More than 70 percent of UAE residents prefer renting over buying, according to a 2016 survey by And as any tenant knows, the costs of renting go beyond the annual rent, to include housing costs and utilities, deposit, maintenance fees, etc. While there is no running away from these costs, an expense which renters easily overlook is home contents insurance.

Tenants often assume that because they don’t own the property, they don’t need to take out home insurance, which is not the case! Surprising as it may seem, your landlord’s insurance provides cover only for the physical premises and is only a legal requirement if the property is mortgaged. It does not extend to the tenant’s contents or possessions. So, who’s liable for damages to these should there be a fire, flooding or theft? The responsibility lies on the tenants’ shoulders, to ensure they have their possessions covered. This is where home contents insurance comes in.

[Related: 5 items you didn’t know your home insurance covered]

Insurers define ‘contents’ as household goods and other articles that belong to you and are located within your home premises. Some examples include valuables, clothing, money, electronics along with fixtures that you are responsible for. Most home contents insurance policies provide some standard covers such as the below, which is the basic protection you will receive in unexpected situations. These policies can be tailored to include any additional covers such as accidental damage, personal belongings, domestic hep and others.

Fire, explosion, lightning & earthquake

Home content insurance covers the contents of your house against loss or damage by fire, explosion, lightning or earthquake. One of the main reasons why UAE residents don’t prioritize home content insurance is because they don’t think the UAE is exposed to such risks leading to catastrophes. In light of recent events such as fires in many residential buildings, residents are now becoming more aware of these risks, and the importance of being covered against such unexpected events.

Theft or attempted theft

Even though burglaries are less common in this part of the world, you can not rule out the possibility of one. An act of stealing which involves the use of force or violence when breaking into or exiting from your home is qualified as theft or attempted theft. In such unfortunate circumstances, your home contents insurance covers damage or destruction to your home such as stolen items and shattered windows. Losses resulting due to acts of vandalism or malicious persons is also covered under home content insurances. Registering a police report in such circumstances is essential to be able to make a claim.

Rent and alternative accommodation

Did you know your home insurance compensates you if your house becomes unfit to live in? You will be provided with the lost rent or alternative accommodation while repairs in your home are in progress. Seeing your property destroyed is painful enough and having this cover provides some relief during such difficult times. 

[Related: Home insurance in the UAE: why is it important?]

Legal liability

Homeowners may find themselves in trouble if something were to happen to a visitor or an employee within their premises. If your actions, negligence or the condition of your property causes injury, death or damages someones property, you may be legally responsible for the expenses. While no one expects to be held liable after an accident at their home, your home content insurance provides legal liability cover to make sure you are not paying out of your pocket.

Similarly, a major concern for tenants is to keep their landlords premises safe. Any damage to landlords fixtures or fittings will be covered under the tenants/occupiers liability cover under your home contents insurance.

Replacement as new

When you make a home insurance claim, your claim will be settled on a “repair or replacement as new” basis. This means that your damaged home contents will be repaired (if there is scope) or replaced (if completely destroyed). Either way, you will be compensated with the new or equivalent item. This holds true for most items except for clothing and household linen.

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