Students, with an average of £2,000-worth of gadgets, are three times more likely to be a victim of burglary than the average household. We look at their cover options
The average student now lugs more than £2,000-worth of laptops, smartphones and bicycles to university but they are nearly three times more likely to be a victim of a burglary than a conventional family household. So what should they do about buying insurance?
Broadly, there are two options: get cover via their parents’ existing home contents policy, or buy their own specialist student policy.
Using their parents’ home policy is the cheapest (often completely free) option. But some parents will understandably be cautious, as a theft will wreck their no-claims discount.
If they have a standard policy with the UK’s largest insurer Aviva, provided the student still lives at the family home in the holidays, they automatically have £5,000-worth of cover for belongings kept during term time in student accommodation, be it a shared student house or halls on campus.
This will protect goods – including laptops, mobile phones and other gadgets – for all standard perils such as fire, storm, flood or malicious damage. Theft is also covered, but only if someone physically breaks into the accommodation. So there’s no cover if, for example, you hold a party during which your laptop goes missing. The policy also covers, as standard, bikes stolen from inside your student home or a locked garage or shed.
If parents have additional personal belongings cover on their Aviva policy, items such as a laptop, mobile and iPod will also be covered when you are out and about away from your accommodation, or if you accidentally damage them. If not, this can be added from around £27 a year for £2,000 worth of cover, including £750 for cash, and a single article limit of £2,000.
But not all contents insurance policies are so generous. Some will only cover your goods if you are living on campus, in halls, for example, not if you live in shared accommodation off campus. Others will only cover items kept in your own individual locked room, not in communal areas in student accommodation such as a TV kept in the lounge in a shared house.
If you need to buy your own policy and are living in halls of residence, check with your accommodation provider what, if any, contents insurance is provided and included in your rent.
Most universities arrange basic insurance and, for a little extra money, you can normally extend this to include cover for your laptop, mobile and other gadgets against theft, loss, and accidental damage anywhere in the UK starting from around £9 a month.
If you are in a privately owned shared flat or house, you will need something more comprehensive. There are plenty of specialist student policies available, so be sure to shop around.
The National Union of Students recommends Endsleigh insurance, the UK’s leading insurer of students’ belongings .
It charges £81.70 a year in London, with £3,000-worth of contents including a £500 laptop covered away from home anywhere in the UK, and up to 30 days cover worldwide against accidental damage or loss, theft or fire.
The government-backed independent Money Advice Service Insurance points out that Endsleigh is also the preferred supplier for some of the online comparison sites, which means you will often get directed straight to the Endsleigh website.
It suggests that an alternative method of finding the best value is to use a broker who specialises in this type of insurance. Search online for “student insurance broker” or “tenant insurance broker”, it advises.
Student contents insurance policies replace your belongings on a new-for-old basis in the event of fire, theft or flood. The only exception here may be clothes and household linen such as bedding and towels, where some wear and tear will be taken into account.
Unless you pay extra, you usually will not necessarily be covered for accidental damage, loss or theft off the premises, or for mobile phones, bicycles and musical instruments. As with all insurance policies it is vital to check the small print to see exactly what yours covers before you buy.
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