As a student, protecting your items should definitely be on your to-do list. Here’s all you need to know about insuring your gadgets.
If you haven’t already insured your belongings, get on it, because new research shows that an average student now has almost £4,000 worth of possessions.
Insurer Endsleigh found that university students own an average of £3,658 worth of gadgets and other possessions.
They found that 95% of students have a smartphone, 91% a laptop, and almost half of students (46%) own a tablet.
Other gadgets also include things like flat-screen TVs and games consoles.
If you’re taking your phone, laptop or other expensive items to university, you might want to have insurance in place to make sure they’re protected.
What if one or more of your prized belongings was lost, stolen or damaged? It can certainly hit your wallet if you haven’t got any cover in place.
Check your parents’ policy
Firstly, check if your possessions are already covered by your parents’ home insurance.
Look out for the cover away-from-home section of the policy. This could cover your contents, usually with a limit of up to £5,000.
Not all insurers will offer this. But those that do will have certain restrictions in place, so be sure to check the policy terms and conditions.
For instance, it’ll only apply if your parents’ home is your permanent address. This means you’ll need to come home at the end of each term.
Generally, an extra charge is imposed for cover away from home – although that may already have been included on the policy.
If you need to cover your laptop, you’ll have to specify it on the policy, especially if you need cover away-from-home for it.
If your parents make a claim on your behalf, they’re likely to lose their no-claims discount. This means the cost of their premiums might go up in the future.
If your parents’ insurance isn’t for you, an alternative would either be a standalone contents insurance policy or a student-specific cover. But this will depend on your type of accomodation.
If you live in rented accommodation, you can get standard contents insurance. The selection of insurers that cover this may be limited, especially if you’re living with other students.
Student contents insurance
If you live in student halls, it's worth considering a dedicated student contents insurance policy. They’re geared towards student lifestyle, and cover things like laptops and books.
When listing contents, you must include your bike or laptop if they’re worth over £150. Plus, you need to list anything else over £1,000.
Keep an eye on your excess though. For instance, you may find that your laptop is valued at less than some excesses. In such cases, you may decide it’s not worth claiming if your laptop is lost or damaged.
Some insurers even offer tenant’s liability cover and an “out-of-room” cover as an optional extra.
Sara Newell, manager of student markets at Endsleigh says: "With students now almost entirely reliant on the most sophisticated gadgets, it’s vital that they consider insurance tailored to their specific needs. That way they can avoid any unexpected replacement costs, which can be pricey.”
Take a look at our guide to tenants' insurance for more information.
Alternatively, if you just want to insure your tablet, laptop or smartphone, it might be worth getting gadget or mobile phones insurance.
Taking your car to university?
Taking your car to university can be really handy, especially if you’re living some distance away from campus or use it to travel home. But it could also be a drain on your wallet.
One thing to remember though is your car insurance policy must be registered to the address you spend the most time – so your university accommodation.
It may well rack up your premium when you call your insurer, and there could be an admin fee applicable. But failing to mention the change of address could invalidate any future claims.
One possible way to cut costs is to add a parent as a named driver. This is provided that they will have access to the car at some point.
This is perfectly acceptable to insurers, and is quite different from putting the parent down as the main driver of the vehicle – a fraudulent practice known as "fronting".
Tips to keep possessions safe
1. Check how secure your halls or student house is, and raise any concerns.
2. Keep your doors and windows closed when you leave your room.
3. Don't leave your valuables in full view when you go out, or in your car.
4. Consider getting a Kensington lock for your laptop, and don’t forget to back up your work regularly.
5. Don't carry around belongings you don't need. These are likely to be safer locked up at home.
Check out our article for more tips to keep your things protected in a house share.