Students warned to take cover of possessions
Students are being urged to study their insurance options to protect their possessions when they go off to university this September.
The good news is they may not need to fork out on a new policy, with most (78%) home contents insurance policies including cover for family members while living and studying away from home, said Gocompare.com.
But the price comparison site noted that cover levels differ massively from £500 to £25,000, so it’s vital that students do their homework before assuming they will be fully covered on their parents’ home insurance.
There are four options for covering student possessions. Extending the family home insurance, arranging their own home contents cover, buying specific student insurance or cover provided by a halls of residence.
Most, but not all, home insurance policies provide term-time cover for a family member’s possessions while they are in full-time education, studying away from home – provided the student still lives at the family home in the holidays. Cover will either be available as a standard policy feature or as an add-on for which an additional premium is payable.
But there can be restrictions, for example if two siblings are studying away at the same time, they may not both qualify for cover under their parents’ policy.
Buying a new home contents insurance policy is an option if you aren’t already covered, but you need to shop around, and this insurance may not be available if you live in halls of residence.
Specialist student insurance is inexpensive and may include additional benefits specifically designed for students such as a 24-hour student helpline, and legal expenses cover. But the cover might be term-time only.
College and university accommodation insurance may also be available, but this may be insufficient to cover specific items such as expensive IT equipment or musical instruments.
Ben Wilson, from Gocompare.com Home Insurance, said: “Many university or college students own a range of valuable belongings including smartphones, laptops and other electronic items as well as clothes, cycles and books. But, they shouldn’t just assume that if they live away from home during term-time their belongings will continue to be covered by their parents’ home contents insurance.
“We’d advise people to call their insurer to inform them of the change in living arrangements and to clarify the cover available. Parents should also note that any claims made under the family’s home insurance may affect their future premiums. So, it’s also worthwhile looking at and comparing the other student insurance options available.”