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Students across the country are gearing up for the start of university, in many cases packing their bags to leave home for the first time – yet many will forget to pack arguably one of the most important items of all. Home insurance is often underestimated, yet can be invaluable should the worst happen.
Research from Co-op Insurance shows that almost half (46%) of students surveyed don't have home contents insurance, while a further 8% don't know if they've got it or not – despite the fact that 21% have had a break in or suffered from an attempted burglary, and 29% worry about such events.
Many view the cost involved as a key barrier (34%), while lack of organisation is an issue for others, with 28% saying they simply haven't gotten around to it yet, and 13% not knowing how to get cover. A sixth (14%) presume, often mistakenly, that their landlord has it sorted, and worryingly, 11% said they'd rather risk it than take out cover.
This could be a huge oversight. After all, 40% of students estimate their contents to be worth between £1,000 and £2,499, while 24% think their belongings are worth £2,500 or more.
Little wonder, with 84% owning a laptop and mobile phone, while 59% have a TV, 55% have a tablet, and 46% have expensive jewellery/watches. And that's before games consoles (45%), sports equipment (20%) and designer clothes (24%) or shoes/handbags (20%) – it all adds up, and could be prime targets for thieves.
However, it isn't just protecting belongings from theft, either, as contents insurance also protects your possessions (or the value of them at least) from fire damage, emergency repairs and other kinds of accidental damage, which your landlord probably won't cover.
"It's concerning to see that as many as 46% of students don't have contents insurance, especially given the cumulative value of many of these properties, which are often made up of multiple tenants," said Caroline Hunter, head of Home Insurance at Co-op.
"Unfortunately accidental damage and theft does happen within student homes, and so we would urge students to take out home contents insurance, which doesn't have to be expensive but can often save a whole host of hassle and expense in the future."
Considering how much parents are spending on setting up the kids away from home, getting the right insurance in place is even more essential.
Additional figures from American Express show that parents spend an average of £3,662 during the course of their child's degree, with this whopping sum including everything from bedding and books to groceries and gadgets – and it can quickly ramp up.
Stocking up fridges with food and drink costs an average of £1,194 over the course of a university degree, and even this could be covered by home insurance (if you lose a freezer full of food in a power cut, for example). Then there's the £896 parents spend on electronics (such as laptops and smartphones) for their offspring, and another £516 on clothes and shoes, with this kind of expenditure potentially being entirely wasted without the right insurance policy.
So don't leave it to chance – if you're heading off to university, make sure to put adequate contents insurance towards the top of the priory list, and that way, you can be sure that your own expenditure, together with that of your parents, is as protected as possible.
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