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Insurance for students

Students: don't assume your possessions will be covered by your parents' home insurance

According to independent financial research company Defaqto, students going to university this academic year should not assume that their possessions will be covered by their parents’ home contents insurance.

Defaqto research has found that:

• Although the majority – 81% - of home contents insurance policies include cover for student belongings as standard, nearly 15% of policies do not offer any cover for this
• Where policies do provide cover for student possessions either as standard or as an optional extra, the level of cover offered varies significantly between policies

According to Defaqto data, 85% of home contents insurance policies cover student belongings either as standard or as an optional extra. Where cover is available, this is usually based on either a specified limit or a percentage of the overall contents sum insured:

• Specified cover limits available can vary from £1,000 to £20,000 – with 73% of policies providing £5,000 or more of cover and 21% offering less than £3,000
• Where expressed as a percentage of the total sum insured, the cover ranges from 10% up to the full value of the contents sum insured at the family home

Mike Powell, Defaqto’s Insight Analyst for General Insurance, said:
"Many young people will either be starting or returning to university this September or October. The value of possessions that students take with them is likely to run into thousands, particularly when most will take a range of expensive technology with them, including computers, mobile phones and entertainment systems. It is therefore important that they have appropriate protection in place for their possessions.

"Critically, students need to avoid the assumption that their belongings will be covered by their parents’ home contents insurance. Although many policies will offer cover as standard, some policies will need to be extended to protect student possessions, while a notable minority of policies will not extend cover to students at all. An additional issue is that even where contents policies do offer cover, there is wide ranging variation in the level of protection that they provide. As always, the devil is in the detail – so students and parents need to check what if any cover their family home insurance will provide. If in doubt, people should seek clarification from their insurer.”

Defaqto offers the following top tips for students and their parents:

• Don’t assume that the home contents policy that is in place for the family home will cover possessions that students will be taking to university with them
• If student belongings are covered, it is important to check the level of cover provided and any cover limits that apply – for example, there may be limits on the amount that can be claimed for a single item or for the theft of an item
• In addition, they should check what type of cover is offered and whether there are any exclusions in place, especially for the cover that it provided against theft
• If the family contents policy doesn’t currently offer cover to student belongings, check to see whether it can be extended – if extending cover is not allowed under the policy, consider arranging appropriate insurance through a specialist student home insurance provider

Defaqto’s Star Ratings for home insurance aim to help people understand the overall level of features and benefits different insurers offer. Taking a wide range of elements into account, Defaqto has given each product on the market a rating from 1 to 5 depending on how comprehensive they are.
 
Consumers can visit www.defaqto.com/star-ratings/home-insurance to access Defaqto’s Star Ratings for home insurance