Student contents insurance

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How can I get cheap student home insurance?

Student life is demanding enough without having to figure out how contents insurance works. We’re here to simplify it for you.

Read on to find out how to get contents insurance if you’re a student living in a shared house or halls of residence. We’ll also show you how you could save money on your premiums.

Do students need contents insurance?

With so many people coming and going in halls and lectures, your belongings could become easy pickings for criminals. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that your possessions aren’t worth much. Once you start factoring in laptops, phones and bikes, the cost of replacing them quickly adds up. And if you don’t have contents insurance in place, you’ll have to do that out of your own pocket if they’re lost or stolen.

When should I get student contents insurance?

Ideally, you should make sure your insurance is in place before term starts so you’re covered as soon as the academic year begins. That way, you’ll know your possessions are covered as soon as you move away from home into your student accommodation. If you feel you need more cover as the year goes on, you can always add it to your policy at an additional cost. You’ll also get the most out of your policy as you’ll have it for the whole year.

What does student home contents insurance cover?

The terms of your policy will differ, depending on your insurance provider. But, in most cases, you’ll be covered for any damage or theft of your personal belongings that takes place at your student house or accommodation. 

Your insurance should include: 

  • Mobile phones, tablets and laptops
  • TVs
  • Appliances
  • Furniture
  • Clothes
  •  Books (including your uni textbooks)
  •  Cash. 

If you own anything particularly expensive (usually worth more than £1,500), you may need to list it on your policy as a ‘high-value item’. 

Examples include:

  • Laptops
  • TVs
  • Phones and cameras
  • Jewellery
  • Bikes. 

We know the average student isn’t going to have many items worth more than £1,500, but it’s important to know as losing something valuable will be extra tough if it turns out it wasn’t covered. To avoid this, make sure you have the right protection in place. If you’re not sure what you’re covered for, check with your insurance provider. 

You’ll also need to check whether you’re covered for accidental damage, which could be invaluable if you break something. Some insurance providers also offer lost keys cover and tenant’s liability cover as standard or as optional add-ons.

Each policy is different – that’s why it’s so important to shop around and find the right student content insurance for you.

What's not covered by student contents insurance?

When you take out any kind of insurance, there will be exclusions – eventualities you’re not covered for. 

These might include: 

  • ‘High-value items’ (usually worth more than £1,500) that aren’t named on your policy
  • Accidental damage (although this is commonly offered as an extra)
  • Theft of belongings outside the home – also a common extra, check personal possessions cover for this
  • Theft when there’s no sign of forced entry
  • Theft when your student accommodation is left unoccupied for more than a specified time, for example, 30 days. 

If you want extra protection, you can usually add it to your policy. But be sure to list any high-value items, and don’t leave your student house unoccupied for longer than your policy allows. Otherwise, when you come to make a claim, you could find your policy is invalid.

How much does student contents insurance cost?

How much you pay for your student contents insurance will vary, depending on factors such as where you live, and how many big-ticket items you own. But it’s worth knowing that 51% of people could achieve a quote of £58 per year for their contents home insurance based on Compare the Market data from March, 2022.

How can I save money on student contents insurance?

  • Value your items accurately  – too much or too little cover could end up costing you more in the long run.
  • Increase your excess – an insurance excess is the amount you need to pay if you make a claim, before the insurance provider steps in. So, if you make a claim for £500 and have a £200 excess, your insurance provider will pay the remaining £300. There are usually two types of excess – compulsory and voluntary. Increasing the amount of voluntary excess that 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 that you’re comfortable paying.
  • Pay upfront if you can afford it – it’s tempting to spread the cost of your insurance by paying monthly, but this is likely to cost more as you may be charged interest.
  • Install/mention security features – installing alarms and approved door or window locks could mean you pay less for your insurance. You’ll be asked about these when getting a quote.
  • Compare policies – to save money on contents insurance for students, use our comparison service. We could help you find a great deal that offers the level of cover you need.

What do I need to get a quote?

Getting a quote for your contents insurance is quick and easy. Just tell us a bit about: 

  • The type of insurance you want
  • When you want your policy to start
  • The property you’ll be living in
  • What you’d like included – for example, cover for your bicycle, valuables and accidental damage
  • Your personal details. 

We’ll then show you a list of insurance policies to choose from.

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Why use Compare the Market?

We compare prices for 64 home insurance products**

Our customers could achieve a quote of £4.76 per month***

**Correct as of March, 2022.

***51% of people could achieve a quote of £4.76 per month for their contents insurance based on the monthly cost when paying for the policy in one annual payment, excluding any interest charged on instalment payments. Based on Compare the Market data in March, 2022.

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Author image Chris King

What our expert says...

“For most students, making every penny count is important, but skimping on insurance is a false economy as you’d have to pay out of your own pocket if your possessions were damaged or stolen. However, you could think about whether you just want to cover your own possessions or get a policy with your housemates. If you’re happy to share a policy, you might save money by splitting the premium. But be aware that a claim from anyone on the policy could affect your no-claims discount.”

- Chris King, Home insurance expert

Understanding your student contents cover

If you’re sorting out insurance for the first time, you’d be forgiven for finding it a little complicated. Here are a few of the key terms you’re likely to come across: 

Excess
Excess is the amount you’ll pay towards a claim on your student home insurance.

Exclusions
What your student home insurance won’t cover.

Single-item limit
The most an item can be worth before it needs to be listed separately on your policy.

Sum insured
The total amount you can claim if you lose all your contents – for example, if they’re destroyed in a fire.

Accidental damage
Covers damage to your possessions. This might come with your insurance policy or you may want to add it on for an extra cost.

No-claims discount
If you don’t make any claims you’ll build up a discount, which could make your insurance cheaper in the future.

Need any more help? Check out our glossary

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Frequently asked questions

Will high-value items be covered by contents insurance for students?

Most policies have a maximum limit that any one item can be worth before it must be mentioned on the policy (this is known as a single article limit or single item limit). You’ll need to check what this limit is (it’s usually around £1,500) and name anything you own that’s worth more.

Although this might increase the cost of your insurance, it could save you money in the long run if you need to claim. For valuable items, keep evidence such as receipts, serial numbers and photographs, as your insurance provider may well ask for these.

Do I need student contents insurance if I live in a hall of residence?

Some universities might arrange contents insurance for students, which may cover laptops, sports and electrical equipment – even food and clothes – at no extra cost if you’re living in their accommodation. Others will offer no cover at all. 

Regardless of what is (or isn’t) provided, it’s important to read your policy carefully, because your belongings might not be covered if they’re stolen while you’re out and about.
You could fix that by opting for personal possessions cover. Again, read your policy and make sure you’re happy with the level of cover. You may have to take out a separate policy for expensive items, such as jewellery, tech, bikes or instruments.

Do I need student insurance if I still live at home?

No. Student contents insurance is designed for students living away from home and their families. If you live at home with your family, your belongings should be protected under their home insurance policy (if they have one). However, you might want to make sure that your valuables are covered under their policy wording.

What upgrades are available for my student contents cover?

As with most insurance policies, there are optional extras and upgrades you can get with your student contents insurance. Here are some examples: 

  • Accidental damage – that way you’ll be covered if you accidentally break a laptop or TV
  • Personal possessions cover – this can cover the items you carry around with you, like your phone and laptop.
  • New for old cover – if your belongings are lost, stolen or damaged, you’ll be able to replace them with a new product of equivalent value. This could help you replace your belongings more quickly.

Will I be covered by my parents’ home insurance?

That depends on what type of cover your parents have. Some contents insurance policies will cover your belongings while you’re away from your parents’ home – others won’t. Ask your parents to check their policy. If the cover you want isn’t included as standard, you might be able to pay extra to have it as an optional add-on.

Be aware that your parents’ policy may come with restrictions, some of which won’t be compatible with student life. Questions to ask include:

  • Will I be covered if I live in shared accommodation away from campus?
  • Will I need to keep my possessions locked in my room
  • If I have siblings who are also students, can we all be covered on our parents’ home contents insurance at the same time?
  • Does the cover include accidental damage?

Your parents might also want to consider that they could lose their no-claims discount if you make a claim on their policy. This could increase their premium when they come to renew.

Are mobile phones covered by student contents insurance?

Some insurance providers include mobile phones in their student policies – others don’t. You may be able to add your phone to your policy. But your insurance will likely only cover it if it’s stolen from your accommodation during a break-in. It probably won’t be covered if it’s damaged, lost or stolen when you’re out and about – unless you add personal possessions cover outside of the home to your policy. 

If your mobile phone is expensive or you just want added peace of mind, you could take out mobile phone insurance. But you can’t currently compare standalone mobile phone insurance with Compare the Market.

Can I cover my room key?

Most student contents insurance policies include cover for your room key as standard. If you lose your key, you can claim for a locksmith to replace your lock and give you a new key. Just make sure to check your policy wording.

How do I make a claim on my student contents insurance?

If you’re unlucky enough to have to make a claim, here are some matters to think about:

1. Is it worth making a claim?
Consider how much it would cost to replace what was stolen or damaged, and balance this against the cost of your policy excess. If the excess is costlier than the items you’re claiming for, you might want to cut your losses.

2. If it’s a crime, you need to report it
If you’re the victim of a crime, such as burglary or vandalism, tell the police as soon as possible. At the very least, they will provide you with a crime reference number, which you’ll need for your claim. If you don’t report a crime within a certain time period (check your policy), you could find that your claim is invalid.

3. Gather any evidence you can
This includes keeping damaged items, taking photographs, etc. For stolen items, such as jewellery, you’ll ideally want photos of you wearing it and receipts or valuations.

4. Check your policy wording
Before you make a claim, read your policy documents to check you’re covered for what you want to claim for.

5. Contact your insurance provider
Do this as soon as possible. Even if you’re waiting for a crime reference number, it’s still best to get the ball rolling. You’ll find contact details on your policy documents or your provider’s website.

What is a policy excess?

A policy excess is the amount you’ll pay when you claim on your student contents insurance. Usually there’s a compulsory excess and a voluntary excess. Your insurance provider sets the compulsory excess, while you can choose your voluntary excess.

Do students need buildings insurance?

Not usually, no. There are two types of home insurance: buildings and contents insurance. Most students rent their accommodation, which means they’ll only need contents insurance. It’s usually the landlord’s responsibility to organise buildings insurance.

Are my contents covered by my landlord’s building insurance?

Your landlord’s buildings insurance covers anything to do with the structure of your accommodation – for example, its walls, windows, roof, etc. Buildings insurance doesn’t, however, cover any of your home’s contents, such as your furniture, TV or clothes. For that you’ll need separate contents insurance.

How can I get a good deal on contents insurance if I’m a student?

Some insurance providers might offer home insurance tailored to university life. It’s worth investing a little time to find the right policy at a price you can afford. Use our comparison service to compare your options and find cover that suits you.