Family fears as students head off for uni

Article date: 15 August 2012

  • Driving dangers and personal security among top concerns

Fun, friends and Freshers’ Week might be top of any new student’s wish-list, but for their parents it all adds up to a whole heap of new worries.

With around a third, or 834,000, of today’s students estimated to become victims of crime1, research from Aviva reveals that parents are fearful for their children’s personal security - with 37% concerned their child may be mugged, 38% afraid they will lose valuable belongings and nearly a quarter (22%) worried about burglary.2

And being on the road only adds to the anxiety – with a fifth of students taking or planning  to take their own car to uni, over half of parents (58%) are worried about their children having an accident and 32% are concerned about them driving long distances and being distracted by passengers or their phones or music (30%).

Jonathan Cracknell, underwriting manager at Aviva, comments: “It’s only natural for parents to worry when their children fly the nest for the first time. Students are a high risk group when it comes to theft, and clearly safety and security are not the first things on their minds. But with the average student’s possessions running into thousands of pounds it’s important to take simple precautions to protect their belongings, whether it’s their smartphone, TV or laptop.

“Very basic measures, like ensuring your student room or house is properly secured and not left open for anyone to wander in, and not flashing expensive gadgets around when you are out and about will all help reduce the chances of being a victim of crime.

“On the road it is safety rather than crime that is concerning parents. Students will often be on unfamiliar roads and likely to have a car full of new friends, so it’s important that  they don’t get distracted and take care, particularly when driving in bad weather. 

“And with the cost of university education higher than ever this year, it may come as a surprise to parents to discover that some costs like insuring their children’s belongings and car could be cheaper than they thought, or in fact not cost them anything extra at all.”

Parents’ home policy could give you protection for free!
Most parents believe that their child’s possessions are worth £1,700 yet according to Aviva, the typical student has possessions worth £2,1003 in electronics and bikes alone. This includes expensive gadgets such as smartphones, MP3 players and laptops and means that parents may be underestimating the value of their children’s belongings.

But many may be surprised to discover that a standard household contents policy with Aviva gives £5,000 worth of cover for items “temporarily removed from the home” providing the son or daughter still lives at home outside of term time. This includes belongings in a student’s room, at their shared house or halls on campus, and covers them for all standard perils like fire, storm, flood, or malicious damage. Theft is also covered, but only if someone physically breaks in to the accommodation.

What about belongings outside student accommodation?
If parents want their child’s laptop, mobile phone and iPod to be covered when they’re out and about they will need to have additional Personal Belongings cover, but again if the parents have it on their policy, students will be covered automatically.

If not, Personal Belongings cover can be added to their Aviva policy from around £27 a year for £2,000 worth of cover, including £500 for cash, and a single article limit of £2,000. (The overall limit can be increased to £10,000 and individual items can be specified on the policy if worth more than £2,000). This means everyone in the family is covered anywhere in the world.

Student wheels
For those whose children will be taking a car to university, Aviva MultiCar insurance can help and could save up to a third on the price of the policy.4 MultiCar is available to husbands and wives, common-law partners and any relatives and will cover up to five cars or vans in a household.

Students with cars, who live away from their permanent home address during term-time, also qualify as long as their car is registered at their parents’ address. As well as one single renewal date and one set of policy documentation for the whole family, MultiCar offers the flexibility to keep each driver’s NCD separate and tailor cover for each vehicle.

Go to for more information.

Aviva’s top tips for student safety

  • Don’t forget to lock up… Make sure you remember to lock doors and windows every time you go out so you don’t leave your room open to opportunistic thieves.
  • Travel light… Don’t carry around belongings you don’t need, these are likely to be safer locked up at home.
  • Out of sight, out of mind… Don’t leave your valuables in full view when you go out, hide them away somewhere safe. The same goes for things left in your car.
  • Be discreet… When you’re out and about, make sure you’re not flashing your latest gadget; this is only alerting would-be thieves to what you’ve got on you.
  • Safe and secure… Park your car with other cars in a well lit and busy area and it is less likely to be targeted by opportunist thieves.
  • Check your cover – to avoid being left stranded and vulnerable on unfamiliar roads, students should consider taking out breakdown cover.
  • Don’t get distracted – while young drivers account for 12%5 of licence holders, they are involved in one in four road deaths or injuries so they should take extra care when driving with friends or on unfamiliar roads.


1 Survey conducted by Opinion Matters among 1,004 UK parents with children at or going to university away from home, 9-16 July 2012.

2 Based on the estimate by the Complete University Guide 2012 that a third of students in the UK are victims of crime (mainly theft and burglary). Total number of students in the UK 2010/11 was 2,501,295 according to HESA.

3 Typical student’s possessions

Typical student's possessions




Most popular mobile phone (Samsung Galaxy S3) according to


Most popular MP3 player (iPod Touch 8GB) according to Currys


Most popular laptop (HP Pavilion g6-1325ea) according to Currys


Most popular bike (Specialized Allez Compact 2012 Road Bike) according to Evans Cycles


Most popular 22” television (SAMSUNG Series 5 UE22ES5410) according to Currys


Most popular camera (Nikon Coolpix S3200) according to Comet


Most popular stereo (SONY BDV-E380) according to Currys






4 Aviva expects 20% of customers to achieve a third off when they add a second car. This discount will apply to the cheaper of the two car insurance premiums. Both cars must be registered at the same address. Saving compared to the cost to a new Aviva customer of insuring one car. Discount does not apply to optional extras. Minimum premium applies.

5 Reported road accidents involving young car drivers: Great Britain 2009, DFT 2011

If you are a journalist and would like further information, please contact:
John Franklin - Aviva Press Office 
Telephone: +44 (0)1603 680795 
Mobile: +44 (0)7800 692  110 

Louise Weaver / Hugh Murphy - The Wriglesworth Consultancy  
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7427 1400  

Notes to editors:

Aviva provides insurance, savings and investment products to 43 million customers worldwide.

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We are ranked as one of the UK’s top 10 most valuable brands and Aviva plc is in the top 10% of socially responsible companies globally in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index.  In 2011 we invested £5.3 million into our UK communities. One in three of our employees were involved in community investment activities which included giving nearly 33,000 hours. 

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