house, then there are a few things you should consider..

  1. Consider reviewing Contents Insurance policies
    Since you’re going to be leasing a room in someone else’s property, you might want to take extra precautions when it comes to protecting your belongings from loss, theft, or damage from fire, storm or flood. While your landlord may have a Home and Contents Insurance policy in place for themselves, their policy may not necessarily help provide cover for your personal belongings.
  2. Know your tenant rights and responsibilities
    Before you move in, it’s important to get your head around your rights and responsibilities as a tenant. For example, you might want to know things like time frames for completing repairs after you lodge a request, or how to responsibly resolve any common disputes with your landlord.

    Check your state or territory’s government website for more details:

  3. Be specific in your property search
    Figure out what’s important to you in your new home – do you need to be close to public transport? Near a running or cycling track? A house with a backyard? Have a clear idea of what you want and need so that your home search is more efficient.
  4. Take a look at the room in person
    A property might look great in photos online, but it’s important you take a look inside for yourself to make sure your expectations match reality.
  5. Keep records of every transaction
    If you keep a record of all your rental payments, bills, bond, etc., then you’ll always be in the clear if it ever comes to a dispute about who paid what and when.

Tips for landlords when renting out a room

If you’re a homeowner and you’re looking for a tenant to occupy your sublet room, here are some things worth keeping in mind.

  1. Do your research on potential housemates
    If they’re not a friend of yours or you don’t know them that well, then you might want to run a credit check against their name and have a chat with their references.
  2. Write a rental agreement
    You can write one yourself or ask your real estate agent for help. You can start by looking at your state or territory’s government guidelines to rental agreements here. You will generally need to include things like:
    • The rent amount and payment date;
    • The length and type of agreement;
    • How rent increases will be calculated;
    • The bond amount;
    • How the bond will be refunded;
    • How utility bills will be calculated and paid; and
    • Any special terms.
  3. Know your rights and responsibilities as a landlord
    Even if you decide to rent out one room to a tenant, your home could still be considered as an investment property, which means you could still be considered as a landlord. If that’s the case, then you’ll need to be across your rights and responsibilities with regards to renting out any part of your property.

    You’ll need to check your state or territory’s government website for more details:

    • New South Wales: Information for tenants and landlords on renting
    • Queensland: Landlords rights and responsibilities
    • Victoria: Housing
    • South Australia: Starting a tenancy
    • Western Australia: Renting tools and checklist
    • Tasmania: A guide to the residential tenancy commissioner
    • Northern Territory: A guide to renting
  4. Set some rules and guidelines for the house
    Although you’ll present your new tenant with a written rental agreement, you might also like to set up some ground rules when they move in so there’s no blurred lines around issues when it comes to living in close proximity with another person. Things like cleaning duties, fridge space, and use of common areas might be topics you’d like to discuss with them and establish clear boundaries.
  5. Check your Home Insurance policy
    If you’ve got Home Insurance, check your Product Disclosure Statement to see if your provider covers you for damage or loss caused by tenants or other people living in your property. If not, it may be time for you to review your policy.

Where can landlords and tenants start comparing Contents Insurance options?

Click here to view iSelect’s range of Home & Contents providers and policies*.

Last updated: 07/06/2022

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