30 Jan 2014

Low levels of young people with insurance

3:53 pm on 30 January 2014

A study of students has concluded tens of thousands could face huge bills for liability over insurance events because less than a third have contents cover.

A banking lecturer at Massey University, Claire Matthews, found only 30 percent of the 269 students in a survey of student finances had their contents insured.

In a recent case, a group of Auckland students was billed $26,000 for flooding their apartment building after a coat hanger hung from a sprinkler set off the entire system.

Fortunately, one of the group had insurance cover for up to $1 million liability and they did not have to pay.

Dr Matthews says it is not just students - only one in five of 18 to 22-year-olds in another survey had their contents insured. She says while they appreciated the value of insurance, it was not a priority.

Dr Matthews says nearly half had car insurance, because they see vehicles as their biggest asset.

Union of Students Associations president Daniel Haines says students' low incomes make insurance a luxury they can rarely afford.