Everything you need to know about student insurance

You’re heading off to University with all your worldly possessions. You’ve crammed into the back of your parent’s car as many suitcases as possible, with your new laptop, iPad, mobile phone, bicycle and all your favourite clothes. But have you considered insurance? Students are just as at risk, if not more so, to be burgled. Make sure your prized possessions are protected.

Don’t assume just because your parents have contents insurance for their house it will cover you. It’s worth asking them to double check because lots of policies will take into account kids flying the nest and add them to the cover while they’re at University. Aviva have a standard policy that will give £5,000 of cover for possessions left in university halls or accommodation during the holidays, providing you live at the family address, not your student house, during this time.

It’s also worth looking into getting your own policy instead, because it’s likely to be much cheaper than be on your parents.

Insurance in halls vs student houses

When you find out which halls you’re in and you fork over a huge sum for your accommodation fees, find out if any insurance is included in your rent as there’s a good chance it will be. If you do already have a basic level of insurance included you might also be able to extend this to cover extra items, like your laptop and phone, for a small fee on top. Get in touch with your accommodation office as soon as you know where you’re going to be living (or even if you don’t!) to arrange this.

Once you move into a shared house you might assume your possessions will be covered by the landlord or your housemate’s insurance – not the case. You’ll still need your own cover. If there’s a lock on your door it essentially counts as if it were a different house, so you will still need cover. Make sure it’s clear on your policy that your items will still be covered when you go home for the holidays. Also check to see whether your items will be covered in communal areas, like your big TV in the living room, some won’t pay out for these items.

What will be covered?

The cover will protect your belongings against loss or theft and damage caused by fire, flood and vandalism. A few policies will allow you to select specific items to cover, like your mobile phone or laptop. Many student specific policies will limit the amount that you can claim for, so if you’ve got a few thousand pound dresses in your wardrobe, it’s worth finding an insurer with a higher limit.

Remember items don’t have to be in the house to be included in the cover. So if you’re phone or bicycle is stolen or accidentally damaged while you’re on campus or out and about, you should still be covered.

What won’t be covered?

Do you cycle to work on take part in any orchestras? Watch out. Many standard policies won’t include bicycles or musical instruments. Make sure you read the fine print on any policy before you commit.

It’s possible to add accidental damage cover on top of your policy, as it normally wont be included as standard. This protects you against a tea-spillage on your laptop during a late night essay writing session and for the time you dropped your iPhone two feet onto the floor and the screen smashed into a million pieces.

Make sure you check to see whether the policy protects your belongings during the holidays. Most student specific covers will take into account that students are normally only in their student house or halls during term time, so will continue to give year-round cover. Nobody wants to be lugging a huge TV with you when you go home for Easter break.

You might also want to look at walk-in theft, especially if you live in a shared student house or in halls. This type of cover is for theft where there is no evidence of forced entry; it’s likely someone has just walked into your room because it’s unlocked.

How much should I be paying?

It can really vary. If you’re in a big city like London, with burglars smarter than Harry and Marv from Home Alone, you’re going to have to fork out a bit more than those in rural towns. It also depends how many extras you’ve added on to the cover, laptops, bicycles etc.

If you’re living in halls there should definitely be a working fire alarm and some kind of lock on the main entrance. Once you move into a student house, ensure that your landlord provides you with both of this. You wont believe how much a burglar and fire alarm can cut your premiums by.

We did a search with Endsleigh that found a year’s worth of cover for under £90. This included £3,000-worth of contents, including a £500 laptop which would be covered anywhere in the UK, not just in the house. It also gave up to 30 days cover anywhere in the world to protect against accidental damager, loss, theft or fire.

For £90, the cost of a night out (ok, a pretty extravagant night out…), we do think it’s worth it. If you don’t claim in your first year you’ll start building up a no claims discount, which will then cut down how much you pay in the next few years.