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The ultimate student moving checklist

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After all that hard work, you got the grades you needed and university awaits. But before you go, it's important to think about everything you'll need to take with you. Our uni essentials list should help.

Parents helping their child to pack before moving to university

We're assuming you'll remember your clothes and toiletries when you go to university. but here are other items that you might not think to take:

Usually you'd need to take these documents with you to university:

  • Accommodation contract, information, and terms
  • Driver's licence, passport or some other officially-recognised form of identification.
  • Your bank account details and bank card
  • Bank debit card
  • Car insurance documents
  • Student loan documents or any other funding document – if they’re in print think about keeping them at home
  • Student discount cards
  • National Insurance letter– record the number on your phone or computer. Keep the letter at home.

Scan these documents and keep them somewhere safe on your laptop, in the cloud or in a locked safe (in some cases – check with your student union or university admin office about this).

Find out if your university has a list of documents you need to bring, just to make sure you don't leave anything vital behind.

Your phone and your laptop are essential. But think about everything you might need while you're away:

  • Games consoles
  • Headsets
  • Cable adapters
  • Charging cables
  • Hair dryer and hairstyling tools
  • Speakers and amplifiers
  • Mobile phone and charger
  • Extension leads
  • Laptop/computer and charger
  • External hard drive

Before you go, check to see whether your accommodation comes with any of the following items. If they don’t, wait until you move in and talk to your housemates about splitting the cost of any that aren’t provided:

  • Vacuum cleaner
  • TV
  • Ironing board and iron
  • Kettle
  • Toaster
  • Microwave

Make sure you've got the following:

  • A couple of saucepans and a frying pan
  • Side plates and dinner plates
  • Bowls
  • Mugs, glasses and a water bottle
  • Washing-up liquid, dishcloths, scrubbing brushes and tea towels
  • Cutlery and knives for food prep
  • Food storage containers
  • Tin and bottle opener

The following are some of the essentials you won't want to go to university without (plus a few ideas to make your lodgings feel more like home):

  • Laundry basket
  • Pillows and duvets
  • Bedsheets and pillow cases
  • Mattress protector
  • Mattress topper
  • Mini sewing kit
  • Iron, ironing board (check whether your place has these first, if possible)
  • Bedside lamp/desk light

Don't forget your stationary either: As well as the usual pens and pencils, a ruler and a pencil case, consider taking:

  • Highlighters
  • Staples and a stapler
  • A couple of writing pads
  • Folders
  • Post-It notes.
  • If you or your guardian has contents insurance, check that it covers your belongings for "contents in transit". This should cover you if any of your items get damaged while you're moving.
  • Save space by packing smaller items into larger things – wrap up your cutlery and put it in your spare shoes, for example.
  • Make sure that fragile items are properly protected – use your clothes to separate things such as breakable crockery.
  • If you’re using public transport, lock your cases as you would when you're flying.

Keep your valuables safe

Keeping your valuables safe at university or college has the same precautions as when you're at home. But given the nature of university accommodation and halls of residence, it’s even more important to be careful.

  • Keep your doors and windows locked whenever you’re out of your room
  • If you take your valuables outside your room, don’t leave them unattended
  • Be extra careful with your laptop - try carrying it in a rucksack rather than a tell-tale laptop case
  • Make a list of any valuables, including makes and serial numbers
  • Keep copies of important documents such as your contents insurance policy
  • Make a note of any numbers you need to call should you need to cancel bank cards or credit cards
  • If you want to keep jewellery or important documents like your passport safe, consider getting a small safe for your room

Get your car serviced

If you choose to bring your car to university, make sure you have it checked over by a mechanic beforehand.

This is particularly important if you have to drive a long distance to your new place.

Also, ensure you’ve checked the parking regulations of your university area to avoid a parking fine.

In lots of cities, there are specific parking zones that either require you to pay and display or buy a residential parking permit.

Some of these don’t cost anything depending on the area.

If you require a permit, the council often asks for proof of residence, and a copy of your vehicle documents. So make sure to take these to university with you.

Don’t forget to tell your car insurance company about your change of address during term time as this could affect your policy and premium.

Make sure you get the right student car insurance cover, too.

Consider a self storage unit between term times

Depending on how long you're gone for your studies, you might want to think about the costs of safely storing and moving your items.

If you’re worried about lugging all your stuff home over the holidays, finding a self-storage unit nearby could be the answer.

Research the costs up front because they can vary by quite a degree. Check out the place before handing over any cash too.

Ask the university or your student union for recommendations for a safe and secure self storage unit that'll protect your items from damage.

If it’s not included, shop around for the appropriate type of home insurance cover for this. Don’t just opt for the provider’s policy, as it might not cover this.

Student contents insurance

You might need to get a separate contents insurance policy when you move into student accommodation. Most students believe their stuff is covered by their parents' home insurance even while they’re away at university. But it might not be, so always check the policy wording.

The average cost of student's contents insurance is £70.16* per year. The cost includes cover away from home, so your belongings are covered if they get stolen or damaged while you're commuting to uni.

Some of the most common items that students cover are:

  • Laptop computers

  • Cycles

  • Jewellery

  • PCs including accessories 

  • Watch

  • Musical instrument

  • Mobile phone

  • Television

  • Photographic equipment

  • Clothing

When it comes to tenants’ insurance, most people think of protecting themselves against theft or damage to their personal property. But some insurance policies incorporate liability insurance for damage that tenants or their guests cause to the property.

Student contents insurance could provide you with peace of mind and let you get on with enjoying your time at university.

You might also want to look into specialist bicycle insurance, too – particularly if it's your main mode of transport.

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*Confused.com data. August 2022 - July 2023. Buildings, contents and combined home insurance policies.

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