Have you got ‘What if?’ on your kids’ university check-list?

September 20, 2006 (PRLEAP.COM) Education News
General living costs, such as accommodation and mobile phone bills, can be very expensive, to say nothing of tuition fees and the cost of textbooks and sports equipment. Then there’s the business of setting up a home-from-home – today’s student typically takes possessions worth £5,000 to university.

Debts of £24,000
The net result is a big red figure in the debit column. On top of the day-to-day cost of three to five years at university, the introduction of top-up fees this year means students can expect to graduate with average debts of £24,000.

Not surprising then that most students rely on the financial support of their parents in order to survive.

Despite that harsh financial reality, one item missing from the university checklist is likely to be: ‘What if?’

“Amidst the excitement of preparing for university, it’s not surprising that the last thing most students will think about is what would happen if their parents were unable to continue to support them financially”, says Hilary Wilkins, Sales & Marketing Director of SFS Group.

The likelihood of this happening is higher than most parents would imagine. A child or young person is bereaved of a parent every 30 minutes, according to Winston’s Wish, the charity that helps grieving children and their parents.

“Parents who routinely protect themselves against all manner of risks often fail to consider how their children could cope at university without their financial backing. It could mean considerable hardship for the student or bring a promising career to a halt,” says Hilary Wilkins.

‘Education for life’ cover
With the spiralling costs of education at independent schools and university, SFS Group is now offering an ‘education for life’ insurance package. The company, which has been providing insurance to independent schools, parents and pupils for 15 years, has extended its range of cover to include protection for students and their possessions as well as the families that support them.

The company’s University Life Insurance Scheme has been teamed with SFS Student Shield, which provides legal expenses and personal accident cover as well as all-risks protection for a student’s possessions.

“We have used our experience of insurance in the education sector to create a one-stop-shop for students,” says Ms Wilkins.

The company’s University Life Insurance Scheme protects the financial gap for children at university whose parents die or suffer terminal illness and can include a gap year. It provides benefits of £9,000 or £12,000 per year for up to four years, depending on the level chosen, and up to £4,500 per year during a gap year.

Worldly goods
SFS Student Shield, which provides all-risks cover, reflects just how much today’s students pack into their rucksacks en route to university.

“Many students – and their parents – would be surprised if they totted up the value of those possessions,” says Hilary Wilkins. “One of the things they may not have considered is how important it is to protect personal property, especially if they are living off campus.”

Larger items alone including computers and electronic gadgets are likely to be worth upwards of £3,000. When other items such as specialist text books and cars are taken into account, a student’s worldly possessions could be worth as much as £5,000.

“Our research shows that many household policies do not automatically provide all-risks cover for students living away from home. Student accommodation is especially vulnerable to burglary because it often contains small, valuable articles like laptop computers and iPods and students may not be as security-conscious as they should be,” she adds.

The cover includes room contents up to £5,000, items carried around by the student, or whilst in a car, and damage to a landlord’s or university property. Additional cover is available for valuable items like computers or bicycles.

The student policy is simple and easy to apply for. A major benefit is that it protects parents against escalating premiums on home insurance if their children need to make a claim. Additionally, because it is structured as a group policy, the policy is not rated on the individual claims history of the student or parent. And unlike other insurers, SFS Group does not operate a policy under which premiums are influenced by postcode.

SFS Group Plc, Crossways House, 54-60 South Street, Dorking, Surrey RH4 2HQ

Tel: 01306 746300 Fax: 01306 746301
E-mail: info@sfs-group.co.uk Website: www.sfs-group.co.uk

Hilary Wilkins

Contact details
Angus Cater
Managing Director
SFS Group
Tel: 01306 746300
Fax: 01306 746301

Email: angus.cater@sfs-group.co.uk
Web: www.sfs-group.co.uk

Hilary Wilkins
Sales and Marketing Director
SFS Group
Tel: 01306 746300
Fax: 01306 746301
Mobile: 07920 520599
Email: hilary.wilkins@sfs-group.co.uk
Web: www.sfs-group.co.uk

Mike Johnstone
The Outsourced Marketing Department (PR Agents)
Tel: 01279 657555
Fax: 01279 657565
Email: mike@tomd.co.uk