Gadget insurance is being heavily marketed towards students, but it should not be framed as a suitable replacement for traditional contents policies.
Targeting students with home insurance is seen as a challenge for insurers. 38.5% of students aged between 18 and 24 who are not living with family have no home insurance (buildings or contents) in place according to GlobalData’s 2016 UK General Insurance Consumer Survey.
There were 2.28 million students studying in UK higher education institutions in 2015–16 according to Universities UK. Students are therefore a large opportunity for insurers, both due to the low penetration among this segment and the significant amount of technology they own.
On average, the contents of a typical student room are valued at £2,184, with technology and gadgets (such as laptops, phones, tablets, cameras, and TVs) accounting for just over half of this (£1,100) according to a recent study by Aviva.
Students and millennials are currently being targeted with gadget insurance policies. There is a perception that this demographic only wishes to insure specific individual items that are of the highest value and are particularly important to them (such as phones and laptops) while leaving the rest of their contents uninsured.
The market seems to be supporting a move towards gadget insurance and away from traditional contents policies for these consumers. Back Me Up – a policy designed by Ageas for millennials – allows the policy holder to insure up to four of their favorite items. And Trov has a proposition that allows customers to create an online locker of their possessions to insure only the items they want, when they want.
Meanwhile Protect Your Gadget – a comparison website for gadget insurance – has recently been launched by Comparison Creator. The service has already been taken up by Gocompare.com, and so is expected to facilitate growth in the gadget insurance market.
However, it is important to consider the implications of students only insuring their gadgets. This approach means around half of their contents are still at risk. And although gadgets are the items most likely to be targeted in a burglary, in the event of a fire or other claim that could destroy all contents these individuals will be left vulnerable.
Presenting gadget insurance as a suitable replacement for contents insurance is irresponsible. Insurers should instead be targeting students and millennials with traditional, all-encompassing home contents policies that protect all of their belongings.
By Danielle Cripps, General Insurance Analyst