Moving into student digs for the first time is an exciting time in life. But your new-found freedom also comes with responsibilities: there’s rent to pay, exams to pass... and personal possessions to think about too.
Why do I need contents insurance?
Contents insurance for students can be really useful. According to research the average student brings more than £4,000 worth of belongings to university. And the sad reality is that students’ possessions can be easy pickings for criminals. What’s more, research by StuRents.com found that students typically live in areas with crime rates two-and-a-half times the national average. Home Office figures suggest that one in three students will be a victim of crime.
No wonder then that students are four times more likely than average to claim on their household insurance policy.
When should I get student contents insurance?
So you’ll probably want to make sure your belongings are covered in your student accommodation, just in case. And you might want to take out your home contents insurance policy before term starts.
Most thefts targeting students happen close to the beginning of term. The Complete University Guide claims that about 20% happen in the first six weeks of the academic year.
Won’t I be covered on my parents’ home insurance?
If you rent accommodation as a student, you could potentially ‘piggyback’ your parents’ home contents insurance, as long as their policy covers your possessions away from their home.
But a note of caution: this type of cover can come with lots of restrictions, many of which may not be compatible with student life so please check.
Important things to look for on your parents’ policy include: will you be covered in shared accommodation away from the campus? Will you need to keep your possessions locked away in your own room – and if so will you need a lock on your bedroom door? Will your possessions be covered when you’re out? And if you have siblings who are also students, can you all be covered on your parents’ house insurance at the same time?
And there’s something for your parents to bear in mind too: they might lose any no-claims discount if you need to make a claim. So they might not be too keen on you using their policy as your insurance.
What should my insurance cover?
There are two types of home insurance: buildings and contents insurance. If you rent a room in a student house or halls, you would only want contents – whoever you rent from should have buildings insurance, which will cover the building itself.
As with any policy, contents insurance comes with exclusions, restrictions and conditions. Some products will also cover accidental damage, which could be invaluable if you have any breakages. But it’s worth double-checking that this is definitely included and not an additional cost to add on.
Other elements to check include any particular type of locks you need to have; whether you’re covered outside the home; and whether ‘walk-in’ theft is covered, so you can claim for a burglary even if there’s no sign of forced entry – say if you live in halls and someone lets in a burglar at a party.
Then there are extras you might want to add on, such as protection for your computer, data, or any favourite technology gadgets that you can’t live without. You’ll also want to make sure your belongings are covered during the holidays, as well as in term time.
You might also have certain prized possessions you need to be certain are covered to their full value in the event of a claim – an expensive watch or jewellery item, or perhaps a bike or a musical instrument. The way you could protect these is to state their estimated value on the policy.
This might put the cost of your policy up a little, but it could save you a lot of money replacing such items should the worse happen. For bigger items like these, write down serial numbers, and keep your proof of purchase, just in case.
Finally, you should also look into how long it’ll take to get stolen or damaged items replaced. As a student, you can’t afford to wait months for a new laptop when your final dissertation is due.
Do I need specific insurance for students?
Many companies offer home insurance for students that’s tailored to the peculiarities of university life.
When getting home insurance quotes, these are well worth looking at.
At comparethemarket.com, we make it easy for you to compare home insurance for students.
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