A recent report by Nationwide building society found that parents were not properly insuring their child's contents (now they are back at University) under their homeowner insurance policy for contents away from the home. These days students tend to have more a new personal possessions such as ipod's, TV's bikes and computers. The report urged parents to check whether or not their buildings insurance policy had the provision for contents insurance away from the home as well as for accidental damage. According to Nationwide the average value of possessions students have taken with them to their university shared housing or halls of residence is £1,500.
Parents are increasingly becoming more and more responsible for the financial undertakings of their child's university education. The erosion of grants, the increase in personal student debt through student loans is putting more pressure on parents... Insurance for university times is sometimes forgotten when the focus of the finance is on supporting the rental costs and everyday living of being a university student. Most students when living away from home for the first time may not be aware that they require contents insurance in a shared house rented out from a landlord. Typically the landlords own buy to let insurance policy would only cover for rebuilding of the building and furnished items provided to the students.. they would expect the student ot bear the cost of their own contents insurance policy.
If students continue to live in private shared housing and leave personal possessions in a property during the summer holiday break there is an increased risk of burglary and theft. Direct line Home Insurance published advice recently urging students not to leave their bicycles on university campus during the break and to ensure that they are properly insured before they even go to university (view our bicycle insuranceand electric bike insurance services here). Simple precautions could help to reduce the amount of bikes stolen, such as locking them up in a busy area of the university and making sure the lock goes through the wheel and the frame of the bike. Despite the fact most UK insurance policies do not cover the risk of theft of bikes, every day over 100 bikes stolen in the UK, at an average cost of 160 pounds.
Probably the easiest and cheapest is to check the policy wording of your own homeowner insurance. It is unbelievable the number of homeowners that actually pay for specialist cover without realising that there was an option under there own home insurance. You may finds that the policy already has a section that will cover your childrens possessions whilst away at university. If not, many insurers will allow you to insure the items as an extension of the All Risks section of the policy. All Risks cover is designed to cover items away from the home and can be used to cover almost all items. Make a list of the items to be covered and give your insurer a call and ask for a price. A couple of things to watch out for:-
1. Dont just assume that because you have seem students effects cover mentioned in your policy that it will automatically be included, always phone your insurer or broker to check. Ask for written confirmation.
2. When you receive confirmation of cover, check to see if there are any special security clauses on the policy wording, this is especially important for valuable items like laptop computers.
3. Check on the size of the policy excess. ( The excess is the first portion of the loss that you will have to pay in the event of a claim)
If you have a homeowners policy that cannot be extended to cover students effects then of course you can buy specialist cover, There are a number of policies available on the market and the cover can include; Computers, laptops, books, ipods,TV, clothing, musical instruments and even pedal cycles. Although these policies will probably be more extensive, you will find that the range of covers and options on offer is wider.
Most polices for this type of cover allow you to pick a sum insured, say £2000 then include higher risk items such as lap top computers. It is usual to be able to leave things at the residence during the summer holidays and cover to still apply. As with all types of insurance, it's best to shop around to ensure you are getting the best price, always compare the covers though before making your decision,. A Keyfacts leaflet from each insurer will help you to decide.