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Student insurance – why you need to make sure you’re covered...

Robin Bowman

Robin Bowman
Sep 22, 2016

Freshers who have just begun their uni courses will have on average £2,150 worth of possessions with them, according to research by M&S Bank.

And 10% will settling in to their new accommodation with a whacking £4,000 worth of stuff with them.  

Despite these big sums, as many as 45% of students have no insurance.

They may want to stop and consider that, according to Sainsbury’s Bank, half of students will see some of their possessions disappear.

According to Sainsbury’s nearly half of students take an iPad or tablet, 37% take a camera, and 35% will take an iPod.

More than a third take their games console and 15% will take an e-reader.

New place, tons of distractions and loads of places to go – loads of valuable tech stuff lying around. The risk is massive.

Insurance may be dull, but it’s nuts not to have it.

Find the right insurance deal for your valuables now

Crime is common on university campuses

"I'm a student, do I even need insurance?"

The first question to ask is: do you actually need it anyway?

Aren’t you covered by your parents’ policy? 

Well, it is often possible to extend their policy to cover you for loss while away from home, but there are usually important exclusions – often, for example, loss without a break in is excluded. 

So, to be secure you almost certainly do need contents insurance tailored to your circumstances.

Certainly, you won’t need to worry about buildings insurance – that will be covered by your landlord, whether that’s the uni or a private landlord.

But, however careful you are, accidents happen and they are certainly more likely to happen in a student environment, even if you really are Captain Diligent.

It’s not only accidents you have to consider – thieves see students’ accommodation, especially private flats, as a doddle.

They are often the targets for opportunists. 

If you’re in university halls, it may be the case that you actually don’t need to buy your own policy because one may well be included in the price of the fees. 

This is something to check carefully and, if there is a policy, to be sure what it covers, how much and so on –many are not the most comprehensive.

Bottom line is, you need to know stuff like: if you spill coffee over your brand new Macbook Pro, or it disappears, will you get your money back?

A standard student contents policy should cover theft, loss or damage caused by fire, storm, vandalism, or flood, including burst pipes. 

But it’s the small print that can cause issues.

For example, many standard policies don’t cover musical instruments, some devices, and bicycles.

Be careful about the total amount insured.

This catches so many people out. A policy may cover you for losses up to, say £2,000. That may sound great. 

You don’t have anything over that amount, so no problem. Except that an insurer may well look at your possessions overall and conclude they are worth double that.

And that means you’re underinsured – by 50%

So, when that Macbook is ruined, you won’t get back the £1,000 it’s worth, but just 50%, which can be quite a shock.

On top of that there may be caps on certain items and exclusions.

And check what the excess is – the amount you have to pay towards any claim.

The higher this is, the cheaper the cost of the policy, but if you opt for too high an excess, it may not be worth claiming at all.


Top Tip: One tip to get the price of a policy down that sometimes works is to split up your insurance. If you try and cover everything in one policy it’s really going to bump the price up, especially if you have a few standout expensive items, such as a phone, laptop and bike.

Get quotes for insuring them separately and see if it’s cheaper than lumping them all together in one policy.

One in ten students takes £4000 worth of items to university - make sure it's covered

What to check when getting insurance as a student?

* Don’t just look at price when considering a policy.

* Check how long replacements will take. It’s not much good having laptop insurance if it takes a couple of months for it to be replaced and you need it on a daily basis.

* Check what is covered (or more importantly not covered) in the way of accidents. Some policies exclude things such as dropping your phone in the loo (it happens all the time!)

* What about cover out of term time. Specifically, if you stay on or leave some possessions in your room, are they still covered?

* What’s the limit on payouts for individual items? Would you be better off insuring more expensive things separately to ensure adequate cover?

* What does the policy demand?  It may well say you have to do certain things to keep it valid, such as having a lock on your bedroom door.

* What if something goes missing from a communal area – is that excluded?

* What’s the excess?

* Consider whether it’s worth forgetting about insuring most of your stuff and focusing only on your expensive tech devices, phone, computer, etc. It may save you money.

* Read the small print!

And, whatever else you do, make sure you shop around for the best policy.

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Last year 65% of customers didn't switch their car insurance to try and get a better deal.