Student contents insurance


Students in rented accommodation will only need contents insurance, not buildings cover.
Girl using her mobile in her bedroom

What is student contents insurance?

Also known as tenants insurance or renters’ insurance, this type of home insurance provides financial protection for your belongings while you’re at university.

University life often involves sharing accommodation with others, which increases the risk of damage to your things and, with lots of people coming and going, it can make the property you’re living in less secure.

Student contents insurance takes these factors into account. It’s designed to cover the cost of replacing your items if they get stolen or damaged in your student house or room in halls.

Young adult man stirring a steaming pot

Do students need contents insurance?

Students typically have expensive items like laptops, tablets and smartphones, so student accommodation can often be a target for thieves.

Research from Save the Student in 2022 shows that 7% of students experience some sort of burglary or break-in while at uni.

According to national crime statistics between 2018-2020, the student cities and towns where you’re most likely to experience theft and burglary include Aston, Bradford, London and Teesside.

If this happens to you while you’re at uni, having the right contents insurance can save you money and stress.

What does student contents insurance cover?

This type of policy covers the typical items you might keep in your student house or room in halls. So things like your gadgets, books and clothes.

Student insurance will pay out if something unexpected happens to your things - like damage from fires, floods and storms, or they’re stolen.

You can tailor the policy to suit your needs and add cover for high-value items like laptops, gadgets, bikes and musical instruments.

Policies don’t typically include cover for accidental damage or taking items outside of your accommodation, but you can usually add these as optional extras if you need them.

Student insurance cover options

Here’s what you can choose to include in your policy to tailor your cover:


Get cover for your gadgets anywhere in the UK and worldwide for up to 90 days. Gadgets can be covered for loss, theft, accidental damage and liquid damage. It can also provide protection for your digital downloads.

Personal possessions

Away from home cover usually means your belongings are covered if you take them anywhere in the UK and for up to 90 days worldwide. You can choose to cover your everyday items, your valuables worth more than £500, or both.

Musical instruments

Cover your instruments and accessories for theft and damage. You’ll also be able to hire a replacement while yours is being repaired or replaced.


While contents insurance will usually cover your bike at home, if you want it insured when you take it out and about, you can buy this as an optional extra. It includes cover for theft, loss and accidental damage and can cover the cost of repairs and replacement.

Room key cover

In halls of residence or a student house, you probably have a lock on the door to your room. This covers you for losing your keys. It’ll also help pay for a locksmith to get you back in and for replacement locks.

Tuition fees, coursework and rent protection

If you have to leave your course because of an accident or illness, this will cover the money you’d lose in course fees and rent. Plus, the cost of resits. It can also payout for reproducing lost or damaged coursework.

How much does student contents insurance cost?

According to our data, the average standard contents insurance policy costs £74 per year[1]. However, it will depend on a number of factors, including:

  • The location of your accommodation
  • How many people you’ll be living with
  • Whether you’ll be staying in a house or student halls
  • How much cover you need
  • Any expensive items you need to list separately on the policy

Need to knows about your policy

When you’re taking out cover for your student belongings, there are a few things you need to be aware of:


This is the amount you’ll pay towards any claim. It’ll be deducted from any payout you get. The higher the excess, the lower your premiums usually are. But make sure it’s an amount you could afford to cover.


Read the small print and check the exclusions so you understand what won’t be covered. For example, you won’t be able to claim for items left unattended outside your residence.

Single article limit

This is the maximum amount you can claim for a single item - which is usually around £1,500. More expensive items need to be listed separately on your policy to be fully covered.

Sum insured

This is the total value of your contents if you had to claim for everything in one go. It’s how much they’d cost to replace as new, not what they’re currently worth.

Accidental damage

Standard contents insurance policies don’t typically cover accidental damage. If you want cover for this, you can usually buy it as an optional add-on to your policy.

Wear and tear

Contents insurance is designed to cover theft, and damage from events like fire and flooding. You won’t be covered for damage caused by wear and tear.


You won’t be able to make a claim if your things are stolen or damaged because you haven’t taken good care of them. For example, leaving your bag unattended or your door unlocked.

Away from home cover

Student contents insurance usually only covers items while they’re in your room or student house. If you want cover when you take them out and about, you’ll need to pay extra.

Buildings insurance

This is your landlord’s responsibility. It’ll cover any damage to the property’s structure and fixtures and fittings. It won’t cover any damage or loss that happens to your belongings.

Unoccupied properties

Your policy will have conditions around how long your accommodation can be unoccupied for - usually around 30-60 days. After this period, your items will no longer be covered.

What details will I need to get a quote?

We need to know a few simple details to help you get the right cover:

  1. About you

    Including your age, name and email address

  2. Uni details

    Which university you’ll be studying at and the type of student accommodation

  3. The amount of cover

    Tell us about the cover you need and any expensive items you own

  4. Policy add-ons

    Tailor your cover with extras like accidental damage or outside of the home cover

  5. Security details

    Tell us what locks and security measures your room or accommodation has

How can I get cheaper contents insurance?

Student budgets are often stretched, so here are some ways to help lower the cost of your insurance:

  1. Make your space secure

    Getting the right locks and making sure doors and windows are secure can help to reduce your premiums.

  2. Pay annually

    Making a one-off payment rather than paying monthly reduces the cost because you won’t be charged interest

  3. Give an accurate valuation

    Estimating too much or too little for your belongings could mean you’re left out of pocket.

  4. Check whether you’re already covered

    Find out if you’re already covered on your parents' home insurance so you don’t end up paying twice.

  5. Build up your no-claims discount

    Taking care of your valuables and keeping them out of sight can help you avoid making a claim.

  6. Shop around

    We’ll compare policies from a range of providers to help you get the best deal.

When should I buy student contents insurance?

You should make sure you have cover in place starting from the date you’ll be moving into your accommodation. That way you’ll be covered from day one.

According to the National Student Accommodation Survey, nearly 1 in 10 students will experience a burglary or break-in during their time at university. Stats like these show that you can never be too careful when it comes to taking care of your possessions. Student contents insurance could save you thousands if you needed to claim for replacement items due to theft."
Ceri McMillan, Go.Compare home insurance expert

Frequently asked questions

If you live at home, your possessions should be covered by your home insurance policy if there’s one in place.

However, you’ll need to check if the single item limit is enough to cover your more expensive items. If not, these should be listed separately.

You should also check whether your policy includes personal possessions cover for belongings like your laptop, gadgets and smartphone. It’s usually possible to buy this cover as a policy add-on.

This depends on the policy. Student possessions may be automatically covered for damage or theft when they’re at uni if it includes cover for items temporarily removed from the home.

But parents should contact their insurer to see if this is the case for their particular policy.

However, making a claim for a student’s possessions on the main home insurance policy could increase premiums in the future.

There may also be conditions connected to the policy, for instance the student may have to return home at regular intervals for the cover to remain valid.

Some student halls come with contents insurance as part of the package, so you’ll need to check the paperwork from your university.

However, any insurance that’s automatically provided with halls normally covers a limited number of items and only when they’re in your room.

This means any items left in communal areas or that you take out and about with you are unlikely to be covered. You’ll need your own separate contents insurance if you want peace of mind that your items will be fully protected.

If you’re living in rented student accommodation, you’ll need contents insurance to protect your belongings.

Your landlord is responsible for the buildings insurance, which covers the structure and fittings and fixtures of the property. But insuring your possessions is your responsibility.

You can either take out shared home insurance, also known as renters’ insurance, or a separate policy that just covers your room and belongings.

Some contents insurance policies will cover your possessions if you take them abroad, but this is only usually for a limited time - normally between 30 and 60 days a year.

Whatever the length of your stay, if you’re studying abroad you should take out travel insurance.

This will cover you for things like sudden illness and injury, but it can also cover your gadgets and personal belongings while you’re travelling and staying away from home.

Yes, if you’re sharing the rental property with other students, you can either take out your own separate policy or get joint cover which will cover all your housemates in one go.

You may find that a joint policy is cheaper, but the downside is that it comes with a higher risk of a claim being made. 

If any of your housemates make a claim, it will increase your premiums when it comes to renewal and will stay on your record for around six years.

Report any theft, or damage caused by vandalism, to the police as soon as possible - your insurer may require you to do this within a certain timeframe, so check your policy details.

You should be given a crime reference number that you can send to your insurer.

Check the excess amount and that what you’re claiming for is covered on your policy. If the item’s not worth much more than the excess, your claim may not be worth it financially.

Remember that any claim you make is likely to increase your premiums in the future.

If you do want to make a claim, contact your insurer as soon as you can. You’ll need to provide your policy number as well as any proof, like photos and receipts.

Some insurers include cover for smartphones, so it’s a good idea to compare policies. If this cover is included, be aware that it only usually covers your phone if it’s damaged or stolen while it’s inside your property or accommodation.

If you want your phone to be covered when you take it out with you, you’ll need to add personal possessions cover to your policy.

However, if you’ve got an expensive phone or you’re on a long contract that you’ll need to keep paying even if your phone gets lost or damaged, it might be worth taking out separate mobile phone insurance.

This will depend on the policy. Some automatically cover gadgets like laptops, tablets and smartphones, while others won’t, and you may need to pay extra.

If your contents insurance does cover your laptop, check whether it includes cover away from home.

This extends the home insurance so your laptop and other items will be covered if they get stolen or damaged when you take them out and about.

No, buildings insurance only covers the structure of the property in case of damage from unexpected events like fire, storms and flooding.

So if there’s a leak in your rented accommodation, only water damage to the building and fittings would be covered - it won’t cover any damage to your items.

It’s up to you to take responsibility for making sure your belongings are protected with contents insurance.

Getting the right level of cover will make sure you won’t be left out of pocket if you have to make a claim.

To do this you’ll need to accurately work out how much all your belongings are worth.

Make a note of all the items you’ll be taking to uni - including your books, clothes, bedding, furniture, TVs, and gadgets.

You can also use our contents calculator to work out how much cover you’ll need.

This partly depends on the policy, so you’ll need to read the terms and conditions.

Some insurers will have exclusions in place if the student accommodation is left empty for longer than a certain period or if it’s a shared house.

And if you’ve got cover through your halls of residence, you’ll need to check whether there are any restrictions.

Looking for something else?

Page last reviewed: 07 February 2023

Page reviewed by: Jasmine Hembury

[1]The average price paid annually for home insurance purchased in June 2023 by type of cover. For buildings and contents insurance, it was £180. For buildings insurance only, it was £141. For contents insurance only, it was £66.