Well, this is an interesting question that we shall endeavour to answer to your satisfaction. However, before doing so, it might be a good idea to first explain what constitutes the contents!
Not wishing to over-simplify matters, imagine that you are able to pick up the building that is let out whilst there are no people inside, turn it completely upside down and then shake it rigorously. Any items that fall out of the property tend to be the contents whereas something like a fitted kitchen that is screwed to the wall and, therefore, would not fall out of the property would usually be covered under the buildings element of your landlords insurance policy.
Now, back to the question!
You need to distinguish between the contents that you own and have placed in your student-let property to be used by the tenants and those contents that your student tenants have decided to bring with them. Whilst you are under no legal obligation to arrange contents insurance, you may wish to consider arranging such cover to provide some form of protection should any of the pieces of content be damaged, destroyed or stolen.
Your contents could consist of the likes of beds, bed linen, washing machine, dining table and chairs, lounge furnishings, TV and vacuum cleaner. Statistically, students are less likely to take as much care of your contents as you would, which is perhaps a good reason to seriously consider such cover.
Students’ content could consist of such things as their clothing, shoes, an iPad, crockery, suitcase and books. It is up to a student to decide if they are going to insure their contents.
Hopefully, you now have a clearer understanding of who is responsible for insuring the contents in your buy-to-let property.