Do you need student insurance?

With the contents of an average student room adding up to almost £2,2001, taking out cover for your possessions may be worth considering. Computers and entertainment equipment can be especially expensive to replace if damaged or targeted by thieves.

What is student insurance?

Student insurance covers your belongings against theft, loss, or damage caused by things like fire, storms, vandalism, floods, and burst pipes, while you’re at college or university.

In rented accommodation, buildings insurance should be covered by your landlord but insurance for your belongings usually won’t be. If you live in shared accommodation, each housemate will need to consider their own needs when selecting their own contents insurance policy. University halls may offer contents insurance as part of the rent, you’ll need to check this and also see if it meets your needs.

To be eligible for student insurance you must be over 18, in full-time education (or part-time if you receive Disabled Students’ Allowance), and attending a university or college in the UK.

Explore more: Different types of insurance for students

What's covered by student insurance?

The most basic student contents insurance policy will generally cover the belongings you keep in your student house or halls, such as clothes, TV and non-portable desktop computers. However, you won’t usually be covered if your laptop is stolen from a café or on the way to a lecture.

To have your possessions covered when they’re out of your home, you’ll need to add personal protection or extra gadget insurance to your policy. You may also choose to add cover for accidental damage to computers to your basic policy, and if you cycle around the campus you may want to add bike cover.

Most insurers will offer flexible options so you can tailor your cover to suit your needs, for example if you want to insure individual items or everything in your room. You should carefully read and be sure you understand the full terms and conditions of any insurance policy before you purchase it.

You’ll have to pay the first part of most claims – this is known as an excess. Your insurance schedule will detail the excesses which apply to your policy. Some exclusions will apply to policies so always check your policy to see what is excluded.

Are you covered by your parents' home insurance policy?

Most standard home contents policies provide around £5,000 worth of cover for items ‘temporarily removed from the home’. So this could include belongings kept in student accommodation, provided you live at home outside of term time. It’s always best to check this though.

It’s also worth noting that your parents’ no-claims bonus would be affected if you made a claim on their policy. Plus, the excess (the amount you pay towards your claim) is likely to be higher on standard contents insurance than a student policy.

A standard policy will often have exclusions that might not suit your lifestyle as a student. For example, a laptop that goes missing at a party which is not held at the registered policy address might not be covered, so student specific insurance might be a better option.

How much does student insurance cost?

Student insurance will vary depending on the level of cover and the provider you choose to go with.

You can get student contents insurance which will give you the most basic level of cover from £25 a year with HSBC. This includes accidental damage cover for home entertainment equipment, mirrors, and glass up to £250 per incident. Additional cover can be added for bicycles, laptops and other high-value items.

When's the best time to get student insurance?

Get your insurance ready to start from the day you move into your student accommodation. Most policies will also cover contents in transit between your parents’ or guardians’ home and your university at the beginning and end of term.

Remember to review and, if you choose to, renew your insurance every year to make sure you’re still adequately covered, especially if your situation has changed. For example, you’ll need different insurance for a shared student house than you will for halls of residence.