Student contents insurance

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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, as well as how you might be able to save money on your premiums.

Do students need contents insurance?

Students’ possessions can be easy pickings for criminals. And when you add in a laptop and clothes, the value can be significant. If you don’t have contents insurance and your items are stolen or damaged, you’ll have to replace them with money from your own pocket.

When should I get student contents insurance?

Ideally before term starts – that way you’re covered as soon as the academic year begins.

What does student home contents insurance cover?

This will vary among insurance providers but, in most cases, your policy will cover you for any damage or theft of your personal belongings that takes place within your accommodation.

Things usually included:

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

However, anything particularly expensive (usually worth more than £1,500) may need to be listed specifically as a ‘high-value item.’ Examples include:

  • Laptops
  • TVs
  • Expensive gadgets like some phones, tablets and cameras
  • Jewellery
  • Bikes

Living on a student budget, we know that not everyone’s going to having loads of stuff worth more than £1,500 a pop. But, it’s important to know, as losing something most valuable to you will be extra tough, if it turns out it wasn’t covered. Make sure you get the right cover in place, and check with your provider, if you’re unsure.

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

With so many variations in terms of what’s covered and what’s not, it’s important to compare policies to find the right student content insurance for you.

How much does student contents insurance cost?

51% of people could achieve a quote of £57 per year for their contents home insurance based on Compare the Market data in December, 2021.

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:

  • what type of insurance you want
  • when you want your policy to start
  • the property you’ll be living in
  • what you’d like included in your policy – like cover for your bicycle, valuable items and accidental damage cover
  • 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 63 home insurance products**

£4.74 a month***

**Correct as of December.

***51% of people could achieve a quote of £4.74 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 December, 2021

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Home insurance providers

We compare prices for 63** home insurance products from leading providers including Churchill, M&S Bank, Legal and General, and more.

Chris King

From the Home team

What our expert says

"For most students, making every penny count is important. So, 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 could save money by splitting the premium."

Frequently asked questions

What's not covered by student contents insurance?

When you take out any kind of insurance, there will be a number of exclusions that insurers won’t cover you for. Here are some examples:

  • ‘High-value items’ (usually worth more than £1,500) that aren’t specified on your policy
  • Accidental damage (but it’s a common optional extra)
  • Theft of belongings not in 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, usually, more than 30 days

If you want extra protection, some of the above can be included with optional extras, but make sure that you list any high-value items and make sure that your student home is secure and not left unoccupied for longer than your policy allows. Otherwise, your insurance will likely be invalid, if you make a claim.

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

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.

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

Some universities will arrange contents insurance for students, but some might not offer any cover. Others will cover laptops, sports and electrical equipment, and even food and clothes, at no extra cost if you’re living in their accommodation.

Regardless of what cover is (or isn’t) provided, it’s important to check the wording because your belongings might not be covered if they’re stolen while you’re out and about.
You may be able to fix that by opting for insurance known as personal possessions cover. 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, such as jewellery, gadgets, a bike or particularly expensive musical 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 valuable items will be covered under their policy wording.

How can I save money on student contents insurance?

  • Value your items accurately – too much or too little cover will cost you in the long run.
  • Increase your excess – the insurance excess is the amount of money that you need to pay if you make 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 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 – 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.
  • Install/mention security features – installing alarms and approved door or window locks could mean that you pay less for your insurance. You’ll be asked about these when getting a quote.
  • Compare – if the goal is 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 upgrades are available for my student contents cover?

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

  • Accidental damage – if you’re worried about accidentally breaking a laptop or TV, you’ll need to get extra cover to protect your stuff
  • Personal possessions cover – this will cover things that you take out and about with you, like your phone, camera and laptop
  • New for old cover – this will insure you to replace items that have been lost, stolen or damaged with a brand-new product of equivalent value. This can help you replace your belongings more quickly.

Will I be covered by my parents’ home insurance?

It depends on the type of cover that 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.

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 if you live in shared accommodation away from campus?
  • will you need to keep your possessions locked in your own room?
  • if you have siblings who are also students, can you all be covered on your 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, in turn, could increase their renewal premium.

Are mobile phones covered by student contents insurance?

Some insurance providers include mobile phones in their contents insurance for students, while others don’t. In many cases, the mobile phone can be included in the policy if its value is less than the single item limit. However, it will usually only be covered if it’s stolen from your student 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 quite expensive or you’re just looking for added peace of mind, you could take out mobile phone insurance. But please note that you can’t currently compare standalone mobile phone insurance with Compare the Market.

Can I cover my room key?

If you’re living in a shared house, or particularly halls of residence, you might have a lock on your personal room. If you do, most student contents insurance policies will include cover for your room key as standard. This means 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 need to use your student contents insurance to make a claim, here are the things you need to think about:

  1. Is it worth making a claim?
    You’ll need to decide whether you want to make a claim in the first place. Have a think about how much it would cost to replace the things that were stolen or damaged, and balance them against the cost of your policy excess. If the excess is more expensive than the items you’re claiming for, you’ll probably just want to cut your losses.
  2. If it’s a theft or other crime, you need to report it
    If you’re the victim of a crime, like a burglary or vandalism, you should tell the police as soon as possible. Not only will this have your case looked into, it’ll also provide you with a crime reference number, which you’ll need for your claim. If you’re reporting an emergency, it’s the traditional 999, but if there’s no immediate emergency, then you should call 101. Make sure you report a crime as soon as possible. If you don’t report a crime before a certain period (check your policy wording) then your claim could be invalid.
  3. Get any evidence you can
    This will include hanging on to any damaged items and taking pictures etc. For stolen items, you’ll ideally want pictures of them in your possession, as well as receipts to go with them.
  4. Check your policy wording
    Before you make your claim, you should make sure you’re covered for what you’re claiming for. Having a read of your policy documents and make sure that your cover includes the things you’d like to claim for. When making your claim, it’s handy to have all your documents to hand, in case you need to refer to them online or over the phone.
  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, and tell your insurance provider that you’ll give them the reference later. Most insurance providers have a 24-hour helpline, so you don’t need to waste any time. You should find the contact details you’ll need on your policy documents, but you should also find it on the website.

What is a policy excess?

A policy excess is the amount you need to pay when you make a claim on your student contents insurance. There’ll usually be a compulsory excess and a voluntary excess. The compulsory excess is set by the insurance provider, while you’ll typically have the opportunity to choose your voluntary excess.

Do students need buildings insurance?

Typically, no. There are two types of home insurance: buildings and contents insurance. Because students rent their accommodation, most will only require contents insurance. It’s usually the responsibility of the landlord to organise buildings insurance, unless stated otherwise.

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

Some insurance providers may offer home insurance for students that’s tailored to university life. 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.