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A student guide to looking after your possessions at university.

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A student guide to looking after your possessions at university.

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2 minute read

Did you know that students take, on average, £4,000 of possessions with them to university (Source: NUS).

As children or grandchildren head off to university, whether they are staying in halls of residence or sharing a house with friends, there are two things they need to consider: How are they going to look after their possessions; and are they covered by insurance?

Rather than spending money on specialist or standalone insurance policies which cost on average £150 per year, parents’ home insurance could be extended to cover student possessions with no additional outlay.

It is estimated that one-third of students become a victim of a crime, mainly theft or burglary (source: Aviva). Some halls of residence have contents insurance included, so check if they will be covered (this won’t help if renting from a private landlord). Going to university for the first time is a bit like going on a foreign holiday, it’s all new, exciting and strange, and to the locals they stand out like a sore thumb. Which is why about 20% of thefts happen in the first six weeks of term.

Bicycles are very popular methods of transport for students and they also represent easy picking for opportunist thieves, so strong padlocks are essential.

Simple tips for students:

  • Always ensure that they lock doors and windows when they go out – even if it’s just to the kitchen in a hall of residence.
  • Don’t leave valuables in full view of the window.
  • Get a cheap ‘pay as you go’ mobile to take with them on a night out – then it won’t matter if it’s damaged or lost.
  • Back up their essays and projects. That way all their work is not lost if something happens to their computer or tablet.
  • Get a laptop lock to secure their portable computer to their desk or workstation.
  • Make sure all their stuff is security-marked. Not only will it make it less attractive to thieves but it’ll also be a lot easier for police to track. Add their student ID number and the name of the college on any valuable items, such as laptops, mobile phones, iPods, game consoles, etc.
  • Take photographs of all their valuables before they go to Uni and keep receipts at home in a safe place.
  • Make sure they take all their valuable home during the holidays and term breaks. It might be a pain, but it is worth it.
  • A common problem with university accommodation is that it can get very hot. Communal heating is usually turned up high even if it’s mild outside, so students often leave their windows open. If their room is on the ground floor, make sure they close and lock the window when they go to sleep. And even if the room is on a higher floor, the grounds may be patrolled but you still don’t know who might wander onto the site undetected.
  • When it comes to privately rented accommodation, other steps like fitting a timer switch, which comes on at certain times if they’re out for the night, and leaving a radio or TV on could put off would-be burglars who are scouting the area.

Ensure they are covered by following these simple steps:

  • Calculate the replacement value of the items they will be taking. Typically, this will include clothes and bedding, laptop, mobile phone, tablet, camera, musical instrument, books, hair straighteners, sports equipment.
  • Check your level of insurance cover. Most household buildings and contents policies automatically cover student possessions up to at least £5,000 and some have no limit to the cover period.
  • Cover their possessions on a worldwide, all-risks basis – no need to specify what is taken out and about.
  • Accidental damage is usually covered as standard but check the small print.
  • Most policies include cover for “walk-in-theft” (i.e. even if force/violence was not used to access the property.)
  • Some of the policies will also cover you for tenant’s liability, meaning damage caused to the landlord’s property can also be covered.

With thanks to Sam Bowen at Stackhouse Poland Limited. Capital has a strategic alliance with Sam and his team and he would be pleased to review your insurance requirements without cost.

At Capital, we believe in taking action to reduce life’s risks and uncertainties.

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