Heading off to university is an exciting time, it can be easy to get caught up in it all. But as you’ll be moving your life, with many of your personal possessions to your student digs, it’s important to think about insuring what you have. If you’re staying in halls, contents insurance may be included, but if your going into a student house, you probably won’t be covered at all. At urbanest, all our student accommodation in London comes with contents insurance provided by Endsleigh.
But if you’re not yet sure where you’re staying and want to know a little more about the ins-and-outs and whether you need student contents insurance, browse our handy guide below.
What is student contents insurance?
Student contents insurance is there to protect student’s contents and possessions while you’re living at student accommodation from theft and sometimes loss or damage. It is thought that the average student room contains over £3,000 worth of contents. With all that valuable content, it’s no wonder that students want to cover the costs of any mishaps.
In spite of this, 46% of students don’t have contents insurance when they go to Uni, some incorrectly believe that their landlord covers this. Often the landlord will insure the building, but not your contents. According to Save The Student, research found that 36% of students that needed to get contents insurance, didn’t. They assumed it was too expensive or they wouldn’t need it. But, the same proportion of students had their possessions damaged or stolen.
Getting student content insurance is very important as student accommodations are prone to thefts. Especially during freshers’ week. Think about it, lots of students moving to a new city, it makes students a good target for crime. Sharing your living space with others is also a target for theft. You may not know the people you are living with all that well.
Having student contents insurance protects you if your possessions are stolen and (depending on the insurer and cover purchased) loss or damage. So, if the worst does happen you don’t need to find the money to replace all your items.
Do I need student insurance?
For peace of mind, having contents insurance is vital. However, it is worth checking with your accommodation first. Some providers, like ourselves, provide contents insurance as part of your contract but there are many who don’t. If contents insurance is provided with your accommodation, be sure to check exactly what it covers, as you may need extra, depending on what you are taking to university.
Are students covered on home insurance?
Many students assume that their belongings are covered by their parents’ home insurance when they head off to uni. However, this is not always the case. Often, it can be added as an additional extra, at a cost, but it often comes with restrictions. Still, it’s worth seeing if this is a viable option before you take out your own policy.
Be aware though, that adding student contents insurance might increase the excess on your parents’ policy. Also, if you do have to claim, their premium may go up. So make sure you and your parents fully understand the risks and benefits over taking out your own policy.
How much is student insurance?
On average, students pay between £60 to £90 annually for contents insurance. With most insurers you will have the option to pay this monthly or as a one-off fee.
This is just an average though. In general, you shouldn’t be paying more than £100 a year, but many factors can affect how much you pay. The area where you will be living, the type of accommodation, how many people live in your house, whether each room has its own lock. These are just some factors that can affect the price of your content insurance.
Also, your price will be affected by any add-ons you choose. For instance, many insurers will only insure high value items that are under a certain price. So if you have an item that is over this price, you will need an add-on.
Can you reduce the cost of contents insurance?
There are several ways that you can reduce the cost of your insurance. Our tips for getting a lower cost are:
- Shop around – get plenty of quotes and even ring around the providers telling them the best deal you have been offered, to see if they will make you a better deal, they often do.
- Pay upfront – paying your insurance as one lump sum rather than a monthly payment, as this reduces the cost. Paying monthly means that you’ll also pay interest on the insurance;
- Only insure what you need to – The less items you insure, the less you will pay, so if you’re phone is getting on and barely worth it, don’t insure it.
- Know your contents’ worth – if you don’t know the true value of your possessions you could end up with too little or too much cover, both of which could cost you in the long run.
- Know what security features your accommodation has – be sure to mention these as things like alarms and approved locks, as this will decrease your insurance.
- Increase your excess – increasing your voluntary excess will bring your premium down, but this will also reduce the amount you will get back if you do need to make a claim, so make sure you find that balance.
- Look after your possessions – if you don’t need to claim, you will earn a no-claims bonus, which will decrease your content insurance premium the next year.
What should be included in contents insurance for students?
You student content insurance should cover:
- Musical instruments (normally up to a certain value – check with your insurer);
- Electronics (normally up to a certain value), this can include:
- Moblie phone;
- Games consoles.
However, most insurers have a maximum value limit for items. So, if you own items that are valued above this limit you will need extra insurance to cover these. This might be for items such as laptops and bicycles. Be sure to check the small print before you purchase your cover to check if your high value items are covered. If they are not, there is often an optional add-on, but adding this will increase your premium.
What to do when getting insured
Ideally, you want to start looking into your content insurance before your term starts. That way you have plenty of time to shop around. Also, make sure your cover starts as soon as you are moving your possessions into your student accommodation, whether this is before term starts or on the day, and whether you are living there or just storing your possessions before term starts.
Another important consideration is to ensure that you understand the terms and conditions of your insurance. For instance, your possessions may only be insured in your room, so you don’t want to leave anything in communal areas. Be sure you are aware of the maximum value limit, and if you have anything above this value.
Also, be sure you understand the wording in the policy, we’ll go through a bit of this in the next section.
Understanding contents insurance
All the jargon around insurance can be a little difficult to get your head around, but you need to have a basic understanding to ensure you are getting the best deals. Here are some of the key terms that will help you to understand your student contents insurance:
- Excess – There are normally two types of excess, voluntary and compulsory. This is the amount that you will pay if you are making a claim. Many insurers have compulsory excess, then you can add voluntary excess to bring your premium down. So, for instance, if an insurance policy has a compulsory excess of £100 and you choose to add a voluntary excess of £100, your excess is £200. When it comes to claiming, you will have to pay this £200 excess, so if you need to claim for a £500 laptop that is stolen, you will receive £300.
- Exclusions – These are items or events that are not covered. Before purchasing an insurance policy, make sure you check the exclusions to be sure that you are choosing the right insurance. Often there are options to add these exclusions to a policy, but adding these will increase your premium. Items could include high-value items, events could be not being covered in communal areas.
- No-Claims Discount (NCD) – Every subsequent year that you do not make a claim goes towards your NCD. The longer you go without making a claim, the cheaper your insurance will be.
- High-Value Items – Insurers will have a maximum value for the items that they cover. If a single item is above this, they are considered a high-value item and so may need additional cover. Some policies may include a set number of high-value items in their cover, so be sure to check.
- Walk-In Theft – This is often included in the exclusions, and so not covered in student contents’ insurance. Walk-in theft occurs when something is stolen, but there is no sign of a forced entry. This could happen, for example, if you have left a window open. It’s often worth adding this to your insurance, especially if you are in shared accommodation.
- Paying upfront – With taking insurance you have the option to pay monthly or annually as a lump sum, that is what paying up-front is. Paying a lump sum often works out cheaper in the long run as some insurers charge extra for paying monthly.
- Buildings Insurance – This covers the building that you live in. But this is your landlord’s responsibility, not yours, so you do not need to take this out.
Compare contents insurance for students
Getting student content insurance is quick and easy. To receive a quote, all you need to know is what type of insurance you want and when you want it to start, as well as some personal information and details. Just make sure, you compare the cost and policies with different insurance companies, as that is the best way to ensure a good deal. To help you there are comparison sites that will give you a quote and will compare insurance policies for you, such as Confused.com, Money Supermarket, and Compare the Market.
Student contents’ insurance is a vital expense for peace of mind. It protects your possessions in your student accommodation, and as students are often the target of burglars, it is a good idea to purchase insurance. So, don’t forget to protect your belongings and save yourself money just in case your possessions are lost, stolen, or damaged.