Living in shared accommodation littered with a multitude of shiny new laptops, TVs, smartphones and bicycles, it’s no surprise that students frequently fall victim to burglaries in the UK. Not to mention that it only takes a second to drop your glass-screened iPhone on the hard kitchen floor or spill a cup of coffee all over your laptop during a late-night essay-writing session.
With the newfound freedom of living away from home, heading off to university is an extremely exciting time, but there are a few things to consider in order to avoid any costly surprises. Having the appropriate insurance in place sits pretty far up this list.
What is student contents insurance?
As it says on the tin – student contents insurance is designed for university and college students, to protect the contents of their home. Generally speaking, this includes belongings such as clothes, books, electronics, sports equipment and musical instruments, and protects against accidental damage, loss and theft. Particularly valuable items will usually need to be added as specified items or protected by additional cover.
Theft is only covered if there is evidence of forced entry, meaning you won’t be covered if a flatmate forgets to lock the door or something goes missing after a party.
Building insurance should be covered by your landlord, though be sure to confirm it.
Who is covered by it?
If you live in shared accommodation, it’s standard for you to each take out your own individual policies, unless you jointly own the contents of your home. Having your own policy will protect your personal belongings, but not necessarily anything left in communal areas.
At Homeprotect we can insure yours and your housemates’ contents if everyone is added as a named policyholder.
Are gadgets covered by student contents insurance?
It’s essential that you look at the conditions of your insurance policy, as some may not include cover for items such as gadgets, bicycles and instruments as standard. There may also be a single item limit, which doesn’t cover the cost of certain valuables.
Cover for laptops, mobiles and bikes are usually offered as optional extras, due to the risks of taking them outside of the home and the higher value of these items. When taking out a contents insurance policy, you will be given the option to take out gadget insurance, bicycle insurance or personal possessions insurance.
Am I covered by my parents’ home insurance?
In some cases, contents insurance for students will be covered by your parents’ home insurance policy. For example, with Homeprotect contents insurance policies, students get up to £6,000 worth of contents cover while they are living in student accommodation, on the basis that they live at home during the holidays and have been added to the policy.
Policies differ, however, so it’s important to check what you could be covered for. For example, some insurers may only cover students living in university owned accommodation, as opposed to privately rented accommodation. Usually, contents insurance will only cover belongings in the home, while additional personal possessions cover can protect them when you are out and about. It's also worth noting that a claim under your parents’ home insurance could increase their annual premium at renewal next year, so it may not be a risk they’re willing to take.
Do student halls offer included cover?
If you’re living in student halls, they may offer a basic level of cover as a term of your tenancy. Again, this won’t cover belongings taken outside of halls, and may only cover low-cost items, so you could need to add additional cover to protect gadgets and other valuables.
Things to consider when taking out a policy:
- What is the total value of your contents? Your belongings may add up to more than you think. Consider the cost of gadgets, as well as clothing, books, electronics, jewellery, etc.
- How much are individual items worth? Some policies have a single item limit and may require you to take out extra cover if something exceeds it. Others simply ask you to specify these items when you take out the policy.
- What is the excess of the policy? The excess is the maximum amount that you agree to pay if you make a claim.
- What are the exclusions on your policy? Read the conditions carefully. Some policies won’t cover your belongings if they’re not locked in a secure room, you don’t have a payment receipt for the item, the item is worth more than the single item limit, you claim outside of term time or for accidental damage.
- Do you need cover beyond the home? Most contents insurance policies will not cover your contents if something happens to them when you’re out and about, e.g. laptops, mobiles and bikes. For this you will need personal possessions insurance.
As a student, insurance can seem complicated and confusing to start off with, but it’s well worth getting your head around to ensure your belongings are protected from the costly consequences of theft or damage. Hopefully the information above has shed some light on the essential facts, and with this, you can select a policy suited to your needs.
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