Ask LH: Can I Get Contents Insurance If My Housemates Don't Want It?

Hi Lifehacker, I'm finding it really difficult to find contents insurance as a 28-year-old sharing a house with four other people. I want to get insurance for all my tech but don't really want to pay to insure everyone else's stuff. Any tips? Thanks, Insurance Seeker

Housemates picture from Shutterstock

Dear IS,

Your best option is probably a low-cost renter's insurance policy, which will protect your physical belongings against fire and theft. These plans cover everything from furniture to electronics and usually guarantee brand-new replacements for stolen or destroyed items, no matter how old the original items were.

Unfortunately, you can't cherry-pick your cover to only include the rooms your stuff is in, which means you're basically forced to insure the entire household. With that said, you don't need to include your roommates' belongings when itemising your home contents. If they refuse to chip in, simply leave their stuff off your valuable items list. This should also bring down your monthly premiums (especially if they have lots of stuff).

Compare prices across different providers and go with a plan that suits your circumstances best. If you already have car insurance you may be able to get a policy discount by going with the same provider.

Naturally, you'll need to check if the policy actually allows for four housemates — some providers wont cover shared households if there are too many people living there. Do a search for "unrelated persons" on the insurance provider's website to see if any restrictions are in place. (It can sometimes help if the policy holder is over the age of 25.)

Alternatively, you could sign up for personal valuables insurance for a specific handful of items. These policies often cover the listed belongings even when they're not in the house — if your laptop was stolen on a train, say. Just bear in mind that claiming might become messy if a housemate's negligence led to the issue; a caveat that applies to all contents insurance policies.

If any readers are living in similar circumstances, please let IS know how you went about getting your contents insured.

Cheers Lifehacker

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Comments

    A common exclusion to domestic policies is if there are more than 3 unrelated living at the location. Rationale being, you will have three people's different sets of friends attending the house and items can go missing. If this is the case, as in most uni share houses, you cannot get cover.
    There are many mainstream insurers that now provide cover for renters. For example, a firm that has three vowels in their four letter acronym, offers $25k contents insurance (lump sum) and you can also have separate policies for each member of the household. As I am an insurance broker (yay for me.. NOT!) I am not able to deal with this direct insurer, and have not viewed their PDS as such and cannot verify any clauses that may have bearing on policy acceptance.

    Honestly? Best bet is to talk your housemates around. Contents insurance isn't that expensive.

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