Becoming a student in further education is a step that not only brings new challenges in terms of learning but also in life. Student insurance is a step forward towards adulthood.
Usually, your first year at university is your first year away from home. You meet new friends, get new hobbies and interests and are forced to learn new life skills. Cooking for yourself might be one, and by your second year, it is expected that running a home is another. More than half a million of the UK’s 1.9m students occupy privately rented accommodation, possibly their first experience of running a house responsibly.
It is an established fact that many privately let student homes are in run down areas of the UK’s towns and cities. One in three students will fall victim to crime whilst at university, with criminal damage, theft and burglary the top crimes facing today’s students. Those risks mean that some form of protection is important, which is where student insurance comes in.
That is a challenge to the average student, just learning to cook, clean and manage finances for themselves, without the additional threats many homeowners face day to day. Luckily, the insurance market might seem complex, but for students, it really is not.
How do I protect my belongings?
Much depends on where you are living. For instance, if you are residing in halls, then you are most likely covered by their insurance. It is worth checking at your open day, but usually, accommodation providers such as these have policies in place. The same will often go for managed accommodation such as blocks of flats.
Things get more complicated in a privately rented house. Because of the nature of such accommodation, some insurers are unwilling to provide cost-effective cover. It is assumed a student property will have lots of comings and goings, parties and the like. You may be able to get cover specifically for your room, and that is a sensible way to go. Remember, if you do that, only items in your room will be covered, as well as those in communal areas if there are signs of forced entry. If you have a housemate who leaves the door unlocked and someone walks in, you are not covered.
You may also be covered on your parent’s home insurance in certain instances, so check that before taking out a new policy.
Can I protect specific belongings?
Yes, you can – student insurance is wide-ranging, and you can get gadget protection, for phones and laptops, which may also protect against accidental spillage and damage whilst out and about. You may need a bike to get to and from campus, and the nature of the bike (stored outside etc.) means it is at risk. There are policies available for that too. The best approach is to only take the items you really need to university – if you have a games console and never get time to play it, take it home next time you go and leave it there.
I have heard about other insurance, what else do I need?
There are all manner of other types of insurance, such as buildings cover which protects the fabric of your house. This is not your responsibility; it is that of the landlord, so before moving in, check what cover they have. It is possible for them to protect certain aspects of the house too, which HomeServe explains can include the plumbing and heating system. Those policies are great for protecting your home against a breakdown or major malfunction, but in rented accommodation that is still not suitable for you. Your landlord would be responsible for such cover, but it is a good indication of how good your accommodation provider is – if they go as far as to protect the heating system in your house, you know they are committed to good service.
What other advice do you have?
Protecting the home with student insurance is a great way to get peace of mind, but the best method of protecting your belongings is to not be an easy target. Always lock windows and doors at home and whenever you go out, make a conscious effort to hide valuables. Burglary is decreasing through 2020, but if you are a target the offender will often want to be in and out – they might not feel they have time to break down the locked door to your room, or to rummage through drawers or under the bed to find your laptop.
Through all this, saving money as a student is still important. However, be sensible, only take what you need to university and cover the essential items for theft and accidental damage as well. Gadgets such as a mobile phone are easily lost or damaged, perhaps more so than they are at risk of theft, so you are protecting against yourself as well as outside influences. Finally, try not to worry unduly. The fear of crime is real, but simply by being sensible and aware of the threat you can protect yourself and ensure you enjoy your university years, rather than fear them.
Instead of worrying about your second year, why not enjoy decorating your new home, as shown in this article Second Year University Flat Tour and Homeware Haul.
Have you got student insurance?