How to get cheap student contents insurance
Figures suggest that over a fifth of students will be victim of a successful or attempted break-in during their time at uni. Make sure you're insured for the worst case scenario!
It's no great surprise that students are a prime target for crime, especially around freshers' week. Young people moving en masse to a new city – many of whom have never lived away from home before – is like a thief's birthday, Christmas and Easter all rolled into one.
Research has found that almost half of students don't have contents insurance, and more than 10% would rather risk being burgled than getting insurance. But that doesn't mean you should just accept your fate as another statistic.
A combination of careful precautions and cheap contents insurance will help you protect yourself against heavy losses.
What's on this page?
Do I need contents insurance?
Given the stats we've just spouted above, it's safe to say that yes – we would suggest that you need contents insurance if you're a student. But the good news is that there is a small possibility that you may already be covered.
A lot of uni halls will already offer a basic level of insurance, but many students just don't realise they're covered.
You might notice that this free student insurance only covers a limited amount of items and normally they must be in your room at the time of the crime, with doors and windows fully secured. So if you leave your laptop in a communal area and it's stolen, you might not be covered. If there's no forced entry, you may not be covered either.
It's also always worth checking if you come under your parents' contents insurance policy before you shell out for one yourself. While this isn't as common as it used to be, you could save yourself some serious dollar.
If you don't currently come under their insurance policy, it's worth calling up and asking for a quote to be added on, as it may work out cheaper than a completely separate policy.
Do bear in mind though that the excess on your parent's insurance might be higher as a result, and their no-claims bonus will also be affected if you make a claim. Before you barge your way onto their policy, let them know there's a bit of a risk involved for them!
What you need to know
Contents insurance does exactly what it says on the tin – it insures the contents of your house in case of a break-in. The most basic student contents insurance will cover your belongings when they are in your house or halls. This will normally protect you from theft, loss, general damage, earthquakes, lightening, falling trees (no joke), and water damage.
If you want to add an additional layer of protection that will have your things covered when you're out the house (and carrying valuables like your phone, camera or laptop), you'll need to look at personal protection or extra gadget insurance (try Protect My Bubble – more info on them below).
There are a few more important things you should know about before taking out your policy:
The excess of a policy
This is the maximum amount that you agree to pay should you make a claim. It will be deducted from your payout when you make a claim, so if your laptop is covered for £900 and your excess is £25, you'll get a payout of £875.
A high excess can be both good and bad
Most of the time you can choose how much your excess is, but the higher the excess you agree to pay, the lower your monthly payments will be – which is why some people prefer to opt for a higher excess.
Agreeing to a higher excess is a good option for people who never lose stuff and are generally good at looking after their belongings (so the chances of needing to make a claim are lower). However, this does mean you won't get as much of a payout if you do need to make a claim, so consider this carefully when deciding how much excess to pay.
Some things will cost extra to protect
Bicycles, laptops and other high value goods will often have to be added on top of your contents insurance policy, particularly if you tend to carry them around with you. It's the same for things like accidental damage – not all policies cover it. You just have to pay close attention to the small print!
Buildings insurance isn't your responsibility…
As we're sure you're already aware, you don't have to worry about buildings insurance – that's your landlord's job.
…but protecting your stuff is down to you
Just as buildings insurance is completely down to your landlord, protecting your belongings is entirely your responsibility.
He or she isn't likely to include contents insurance in your rent, although they might cover their own contents in the house if the property is partially furnished. But we must stress, this won't include your things, so never assume your landlord has you covered!
How can I save on contents insurance?
The whole point of us being here is to help you spend less on this kind of stuff, so we'll cut straight to the chase with some tips for saving on your contents insurance.
Make sure you shop around and get lots of quotes from different insurance companies. This is the best way to ensure you get a good deal.
Do a bit of bartering
It's absolutely fine to haggle with insurers. If you find a better quote from another company, make sure you take note of it and tell other insurers on the phone about the better deal you've found. Often you might find they'll be willing to fight for your custom by offering you an even better deal.
Consider what you really want to insure
If you're not that bothered about your battered old phone that's only worth a fiver, it doesn't make sense to pay out to insure it. The less you insure, the less your policy will cost.
Look after your possessions
This one is just common sense, but always make sure you're super careful with your stuff! We know we sound like your 'rents here, but every time you make a claim, the cost of your insurance will increase. It's insane how many thefts are caused by drunken mishaps and unlocked doors!
Pay upfront (if you can)
If you can afford to part with the lump sum, always choose to pay annually rather than monthly. This is a good bartering tool as insurers actually prefer if you pay up front, so it could result in you bringing the price down and in some cases we've seen it possible to save up to 25%.
Read the small print
Knowing your insurance package inside-out is the only way to avoid costly mistakes when you later discover that you're not covered for that cracked screen after all.
Many companies will offer their best rates online in an effort to sell their packages with minimum interaction. Note that this also makes it harder to haggle, so consider saving an online quote and calling them up to try reducing it!
Where to buy contents insurance
If you're looking to protect your treasures, here's our hotlist of where to shop for your contents insurance.
Endsleigh is the only student contents insurance provider that is supported by the NUS.
There are a variety of options available depending on what you want to protect, but you can choose to insure pretty much everything. The price per month will, of course, be dictated by how much you choose to cover and under what circumstances.
Endsleigh also have the rare bonus of insuring students for non-forced entry thefts (but not on some items such as mobiles), as they appreciate that many make the common mistake of leaving doors and windows open.
Protect Your Bubble's policies have always been well suited to young people, as they offer the cheapest cover on individual gadgets. But the company now offers students an exclusive 15% discount on gadget and jewellery cover!
Prices start at just £7.99 a month (excluding discount), making peace of mind more than affordable for most students. If you find you're a bit forgetful, clumsy, or tend to lose things, you definitely need some good gadget coverage!
Protect Your Bubble's insurance policies cover everything from theft to cracked phone screens.
Contents insurance cover is offered as an incentive by a number of high-street banks.
It does tend to cost a little bit more each month than it would if you went with a company like Endsleigh, but some banks have special offers for their existing customers, so it could work out as a good deal.
Also bear in mind that banks aren't going to show up in any content insurance comparison tools, so you'll have to do the research yourself.
If you've got any tips – or horror stories – about student contents insurance, we'd love to read about them in the comments below!