Going to university – what you need to know

Freshers’ week is in full swing in universities all over the country and undoubtedly serious matters are far from students’ minds.

However, without scaremongering too much, figures suggest that one in three students will be a victim of crime at some point during their college or university careers (NUS study).

Here are some tips to help ensure that you and your children don’t end up as one of those statistics:

Take some precautions

Buy a UV pen to mark possessions and a personal alarm

Use a steering wheel lock or a bike D-lock if you own a car, motorbike, scooter or bicycle

Make a list of possessions in case they go missing (you can register them for free at www.immobilise.com)

Try a timer switch for lights (a cheap one from a DIY shop will only set you back around £2)

Good quality door and window locks are also a good investment and keep your insurance premiums down

Insurance

Given the stats, you should make sure that you have contents insurance.

A lot of university halls will already offer a basic level of insurance. However, this free student insurance may only cover a limited amount of items and normally they must be in the student’s room at the time of the crime, with doors and windows fully secured. So, for example, if a laptop is left in a communal area and it’s stolen, it might not be covered.

It’s also always worth checking if students are covered under their parents’ contents insurance policy. If this isn’t the case, it might be worth calling up and asking for a quote to be added on, as it could work out cheaper than a completely separate policy.

Some items may cost extra to protect – Students often own plenty of items which are attractive to thieves, averaging around £800-£1000 (MP3, phones, laptops etc.) High value goods may need adding as separate items on top of your contents insurance policy, particularly if they are often taken outside student accommodation.

Your local A-Plan branch can of course advise if you want more information or a quote.

Cyber Crime

Crime is not just something to think about in terms of your physical possessions. Cybercrime and online fraud is a real and growing threat to young people, particularly given how prevalent using the internet is in those under 25. It is worth keeping the following in mind:

4 steps to cyber safety
1. Use a secure computer – get virus protection and a firewall installed and avoid using public computers for shopping online. Take care with emails – don’t open attachments or click links if you aren’t sure of their origin.
2. Only shop on secure websites – look for https:// sites rather than http://. Also, a small padlock symbol should appear on the bottom of your browser.
3. Keep your identity safe – PINs and passwords should be kept private and be wary of sharing with any third party claiming to be from your bank or credit card company
4. Keep a record of any online transactions so you can check against your bills and bank statements

There is more advice online: www.actionfraud.org.uk/

We hope you enjoy this exciting time and these issues don’t trouble you. However, iff you do end up as an unfortunate victim of crime, rest assured that your A-Plan branch is here to help with any claim.

Sources: www.nus.org.uk, www.homeoffice.gov.uk, Bournemouth University, www.savethestudent.org