Student home insurance
If you’re moving away to study, make sure you have sufficient home contents insurance to protect your personal belongings. Here’s what you need to consider.
Why do I need student contents insurance?
According to research, students take, on average, nearly £4,000 worth of belongings to university. And the sad reality is that students’ possessions can be easy pickings for criminals – around a third of students are likely to be victims of theft or burglary during their time at university.
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?
You might want to take out your contents insurance policy before term starts, as about 20% of student thefts happen in the first six weeks of the academic year.
Will I be covered on my parents’ home insurance?
It depends on the type of cover your parents have. Some contents insurance policies will include cover for your belongings while you’re away from your parents’ home, but others won’t, so it’s vital that you check. If this cover isn’t included as standard, it may be available as an optional add-on to your parents’ policy (at an extra cost).
But be aware that this type of cover can come with restrictions, many of which may not be compatible with student life. Important things to look for on your parents’ policy include:
- Will you be covered in you live in shared accommodation away from the campus?
- Will you need to keep your possessions locked in your own room and, if so, will you need a lock on the door?
- If you have siblings who are also students, can you all be covered on your parents’ home contents insurance at the same time?
Your parents might want to consider that they could lose their no claims discount if you make a claim on their policy. This, in turn, could increase their renewal premium.
What should student 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 will only need contents insurance; 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 in the policy, rather than an add-on that you’ll need to pay extra for.
Other elements to check include:
- Whether you need to have a particular type of lock on your room
- Whether the policy includes possessions cover outside the home. If it doesn’t, this additional cover could be available as an optional add-on when you take out your contents policy (but you may need to pay extra)
- Whether walk-in theft is covered. This would allow you to claim for a burglary even if there’s no sign of forced entry, for example, if you live in student halls and someone lets in a burglar during a party.
You should check the policy cover to make sure you have the right cover to meet your needs, such as protection for your computer, data or any favourite gadgets that you can’t live without. You may also want to make sure your belongings are covered during the holidays, as well as in term time.
Finally, you should also look into how long it will 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.
Will high-value items be covered with student home insurance?
If you have any prized possessions – an expensive watch or jewellery, or perhaps a bike or a musical instrument – you need to be certain they’re covered to their full value in the event of a claim. Most policies will have a maximum limit that any single item can be worth before you need to specify it on the policy (known as a single article limit). You’ll need to check what that limit is (it’s often set at around £1,500) and detail anything that exceeds it.
Although this might increase the cost of your insurance, it could save you money in the long run as replacing these items could be very costly. For bigger items, write down serial numbers and keep your proof of purchase, just in case.
Do I need student contents insurance if I live in a hall of residence?
Check with your college or university, what cover, if any, is in place. Some institutions will arrange contents insurance for students. Others will cover laptops, sports and electrical equipment, and even food and clothes, at no extra cost if you’re living in their accommodation. Again, it’s important to check the wording because your belongings might not be covered if they’re stolen while you’re out and about. If this is a concern for you, then the cover you should look for is typically referred to as ‘personal possessions’. And make sure you’re happy with the level of cover you get. It might be that you have to take out a separate policy for particularly costly items.
How can I save money on student contents insurance?
If you’re worried about the price of student insurance, our top tips could help you to lower the cost.
Value your items accurately Be careful not to underinsure your contents, but equally don’t go over the top with your valuations. Do a quick sum and work out what cover you really need.
Increase your excess The excess is the amount of money that you need to pay in the event of a claim before the insurance provider steps in. So, if you make a claim for £500 and you have a £200 excess, the insurance provider will pay out the balance of £300. There are usually two types of excess – compulsory and voluntary. Increasing the amount of voluntary excess you’re willing to pay could reduce your premium, although you’ll get less back when you make a claim. What’s important is that you find a level of excess you’re comfortable paying.
Pay upfront Although it might be tempting to spread the cost of your insurance by paying monthly, it could cost you more to do so as you may be charged interest on the instalments. Paying for your insurance in one go – if you can afford it – is likely to keep the cost down.
Security features Some alarms, and approved door or window locks, could mean you pay less for your insurance. If you have any of these, make sure you include them when getting a quote.
How can I get a good deal on student home insurance?
Many providers offer home insurance for students that’s tailored to the peculiarities of university life. When getting home insurance quotes, these are well worth considering. Just remember to invest a little time in finding the right policy, at a price you can afford. Use our comparison service to help you compare your options and find cover that suits you.