Student Insurance: Why it’s Important & Your Options

Students in a computer roomStudent insurance is not something that many university-goers think about. There’s just too much going on in their lives for student insurance to even get a look in. Their parents should consider insurance, however. After all, they’re sending their grown up bundles of joy into the world with a considerable number of expensive gadgets.

The average student’s possessions value between £2500 and £5000. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has found that one in five students is likely to be robbed while at university. Other estimates place this figure at one in three. Are you starting to see why adequate student insurance is so important?

What student insurance options are available?

There are several options for students and their parents to consider, including:

  • Extensions to parents’ home insurance. Some home insurers allow add-ons that cover students’ possessions while at university. Cover is usually limited, so consider dedicated insurance policies to fill the gap. Also, not all insurers have this as an option.
  • Universities’ insurance covering halls of residence. Universities have insurance policies in place that cover the contents of students’ rooms in halls of residence. Cover is limited so consider topping up with individual policies, such as gadget insurance. Some universities will increase coverage for an additional fee.
  • Contents cover for renting a privately owned house or flat. Landlords insurance doesn’t cover tenants’ possessions. Remember that some policies only cover possessions in your room, and not in a shared area, such as a TV in a communal lounge.
  • Dedicated student insurance. The policies available are customisable to suit individual student’s needs. They can provide cover musical instruments, text books, course fees, travel, and bicycles.

Check if insurance covers students during holidays or if it’s only valid during the term. Find out if cover extends to ‘walk-in theft’, which is when there’s no evidence of forced entry. This is important in all shared accommodation where people may come and go as they please.

Additional advice. Ensure you have off-property cover. This includes using your tablet on the university steps between classes. Cover should also include accidental damage. Students have active social lives. It just one semi-wild party to damage laptops, cameras, and text books.

Other types of insurance students may need

To fill in various gaps in insurance, students should also consider the following standalone policies:

Music festival

  • Gadget insurance to cover multiple valuable gadgets, including laptops, tablets, smartphones, Kindles, music players, and gaming consoles.
  • Festival insurance is important if you love live music or comedy weekends and are going to spend time in temporary accommodation (tents) surrounded by strangers in varying degrees of intoxication.

Student car insurance

If students are lucky enough to go to university with their own car, car insurance is non-negotiable, but again there are options. If students aren’t going with a car but might still have opportunities to drive, well, car insurance is non-negotiable. Let’s look at options.

As with traditional car insurance options, student insurance includes options for third-party only, third party fire and theft, and comprehensive cover. Third party only is the minimum legal requirement and is usually cheaper than the other options. The devil is in the details, so read the fine print, especially regarding cover levels and excess.

Some car insurers allow students to stay on their parents’ car insurance on a limited basis, for example, when they visit during the holidays and drive their car. If students are the primary driver, they need insurance in their own name. It’s illegal to take out an insurance policy under someone else’s name.

University addresses are considered higher risk by insurers, but that doesn’t mean students can put down their parents’ address. It will invalidate your policy.

According to GoCompare, it may be wise for students to get telematics or black box insurance, as the information on the way in which you drive (safely or recklessly) can affect your premiums.

Temporary car insurance is also an option if students don’t have a car but may borrow a car for a weekend or a short holiday.

Take safety precautions to ensure claims are paid

It’s important for students to take additional safety precautions that may deter criminals and protect their assets, as well as demonstrate responsibility and ensure insurers are more likely to pay claims.

Safety measures include:

  • Asking landlords to upgrade security if you don’t think current measures are sufficient.
  • Always lock your room if you live in a hall of residence or shared accommodation.
  • Never leave valuables in plain sight.
  • Mark your belongings with a UV pen. This is so police can return your property when it’s found.
  • Don’t tell all of social media that you just bought a new laptop and then announce you’re going to a music festival for the weekend.
  • Don’t leave valuables in your room or rented flat when you go home for the weekend or holidays.

A little common sense will go a long way to keeping belongings safe and insurance premiums down.