5 min read
30th April 2019

Student Insurance: How To Protect Your Goods Without Blowing Your Budget

Students and gadgets

This September, students will once again be a magnet for thieves as they set off or head back to University. They will be taking with them items that are very attractive to thieves, such as laptops, mobile phones, flat screen TV's, games consoles and pedal cycles to name just a few items.

Michael Masterson head of our Student insurance team says that on average our policy holders each took with them just over £4,900** worth of goods in the last 12 months.

With this in mind, the average student could stand to lose out on thousands of pounds if the worst happens and they don't have insurance or adequate insurance in place, meaning those already on tight budgets could be push further to the limit.

What can you do to protect yourself?

Although it might not be on your list of priorities as you head off for fresher's week, taking out an insurance policy is worth considering, otherwise you could be spending your student loan on replacing stolen or broken items. You can get insurance in several ways:

  1. Take out a specialist student insurance policy to cover all your contents, this will normally have a lower excess than standard household policies. Benefits can include cover in a shared house without any specific room lock requirements; cover for what is known as 'Walk In Theft' which basically means there doesn't need to be a physical break-in to the property for cover to be in place. So, say somebody comes back with one of your house/flat mates and walks into your room and steals an item then you are covered provided you report this to the police.
  2. Take a gadget insurance policy that just covers your gadgets such as mobile phone, laptop and/or tablet.
  3. Just insure the items that are valuable to you via our essential insurance, under this product we can cover all your valuable items separately or as group such as expensive watches, jewellery, cameras, laptops, tablets, mobile phones, pedal cycles and musical instruments. 
  4. You could check with your parents, to see if it is possible to cover your contents on their home insurance policy while you are away at university. Some insurers will allow this but please check as cover varies from policy to policy and specific clauses/restrictions to cover may apply, such as forced entry and the amount of cover available. This is always worth checking as some insurers may include this for free.  Parents need to be aware that claims made by the student could increase their premiums and lose them any no claims bonus that they have built up over the years.
  5. If you are living in halls of residence provided by the university or a private company, you may already have a level of insurance cover in place, you should check with them to find out what is or isn't covered - if you click here you can see if they already have a cover in place with Cover4Insurance. If you do have cover with them it will more than likely just cover goods whilst inside of your room, if you require cover outside of your room you will need to add this cover on or take out separate insurance for your items, such as gadget insurance or via our student essentials product.

Questions you should ask when looking for insurance as a student

  1. Do you need to cover a bike or musical instrument? If so you might need to take out extra cover.
  2. Are you covered for walk in theft? Most household insurance policies only cover you where you can prove forced entry. As you are a student your life style will be different as you will more than likely be living with other people, who will have different people coming and going. So, having a specialist insurer that covers Walk In Theft cover is advisable.
  3. How long will it take to replace an item? Student's lifestyles have changed and quick replacements of items such as laptops and mobile phones are now essential to students, to get access to course material and complete coursework. You should look to settle all claims within around 5 working days. Be wary of marketing strap lines such as "we will replace your mobile phone/laptop within 24 hours" as this is likely to have some small print attached to it such as "we will replace your item within 24 hours from agreeing settlement" which could be a lot longer as they don't say how long it takes them to settle claims.
  4. Are you covered over the holidays? You need to check if your items that you leave in the property are covered when you return home at Christmas, Easter or summer breaks. Some companies will cover you for a set period of time automatically such as 30 days when you are not at the property or even offer the ability to extend the period so that it covers the whole summer break. Please note that there is likely to be some terms applied to the cover during vacations, for example they may require theft to be by forced entry to the property for cover to be in place.
  5. Check if it covers accidents?  Check that it covers you if you spill water on your laptop or phone, some polices will exclude this from the standard cover and require you to add on the extra cover.

 Ways to protect your belongings at University

  • When you arrive at your accommodation check the security and raise any concerns with your landlord/halls of residence immediately.
  • Lock all doors and windows when you leave your room/property. If you're living in halls take extra care to make sure that the door is closed behind you as it is easy for thieves to go undetected with so many new faces at the start of term.
  • Keep valuable items out of sight, you can do this by simply closing curtains or storing them in cupboards after use.
  • Make sure that you inform your insurance company of any new purchases you need cover for. Think about that new watch or laptop that you got for your birthday/Christmas. It is important to make sure that you are covered for the full replacement costs of your items as being under insured could lead to your claim being reduced.
  • Mark your possessions with a UV Pen and sign up to the immobilise database. By doing this you help to reduce property crime and improve the chances of getting them back in the event of loss or theft.
  • Never keep your PIN codes and Credit/Debit cards together. You should also only keep the bare minimum amount of cash in the property.
  • If you lose your key, report this to your accommodation provider/landlord even if you have a spare key as they can arrange to get your locks changed if necessary. You can also purchase a Key Insurance to protect yourself against the cost of replacing locks and keys.

Useful Links

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**£4,900 is based on Cover4Students policy sales between 30/04/2018 and the 29/04/2019