How to get cheap student contents insurance
Figures suggest that one in three students will be a victim of crime at some point during university. Make sure you're insured for the worst case scenario!
Credit: Alan Cleaver – Flickr
It's perhaps of little 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 – makes for an opportunist's ideal situation.
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 university 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 would also affect their no claims bonus if you need to use it. Might be worth letting 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. Basic insurance 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 then 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 before taking out your policy too:
- The 'excess' of a policy is the amount that you agree to pay to subsidise a claim you make, so it will be deducted from your payout when you make a claim. For example, if your laptop is covered for £900 and your excess is £25, you'll get a payout of £875.
- 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, as 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!
- As we're sure you're already aware, you don't have to worry about buildings insurance, as that's your landlord's responsibility.
- Likewise, however, your landlord has no responsibility for protecting your stuff and isn't likely to include contents insurance in your rent. They might cover their own contents in the house if the house is partially furnished, but this won't include your things. 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.
- 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 banged out phone that's only worth a fiver, it doesn't make sense to pay out to insure it. The less you insure, the lower your premium will be.
- This is pretty much 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 your premium will be higher – and it's insane how many thefts are caused by drunken mishaps and unlocked doors.
- Pay upfront for the year rather than monthly if you can afford to. 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%.
- Make sure you always read the small print. Knowing your insurance package inside out is the only way to avoid costly mistakes later when you discover you're not covered for that cracked screen after all.
- Think about paying online. Many companies will offer their best rates online in an effort to sell their packages with minimum interaction (and to skip out the opportunity for bartering!).
Where to buy contents insurance
So, 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. This pretty much makes them the number one choice for students both on price and customer service.
There are a variety of options available depending on what you want to protect. You can choose to insure pretty much everything. The price per month will of course be dictated by how much cover you choose 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
Whilst Protect Your Bubble don't offer student contents insurance per se, they are quite well suited to young people as they offer the cheapest cover on individual gadgets such as your mobile phone and laptop.
Prices start at just £6.99 a month, 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.
There are a number of options available where you can get contents insurance cover through high-street banks.
It does tend to cost a little bit more each month than it would do going with companies like Endsleigh, but some banks have special deals for their current customers that could make it 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 just have to do the research yourself.
If you've got any tips – or horror stories – about student contents insurance we'd love to hear them. After all, it's a huge part of how we add to our guides!