You've sorted out your course, your student loan, and where you're going to live. One thing you might not have on your 'to do' list is getting insurance. But if you have possessions that you care about and can't afford to replace, you should think about insuring them.
In general, with student insurance you will get the best deals from going to a specialist provider for students such as Endsleigh or Cover4Students. You can also try a price comparison website. But don't settle for the first quote you are given.
According to the National Union of Students, the average value of student possessions is over £2,600. This includes £1,200 just for electronic items such as laptops, phones and cameras.
In addition, young people aged 16-24 are almost three times more likely to be a victim of burglary. One in every three students is a victim of crime at some time or other.
Before you decide on a policy check exactly what's covered, as contents insurance varies from company to company. Some policies will offer cover for all your possessions including your mobile phone, bicycles, musical instruments or games console, even when you're outside the home, but others don't.
Look out for some policy benefits such as 24-hour laptop and mobile phone replacement but be careful if they charge a lot more for these 'add ons'. It's better to get comprehensive cover that you can afford on everything rather than pay more for so-called extra benefits on selected items.
Most of the student insurance policies offer new-for-old protection against loss, theft or accidental damage such as water damage, usually up to £3,000 to £8,000 worth of possessions.
With some other contents insurance policies you get indemnity cover, which is the cheapest type of protection covering only the current (second-hand) value of the item. With accidental damage you will be covered against accidents, for example if you drop your laptop or spill paint on your carpet. The more expensive 'all risks' cover will extend cover to all items you take out of the house, for example MP3 players, phones, cameras or jewellery.
If you have some higher value items (with a value usually over £1,000) you need to make sure they are included in the policy or if your insurer needs to be told about them separately.
Check the small print
Some policies require you to provide proof of forced entry (through a broken window or door) and will not pay out for a simple opportunist theft, for example when you are visiting a friend across the hall or if you have a party. However, the all-risks policies do cover all eventualities and are not that much more expensive.
There are a lot of 'walk-in' thefts in student halls (not necessarily by other students, often just opportunist thieves) so it might be worth paying a bit extra to have everything covered for all eventualities.
The main thing is to decide on what cover you want, compare the costs and then carefully check the small print.
If it's all too much, don't just give up - ask Mum or Dad to help - they've done this loads of times before (and might even pay for it if you ask nicely).
The National Union of Students website at www.nus.org.uk has information on applying for an International Student Identity Card, financial offers and its Graduate Extra card for students. These memberships will allow you to take advantage of discounts on insurance. But as the NUS endorses only Endsleigh policies, you should still shop around for the best deal.
On the Endsleigh website you can check if your student accommodation already offers you some basic cover for your possessions.
It's a good idea to register your valuables on www.immobilise.com so if they're recovered they can be traced back to you.