Keeping it in the family - university time is business as usual for many parents

Friday 5 September 2014

• Three quarters of parents pay bills for children at university • A quarter of parents do food shopping for their student offspring • Three quarters (77%) leave children’s rooms exactly as they were.

Keeping it in the family - university time is business as usual for many parents

When teenagers set off for university, it’s a chance for them to stand on their own two feet and hopefully learn some vital life skills. But for many parents, children might be flying the nest, but that doesn’t mean they’ll have to fend for themselves.         

A Saga Home Insurance poll* of nearly 10,000 over 50s, shows that many parents do their children’s washing, ironing, cleaning, meals, and even their homework – even after they enter third-level education. The survey results suggest that British parents simply want to remain an important and useful part of their children’s lives – helping to guide them through a period of their lives that can have a huge emotional and financial toll.

Indeed, nearly three quarters (71%) of parents asked say they help pay bills racked up by their offspring at university. A quarter of parents happily do food shopping for their student son or daughter. More surprising is the fact that more than one in six parents carry on doing their children’s laundry, while almost the same number don’t mind tackling their ironing.  

Most parents (58%) admit feeling a mixture of pride and sadness when their children first leave home for university, according to the poll. It’s only natural then, that many want to retain a strong family bond by helping their children out in a number of ways and by making sure they are comfortable at university, especially if they are studying in another city. 

Continuity and maintaining a strong family bond are quite important to the Saga generations. The poll reveals that more than three quarters (77%) of parents leave their absentee son or daughter’s room exactly as they left it – when they set off for university – presumably so they can feel as comfortable as possible after returning home at the end of term.

The bedroom status quo is good news for students with musical instruments, large music collections and other valuables at their parent’s home. If there’s little storage room at their student digs, it can be reassuring for them to know that their precious belongings are safe at the homestead.

The majority of new students need not worry that there’ll be no room at the family home when they get back. A little more than one-in-10 parents asked, revealed that they plan to use their child’s room as a spare for visiting guests and relatives. Just 2% said they would use the room for storage.  

Roger Ramsden, Chief Executive, Saga Services, commented: “When a child sets off for university, it’s a landmark for any family. For the student, it’s a chance to make his or her way in the world, and for mum and dad it’s a time of mixed feelings as they see their child taking tentative steps towards adulthood.

“Many parents will go to great lengths to ensure their children don’t have to worry about clean clothes, paying bills and preparing meals. That means fledgling academics can concentrate on their studies. Taking out cover for children’s valuables when they start university can also provide them with peace of mind and allow them to enjoy their university life more.”


Notes to editors

 *Populus interviewed 9,918 Saga customers, all aged 50+, online between 18 and 24 July 2014. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules; for more information see

About Saga Home InsuranceWhen you are looking for home insurance, there are many things to consider – from the price and features of the policy to the quality of service that comes with it. Here are some of the reasons you may wish to switch to Saga:

  • Save up to 20% when you buy a policy online*
  • Up to £500,000 buildings cover and up to £50,000 contents cover available as standard. Plus higher levels of cover available through Saga TailorMade Home Insurance.
  • Your switching fees paid. If you switch to our Saga Home Insurance policy, we will pay any standard transfer charges applied by your current insurer, up to £25, even if your home insurance is not yet due for renewal.
  • A range of additional cover options.

Student Cover

Student Cover enables you to protect a student’s possessions while they are attending, or travelling to and from, boarding school, college, or university. We offer two levels of protection providing up to £3,500 of cover, including £1,500 for computer equipment and £350 for DVDs, CDs and other audio and/or visual storage media. 

Level 1

  • Covers contents at the student’s accommodation and whilst travelling to and from your home.

Level 2

  • Includes cover for personal belongings anywhere in the UK whilst at or away from the student’s accommodation, as well as a pedal cycle.

*26% of online quotes between April and June 2014 have seen at least a 20% saving off the undiscounted offline price.

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