While there might be plenty of misguided stereotypes out there about student life, one that largely reigns true is the fact that our nation’s budding academics don’t have a lot of money to get by on. Sure, life might not be as “rice and beans everyday” as the traditional caricature suggests, but when it comes to disposable income for non-essentials, there’s no doubt students have a few spending decisions to make.
One non-essential that’s actually quite essential in life is insurance, but this can be one area where many students choose to cut back. If you find yourself in this position, choosing what types of insurance you do and don’t need can be a tricky problem to get right, and there’s no one size fits all approach to identifying the right way to go.
It all really depends on your personal circumstances, but when it comes to these three fundamental insurance areas, here are a few things to bear in mind.
Unless you absolutely need a car at university, the financially sound decision is not to drive. Car insurance rates for teens and young adults are easily in the range of £1,000-£2,000, so when it comes to a decision on car insurance, the simple answer is don’t get it unless you need it (or you can comfortably afford it).
However, things aren’t that simple for many, and if you rely on a car to get to your lectures, attend a job or for any other form of essential travel, here are a few things you should do:
- Always shop around – use price comparison sites to find the cheapest possible quote.
- Structure your insurance payment to suit you – if you can pay it off in one annual sum it’ll be cheaper, but you can also use monthly payments to spread the (larger) cost if you have to.
- Add elements to your policy that can lower the cost – a named driver, a telematics device, a pay-per-mile deal etc.
- If you can use your parents’ car – they should be able to add you as a named driver at a very minimal cost.
Whether you’re going away on holiday or travelling for an extended period to either see the world or study abroad, travel insurance is a bit more of a no brainer. For your average holiday, an insurance policy can cost just a few pounds a day, making it a rather cheap way of giving you peace of mind while abroad.
If you’re studying away for a year, it’s a slightly different kettle of fish but still one that is largely financially accessible. For international students, European and global travel can start at under £1 a day, which is almost certainly worth it given how long you’ll be away and the number of hiccups, albeit unlikely, that can potentially happen along the way.
As a side note, in most cases, it’s also usually mandatory for international students to protect themselves.
Shared accommodations with lots of unsecured rooms packed with possessions can be an easy target for thieves. Alongside that, student life tends to come with many opportunities for a dropped laptop, a broken phone or damage to any other pricey gadget you own. As such, it makes sense to protect them.
These days, mobile phone insurance is more or less a must have, what with you carrying your phone with you everywhere you go. Likewise, it’s tough to argue against laptop, tablet or any other key gadget insurance when those items are both expensive and potentially vital to your studies and general life.
Expect to pay somewhere in the region of £10 monthly for your phone. If you want to tie everything in all together, you can also look into home or contents insurance, which will cover all your major belongings against loss or damage.
When you’re thinking of how best to spend your weekly or monthly budget, insurance might not be the most exciting thing that springs to mind, but in many cases it should be considered an essential. When planning your spending, take a moment o consider your circumstances, what’s most valuable to you and weigh up whether you can afford not to insure it. If the answer is no, then unfortunately you’re best up coughing up a little money now to save you from a bigger spend later on.