Students who are heading off to university have a lot of things to worry about; where they are going to live; whether they are going to make friends; whether their existing relationships will survive; whether they will be able to find a job; whether they will like their new course; and whether they will like their new home. But do students also need to worry about arranging contents insurance to cover their possessions?
This year, insurers estimate that the average student is expected to begin the term with more than £2000 worth of equipment, including an average of 2.3 devices with wi-fi connectivity. From laptops to smartphones, students now take more things than ever with them to university, all of which are appealing to thieves. However, university accommodation is also considered to be one of the most likely targets for thieves, in part because student behaviour makes them an easier target than others.
Even if you are careful, other students can be lax with security, allowing opportunistic thieves to target university residences with ease. Therefore, if you have taken anything of value with you to university, you may want to consider insuring your possessions, so that you do have something to fall back on if the worst does happen. Whilst some university halls offer students content insurance as part of their weekly/monthly rent rates, this is by no means a universal policy, so you should never automatically assume that you are covered. Make sure that you check before you move in.
What insurance to get?
If you are renting a place, that place should have buildings insurance, so most students should only need to get content insurance. Standard level insurance policies will cover loss, theft and certain types of damage to your possessions, however there are usually major exclusions that you need to be aware of. Many policies do not include clothes, musical instruments or bikes. They also do not normally include accidental damage, such as spilling a drink on your laptop. These things can often be added on, but you may have to pay a premium.
What about using your parent’s insurance?
Some home cover policies do allow students to extend their parent’s cover to cover them whilst they are “away from home”, however you should be very wary of these options. Although they are cheaper, they are not designed specifically for student living, and therefore they may be invalidated more easily. For example, many of these insurers will not pay out if there is no sign of forced entry on the front door. This means that if one of your fellow students inadvertently lets in a thief, you may not receive anything. If you are concerned about this, it may be better to choose a student specific contents insurance policy and check the terms.
Is gadget insurance worth it?
If you have a lot of expensive gadgets, then taking out special gadget insurance could benefit you. Gadget insurance often covers a lot of things which may not be covered by your standard insurance (or worth claiming for as part of your standard insurance) such as cracks in your phone screen, water damage or damage caused by tripping over a stray laptop wire. Special insurance may also cover more expensive gadgets up to their full value, whilst standard insurance may only cover technology up to a set limit.
As with all other types of insurance, make sure that you read the terms and conditions properly, to check for exemptions. For example, some insurers do not cover second hand goods or refurbished models, even if they are purchased directly from the manufacturer.