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Student Accommodation

How to get cheap student contents insurance

Figures show that 34% of students have been the victim of robberies in a shared house or university halls. Do you have contents insurance for the worst-case scenario?

houses behind lock and key

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, armed with all their essential gadgets, is like a burglar's birthday, Christmas and Easter all rolled into one.

Research* has found that over a third (36%) of student don't have contents insurance, with many assuming it's too expensive or that they won't need it. But with approximately the same proportion of students falling victim to theft, it's evident that the one-off expense is worth it.

Some cheap student contents insurance can save you a whole load of stress and cash, so it's best to get it sorted ASAP – and here's how.

Do students need contents insurance?

fresh meat student house mates

Credit: Objective Productions

Given the stats we've just spouted above, it's safe to say yes: we would suggest that you need contents insurance if you're a student. But the good news is that there's a chance 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 range of items and normally they must be in your room at the time of the crime, with doors and windows fully secured.

In other words, if you leave your laptop in a communal area and it's stolen, you might not be covered. If there's no forced entry (i.e. you've left your door or window open), you may not be covered either.

You can 'top-up' your free insurance by taking out extra policies to cover all items. Endsleigh offers flexible packages that can cover some or all of your gadgets, musical instruments, contents and more.

Are students covered by their parents' contents insurance?

Before shelling out for a student insurance policy yourself, you should also check to see if you're covered by your parents' plan. While this isn't as common as it used to be, you could save yourself some serious money.

For example, sometimes policies will contain a caveat covering students as long as they regularly return home at least once within a set time frame.

If you don't currently come under their insurance policy, it's worth asking your parents to call up and ask for a quote for adding you to their policy. It may work out cheaper than a completely separate policy!

Bear in mind that the excess on your parents' insurance might be higher as a result, and their no-claims bonus will also be affected if you make a claim. So, before you barge your way onto their policy, let them know there's a bit of a risk involved for them.

How does contents insurance work?

various gadgets on table

Credit: New Africa - Shutterstock

Contents insurance does exactly what it says on the tin: it insures the contents of your accommodation in case of loss.

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, lightning, falling trees (seriously) and water damage.

If you want to add an additional layer of protection that will cover your possessions when you're out the house (i.e. when you're carrying valuables like your phone, camera or laptop), you'll need to look at personal protection or extra gadget insurance (try Protect Your Bubble – more info on them below).

These are the things you should know about before taking out a contents insurance policy:

  1. What is an insurance policy excess?

    The excess on a contents insurance policy is the maximum amount that you agree to pay should you make a claim, and will be deducted from your payout if you do.

    For example, if your laptop is covered for £900 and your excess is £25, you'll get a payout of £875.

  2. A high excess can be both good and bad

    thumbs up and thumbs down

    Credit: Gonzalo Aragon – Shutterstock

    Most of the time you can choose how much your excess is. The higher the excess you agree to pay, the lower your premium will usually be. 'Premium' is just a fancy word for the cost of your policy, which you can pay upfront or in monthly instalments.

    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 (and pay the excess) are lower.

    Similarly, it's a good option to go for if you know you'll be able to pay the excess without it affecting your finances too much.

    However, if you're always losing or damaging your belongings (smashed phone on a night out, anyone?), and are unlikely to have enough spare cash to cover an excess, we'd recommend keeping your excess to a minimum.

  3. Some things will cost extra to insure

    Bikes, 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. Accidental damage is also something that will be covered by some policies, and not by others.

    Basically, you have to pay close attention to the small print!

  4. Buildings insurance isn't your responsibility

    broken window

    As we're sure you're already aware, you don't have to worry about buildings insurance – that's your landlord's job.

    Similarly, it's your landlord's responsibility to insure any objects in the house that belong to them. We're talking beds, sofas, wardrobes – basically, anything that comes with the property when you move in.

    Of course, that doesn't mean that you're excused from paying for any damage to the home. If you smash a window while playing football in the living room, chances are they'll hold you responsible and make you cough up to save them making an insurance claim.

  5. It's your responsibility to insure your possessions

    While your landlord is responsible for insuring the building and any of their own possessions, protecting your belongings is entirely your responsibility.

    Although they may have a policy to cover any of the furnishings in the property, we must stress that this almost certainly won't include your things – so never assume your landlord has you covered!

  6. How much does student contents insurance cost?

    piggy bank with graduate cap

    Perhaps most importantly of all, you should be aware of how much you should be paying. After all, how do you know if you've got a good deal if you don't know what the going rate is anyway?

    Endsleigh claims to offer cover from £1.85/month (correct at time of writing) – though, of course, this will depend on a number of different factors, including whether or not you're living in halls, and how many people are in your house.

    Generally speaking, we'd say you should be paying under £100/year for your contents insurance – and to get the best deals, you'll need to use our tips...

How to save money on contents insurance

Home Alone burglars

Credit: 20th Century Fox

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. Here are the best tips for saving on your contents insurance:

  1. Shop around and compare the market

    Make sure you shop around and get lots of quotes from different insurance companies. Above all else, this is the best way to ensure you get a good deal.

  2. Haggle for a better 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 deal you've found. Often you'll find that they're willing to fight for your custom by offering you an even better deal.

  3. Decide what you 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 to insure it. The fewer items you insure, the less your policy will cost.

  4. 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 parents here, but every time you make a claim, the cost of your insurance will increase.

    It's insane how many incidents are caused by drunken mishaps and unlocked doors, and anything you can do to protect your house from burglars is always helpful.

  5. Pay upfront if you can

    If you can afford to part with the lump sum, always choose to pay annually rather than monthly as the cost of paying in one go is usually less than making 12 monthly payments.

    This is also a good bartering tool as insurers actually prefer you to pay upfront (as it guarantees their income), so try using it to bring the price down.

  6. Read the small print

    Knowing your insurance package inside-out is the only way to avoid costly mistakes – you don't want any nasty surprises when you later discover that you're not covered for that cracked screen after all.

  7. Pay for your contents insurance online

    Many companies will offer their best rates online in an effort to sell their packages with minimum interaction.

    Just note that this also makes it harder to haggle, so consider saving an online quote and calling them up to try reducing it!

Are you just interested in getting your mobile insured? Check out our guide to cheap phone insurance.

Best contents insurance for students

Here's where to get the cheapest contents insurance that also properly protects your possessions while you're at university:

  1. Endsleigh

    endsleigh logo

    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.

    Find out more »

  2. Protect Your Bubble

    protect your bubble logo

    Protect Your Bubble's policies have always been well suited to young people, as they offer the cheapest cover on individual gadgets. But, on top of that, the company now offers students an exclusive 15% discount on gadget cover.

    Prices here tend to be much cheaper than with other companies, 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.

    Find out more »

  3. Contents insurance from your bank

    bank symbol

    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 going with a company like Endsleigh, but as some banks have special offers for their existing customers, it could work out as a good deal.

    In particular, we've noticed HSBC and TSB have both created contents insurance policies catered specifically to students (click links for more info).

    Also bear in mind that banks aren't going to show up in any contents insurance comparison tools, so you'll have to do the research yourself.

    Student bank accounts »

While you're at it, make sure you take these steps to keep your student house safe from burglars – contents insurance is good to have, but it's best not to use it if you can avoid it.

* Research reported here, conducted by MoneySuperMarket.

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