Home Insurance with a Lodger

The best way to understand home insurance for lodgers is just as it sounds. By this we mean that it is a home insurance policy first. So you, your building and your contents are covered in much the same way as it would without a lodger.
An attic bedroom

The addition of a lodger presents some new risks which wouldn’t have necessarily been covered by your standard home insurance. Hence the need for the extended home cover a lodger's insurance policy can provide.

What’s the difference between a tenant and a lodger?

In essence a lodger is a person who rents a room along with shared or unshared living space in your property, while you live there. If you were to stop living in the property the lodger would become a tenant.

There are different arrangements a landlord can make with their lodger in that some situations you may have separate living spaces e.g. kitchen or living rooms, possibly even separate entrances. Whilst with others you may share all the living spaces and just have separate bedrooms. But in all cases, to class your tenants as a lodger, there must be no ‘exclusive occupation’, i.e. an area which is locked, or from which you are excluded from entering.

Family members and unpaying guests

Members of your family, long or short term guests and visitors who don’t pay rent are not classed as lodgers. Always check your policy documents but in most cases your standard home insurance should cover you for the people who live with you in any of these capacities.

Does a lodger need their own contents insurance?

You’ll need to let your lodger know that their contents won’t be covered on your insurance policy. This also means that you won’t need to raise your amount of contents cover to account for the extra belongings.

Lodgers can acquire their own tenant's contents insurance to cover their belonging kept on your property.

What if my tenant steals something?

This is generally not something that is covered by insurance for lodgers. Guests who have been invited on to your property are not considered a risk and so are excluded from theft claims. A theft claim is usually only valid if the perpetrator brakes into your property uninvited.

Insurance for multiple lodgers

You can have insurance policies which cover you for up to three lodgers at a time. At Towergate for example this doesn’t even affect the price. You also don’t need to update your policy each time you a lodger leaves, or a new one move in.

What if my lodger doesn’t pay their rent?

A lodger insurance policy does not usually cover you for loss of rent. If you feel that you need this feature speak with one of our advisers who may be about to source you a landlord policy that better suits your needs.

The important cover here however is not from claiming back rent but actually from legal costs, should a dispute arise between you and your lodger. If you are looking for protection from missed rent, this is a more important feature of your insurance. Court costs and extended court proceedings can be very costly indeed so be careful to study any policy before you purchase and check that legal cover is included.

Do I need a rental agreement with my lodger?

Towergate can cover you for lodgers and paying guests, with or without a rental agreement. So however you choose to host guests in your home, we can provide the cover you need.

Tips for taking on lodgers

Check with your lender

If you own your property with a mortgage you will need to advise your lender about the change in circumstance.

Council tax

Don’t forget that if you lived alone before taking on a lodger you may have been benefiting from a single person discount on your council tax. This will no longer be applicable and you will have to inform your council of the change in occupancy.

What is the cost?

Most standard home insurance policies will not automatically cover lodgers. This means your contents insurance, or even your buildings insurance could be made invalid in the event of a claim. The greatest cost can come from invalidating your policy and having a claim rejected.

Having said this, lodgers insurance is not always as expensive as you might think. It’s generally cheaper than landlord insurance because unlike a privately rented property, you’re actually there to mitigate damage and maintain your property more effectively. So while it’s more costly than standard home insurance, you find the real cost, when you don’t have it!