With over 400,000 students planning to start university this year and an estimated 2 million preparing to return, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has put out a timely warning that even the most security conscious of students can still be victims of crime.

Given the NUS estimate that 1 in 5 students are victims of crime while studying at college or university the ABI is issuing five top tips to remind students what they should do to keep their possessions protected:

 Check your parents’ and university’s policies – it may be possible for an existing home insurance policy to be extended to cover possessions at university or there may be insurance cover already in place in student halls. Check to see if there are any limits on the value of your possessions and if so, consider taking out a separate policy. If you are staying in privately rented accommodation also remember not to leave anything valuable behind outside term time.

Shop around for the best deal – when it comes to buying any kind of insurance, it is always worth shopping around to find the best deal that works for you and ensure that the cover you are being offered is adequate.

Don’t leave valuables unattended –avoid leaving valuables like laptops unattended when you are out and about as this increases the chance of theft.

Consider marking and hiding your valuables – hide your valuables at home and when your room or property is unoccupied keep your valuables away from view. Security mark your valuables with your details or register them on, a police-supported national property register to help police identify them if they do go missing.

Lock your windows and doors – if you are moving into student halls, to minimise risk, remember to shut your windows and lock the door when you are out of your room. For those moving into privately accommodation, make sure your front and back doors are strong and secure, with good quality locks.

Laura Hughes, Senior Policy Adviser, General Insurance, said: “University is an exciting time for students. Thinking about insurance and if their possessions are protected, is often the last thing on students’ minds. However, given that on average they go off to university with possessions worth nearly £3,500, it’s really important that students take the necessary steps to ensure that their valuables are kept safe.

“Students moving into privately rented accommodation are all too often unaware whether the areas they are moving into are burglary hotspots. Ensuring you have the right cover and that your possessions are protected will mean you will have one less thing to worry about further down the line.

“As well as sorting out your home insurance, if you’re planning any trips abroad while at university make sure you take out the necessary travel insurance and follow the same tips to keep you and your belongings protected.”