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Student car insurance explained

Running a car can be expensive on a student budget, not least because insurance premiums are typically higher for student drivers. Read on to find out the steps you can take to save money on student car insurance.

Car insurance for students

How does being a student affect car insurance? 

The cost of car insurance for students is generally higher than average, as most student drivers are under the age of 25 and are considered to be more of a risk on the roads than older drivers. 

Students are also are more likely to be new drivers, meaning they haven’t been able to build up a no claims discount. 

Students are also likely to be driving with other students in the car with them so could be held responsible for injures to their friends if involved in an accident. Insurers have to pay out more to young people who suffer life-changing injuries, as the compensation must last their lifetime.

Even mature students may find their car insurance costs more than expected, as listing your occupation as ‘student’ puts you in a high-risk category. 

You may also be subject to higher premiums based on your new address if you’re moving away to study. Some university accommodation is in high crime areas, so be prepared for this if you want to take your car with you.

Don’t be tempted to change your occupation or address on your application in an effort to save money — honesty is always the best policy, as providing false information is considered as fraud.

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Is car insurance required for students at university?

It is a legal requirement for everyone who owns and drives a car to have at least third-party car insurance in place. This also applies to students who have a car at university.

Third party insurance will cover you for injury or damage caused to others, but it won’t cover you for damage to your own vehicle.

If you don’t have a valid student car insurance policy:

  • You may be given a fixed penalty of £300 and six points on your licence

  • Your car could be clamped, seized or destroyed

  • If your case is referred to the courts, you may face an unlimited fine and be disqualified from driving

Do I need to insure my car if I don’t use it? 

If you are leaving your car at home while you’re at university, or you don’t plan to use it while you’re studying, you will still need to buy car insurance. The only way around this is if you declare your vehicle off-road with a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN).

However, be aware if you have a SORN, you won’t be able to drive your car at all and you will need to leave it parked in a garage or on a driveway or private property – it cannot be parked on a road. 

If you don’t have valid car insurance or a SORN, you could be prosecuted.

Can I get short-term car insurance for students? 

If you only drive your car from time to time, for example to drive home for the holidays, you might want to consider temporary car insurance for students. 

This can work out cheaper than an annual policy and you can usually take out cover for between one and 28 days. 

Should I bring my car to university?

Even though running a car as a student can be expensive, it’s likely you’ll still want to keep your car — after all, you’ve invested significant time and money into learning to drive. Even if you don’t drive much while at university, your car will certainly come in useful for trips home or getting around during the holidays. 

One major benefit of keeping your car at university is that you’ll be eligible to earn a no claims bonus, even if you only drive your car for a few weeks of the year.

Do students get a discount on car insurance? 

Car insurers don’t usually offer discounts to students on their car insurance premiums. However, there are ways to lower the cost, such as paying for your student car insurance in one lump sum each year and choosing a higher excess. 

We explain more below.

How can I get cheap student car insurance? 

The cost of your car insurance will depend on where your car is kept during term time, but there are ways to save whatever you choose to do…

Pay annually

If you can afford to, paying for your insurance in one go each year will be cheaper than paying in monthly instalments when interest is usually added.

Pay a higher excess

Choosing to pay a higher voluntary excess – the amount you pay towards the cost of a claim – will also help to lower your premiums. Just make sure you could afford to pay it if you needed to claim.

Improve your car’s security

It’s safest to park your car on a driveway or garage overnight rather than on the road, but this isn’t always possible in student accommodation. However, adding security features such as an alarm or immobiliser can also help to reduce the cost of student car insurance.

Add a named driver

Adding an older, more experienced named driver to your policy is another way to bring down your premiums. Just watch out for ‘fronting’ by making sure you are listed as the main driver, otherwise you will be breaking the law and could invalidate your insurance policy.  

Think about telematics insurance

Choosing a telematics insurance policy can also help reduce costs. You’ll need to have a black box installed or download an app on your smartphone and this will then monitor how you drive. The safer you drive, the more likely you are to see a reduction in your car insurance premiums.

Shop around

Finally, it pays to shop around and compare student car insurance quotes carefully. You can get a quick student car insurance quote using the tool below.

Get a car insurance quote

See a range of car insurance quotes in just a few minutes when you compare with Uswitch