How to get cheap student contents insurance
Figures show that 21% 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?
Students are a prime target for crime, especially around freshers' week.
Young people moving en masse to a new city with all their gadgets, many of whom have never lived away from home before, is like Burglar Bill's birthday, Christmas and Easter all rolled into one.
Research has found that almost 46% of students don't have contents insurance, with 14% assuming their landlord arranges it (which is unlikely).
Some cheap contents insurance can save you a whole load of stress and cash, so get it sorted ASAP.
What's in this guide?
Do students 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's a chance 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 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.
Are students covered by their parents' contents insurance?
You should also check to see 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 money.
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. 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?
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).
There are a few more important things you should know about before taking out your policy:
What is a policy excess?
This is the maximum amount that you agree to pay should you make a claim, and 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.
A high excess can be both good and bad
Most of the time you can choose how much your excess is. The higher the excess you agree to pay, the lower your monthly payments will usually be - hence why some people 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 (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.
Some things will cost extra to protect
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 some policies cover and others don't.
Basically, you 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.
Your landlord 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 much does student contents insurance cost?
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 for less than £1.50/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
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'll find that they're 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 fewer items 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 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!
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 also a good bartering tool as insurers actually prefer you to pay upfront, so try using it to bring the price down.
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!
Best contents insurance for students
Here are our recommendations of where to get the cheapest contents insurance that also properly protects your treasures whilst at university.
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 has 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 17% discount on gadget and jewellery 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.
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 contents insurance comparison tools, so you'll have to do the research yourself.
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!