As a student are your valuables protected?

Image by Joe R Fiorellom

Although students are often broke, they do tend to own some expensive items like laptops, smartphones, and MP3 players. Student accommodation tends to be cheap, meaning home security can be poor, and often many students share one dwelling. A student flat housing four could contain around £8,000 of electronics.

These reasons make student homes a prime target for burglary, and no matter how good you are at money management, it won't help you if your stuff is stolen. The following tips are designed to help you keep your expensive belongings secure:

  • Lock all doors and windows whenever you leave the flat. If your flatmates are not in, check their windows are closed and locked if possible too.
  • Think about the security of your accommodation when you move in and express any concerns immediately to your landlord or the appropriate authority if you are in halls of residence.
  • Speak to your landlord or equivalent about replacing any locks that look old or breakable.
  • If you are leaving your valuables unattended, keep them out of sight. If you don't need to have them out, put them away in case you forget later.
  • Try not to draw attention to valuable possessions when in public or around campus.
  • Wherever possible, write your student ID number and University initials on your belongings. This will help police return stolen items to you if they are found, and will make the items harder for burglars to sell.
  • If there are other people visiting your flat, lock expensive items away. Even if you know and trust your guests, this will help avoid accidental damage as well as foiling sticky fingers.
  • Never leave cash lying out.
  • If possible, keep your TV or games consoles somewhere they can't be seen through the window, especially if you live on the ground floor.

Contents Insurance

While these tips will keep your belongings safer, there will always be some risk, and you should have contents insurance for your most expensive items.

  • Write an inventory of all the possessions you'd like protected and total up how much everything is worth. This will let you know how much insurance cover you need.
  • Does your parents' home insurance policy cover your possessions away from home? A lot of policies will, but read the terms carefully in case you are excluded in the small print.
  • If you think you're covered by your parents' insurance, find out what the excess is on the policy. The excess is the amount you have to pay yourself when making a claim, and if it's too high you might want to take out your own policy.
  • Ask your landlord or halls of residence authority whether they already have home insurance or buildings insurance, what that covers in terms of your possessions, and what is the excess associated with making a claim.
  • If you have an existing policy, check your terms for details about door locks. Your student accommodation might have a different type of lock than you do at home.
  • If you do choose take out your own policy, in the interest of saving money, use price comparison sites to find the best deal.
  • Consider getting personal possessions insurance if your items are not covered away from home. Sometimes this is available as a “bolt on” with contents insurance policies.
  • Laptops and items of high value will usually have to be mentioned specifically on your policy, or they might not be covered.
  • It's pretty common for student parties to get a bit wild, so make sure your policy covers your for accidental damage as well as theft and damage by fire or water.
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