Students targeted by opportunistic thieves

15 September 2015

  • Over one in 20 (6%) students has fallen victim to theft since 2014 – equating to over 138,000 students across the UKi
  • The average student now takes £2,300 worth of stuff to university with them, with some taking as much as £18,000ii
  • Official police figures show that mobile phones are the most common item to be reported stolen by students, followed by cash and laptops
  • Over half (54%) of students have no insurance for their possessions while at university

According to new research by the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), the days where the student essentials consisted of a notepad, stereo and a tin opener are long gone and modern students are taking more with them than ever. The average student now leaves home with almost £2,300 worth of personal possessions with some taking as much as £18,000 worth with them.

A large proportion of this is made up of technology, such as smartphones and laptops. Male students tend to pack more tech items, taking an average of £1,690 worth each, 25% more than their female counterparts who take just £1,340 worthiii. However the ladies tend to take more clothes, shoes and accessories with them, equating to £570 each on average – a third more than the men who take just £430 worth.

It is not surprising then that students are an attractive target for thieves. Over one in 20 (6%) students has fallen victim to theft since 2014 – equating to over 138,000 students across the UK. Official police figures show that mobile phones are the most common item to be reported stolen by students, followed by cash and laptopsiv.

Insurer claims data shows that there has been an increase in opportunistic thefts of small high value gadgets over larger electrical items. Small gadgets can be quickly pocketed and easily sold on to an unsuspecting buyer.

But it’s not just theft that students need to worry about as a lively social scene can also take its toll on a student’s possessions. Almost a quarter (23%) has lent something to another student who then broke it or never gave it back and one in twenty (5%) has had something irreparably damaged at a student party.

Despite this, over half (54%) of students have no insurance for their possessions while at university and a fifth (22%) have no idea if they are covered, leaving them heavily out of pocket should the worst happen. In fact, for most students the social side of university life far outweighs the practical side. When asked what their main concern is about going to university, half (48%) of students are worried about making new friends or getting on with their new flatmates. In contrast, being able to cope with their studies (20%) and managing their finances (14%) are seen as less important. However, unless a student can afford to replace all their things should something happen to them, insurance is an essential purchase.

To guide students through the world of insurance, the CII has created ‘Ciindy’ an impartial, online character to help people with any questions they have about insurance. Students can see Ciindy at www.AskCiindy.com, ask questions about insurance and view a free online guide about student insurance. The Ask Ciindy app is also available to download free of charge on the App Store and Google Play.

David Ross, director of communications at the CII said: “Going to university is a big step and for many it will be the first time that they have lived away from home and had to manage their own finances. Insurance is usually the last thing on a student’s mind but with thousands of students falling victim to theft every year, it can provide peace of mind should the worst happen.

“Ciindy has been created to make insurance more accessible to students to help them choose the right policy for them. Ciindy can answer questions about cover and provide free, independent and impartial information. And while she may not be able to help out with exams or the student union pub quiz, there is very little that she doesn’t know about insurance!”

Most popular items on students’ packing lists and their worth:

Most popular Item Male students average value Female students average value
1 Mobile phone/ smartphone £299 £287
2 Laptop or computer £696 £523
3 Books and study materials £167 £153
4 Clothing £435 £568
5 Toiletries £66 £81
6 Cooking equipment £80 £97
7 Other tech gadgets £350 £250
8 Jewellery £291 £307
9 Computer gaming equipment £341 £280
10 Sports equipment £188 £124
11 Bike £351 £144
12 Musical instruments £807 £579
Average total worth of all items taken*: £2,366 £2,255

*Not all students take all items listed above

For more information visit: www.AskCiindy.com

 

Contacts:

Vanessa Chance / Sally Walton, Redleaf, cii@redleafpr.com / 020 7382 4723

 

Notes to Editors:

Research conducted by PCP Market Research between 14 to 18 August 2015 with 500 university students.

Freedom of Information requests were submitted to all 45 police forces on 24 July 2015, of which 36 had responded at the time of collation.

 

The CII

The CII is the world’s leading professional organisation for insurance and financial services. Its more than 115,000 members are committed to maintaining the highest standards of technical competence and ethical conduct.

A robust framework of learning and development solutions enables the CII to support corporate partners and individuals across the industry. It ensures that all members comply with minimum standards and inspires many more to achieve advanced levels of technical and professional competence.

Follow the CII on Twitter, where you will be kept up to date with latest press releases, media appearances and expert commentary: www.twitter.com/CIIGroup


 

i PCP research shows that 6% of students has been a victim of theft while at university since 2014. According to https://www.hesa.ac.uk/ there are 2,299,355 university students in the UK. 2,299,355 x 6% equates to 137,961 students.

ii Students were asked to estimate how much their possessions were worth across 12 categories and the actual figure could be higher.

iii PCP research shows that male students take £1,687.07 worth of technology with them and female students take £1,340.40.

iv Source: FOI data. Analysis of data from 25 police forces of items shows that of thefts reported by students between 1 January 2010 and July 2015, the most commonly reported items are: mobile phone, cash, laptop or computer, driving licence/ ID/ passport, credit cards/ debit cards, purse/ wallet, jewellery, handbag/ holdall, camera, games console and bikes.