Is it worth the risk?
As an insurer that seeks clarity from complexity™, we’ve done our homework on student accommodation, assessing the risk from an insurer’s point of view. Of course, much depends on whether we’re talking about newer, purpose-built student accommodation or, more traditional, regular houses often repurposed into flats. They’re two very different risks. The former being a far more attractive risk than the potentially more problematic, repurposed properties.
Mind the gap
There is little contest when comparing repurposed student property with purpose-built student accommodation as to which is the better risk. No, this isn’t a battle of near equals when you weigh pros v cons.
Purpose-built v Repurposed property
Here, then, are 10 reasons why purpose-built student accommodation are better risks for an insurer than repurposed properties.
Ten things to look out for with student accommodation
More comparable to an upmarket hotel, there’s much to recommend purpose-built accommodation from an insurer’s point of view:
- Purpose-built student accommodation has usually been built in the past five to 10 years – it’s newer and better constructed.
- Typically, purpose-built student accommodation will be owned by large, reputable commercial operators.
- Students in purpose-built accommodation will usually be given a pack which details obligations, rules, and consequences if they are transgressed.
- Often located in city centres, purpose-built student accommodation is equipped with a wide range of amenities.
- Purpose-built blocks found on university campuses benefit from the university services being in close proximity, with most operating card entry systems, providing better security against a casual trespasser. This makes them a better risk for insurers as opposed to repurposed housing, which often operate traditional lock and key.
- Smoking and the use of candles tend to be prohibited in purpose-built accommodation.
- Repurposed properties are often owned by private landlords with no dedicated maintenance team if anything goes wrong, whereas most purpose-built locations will have a 24/7 maintenance team on site to deal with any issues immediately.
- Rooms tend to have modular, en-suite bathrooms, minimising the risk of water leakage.
- All operators take damage deposits, but some actively seek reimbursement for damage from the student who causes it, rather than claiming from the insurance, thus lowering claims.
- Occupancy levels tend to be high in purpose-built student accommodation, often well over 95%, and including the two month off season – July/Aug – when they might be used for conference stays. Which means less risk of breaks ins and quicker detection of damage.
Student accommodation is changing. It’s in our interests to keep pace
The fact is, students today have greater expectations from their accommodation than they might have had in previous years. If budgets allow, many would opt for purpose-built accommodation that often resembles a four-or five-star hotel.
Architects, builders, and developers have recognized this fact, with the rapid growth of high-quality purpose-built student accommodation the result. What we deliver is the insurance to match.