Why you need student contents insurance
Contents insurance protects your possessions – things like your bike, your phone and your clothes – from theft, fire and accidents.
Students – who tend to either live in large shared halls of residence, or cheaper houses and flats in higher-crime areas – are particularly susceptible to theft, and many feel the need to take out cover on valuable items like laptops, which are vital to completing their degree.
Protecting valuables in student housing
Student contents insurance is designed to protect your possessions from all the usual hazards, but it also takes into account the realities of living in spaces shared by lots of other people – many of whom you may not know very well. Standard contents insurance will replace items affected by fire, flood and theft. You can also buy add-ons to protect against loss or accidental damage.
Most items are covered by a general policy – you estimate the total value of the contents of your room in halls or shared housing and notify your insurer. Try and be as accurate as possible – if you underestimate what your stuff is worth, you won’t have the full value reimbursed, and if you overestimate it, your premiums will be too high.
You should point out any particularly valuable items (anything worth over £350 or so), including laptops, consoles, musical instruments and bikes, though you may have to pay extra for the cover.
Many student insurers provide additional cover options for other eventualities. This cover can include lost keys, or even tuition fees and rent protection. You could also buy tenants’ liability cover to protect your landlord’s property if you accidentally cause damage to its fixtures and fittings.
Gadget insurance covers your gadgets against theft, loss, accidental and liquid damage. Not all insurers cover against all these risks automatically, so it’s worth double-checking.
Student security measures
Effective security can cut your premiums, so check your landlord has installed suitable burglar and fire alarm systems, and ensure all windows and doors are properly locked before you leave the house.
Most policies include a compulsory excess, which is the amount you must pay towards the cost of any claim you make.
Some insurers let you choose to increase the excess in exchange for a lower monthly premium – but make sure you can comfortably afford to pay the excess if you need to claim.
Next, you should think about your own possessions. What items do you value most? Once you have a clear idea of what you’d like to protect, there are a number of options you might choose.
Understanding your student insurance cover
Insurance can sound complicated, with lots of jargon – and it’s especially difficult when you’re buying it for the first time. So we’ve broken down some of the key terms for you:
- Excess: The amount you agree to pay towards your claim. For example, if your laptop is covered for £500 with an excess of £100, you would receive a payout of £400 if it’s stolen. The higher the excess you choose to pay, the lower your premiums will be.
- No-claims discount: If you avoid making any claims, you can build up a no-claims discount (NCD) which is applied in future years and can knock a big chunk off your premiums.
- Paying upfront: You’ll have the option to either pay your insurance premiums monthly or as an annual lump sum. It often works out cheaper to pay up front but some insurers do not charge students any extra to pay monthly if the annual premium is above a certain amount.
- Walk-in theft: This is when an item is stolen with no trace of a forced entry. If you’re sharing accommodation, it’s definitely worth considering adding this insurance to your policy. That said, it always pays to check your room is locked and secure before leaving.
- Buildings insurance: You don’t have to worry about this; any reputable landlord should have this in place, so in the event there is damage to the home (that you are not responsible for) you will be covered.
- Exclusions: Every insurance policy will come with some exclusions, which are events or items the insurance doesn’t cover. Make sure you’re aware of exactly what you are and are not covered for.
Comparing student contents insurance quotes
It’s easy to compare the cost of student contents insurance policies with MoneySuperMarket’s home insurance comparison tool, looking at price as well as the quality of cover you get, the excess you have to pay and customer reviews.
All you have to do is give a few details about where you live and who you live with, and you’ll be able to browse contents insurance deals from multiple providers.
It’s important to remember that the cheapest deals are by no means the best when you’re considering policy quotes. Always make sure you check any policy documents carefully before taking cover out, as you’ll be able to see exactly what’s included in each deal – and find the student contents insurance policy that’ll protect your home when you need it.