Protecting your valuables whilst at university
You’ve worked hard all summer to save up for a brand-new laptop in preparation for starting university, but you’re worried about keeping it safe. You’ve heard plenty of horror stories about people breaking into halls of residence and running off with a bag full of brand-new laptops and smart phones. So, what can you do to prevent this from happening?
Moving to university can be stressful enough as it is. Between getting to grips with a new course and making friends there is already a lot to think about. You want to know that your valuables are safe and secure, so you don’t need to worry every time you leave your room. But what you might not realise is that you could already be insured under your parent’s home insurance.
According to research conducted in 2018 by Defaqto, of the 419 content insurance policies already on the market, as many as 79% are likely to already cover you for when you are away from home at university. It also found that 65% of policies have limits of £5,000 or more.
Always read the small print
However, what is important to consider is that many policies will have hidden clauses in the small print. Failure to read this small print could mean that if you need to make a claim, you could find that it is rejected on the grounds that you were never actually covered in the first place.
For example, many policies will cover you if an item is stolen, but not if you accidentally damage it. What’s more, even if accidental damage is included in the cover, the research found that 55% of policies exclude some electronics such as laptops, from the cover.
When it comes to insuring your mobile phone, many policies have a limit of just £350. So, if your mobile phone is brand new, this is unlikely to match the cost of the phone and won’t help much towards the cost of replacing it.
Similarly, most items will only be covered against theft if your bedroom has a lockable door and is always locked to prevent someone from just walking in. This means that only if someone forcibly enters the door by breaking the lock, your claim will be considered valid. Many policies will not cover you if you happen to leave your items lying around in a shared space – so as comfortable and safe as you might feel with your new housemates, this is something to bear in mind.
What steps can be taken to ensure your valuables are safe?
The first thing to do is to check whether you are covered under your parent’s existing home insurance.
If you are indeed covered, then you and your parents should take the time to carefully read the entire policy to understand exactly what is covered and what’s not. When it comes to valuables that aren’t protected, it is possible to include policy add-ons to enhance your cover.
It is likely that the cover only applies when an incident occurs within your own accommodation, or when you are travelling to and from your parent’s house. This means that if you are visiting friends, are on holiday or at a part time job and something happens then you won’t be covered. If you are on the move a lot, visiting friends in different cities or completing group work at someone else’s house then it is worth talking to your parents about adding additional personal possessions cover to their existing policy.
Going to university can be a scary time. Learning how to live independently as well as balancing studies with your social life is not easy. The last thing you need on top of all that is for something valuable to go missing. To prevent any additional stress and to ensure your belongings are safe and secure, it is recommended that you and your parents take the time to understand how to properly protect your belongings whilst you are living away at university.