What if your child’s laptop was stolen before a big deadline and you couldn’t afford to replace it? Or they damaged their car and couldn’t repair it?
Sending a child to university requires planning, and organising the right insurance should be on your list. You might need to take out extra policies or you might already be covered – but here are some key things you should consider to protect your child’s belongings, car and health while they’re away.
The average student takes at least £2,100 worth of belongings to university, and it’s estimated that 1/3 of students become victims of crime – mainly of theft and burglary. Some halls of residence have contents insurance included, so check whether you’re already covered or whether to go for the options below:
Use your existing policy
Your child’s belongings may be covered by your existing contents insurance even while they’re at university. Our standard contents insurance covers £5,000 of items temporarily removed from the home, so as long as your child lives with you during holidays, they are covered against fire, storm, flood, malicious damage and theft through forced entry.
For extra peace of mind, personal belongings cover provides wider protection for items while they’re out and about. Combined with contents insurance this normally covers items including mobile phones and other gadgets for accidental damage, loss and theft wherever you are in the world. Check your existing policy exclusions to make sure that any items you want to cover are included in your policy.
Bear in mind that some items such as musical instruments (standard on Aviva's personal belongings cover) or bicycles may not be covered automatically even with Personal Belongings cover. Aviva offers extra pedal cycles cover which covers bikes worldwide.
Whichever option you choose, make sure you have your insurance in place before the big move, because statistics show that 20% of thefts happen within the first six weeks of term.
If your child is taking their car to university, it could invalidate their existing car insurance. With young drivers accounting for 40% of all claim costs, it’s important to make sure your child is legally covered. Here are five things to check:
Have you told your insurer your new address?
Keeping the car at a different location to that on your policy could affect your premium, and not informing your insurer could invalidate future claims. You may not need to make any changes to the policy if the car remains at your home address during holidays, but you need to let your insurer know.
What parking is available?
Parking arrangements directly affect your premium, so if it isn’t included at your child’s accommodation, look into what alternative long-term secure parking solutions are available. The price of insuring the car on the street could outweigh the cost of paying for secure parking, so once you know your options, talk to your insurer.
Will there be a change in use?
Consider whether your mileage and usage of the car will significantly change as this could also affect your policy. That could mean good news, as a change from commuting to social use might see your premium reduce.
Will there be a change in the main driver?
If your child is only a named driver on your policy, but is living away from home and acting as the main driver, your policy should be updated. ‘Fronting’ like this is illegal, and with a record number fraudulent claims uncovered last year, it’s better to be sure that everything is correct.
Can your child run maintenance checks?
Over 1/3 of drivers don’t know how to run safety and maintenance checks on their vehicle, so take the time to make sure your son or daughter does. And, as you won’t be on hand to go to their rescue, consider getting breakdown cover too.
To avoid problems with your insurance while your child is away, let your insurer know about your new situation, get acknowledgement in writing and update your policy as required. The good news is that price of car insurance for young drivers has fallen since the start of this year, so the premium you need might not be as expensive as you think.
If you have family health insurance, check whether your child is still covered while they’re away at university. Our standard policies do cover children when they’re temporarily away from home.
You may also want to familiarise yourself with the hospital list in your child’s new area, and remember you may be able to upgrade this to include more facilities if you choose.
Finally, look into the extras you’re entitled to from which your child could benefit. For example, our private health insurance policy includes access to a 24-hour GP helpline, which could be useful during the transitional weeks, and a stress counselling helpline, which is good to have on hand as they adjust to new surroundings, workloads and responsibilities.
Once you’ve chosen the contents, car and health insurance policies that are right for your child, make sure they are aware of their responsibilities for protecting their belongings and car. Even with insurance, they need to remain vigilant in their new city, whether that’s locking their bedroom door, securing their bike or keeping things out of sight in their car.
1. 1/3 of students become victims of crime. Use your existing contents insurance, extend your current cover or take out a separate policy to protect your child’s belongings.
2. Tell your motor insurers about any change in address, parking arrangements, usage or main drivers – failure to do so could invalidate your policy
3. Check whether your health insurance covers your child while they are away, and look into the services they’re entitled to
4. Make sure your child knows that, even with insurance, they are responsible for securing their belongings
NFPCBA0513 August 14