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Last updated: 20 May 2020
As a student, chances are you’ll be living in a large halls of residence with many other people, or in cheap housing in areas potentially more susceptible to crime. Just like any other tenant would take out a contents insurance policy to protect their possessions from theft or damage, it’s something worth considering.
Imagine your laptop gets stolen or is damaged by fire, would you be able to replace it so that you can complete your degree? If not, student contents insurance could be for you. Keep reading our handy guide to find out what you need to know about student contents insurance.
Do I need student contents insurance?
Student accommodation is often targeted by thieves as students tend to have expensive tech items such as smartphones, laptops, and games consoles. Contents insurance is a great way to have peace of mind that if you do fall victim to theft, or you somehow lose or damage your possessions, you’ll be covered.
Having said this, you do need to figure out how much it would cost to replace your items if you didn’t have insurance. If the cost of replacing everything you own is a sum that you can comfortably afford, then it may not be worth spending extra money on having everything insured.
How does student contents insurance work?
Standard student contents insurance will replace any of your possessions that are damaged by a fire or flood, or that are stolen. You can also opt for additional protection against accidental damage or loss. For most policies, you’ll need to estimate the value of all your possessions within your shared housing or halls of residence and pass this on to your insurer. They will then calculate your premium based on the value of the items and the level of cover you have chosen.
Be as accurate as you can when estimating the value of your possessions. Underestimating their worth will leave you with a shortfall if you ever do need to make a claim. If you overestimate their value you’ll be paying more than you need to get them insured.
Particularly valuable items (anything worth a few hundred pounds or over) usually need to be specified to your insurer. This includes items such as consoles, laptops, bicycles, and musical instruments. You’ll find that you’ll usually need to pay more to get these items covered under your policy as they aren’t typically covered as standard. We recommend keeping receipts (and copies/photos of receipts) to make claiming as smooth as possible.
Almost all policies will require you to pay an excess of some sort if you ever need to claim. This is a set amount that you will need to pay towards the cost of the claim. Some insurers will allow you to choose the excess you have to pay, and will reduce your premium if you opt for a higher excess. However, you should be sure to choose an excess that you can afford to pay, or else there’s little point paying for insurance at all.
What will be covered by my student contents insurance policy?
What is covered by your home insurance
policy will differ depending on the level of cover you have opted for and the terms of the policy itself. Generally speaking, most student contents insurance policies will cover the same things that standard contents insurance covers.
Gadget cover will protect your valuable tech items like your smartphone, tablet, or laptop.
You can get musical instrument cover so that you are protected in the case that your instrument is damaged by fire or is stolen.
Room key cover will cover the cost of replacing your keys and the cost of a locksmith in the event that you lose the keys to your house or room.
Bicycles can be insured as part of many policies, with protection against theft and damage to your bike as well as any bicycle accessories.
Tuition fee cover can also be taken out to cover the cost of rent or tuition in the event that you are unable to continue with your degree programme due to an accident or illness.
As always, check the wording of your specific policy so that you know what exactly is covered by your insurance policy, and what limits and exclusions there may be.
What won’t be covered by my student contents insurance policy?
You’ll need to check the terms and conditions of your particular policy to be sure of what is excluded from the cover that your policy provides. Some commonly excluded scenarios include:
- Theft when there are no signs of forced entry
- Break ins to your house if the locks on the door aren’t approved
- Anything that happens during a holiday period (e.g. Christmas or summer)
- Any items over a certain value (e.g. laptops over £1000)
You may find that you need to opt for additional extras to your policy to make sure that you have adequate cover to give you peace of mind.
Who is eligible to get student contents insurance?
Any student in full time education at either a college or university in the UK can get a student contents insurance policy as long as they have no criminal convictions.
Can I get student contents insurance if I live at home?
No. You can only get a policy if you live in rented accommodation or in a halls of residence whilst studying. You will likely still be covered by your parent’s home contents insurance policy so you’ll have to check with them.
What do I need to get a student contents insurance policy?
You’ll need provide some essential bits of information when getting quotes for a policy. This is a risk assessment and questions will relate to your accommodation. You may be asked what types of locks are on your bedroom door and the building, where your room is based in the building (for example floor level, street facing), and whether there are any alarms or codes. You’ll also need to specify whether you are in a halls of residence or a shared house.
You will need to estimate the value of your contents, meaning everything from gadgets to equipment, jewellery to clothes. The best way to work this out is via an online contents value calculator. For easily identifiable and higher-value items, you’ll need to be specific and declare them to the insurer.
It’s also worth noting that a single item is generally only covered up to the value of £1000. Bear in mind if you have an iMac or other expensive equipment as you may need to look for more specific insurance to ensure you’re covered.