Students res items pose insurance risk

24 January 2007 Personal Risk Services / Dave Grey PR

As the new academic year gets under way, it's important to be aware that there are a few insurers out there that do not cover the goods a student takes along to university residence.

And with the likes of expensive ipods, home entertainment centres, laptops etc very much part of the students inventory these days, it makes sense to check on your covers in this respect says Mary Mlambo, spokesperson for 'By Design', the short term arm of JSE listed insurance brokers and financial services group, Glenrand M.I.B.

Mlambo was reacting to a customers' complaint on a leading consumer website, claiming that she had been turned down for such covers by Outsurance, the major direct insurer.

"The customer was allegedly told by the insurer that items such as laptops as well as the contents of students' rooms are uninsurable anywhere in the market place - seemingly because this was regarded by the underwriters as a 'communal area' and notwithstanding the client's willingness to pay a premium, says Mlambo.

Comments from some of the major insurers tell a similar story. An A&G consultant confirmed the company does not cover contents in students' residences.

A Santam spokesperson said cover for a laptop stored by a student in a varsity residence was not available. However, cover could be arranged for such risks other than in res, he said - where for example, it was linked or 'supported' in insurance jargon, to household contents cover or vehicle cover.

On the other hand says Mlambo: "Although cover of this nature is not standard, certain insurers do offer it on request.

"By Design for instance automatically covers household goods and personal effects whilst any member of the family is temporarily residing in any residential building.

"The message here of course, is that expensive items such as laptops, home theatres, ipods, sporting goods and so on, all of which are commonly found in latterday students residences, will have certain restrictions. Laptops for instance must be specifically insured under the Computer section of the policy."

"Under all circumstances the insured must have an insurable interest in the items or items. If you are not sure whether any items are covered, always contact your consultant and never assume cover is in place."


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