STUDENT GROAN: OVER A THIRD ARE VICTIMS OF THEFT WHILE AT UNIVERSITY
34 per cent of undergraduates are targeted by thieves while at university, with clothes and cash the most common items stolen
One in five (22 per cent) students don’t take out contents insurance as they think it’s unnecessary
Over a third (39 per cent) of students admit to pilfering themselves
With thousands of people heading off to university later this month, new research from MoneySuperMarket today shows students need to guard their valuables very carefully, with over a third (34 per cent) of undergraduates likely to fall victim to theft, be it burglary or a mugging, while studying.
Student housing has become a prime location for theft, with thieves targeting easily accessible, high value items. The research reveals that 34 per cent of students have been the victim of robberies in a shared house or university halls, with a further seven per cent of undergraduates stating they have been mugged while out.
The five most valuable items stolen from students are:
Money (17 per cent)
Handbags (seven per cent)
Jewellery (six per cent)
Phones (six per cent)
Cameras (six per cent)
Despite the high number of student thefts, more than one in ten (12 per cent) admit not doing anything to keep their belongings safe and 36 per cent never even lock their doors when leaving their house or flat.
Amid all this pilfering and poor security, over a third (36 per cent) of students don’t have any form of contents insurance because it’s ‘too expensive’ or they didn’t think they needed it.
Without the ability to claim for stolen items on contents insurance, students face inconvenience and financial hardship as they often lack sufficient funds to replace them. Those that take out a contents insurance policy (42 per cent) list laptops (58 per cent), televisions (37 per cent), clothes (35 per cent) and phones (27 per cent) as priority items.
The data also uncovers some more alternative items that commonly get stolen, including cutlery (16 per cent), orange juice (10 per cent), condoms (four per cent) and, in true millennial fashion, avocados (five per cent) disappearing on a regular basis.
Students also give as good as they get, with 39 per cent admitting to pilfering.
The top five strangest items ‘permanently borrowed’ by students are:
Loo roll (21 per cent)
Traffic cones (13 per cent)
Road signs (13 per cent)
Cheese (12 per cent)
Animals, such as cats or dogs (11 per cent)
Kevin Pratt, consumer affairs expert at MoneySuperMarket, commented: “Thieves are opportunistic and will often target student areas, as they know security can be an afterthought for some residents.
“With a large portion of thefts being spur of the moment, locking doors and windows and keeping valuable items out of sight from passers-by are quick and easy ways to reduce the chance that you’ll be targeted by thieves. If you live in shared accommodation, make sure you have a lock on your room door – you can’t be too careful.
“While there are a lot of things to think about when heading to university – often the first-time people have lived away from home – having contents insurance should be near the top of your list. With the average cost of contents insurance sitting at £76, it’s certainly worth looking into so you can have the peace of mind that your belongings are protected.
“Parents can also check whether their own contents insurance extends to protecting their child’s belongings while at university. It might be possible to extend the policy to include this cover, or it could be a consideration at the next renewal, when shopping around for the best policy.”
Visit MoneySuperMarket for more information on how to secure your possessions with student contents insurance.