Sorting out your home insurance probably isn’t top of your ‘to do’ list when you first arrive at university – but if you want to protect your possessions against theft or damage, it’s worth looking into.
There to cover your belongings in the case of theft, fire, flooding and more, home insurance can give you peace of mind when in student accommodation overseas.
Applying for a policy can seem like intense ‘adulting’, often evoking images of endless form filling and complicated procedures. Luckily, insurance companies have created specific student policies to make the process as seamless as possible.
Do I need student home insurance?
If this is your first time living away from home, you may not know what home insurance is or why you need it.
Home insurance is basically there to do what it says on the tin: insure your home, as well as all the things inside it.
Before considering whether to buy your own home insurance, it’s worth checking your parents’ plan. Sometimes you will be covered under their plan even when you’re not living at home – this will save you time and money, as well as put your mind to rest wherever in the world you are.
If your parents’ plan doesn’t cover you, you should consider a student home insurance plan. They acknowledge you’re likely to be sharing with others, so you can find coverage just for your personal things or buy a house plan and split the cost.
This protects you against anything being stolen from your home, or damage caused by fire or flooding. If anything does happen to your possessions, you will be eligible for reimbursement by your insurance company up to the value you agreed.
It might seem like a waste of money, but it’s up to you to decide whether you want to take the risk and hope you’re invincible or accept that sometimes things beyond your control go wrong.
If you’re on the fence about whether to buy home insurance for your student digs, the following considerations might be useful:
- How secure is your accommodation? Are there security services that prevent non-students from entering the premises? Are there ground floor windows that could easily be broken into? If security measures implemented for you accommodation are limited, insurance is a good idea.
- How safe is your accommodation? Hopefully, your accommodation is safe, but low-cost options sometimes come with risks like dodgy plumbing and electrical wires – if this is the case, protection from fires and flooding may be handy.
- Are there many cases of break-ins to student houses in your area? Thieves sometimes target student accommodation because they know there will likely be laptops and smart phones inside. If you have heard of other students being victims, get insurance.
- How much are your possessions worth? If you have expensive gadgets that are easily replaceable, insurance is a wise move in terms of covering possible costs. Things with sentimental value are harder to replace – but it’s worth looking into their monetary value as well.
- How concerned are you? Even if you’re accommodation is safe and secure, you might still feel anxious about anything happening to your things. This is understandable since you’re far from home, and your possessions aren’t easily replaceable. If you’re worrying a lot, investing in insurance may give you peace of mind. You’ll know if anything goes wrong, you’ll be covered.
So now you’ve decided whether student home insurance is for you, you can determine what type of plan to go for.
What type of student home insurance should I choose?
There are many providers of student home insurance and many different plans. They range in what they cover and how much they cost, so it’s helpful to work out your priorities before shopping around.
You should consider:
- How much your possessions are worth – you should calculate how much your belongings are worth, or at least the ones you’d want replacing should anything happen. While your electronics may be the most valuable, you should also think about clothes and home comforts that could be lost in a fire or flood.
- How secure is your room/house – the more secure your room, the lower the cost of insurance. Do you have a lock on your bedroom door? What about your front door? Is there a gate or a porch? A house alarm? All these things will affect the cost of your plan.
- How many of you live in the house – if you share accommodation with other students, it can be more cost effective to split a plan between you all. But if you don’t know them or are living on your own, this may not be the best option.
Once you’ve worked out what you need your insurance to cover, you can begin shopping around. Price comparison sites are your best friend here, and it’s also worth dropping into your university’s financial advice centre to see what they would recommend.
What doesn’t my insurance cover?
This will depend on your plan, but as a rule of thumb, home insurance plans don’t tend to cover:
- Theft with no evidence of forceful entering – if thieves got in through an unlocked door or open window, your insurance company is unlikely to include the stolen goods. It’s your responsibility to take preventative measures, not the insurance company’s.
- External damage – most plans only cover damage caused from inside the house like internal flooding or a house fire. You can usually pay more to protect your things if you live in a high-risk area for natural disasters, but this is rarely included in the base rate.
- Expensive electronics or bikes not added on – you sometimes have to pay a premium to cover valuable items like games consoles and bicycles. This is because the risk is higher for the insurance company if these items get stolen – but it’s worth it to protect your valuables.
- Possessions beyond the price threshold – if the damage caused goes beyond the price threshold you agreed for your plan, you will not be compensated . It’s important to give an accurate valuation of your possessions to the insurance provider when you begin your plan to prevent this from happening.
A little tip on this #IndependanceDay: When they say they want to see fireworks in the bedroom, they don't mean literal fireworks.
PS: Home insurance doesn't cover fires started by sparklers.
— James Damron (@thepunkdroet) July 4, 2018
What do I do if I need to make a claim?
Once your insurance plan’s in place, you can relax and with any luck, you won’t even have to use it. In the unfortunate event that something goes wrong, you have the plan to fall back on.
Each plan will have its own unique terms and conditions for claiming, but generally, you will need:
- Proof of the damage or theft. This could be a police report, pictures of the accident or a professional note from the person who fixed it.
- A price evaluation of your claim. You will likely need to tell your insurance providers the exact details of what you’ve lost and the price of them. This is so they can evaluate how much they should compensate.
Study International understands that insurance and accommodation matters can be confusing when you’re studying abroad especially for the first time. Check out our help and advice section on the site, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions and we’ll do our best to help.