The average student now lugs more than £2,000-worth of laptops, smartphones and bicycles to university but they are nearly three times more likely to be a victim of a burglary than a conventional family household. So what should they do about buying insurance?
Broadly, there are two options: get cover via their parents' existing home contents policy, or buy their own specialist student policy.
Using their parents' home policy is the cheapest (often completely free) option. But some parents will understandably be cautious, as a theft will wreck their no-claims discount.
If they have a standard policy with the one of UK's larger insurers, provided the student still lives at the family home in the holidays, they could automatically have up to £5,000-worth of cover for belongings kept during term time in student accommodation, be it a shared student house or halls on campus.
This should protect goods – including laptops, mobile phones and other gadgets – for all standard perils such as fire, storm, flood or malicious damage. Theft should also be covered, but only if someone physically breaks into the accommodation. So there's no cover if, for example, you hold a party during which your laptop goes missing.
If parents have additional personal belongings cover on their policy, items such as a laptop, mobile and iPod could also be covered when you are out and about away from your accommodation, or if you accidentally damage them.
But not all contents insurance policies are so generous. Some will only cover your goods if you are living on campus, in halls, for example, not if you live in shared accommodation off campus. Others will only cover items kept in your own individual locked room, not in communal areas in student accommodation such as a TV kept in the lounge in a shared house.
If you need to buy your own policy and are living in halls of residence, check with your accommodation provider what, if any, contents insurance is provided and included in your rent.