Studentbeans.com easy guide
Statistically one in three students is a victim of crime while at uni. There’s no better advice than to be careful, but it’s best to be prepared - here’s our comprehensive guide to student insurance.
What's in this guide
- Student Insurance: Excess
- Student Insurance: Contents insurance
- Student Insurance: Car insurance
- Student Insurance: Travel insurance
- Student Insurance: Mobile phone insurance
Last updated August 21 2012
Student Insurance: Excess
Lower your premiums by upping your excess - Excess is the amount of money that you must pay before an insurance company will pay out for any claims you make. If you offer to increase your excess payment your premiums will be significantly smaller - and vice versa. This obviously saves you money if you don’t make a claim, but remember that you can never rule out having to make a claim - so never offer to pay more in excess than you can afford.
Student Insurance: Contents insurance
The only type of insurance every student needs (because you all have stuff, right?). As the name suggests it covers the loss and/or damage of your things whilst inside your home.
Your parent's policy
Always check the ‘contents away from home’ section of your parents' household policy. It might already cover you, or be inexpensively extended.
Down to you - It is always YOUR responsibility to organise your own contents insurance, not your landlord’s. Also, remember that each tenant must purchase their own contents insurance - your policy will not cover the possessions of others.
Before deciding which policy is right for you is it important to consider the following:
What is covered? - Besides the obvious, more valuable items you own, it’s important to check exactly what is covered by a contents insurance policy. Smaller items may not seem valuable, but when you combine them they could still be worth including in your policy.
Cover the full value
A recent NUS/Endsleigh survey found students have an average £2,652 worth of stuff at uni so make sure the full value of your items are covered.
Exactly what is covered will vary - most companies who provide contents insurance for students will tailor policies towards your individual needs. Some contents insurance policies even cover things like mobile phones or bikes when they aren’t in the house.
When can I make a claim? - Again, this depends on your policy. Some policies may just focus on theft, while others will pay out for accidental damage of your possessions.
How can I reduce my contents insurance premiums?
Shop around - As is the case with all types of insurance, just because a company offers you the lowest quote doesn’t mean that is the best policy. There are a number of websites that’ll compare policies at a glance - spend a bit of time shopping around and you’re guaranteed to save a few pounds.
Increase security - The more secure your house is, the cheaper your premiums will be. Speak to your landlord about adding extra locks or securing windows if you feel there is a problem.
If you don’t claim, you pay less - No claims bonuses can save you significant amounts of money, so always make sure you property is secure, keep an eye on your possessions, and in time you’ll reap the benefits.
Student Insurance: Car insurance
Young drivers pay more - Unfortunately students are seen as one of the most high risk demographics when it comes to car insurance, and as a result you’ll be paying more than most in premiums if you decide to take a car to university.
Your address can make a difference - Another reason why you’ll probably be forking out more than you’d like on student car insurance is that student accommodation is often found in areas with relatively high crime rates - insurers take into account where your vehicle will be kept when calculating your premiums.
What will be covered?
There are three main types of car insurance:
Third party only - Surprisingly this only covers damage you cause to a third party in the event of an accident.
Third party, fire and theft - As well third party cover, these policies pay out if your car is stolen or if it suffers fire damage.
Fully comp - This covers all of the above as well as damage to your own car in the event of an accident.
How can I reduce my car insurance premiums?
Sensible cars are cheaper to insure - Firstly, buy a sensible car. It may not be very exciting, but buying a car with a small engine and a good safety record is the best way to prevent astronomical insurance costs.
Don’t pay more than your car’s value - If your car was relatively cheap there is a good chance that a fully comp quote could amount to more than the value of your car - if that’s the case, think about choosing one of the cheaper types of car insurance.
Make your car as secure as possible - As with contents insurance, the more secure your car, the cheaper the insurance. Perhaps consider having an alarm or immobiliser installed - if you do this it is important to check whether the equipment you intend to install is approved by your insurer.
Avoid making any claims - i.e. don’t crash! - When you make a claim your premiums will almost certainly rise - by how much depends on a number of factors - because in the eyes of the insurance company someone who has claimed once is more likely to claim again.
Chase the no claims bonus - Equally, if you don’t make any claims in a year there’s a good chance that your premiums will decrease in size - this is called a no claims bonus and can save you a significant amount of money. If/when you move insurance companies you can usually transfer your no claims bonus from one company to the other, so you won’t forfeit the savings you’ve made.
Here are studentbeans.com’s top five tips for keeping yourself accident free.
Student Insurance: Travel insurance
Look for student specialists - For your average two week trip full of sun, sea and sand travel insurance for students is more or less the same as for anyone else, however there are companies such as STA Travel who focus exclusively on students and young people.
Gap year cover - However if you’re planning a gap year or similar, there are plenty of specific policies available to protect your belongings the world over. As well as the usual travel insurance cover, these policies also account for other mishaps that might happen along the way on long-term trips like these.
Things to look out for when buying travel insurance:
Single trip vs Multi trip - If you travel frequently it’s probably cheaper to buy annual travel insurance than paying per trip. STA Travel offer annual cover for £75, while their standard single trip cover (for a worldwide trip) is £48 - so it doesn’t take a genius (luckily, in our case) to work out which offers best value for money.
Specialist activities - If you’re one of life’s extreme sports lovers make sure your policy covers any activities you’ve got planned. Depending on the activity, including such things in your policy can significantly increase the cost - for example adding skiing to the above £48 policy from STA Travel raises the price to £61.
Keep it flexible - When travelling it’s very easy to fall in love with a place (or even person) and change your mind about where you’re going to go for the rest of the trip. Make sure that your policy accounts for certain amounts of flexibility.
Studying/working abroad - If you plan on studying or working while on your travels there are insurance policies available that cater specifically for this.
What to do when you need to make a claim:
Emergency phone numbers - In the case of a medical emergency which requires hospital treatment or if you need to return home urgently you should contact your insurance company’s emergency helpline to find out how to proceed. All insurance companies will have such a number - don’t leave the country without it!
Hold onto documents - Always keep hold of any travel insurance documentation you have - this should let you know who to contact in the event of a claim and what you’re covered for.
Get written confirmation of delays - If your flight has been delayed or cancelled make sure you get written confirmation of the delays from the airline.
Contact the police - If you are the victim of theft report it to the local police as soon as possible - most policies state that you can only make a claim if you have reported it to the police within 48 hours.
Keep receipts - Keep as many receipts as you can - they will make the claiming process infinitely easier.
Student Insurance: Mobile phone insurance
While there are no specific mobile phone insurance plans for students, there are still ways of saving money.
Don’t get sucked into expensive mobile insurance - Smartphones are now an essential piece of student kit (how else could you update your Facebook status half way through a night out?!) but insuring them, particularly through your phone provider’s own plan, can be extortionate.
There are cheaper options out there - However there are independent companies that offer significantly cheaper insurance. Helpucover, smartmiles, Protectyourbubble.com, betterbuyinsurance.co.uk, insurance2go and cover4students.com are just a few of the companies out there offering cut price mobile insurance. They will cover your phone for around £5-£7 per month, while the phone operators will usually charge £12-£15.
If you choose this option there are a few things to look out for:
Excess - Lower monthly premiums can mean you have to pay a large excess when you need to make a claim, make sure you check all the terms before you sign up.
Loss - If you rarely lose things it might be worth not protecting your phone against loss - this can significantly reduce how much you pay.
Replacement time - Again, read the terms. There’s no point paying less on insurance if when you make a claim you don’t get given a new phone for a month.
Claim frequency - Some policies limit how often you can make a claim.