Beware Inadequate Possessions Cover Warns Karma Insurance

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As some 1.6 million students across the UK prepare to leave home and head for seats of learning, Karmainsurance.com is urging them to ensure their possessions cover is adequate when offered free by universities and colleges.

Brian Wright, MD Karma Insurance

A second year student in rented London accommodation would pay £4 per month, so contrary to popular belief, possessions insurance can be comprehensive and affordable.

As some 1.6 million* students across the UK prepare to leave home and head for seats of learning, Karmainsurance.com is urging them to ensure their possessions cover is adequate when offered free by universities and colleges.

Managing Director Brian Wright comments: "It's standard practise for higher education providers to offer student possessions cover within some rental agreements, particularly Halls of Residences. However, the cover is very basic and cannot match standalone specialist insurance - I've seen providers exclude accidental damage and laptops and hide this information away in their small print."

Given the majority of students want laptop cover, will be unable to fulfill policy conditions such as keeping their contents in a locked room, and are likely to accidentally damage their property, Brian believes the policies have limited value. He says, "You don't get something for nothing, but in this case, you may get nothing when it comes to making a claim. Everyday scenarios are excluded so students are encouraged to top up their policies and pay extra for cover which should be included anyway."

"A first year student living in Halls in London would pay £3.56 a month for our cover which pays out for the theft or damage of contents, including a laptop, without the locked room clauses," Brian continues. "A second year student in rented London accommodation would pay £4 per month, so contrary to popular belief, possessions insurance can be comprehensive and affordable."

Brian is also concerned about the number of insurers encouraging parents to include their offspring on their household policies. He continues, "It's a common misconception that if you have a good home contents policy it'll cover your child whilst away. Generally, there are exclusions on household policies such as forcible/violent entry and cover usually only applies to a student's room and not communal areas. Parents' policies require rented rooms to be locked, with a specific type of lock, which as we all know, isn't possible in many house shares. Even those in Halls forget to lock their doors on occasions."

"Parents should think carefully before they make a claim about the cost of their excess and the impact this will have on future household premiums," states Brian.

Karma is the only insurer to offer policies payable monthly and one of a few to offer discounted laptop cover and payouts in case of mugging or assault. As the policy is available on a 'pay as you go' monthly basis, students can cease payments during the summer when their halls of residences or privately-rented properties are vacant.

Brian concludes, "If the university or college is providing free cover, students must check the small print, otherwise they may get a shock when they need to claim. The majority of these 'free' schemes are supplied by Endsleigh who announced the closure of its campus offices this summer. Students however have not been left high and dry as Karma's cover will provide a cost-effective solution for all their needs."

*Based on figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency, April 2006.

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