Heading off to university is one of the scariest experiences of our adolescent years. Living on your own, making new friends and working out how many fancy dress outfits you’re going to need in order to survive socially – all this weighs heavily on our minds. So, understandably, student insurance ends up some way down the list.

However, it has never been more important to protect your valuables and look after your belongings. For the first time in your life, these things are well and truly, undeniably, your responsibility.

Why should I get student insurance?

Given that the majority of us are in our late teens on the day that we get in our parents’ car, shed a tear and try our first snakebite, it’s more than likely that we already own quite a few valuable items. However, we have limited means to replace them.

So, you may have a laptop that your parents bought you for your studies, an iPad that you saved up for and a PS4 that you got for Christmas a few years ago, all bundled into the back of your dad’s car and raring for Freshers’ Week. However, you probably don’t have the funds to replace them should they end up damaged, lost or stolen.

You don’t have to live with this risk though. You can literally pay someone else to take it off your hands – and this is where student insurance comes in. With insurance, you can keep your valuables safe often for no more than a couple of pounds a month. This certainly beats having to buy a whole new laptop out of the money you’re earning on night shifts so that you’ve got something to write your next essay with.

Things you might want to insure – and why

It’s true, plenty of insurance policies you won’t have to worry about until you’re a fair bit further along with life’s journey. Insurance for your car… Insurance for your house in case it falls down… Health insurance ready to spring into action at the first sign of a sniffle…

Cross these bridges when you get to them. However, protecting your contents is a bridge you’re at now. If you’re heading off to uni, or you’re already there, the chances are that you carry high-value and luxury items around with you on a daily basis. And these need protecting.

So, what are we talking about? Well, laptops, tablets and phones for a start. If you’re attending a lecture, going to the library or popping down to the coffee shop, you’re more than likely carrying a laptop or tablet, and – of course! – your mobile.

These items aren’t just staples of modern life, they’re increasingly necessary for students throughout their study period as well. According to a student survey by Pearson:

  • 52% of university students now own a tablet
  • 89% have their own laptop
  • 85% are smartphone owners

Students may have a stereotype as impoverished breadline-huggers, but lacking cash isn’t the same as lacking valuables. The average student takes a whopping £2,150 worth of belongings with them to university. 

Despite this hefty valuation, 45% of students arrive at uni with no form of insurance at all. So you should definitely be looking at what you’re taking with you – and exploring the insurance options.

Why Students without Insurance are at Particular Risk

As we all know, university is a time of freedom, enjoyment and unrivaled excess. Living in shared accommodation with high-value items during this time in our lives comes, therefore, with its perils.

Fresher’s week, in particular, is a danger. Your auntie said it – and your insurer would certainly say it too.

Drinks flow, people dance, and cups, food and all kinds of bodily fluids fly around the room. In light of this, items can get damaged, property may get stolen and there is an elevated risk to your valuables.

Freshers Week is even more beloved of burglars than of VD. And burglars are increasingly targeting student accommodation. Over 660,000 student houses are burgled in the UK every year, making attractive targets due to the fact that they’re often left vacant at night with high-value items lying around.

Many students take a bike with them to uni to avoid paying travel costs – makes sense, right! – and they often leave it unlocked in communal spaces. Or, equally, they don’t invest in a secure bicycle lock. As we know, poor-quality locks are easily cut through, making them a picnic for thieves.

University is meant to be an exciting, daunting and enjoyable time in a young person’s life. So don’t feel too discouraged by the above information. The positive news is that, while your items will always be exposed to risk, you can get them back easily – by getting insurance to protect them.

So, what kind of Insurance Do I Need?

When it comes to protecting your things, there are two types of insurance you’ll hear about: buildings insurance and contents insurance.

Buildings insurance is pretty self-explanatory. Contents insurance covers everything inside the building. Imagine turning where you live upside down and shaking it – anything that would fall out is classed as contents. Buildings and contents insurance are then often sold together as home insurance.

If like the majority of students, you’re living in shared accommodation or halls of residence, buildings insurance isn’t something you have to worry about – this is the responsibility of the landlord instead**. What you are interested in, rather, is contents insurance.

Contents insurance will protect items such as your phone, clothes, laptop, tablet and TV against loss or damage due to theft, vandalism, flooding, fires and storms.

** Student tenants do still have certain responsibilities regarding the building itself. For instance, you are required to inform the landlord of any damage to the property and to behave in a “tenant-like” manner. For more info, check out our post on tenant liability.

Step-By-Step Guide to Getting Contents Insurance

So, you’re sold on the idea of contents insurance… But what happens next?

STEP 1: Check Your Parents’ Home Contents Policy

If you’re looking to take out contents insurance while at uni, it’s worth checking your parents’ home insurance first. This may cover you and there’s nothing worse than paying extra for something you’ve already got.

It’s not a sure thing that you’ll be covered on your parents’ policy though. Many do not include cover for children’s belongings while they’re away from the family home.

If you’re covered, that’s great. But be sure to check exactly what this entails, as there can be some exclusions – and no-one wants to be caught out down the line. Common exclusions include:

  • The policy might not cover items that aren’t locked in your room, meaning, if they’re left in communal areas, they won’t be protected
  • If you have brothers and sisters, you might not be able to all be covered on the contents insurance at the same time
  • Lastly, it’s likely that there will be limits on the cover, meaning you may not be covered against accidental damage

Insurance exclusions are brimming with jargon. Hell, the word exclusion itself is already jargonny enough! That’s why we put together our Insurance Jargon Buster to help you out.

If you’re not covered on your parents’ policy, it may be possible for them to add you on as an extra (generally at an extra cost). If this turns out to be a dead end, then be content with all those maturity points you got just from asking and move on to STEP 2 and STEP 3.

STEP 2: Check with your Halls of Residence 

If you’re living in Halls of Residence, the university may offer contents insurance. This could be included in the overall cost of your rent, equally it could be offered as a paid add-on.

This is certainly not guaranteed though, and even in those cases where your uni can set you up with contents insurance, it’s worth checking for those pesky exclusions. For instance, they may not cover expensive items you own or things left in communal areas.

STEP 3: Take out Contents Insurance Independently

If you decide to take out your own student contents insurance, there are many insurance providers that offer coverage tailor-made for university life.

It’s worth taking your time and doing your research to the right insurance for you – that is, at a price you can afford and offering the right level of coverImagine insurance as a big umbrella. Your level of cover is the size of that umbrella, and the larger the umbrella – generally speaking – the more you pay.

You may want insurance only for those worst-case scenarios – like if everything you owned got burgled. Or you may want the peace of mind that, if you break things across the year, you will have a ready source of cash to help replace them. In this latter case, it’s a good idea to check that your policy protects you against accidental damage

Accidental damage cover does what it says on the tin – if your items are covered, your insurance provider will pay out for the repair or replacement of an item that has been damaged accidentally. This could be invaluable if you’re living in shared accommodation where your valuables are going to be left exposed to spillage and other hazards. 

Another important thing to check for is out-of-home cover. Plenty of contents insurance policies will only cover your things while they’re in your home – which is great if you never take anything out with you. But at university, it’s common to carry expensive items with you wherever you go. It’s a big enough pain as it is lugging your laptop to the lecture hall. The last thing you want is to not be covered when you drop it down the lecture-hall staircase!

No two people are the same, so there’s no reason why their cover should be. The important thing is making informed decisions. You may decide to risk life without out-of-home cover. But at least make an informed decision. You may still drop your phone down a Café Nero toilet but at least you won’t have any nasty surprises when you come to make a claim.

University is always going to be a stressful time, but by taking out student contents insurance, you can ensure that that stress isn’t a result of your valuables getting damaged, lost or stolen. Sure, insurance won’t be the first thing you think about when you’re heading off to uni – but it should be somewhere on your list. Set aside some time to have a think and tick it off.

And remember as well that, whatever you’ve heard about insurance, it was invented to take worries off our shoulders. Not all of them – but who would say no to a life with slightly fewer worries?

Enough insurance talk now though: enjoy your time at uni and may your cupboards be stocked with instant noodles!

Insuring your things with buzzvault

We recognised that insurance doesn’t always work as it should, which is why we built buzzvault: hyper-personalised home and contents insurance based on a digital inventory of what you own and its value. So what does this mean for you, the customer?

  1. Our insurance is based on an up-to-date record of what you own and its value, so you always have the right level of cover in place.
  2. You can add new items to your policy as and when you acquire them, so your cover stays up to date.
  3. If an item is listed in your buzzvault, then it’s covered. End of story. Simply open our app and claim back at the touch of a button.

If you want to learn more about what we offer, then head over to https://gobuzzvault.com. Or jump straight in and get a super-rapid personalised quote now.