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Getting InsurED AT University

We're here to answer your insurance questions: from what you need, when you need it, and why it's important to have it

If you're new to the UK, you'll probably have a few questions about insurance – find out what you need and why below.

You should also make sure you bring important documents with you to the UK.

House and contents insurance

If you're staying with us in halls, the possessions you keep in your room will be covered by our hall's contents insurance. If you're staying in private accommodation, you'll need contents insurance of your own. Some landlords will also request that you have sufficient insurance to cover accidental damage to their possessions (including furniture and property).

For more help and advice on finding the right insurance for you, contact our student housing team by emailing

Travelling to and from the UK

We recommend that you buy travel insurance that includes comprehensive sickness cover for the duration of your studies to cover any travel that you may do between the UK and other countries. You should buy this insurance before you travel to the UK so that you are covered for your journey to the UK and any journeys to your home country or for holidays.

Working in the UK – National Insurance (NI)

If you're on a Student visa, you have the right to work in the UK alongside your studies, though there are limitations.

However, you'll need a unique National Insurance (NI) number to make sure that National Insurance contributions and tax you pay are properly recorded against your name. Employers will also require you to have your National Insurance number when you start working for them.

To get your unique NI number, you'll first need to contact the National Insurance number application line on 0345 600 0643. Lines are open 8.00am to 6.00pm Monday to Friday. The next steps depend on where you are from.

European Economic Area (EEA) students

You'll probably need to attend an interview at a job centre office. You'll receive a letter confirming your interview date, time and location of your interview – this will normally be in the nearest office in Southampton.

You'll be sent a list of all the documents you need to bring, such as your passport or identity card. At your interview, you'll be asked about your reasons for getting a National Insurance number and you will be asked to confirm your identity, that you are a student and your current address.

Students from the rest of the world

You'll usually be sent a postal application to complete initially. You'll need to complete the forms and return them within 1 month.

You can find out more information about applying for a National Insurance number on the UK Government website.

If you're an international (non EU) student, there will be restrictions on the hours you can work in the UK while you're studying.

You'll start to pay tax immediately when you start work, because your personal allowance is spread evenly over the tax year. You'll pay tax on earnings from full-time or part-time work, including bonuses and tips. For more information on taxable income, see the HMRC website.

If you need any further advice, our Careers and Employability Service will help. 

The NHS and private healthcare

For information on the National Health Service and to explore your options around private healthcare insurance, visit our healthcare page.