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Insurance Tips For Students

student insuranceIt’s that time of year where thousands of students across the UK are preparing to move to, or return to University after the end of the previous year. One of the main things for students to overlook is their insurance policy. Some students assume that they are covered by their parents’ policy, some won’t even think about buying insurance and some will get confused and purchase a policy that is inadequate for their belongings. It is very easy to rack up a large contents bill when travelling to university, including possessions like laptops, desktop computers, mobile phones, expensive clothes and cars.

If you’re one of the lucky students who own a car, you should think about whether you really need to take it to university with you or not. You will have to change the registered address on your car insurance policy, and this could go one of two ways. Your cover cost may go down, but it is more likely to rise. A lot of student accommodation is based in busy city locations, meaning that your new postcode is going to come across as risky to insurers, meaning that your car is going to cost more to insure while you’re at university. Analysis from a top British comparison site has shown that car insurance premiums can vary massively across different university locations in the UK, with £650 being the biggest difference.

To illustrate these differences in car insurance, the cost of insuring a car in Glasgow was £1,368.28. Compare this to the cost of insuring the same vehicle at Bangor university, where the cost was only £801.36, a difference of £566.92. This shows the difference in insurance costs of a city area versus a rural area. Some students will consider ‘fronting’ on their parents’ car insurance by listing them as the main driver. This practice is illegal and is seen as fraud by the insurers. This means that you will be unable to claim if you’re caught in an accident while using this strategy. Kevin Pratt, insurance expert, said: “Many students will insist on taking their car with them when heading off to university and not think twice about what that might mean for their car insurance. If living away from home, university students should update their car insurance policy accordingly and weigh up whether any increased cost is something they can afford to pay at a time when they face huge expense. However, those moving from a ‘higher risk’ urban postcode to a rural campus might benefit from cheaper car insurance. It’s important the details held by your insurer are accurate as any discrepancies could invalidate your policy.”

Contents insurance is another important policy for students – areas with high student population are a prime target for thieves as students are known to be careless with their security while having a lot of valuables in their rooms, which is perfect for criminals. Standalone contents insurance policies are available, but you should check to see if you are covered on your parents’ insurance policy first before you go splashing out on your own cover. Studies have shown that the cost of your contents cover can vary by up to £70 depending on where your campus is located. Pratt added: “Insurance is probably the last thing students preparing to go to university are thinking about, but they shouldn't presume their contents will be covered by the landlord of their rented accommodation, or their parents' home insurance. Some insurers will add students to their parents' contents policy, however, this doesn't happen automatically and cover might be restricted, although it can be good value. In some cases the cost of individual cover might work out cheaper for students so it’s worth researching both options.”

James Savery, 02 September 2013

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