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Student contents insurance

  • Contents insurance for students can protect your important belongings while you’re away at uni
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What is student house insurance?

Student contents insurance is a home insurance policy for students who are living in university accommodation. It can insure your personal belongings against loss, theft and damage.

How does student contents insurance work?

Contents insurance is a type of home insurance that covers the cost of replacing your belongings if they’re damaged, lost or stolen. As long as you pay your annual or monthly premiums, your stuff is covered. 

If something happens to your possessions, you could make a claim and receive a payout to cover repairs or replacements, minus the excess on the policy. The excess is the contribution you make towards a claim. 

When taking out a student contents insurance policy, you need to make sure you have enough cover to protect all your belongings. And watch out for a single-item limit. If you have any valuables worth more than this, you’ll need to list them separately on your policy.

Students who rent their accommodation don’t need to worry about buildings insurance, as this will be organised by your landlord. 

Do students need contents insurance?

It’s not a legal requirement, but it can provide valuable protection for your belongings while studying away from home.

You should ideally have your insurance in place before the term starts, so you’re covered once the academic year begins. This ensures that your possessions are protected as soon as you move into your student accommodation. If you feel you need more cover or buy some expensive tech, you can always add it to your policy later.

Buying your policy early will also mean you get the most out of it as you’ll have it in place for the whole academic year.

Is it worth getting student contents insurance?

Having so many people come and go in halls or a shared house can make your belongings easy pickings for criminals, so contents insurance for students is certainly something to consider.

Once you factor in laptops, phones, bikes and so on, it’s likely your belongings are pretty valuable. If you don’t have contents insurance in place, the cost of replacing your belongings if they’re damaged or stolen could quickly add up.

What does student home contents insurance cover?

Every policy is different, so you’ll need to read the small print to see exactly what’s covered. But you should be insured for any damage or theft that takes place at your student house or halls.

Your insurance should include cover for your:

  • Mobile phone, gadgets and laptop
  • TV
  • Appliances
  • Furniture
  • Clothes
  • Books (including your uni textbooks)
  • Musical instruments
  • Cash

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

Examples of high-value items include: 

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

We know the average student isn’t going to have much that’s worth more than £1,500. But it’s important to know, as losing something valuable is even more painful if you’re not covered. Make sure you have the right protection in place, and if you’re not sure what your policy covers, check with your insurance provider. 

You should also check 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 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 doesn’t student contents insurance cover?

When you take out any kind of insurance, there will be exclusions. This means some things won’t be covered.

These might include: 

  • ‘High-value items’ (usually worth more than £1,500) that aren’t named on your policy
  • Accidental damage cover (although insurance providers often offer this as additional cover)
  • Items stolen outside the home – also a popular extra. If you want to add this, look into personal possessions cover
  • Theft when there’s no sign of forced entry
  • Theft when your student accommodation is left unoccupied for more than a specified time, usually 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 your student contents insurance costs will vary depending on where you live and how many big-ticket items you own.

But it’s worth knowing that 51% of our customers were quoted less than £63.57 for their contents home insurance in March 2024.

How can I save money on student contents insurance?

There are a few ways you can cut the cost of your 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 – how much you need to contribute if you make a claim. If you make a £500 claim and have a £200 excess, your insurance provider will pay the remaining £300.
  • There are usually two types of excess – compulsory and voluntary. Increasing your voluntary excess 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 can afford.
  • Pay upfront – it’s tempting to spread the cost of your insurance by paying monthly, but this will cost more if you’re charged interest.
  • Install  security – installing alarms and approved locks could mean you pay less for your insurance. You’ll be asked about these when getting a quote, so don’t forget to mention them.
  • Shop around – use our comparison service to save money on contents insurance for students. We could help you find a great deal that offers the level of cover you need. 

What do I need to get a quote for student contents insurance?

It’s quick and easy to get a quote for your contents insurance. Just pop in a few details 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 and accidental damage
  • Your personal details

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

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Why use Compare the Market?

We compare prices for 84 home insurance products[1]

Our customers could achieve a quote of £5.30 per month[2]

[1] Correct as of March 2024.

[2] 51% of our customers were quoted less than £5.30 per month in March 2024 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.

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Author image Helen Phipps

What our expert says...

“For most students, making every penny count is important. But skimping on insurance is a false economy as you’ll have to pay out of your own pocket if your possessions are 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.”

- Helen Phipps, 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: 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 you need to list it separately on your policy.
  • Sum insured: the total 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 for an extra cost.
  • No-claims discount: if you don’t claim on your insurance, you’ll build up a discount, which could lower your premium in future. 

Need any more help? Check out our glossary.

How do I claim on my student home insurance?

If you find you have to make a claim, here’s what to consider:

1. Is it worth making a claim?

Consider how much it would cost to replace what was stolen or damaged, and compare this to your policy excess. If it would cost less to replace 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 theft or vandalism, tell the police as soon as possible. Even if they can’t catch the culprit, they’ll give you a crime reference number, which you’ll need to make a claim. If you don’t report a crime within a certain time period (check your policy for details), you could find your claim is invalid.

3. Gather evidence

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 make sure you’re covered.

5. Contact your insurance provider

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

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Frequently asked questions

Does contents insurance for students cover high-value items?

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

This may increase the cost of your insurance, but could save you money 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 arrange contents insurance for students, which can cover laptops, sports and electrical equipment – even food and clothes – at no extra cost if you’re living in their accommodation. Others offer no cover at all, so you’ll need to check. 

Either way, it’s important to read your policy carefully, because even if you have contents insurance in place, your belongings may not be covered if they’re stolen while you’re out and about.

You could fix that by opting for personal possessions cover. This may mean taking 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, you won’t need student insurance if you’re living at home. Student contents insurance is designed for students living away from their families. If you’re still at home, your belongings should be covered by your parents’ home insurance policy (assuming they have one). But you might want to check the policy to make sure your valuables are covered.

What upgrades are available for my student contents cover?

As with most insurance policies, there are optional extras you can add to your student contents insurance. Examples include: 

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

Are students covered by parents’ home insurance?

Depending on what type of cover your parents have, their policy may cover you while you’re living away at uni. Some contents insurance policies cover your belongings while you’re away from your parents’ home; others don’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 add it.

It’s worth remembering that your parents could lose their no-claims discount if you claim on their policy. This could increase their premium when they come to renew. 

Does student contents insurance cover smartphones?

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 it’s likely you’ll only be covered 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 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 on my insurance?

Yes, most student contents insurance policies include cover for your room key as standard. That means if you lose your key, you can claim for a locksmith to replace your lock and give you a new key. Just be sure to check the details in your policy wording.

Do students need buildings insurance?

Most students won’t need buildings insurance, as they typically rent their accommodation. Buildings insurance is usually the landlord’s responsibility.

Does my landlord’s buildings insurance cover my belongings?

No, your landlord’s buildings insurance won’t cover your possessions. It only covers the structure of the property – for example, the walls, windows, and roof.

Buildings insurance doesn’t 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 student contents insurance?

Some insurance providers offer home insurance tailored to university life, so it’s worth finding the right policy at a price you can afford. Use our comparison service to find cover that suits you.

Page last reviewed on 12 APRIL 2024
by Helen Phipps