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7 August 2012
On Scottish Highers results day, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) is advising students going off to university, and their parents, to make sure their possessions are properly protected from burglary, fire or accidental damage.
Statistics show students are around three times more likely to be victims of a burglary than people in other age groups, and they also own more expensive consumer goods per head than the rest of the population. According to the National Union of Students, the average value of student possessions is £2,600. This includes £1,200 just for electronic items such as laptops, phones and cameras.
There are a few easy steps that students, and their parents, can take to make sure that student belongings are protected. Before going to university, make sure you:
Consider whether you need contents insurance
Even if money is short, don't try to save money by not getting insurance for your belongings. If belongings are damaged or stolen, it will cost money to replace them. Some policies can be specifically tailored to the needs of students but make sure that you shop around for the best deal. Remember that if you share accommodation with other students, you should each take out your own contents policy. You may want to consider adding additional protection as part of your insurance. Accidental damage will cover your possessions if they get broken or if someone else damages them.
Work out how much your possessions are worth
Make sure that you properly estimate how much your possessions are worth before getting contents insurance. Policies will have set limits on the size of any claims, so make sure the limits reflect the value of your possessions. Smaller items, like mobile phones, clothes and books, may seem insignificant but can be costly to replace. And some items, like cameras or bicycles may need to be listed separately.
Check your parents' or university policy
Some insurers will add students to their parents' contents insurance but there may be restrictions. Check with your parent's insurer to find out if you are covered and what the policy covers. It is also worth checking with the university about any insurance they may be able to offer students
Take necessary safety precautions
Make sure you keep your doors and windows locked when you leave your house to prevent thieves getting in easily. Keep anything valuable in a place where it can't be easily seen. Consider security marking some of your more valuable items to make them less attractive to thieves and easier to identify in the event of a robbery. Make sure that you check that security marking does not invalidate any manufacturers' guarantees or warranties.
If travelling, check your insurance before you leave
If you are going away, whether it is a trip with university, a holiday or a gap year, make sure that you take out adequate travel insurance before you travel and check that it covers you for any valuable belongings you may be taking with you or activities that may be part of your trip.
Don't buy unnecessary insurance
Your student bank account may offer certain types of insurance, like travel insurance, as part of the package. Make sure that you know exactly what you are already covered for before buying any additional insurance.
Nick Starling, Director of General Insurance, Association of British Insurers said:
“Going to university is an exciting time and insurance is usually the last thing on your mind. However, students often aren't aware that the areas where they live may be targeted by criminals who know that student houses can contain high value portable goods like MP3 players, smartphones and tablet computers.
“By taking common sense measures to safeguard possessions and considering taking out contents insurance for cover, students can ensure they are not left paying a high price if valuables are lost, stolen or damaged.”