When you’re getting ready to pack up and move to university, insurance is probably the last thing on your mind. Some students may not even understand what student insurance is and why they may benefit from cover. We’re going to look into what it is and some tips for getting the right policy for your needs.
What is student insurance?
Student insurance works in a similar way to contents cover within a home insurance policy. You can get cover on your expensive belongings, like your laptop, phone or bicycle, and even more general belongings. A student insurance policy will usually cover against damage and theft, allowing you to quickly repair or replace your important items.
Do I need student insurance?
There’s no legal requirement for students to be covered by insurance, but it can offer welcome peace of mind. If it’s your first time living away from home, you may have never considered how expensive your items really are.
Having cover for accidental damage can be a lifesaver when at uni. Even if you consider yourself a careful person, accidents can always happen. If you (or someone else) knock a drink over your laptop, it’s nice to know it’s covered by insurance.
On top of this, there’s always the risk of theft. In fact, there tends to be higher crime rates in student areas. It’s worth checking your parents’ home insurance policy, as your university accommodation may be covered by this. Read the policy wording thoroughly however, as there may be limitations, such as your belongings only being protected whilst inside your room. It also may not cover against accidental damage.
Another thing to bear in mind is that making a claim on your parents’ home insurance policy will likely cause their premium to rise. Make sure you consider this cost compared to a standalone student insurance policy to work out what’s best for you.
Student insurance when living in halls
It’s a good idea to check your rental agreement when moving into halls, as you may have an insurance policy included. If so, take a look at the limitations of the policy to be confident it can cover your needs.
For example, the policy may have a single item limit of £2,000. If your laptop is worth £2,500, you can only claim a maximum of £2,000 if it’s stolen or damaged. In this scenario, you could buy a standalone policy to cover your laptop, rather than another whole student insurance policy. Another common limitation is that you can’t claim for stolen items if your bedroom wasn’t locked.
If you don’t feel like the provided insurance policy is enough to comfortably cover you, you might want to take out your own.
Private rentals and student insurance
Often, after the first year of university, many students choose to rent a private property with a group of friends. For private rentals, you can choose to either insure your bedroom, or the entire property.
If you’re looking to insure the whole property, it’s likely that all tenants will split the cost of the policy. In this instance, everyone in the house must be clear on the policy limitations. If one housemate leaves the door unlocked and someone enters and steals your items, you won’t be covered despite it technically not being your fault.
Individually insuring your room can be a good option if others in the house don’t want to pay for insurance. However, be aware that you won’t be covered if an item gets stolen or damaged outside of your bedroom.
Saving money on your student insurance
One of the main reasons many students don’t invest in insurance is due to the cost. At uni, you’re often trying to save as much money as possible, so the price can be off-putting. However, insurance is often cheaper than the cost to replace your items, so you might decide it’s worth having just in case. Here are some tips for saving money on your insurance policy:
What is the best student insurance?
Every student will have different needs from an insurance policy, so there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Read the policy details carefully, and always contact the insurer if you’re unsure about anything.
Making sure that the insurer can provide suitable cover for your needs is only the first step in choosing the right policy. You should also be confident that the insurer is reputable and has a good customer service track record.
Reading customer reviews can help you understand how an insurer treats its customers. Find out how responsive the insurer is and how quickly they pay out on claims. Read about experiences from other students. If you’re going to pay out for student insurance, you want to be sure that the policy will pay out when you need it to.
Jacqueline Dewey is CEO of Smart Money People, the UK’s dedicated financial services review platform.
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