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      15.03.2004 15:28
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      The majority of students that start University every year move into halls of residents or student houses having never lived away from home. Plenty have never cooked, ironing is something that mum always did, and paying bills?well personally I thought they were as big a myth as Santa himself. Once mother and father drive off into the distance, back down the M1 or wherever ?home? is, then that is it ? you are on your own. To be quite honest you were probably quite relieved to get rid of them ? the odd comment from Dad about not drinking too much and the you clearly saw mum put some condoms in that draw with your phone cards. The crazy thing about student life and those first few weeks is that you can often forget the little things; the TV license is the classic, but we all know that when you are caught without one they?ll give you a second chance. Then there?s finding and registering with a doctor; you fancy your chances of keeping clear of freshers flu, and even if you were seriously ill that?s what emergency appointments are for. Then of course there?s your home insurance; you might as well leave it till next week, no one would bother robbing a poor student anyway. On the last account, think again. Whilst the average stereotype of a student is old, unwashed baggy clothes, sitting in their house with no heating on and eating beans on toast, the common burglar isn?t so stupid. Oh no, he?s seen you pull up and move your new computer, DVD player, TV, a few hundred CD?s and another forty-odd boxes into your digs, promptly followed by your four housemates with similar items. In fact you and your four new found friends have just turned a simple five bed roomed house into a burglars dream. Could you help him anymore??course you can, why not all go out every night during freshers week together until the early hours, leaving the house empty. Ok, so I?m being pretty presumptuous that students turn up to University without insuring their possessions
      , but believe me some do. And just put yourself in the shoes of the burglar, it really is a big attraction. So for anyone reading this and thinking that?s me (the student hopefully, not the burglar!), do yourself a favour and get it sorted. For the first few years as a student my contents were covered under my parent?s policy (check this out, exactly what is covered and for how much ? a lot of terms and conditions apply) and so it wasn?t until my placement year that I found myself needing to find someone who will insure me. This was all new to me so I was quite pleased to find out about cover4students.com, an insurance website aimed solely at students. The website is actually owned by campus insurance and all policies are underwritten by the Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc, so you know you are in good hands. The company has been insuring students since 1980 and has grown into one of the leading student insurers in the UK. What I love about the site is that it is so simple; the few graphics don?t slow the site down and the layout just breathes professionalism. What could have been a daunting prospect for students of purchasing their first ever insurance policy is actually turned into a pleasant and comfortable experience. When you fist log on you are presented with a simple screen. The usual introductory piece of writing in the middle briefly outlines the company and why you need insurance, whilst the surrounding frames seem to have links for everything you are likely to need in the process. The main colours of the site are black, orange and white ? again very simple yet make the site appealing and professional. The first three options appear half way down the front page and ask you to click whether you live in a halls of residence, shared accommodation or looking to renew an your policy. Clicking on either of these links will take you through to the quote pages, which we will get to in a minute. The reason for this is
      that your quote will be calculated according to your living circumstances, and based on a risk factor. Underneath these links you have six bold headings with facts next to each. The first and third cover the company and its underwriters as discussed earlier on in the op. The second makes the claim that the company are the best student insurers and states they can be up to 20% cheaper than their rivals. This is backed up by the sixth one, which states they?ll give you a full money back guarantee if you find anyone cheaper. The fourth and fifth mention the benefits that they also offer walk in cover and don?t charge for a claim. The walk in theft cover can apply even if you leave your room unlocked, whilst other companies have been known to charge £25 for a claim!! Again all these points are clearly stated and use few long worded paragraphs that students would simply not be interested in reading through. At this point you can get a quote. To start the process online you can either click on one of the already discussed links or use the ?quote? link found on the top main frame. The next few pages ask you to input your details, including what you want to insure and its worth. The most important thing, as with any insurance form, is to make sure that the information is accurate so as not to invalidate the policy. Once you have input all the details you can click on the ?calculate quote? button and it will bring up a new page with the figure. As already stated the figure will be based on your living arrangements but also take into account the area ? so make sure you input the correct postcode!!! During this process you will also be asked whether you want basic or comprehensive insurance. At this point links are provided to explain the options but you should also think about any insurance that you already have and the actual extra costs involved. For example it might cost you more for the comprehensive because of your computer yet it may be old a
      nd worthless financially, or paying to insure the contents during out of term time when you?ll be taking them back with you anyway. The basic insurance covers you for a whole host of things (too many to list here) but include theft, flooding, damage in transit, etc. The comprehensive option is an extension of the former including extras such as cover during holidays, etc. After three pages of reasonably simple questions about which possessions you want insured and for how much, you reach the details page. On this page you have to fill in all the usual personal questions from date of birth and address, to course and University details ? on the whole it is pretty straight forward and no unexpected questions. Upon completing this section you proceed by clicking on the link at the bottom ?payment? which takes you through to the final stage of the process. The final page, as the link suggested, is for you to input your credit card details. The company use a secure software server that encrypts your details as they travel through the Internet. All major cards are accepted for payment. Once your card has been accepted you will get confirmation of your policy and then a copy will be sent through the post within a few days. The whole process takes less than ten minutes and I found the layout and simplicity of the questions make it really smooth. Each page also includes a ?completion bar? where each of the six segments is filled after a section is complete. Whilst this doesn?t speed the process up it acts as a guide to how far through the process you are. Every page carries the same frame (the outside bars around the page) and therefore you always have access to the home page, the about us section, the terms and conditions, the site security, the site map, the contact us page and a link for existing customers. Most are self-explanatory. The home page will always take you back to the front page of the website ? useful if you find y
      ourself lost! The ?about us? and ?contact us? pages are like most sites in that they contain details about the company (as explained earlier) and telephone/email/postal address details, respectively. The terms and conditions page is split into headings for anything that you need to know. It covers the different policies, complaints procedures and other security and company information that you might need. The site map just simply lists every page on the site, which is useful if you can?t find exactly what you are looking for. The final link is for existing customers and takes you straight to a page where you can make changes to your current policy, or renew your old one. Overall I can?t praise this site and the company behind it, enough. Both appear professional and understand the need to safe guard students through what is possibly an unknown territory. Gaining a quote couldn?t be simpler although it has to be done through the site, whilst if you are happy with offer you can purchase the insurance with minutes. Although you have to insure your contents for a year the company will give you the remainder of your money back if you cancel at any time. This is especially good for anyone who wants to start a policy from now but will be moving out in the early summer. As mentioned previously, the company claim to be cheaper than other company and their money back guarantee is quite reassuring. It is difficult to comment too much on price as it differs so much due to circumstance, but policies start from a meagre £16 and when I used the company I couldn?t find anyone to better the price. It is also important to note this in view of the fact that Endsleigh seem to have such a strong grip on the current student market. They seem to have got in with a lot of Universities and their representatives can usually be seen handing out flyers and selling policies as the new students arrive for their first day, not to mention that they also have opened branches on ma
      ny campus' up and down the country. I can?t exaggerate the importance of insuring your belongings, you probably don?t realise how expensive and precious they are ? and please don?t wait to be burgled to find out.

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