Don't Fall Victim to a Campus Crimewave

Article excerpt

Byline: Liz Phillips

STUDENTS are three times more likely to be burgled than other consumers, according to the Home Office.

And they provide rich pickings, as they take [pounds sterling]1,620 worth of gear away with them to university on average, say researchers at M&S Money.

But, as usual, Mum and Dad could come to the rescue. Four out of five home insurance policies include students' belongings when they are away from home as standard, says NFU Mutual.

The most common items to be stolen are laptops, followed by mobile phones and MP3 players.

Possessions worth [pounds sterling]54 million were stolen from students last year, says Santander.

Parents should check whether their contents cover extends to 'items temporarily away from home'. As long as your youngster normally lives at home, all family members will be insured.

But do make sure the limits in that section of your home insurance policy are large enough to replace expensive equipment if it is lost, stolen or damaged. You can always increase it if necessary. Some policies have unlimited cover, while others have strict limits.

M&S Money's top-of-the-range premier policy has unlimited cover, while Aviva has a generous [pounds sterling]5,000 limit. NFU Mutual has a limit of 15 pc of the contents cover, meaning if you are insured for up to [pounds sterling]40,000, the limit will be [pounds sterling]6,000.

Greenbee, soon to relaunch under the John Lewis name, has a standard limit of [pounds sterling]2,500.

You need to tell your insurer about belongings which cost more than your insurer's single item limit, typically ranging from [pounds sterling]1,000 to [pounds sterling]2,500.

Insurers aren't a pushover when it comes to making a claim; you need to show that your son or daughter took reasonable care of their belongings.

They must keep them under lock and key to make a successful claim for burglary, as insurers look for signs of forced entry.

This is a problem for students living in halls of residence or shared accommodation, where the front door might be left unlocked.

Instead of relying on others to lock up, try to ensure your child has a sturdy lock on their bedroom door and approved window locks. …