Protect your stuff in five simple steps

From laptops to phones, bikes and sports gear, students take a lot of stuff with them when they head off to university or college. And while you’re working out how to fit it all in the back of the car, don’t forget to consider how to keep it safe.

Accidents happen too, and the last thing you need on a strict student budget is to have to fork out for a new laptop mid-dissertation.

If it’s your first time away from home, you have probably never thought about insurance before, so answer these five questions to help you understand it, and make sure you’re not out of pocket if the worst happens.

1. What do you have?

You might think you don’t own much but even basic items soon add up. A recent study from Aviva revealed a typical student room contains possessions worth £3,259, with tech equipment and gadgets alone adding up to more than £1,750 on average. Sit down and list all your key possessions, along with how much it would cost you to replace them. Include all electronic devices, laptops, phones, headphones, bikes, instruments and any expensive pieces of jewellery.

2. Where will you keep it?

Insurers will ask questions about where you live and where your possessions will be stored, to assess the risk. Look into whether your accommodation has alarms, CCTV and security staff, the types of locks on doors, windows and garages, and whether your bedroom will be on the ground floor. There’s also no harm in asking your landlord or letting agents to improve security measures you are not happy about.

3. What cover do you need?

Contents insurance can protect your possessions against damage or loss due to theft, fire and accidents. Each policy is different, so you should check the terms and conditions before taking out cover. Also, it’s always worth checking whether things like your mobile are already covered under existing policies such as insurance you may have taken out when you got your mobile.

You may be able to get cover under your parent’s home insurance - for example TSB's Student Contents Extension covers contents up to the total value of £5,000 for policy-holders’ children studying away from home.

You should also check if your university offers insurance - some halls of residence have contents insurance included. If yours does, check it will cover everything you need to insure.

If not, consider what type of cover you need, for example, if you’d like to cover accidental damage and whether you want certain items such as a bike, phone or laptop insured away from your accommodation.

TSB’s Pick and Protect home insurance lets you choose the cover you want. Find out more Home insurance | TSB Bank.

You must be a UK resident and aged over 16 to apply. You must tell us about items over £1,000. TSB Pick and Protect home insurance is brought to you by TSB Bank plc and underwritten by Aviva Insurance Limited. T&Cs apply.

4. What will it cost?

There are two cost elements to consider – the premium and the excess. The premium is the cost of the insurance over a year and this can be paid upfront or monthly. The excess is the amount you need to pay towards the cost of replacing an item if you need to make a claim.

Premiums are lower if you agree a larger excess and this can be a tempting option but be honest about whether you could afford the excess if your laptop or guitar was stolen. If you can’t, the policy probably isn’t right for you.

5. What can you do?

Insurance gives you peace of mind, but in an ideal world you will never have to make a claim. So, make sure doors and windows are locked and don’t leave valuables lying around in communal areas. Invest in a decent bike lock, and make sure your stuff is security-marked - not only will it make it less attractive to thieves, but it’ll also be easier for police to track.

And theft or loss can have more than a financial cost - always back up essays and projects, so if your computer is lost or stolen, months of hard work isn’t gone with it.


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