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A lesson to be learnt!

A lesson to be learnt!

It's that time again; students head off for university, mums and dads scratch their heads and look dumb struck at the sheer amount of money it takes these days to fund a student - and the resultant stress all round is horrendous. So, who would worry about insurance at a time like this? For someone who has paid the first month's rent plus a deposit and administration fees to the university, college, letting agent or landlord direct in order to move into the property, insurance is the last thing on their mind. However, the consequences of not taking out proper insurance can mar the whole living in 'digs' scenario. The rental deposit is often a bone of contention and having proper tenant insurance in place can help ensure there is not loss of the money paid over at the start of the tenancy.

Recent studies indicate that less than 1 in 20 tenants have any cover at all. Although a conventional home contents policy will give a basic degree of cover for most insured perils it is not specifically designed for tenants and there can be some major gaps in the cover you need.

Most specialist tenant policies will provide the tenant with cover starting from £2,500 upwards and will usually cover accidental damage that you may cause to the landlords fixtures and fittings, building and contents. If, for example, the student/tenant accidentally damages the carpet with a wine stain or hot iron (perhaps the latter is not a common accident for students!) or a work surface with a hot pan mark, these events will be covered. Usually the tenancy agreement will make the tenant legally liable for such damage and any damage found at the time of the check-out will be deducted from the deposit or security bond. If the tenant has adequate insurance these events will be covered, thus protecting your deposit.

However, if a tenant has a loss through burglary, fire, flood or other insured peril, which has damaged their contents and has no insurance for their personal possessions, they are then left with the cost of replacing the items themselves. Not easy when operating on a tight budget. Any items of personal property (clothes, furniture, computers etc) which a tenant takes into the property are their responsibility to insure. Most policies will give an option for basic cover which can usually be extended to cover high risk personal items – cameras, sport equipment, jewellery, clothes etc.

The average cost of a student burglary is said to be around £900. Not surprising when you consider the most popular items stolen are ipods, computers, laptops/computers, mobile phones and general electrical equipment. In reality, you can cover the replacement of all of this with proper insurance – and probably for around the weekly cost of a pint of beer or a glass of wine!

Other points to remember are to obtain a student exemption certificate for Council Tax – and be sure to make certain the TV in the rented accommodation has a license – the rules are complex but check them out as the fine is £1000 if you are in breach of the law!

So, it has probably taken an age to find a property to rent (halls of residence can be scarcer than hens' teeth) and parents probably feel more like grandparents! For the student however this is the start of an independent life and deserves to be enjoyed. Get the best advice you can – contact Westhill Insurance Services today and make sure that you don't learn the hard way!

Contact Westhill Insurance Services, today.

Posted on 6th September, 2010