Nearly half of all university students have a driving licence, but only about a third of students who own cars take them with them to university.
If you take yours, you might find you quickly become very popular with your carless companions! But there are some things you should do if you want to keep your car insurance costs down.
Everyone who drives a car must be insured, and it’s no different for students.
If you drive while uninsured, you’re committing a criminal offence. You face being fined and disqualified, and in extreme cases your car could be impounded and crushed.
You’ll also find it harder and more expensive to get competitive car insurance in future.
The cost of car insurance for students is typically higher than average because most student drivers are under 25 and are considered to be more of a risk on the roads than older drivers.
Students are also more likely to be new drivers, meaning they haven’t been able to earn any no-claims discount.
Even mature students may find their car insurance costs more than they expect it to, because simply 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 to pay more for your insurance if you want to take your car with you.
Car insurance providers don’t typically offer discounted car insurance for students. But there are several ways students can help keep the price down – not least by shopping around.
There are a number of ways of reducing the cost of your car insurance if you're a student.
You’ll still be likely to pay more than experienced drivers, but cutting the cost by even a small amount can help your finances stretch a little bit further.
The type of car you drive can have a significant effect on the cost of your insurance, as some cars are more costly to repair and some are considered to be higher risk.
You should consider cars with smaller engines and better safety and security features as these are typically the cheapest cars to insure.
Insurance for GTi/sport models and modified cars tends to be most expensive as owners of these vehicles make the most claims.
Most insurance policies come with a compulsory excess if you need to claim, but you can reduce your annual premiums by offering to pay a voluntary excess on top of this.
But make sure you can afford to pay this higher excess if you make a claim, and think about whether a high excess makes sense for you – for example, if your car is worth £500 you wouldn’t want to pay a £500 excess to get it repaired after an accident.
It’s likely you will be driving fairly few miles as a student, particularly if you live close enough to walk to lectures.
Take some time to work out the amount of miles you are likely to drive – you might be surprised at how lower mileage can result in lower premiums, as in the insurer’s eyes you are less of a risk.
If you’re a young or new driver, you could benefit from taking an advanced driving course such as Pass Plus.
Many insurers consider those with a Pass Plus certificate to be at a lower risk of having an accident as they have demonstrated proficiency in more advanced driving, such as driving at night or on the motorway.
Some insurers offer Pass Plus drivers discounts on their insurance of up to 35%.
The cost depends on where you live and how long your training takes, but the average cost is about £150.
Using the tips above, you should be able to get your premiums reduced while still being covered in the event of an accident, but the best way to save on car insurance is to compare quotes from different providers.
Telematics, also known as black box insurance, is a great way for students to save money on their car insurance.
It involves using an app or having a small device (the ‘black box’) fitted to your car, which measures the regularity and quality of your driving.
The aim of telematics insurance is to reward safe drivers with lower insurance premiums based on the reduced risk of them making a claim.
The black box can also place restrictions on your driving to reduce the chances of you having an accident.
And a black box can act as a location tracker. This is a theft deterrent, and if your car is stolen it’s more likely to be traced and returned to you.
Your premiums are likely to be lower as your car is considered to be safer.
Yes. Consider adding an older and more experienced driver (such as a parent) to your policy if they are likely to use the car occasionally, as this can bring the cost of your car insurance down.
But never put someone else down as the main driver on your policy if they aren’t going to be the most regular user of the car – this is a form of fraud called ‘fronting’ and is illegal.
Pay-per-mile car insurance involves you paying premiums based on how far you drive.
If you use your car only occasionally while you are at college or university, this could reduce your insurance costs. It can also encourage you to use your vehicle more sparingly.
Bear in mind that the cost of pay-per-mile car insurance is never zero, as there’ll also be a standing charge to cover your car against damage or theft.
You might not take your car with you when you go away to study – perhaps because you know you won’t be driving a lot or because you’ll have nowhere to keep your car near your accommodation. And it can be expensive to drive a car daily on a student budget.
But if you leave your car at home, you might be able to save on your insurance costs.
Even if your car will sit un-driven for months on end while you’re at university, you’re still legally required to insure it (unless you declare it as off the road with a SORN).
But if you leave your car at home while you study, you’re likely to have a lower annual mileage than the average driver. Take the time to calculate the annual mileage you are likely to cover and then tell your insurer, and this could cut your annual premiums.
Some providers offer special policies tailored for drivers with low mileage.
If your car is likely to be driven by someone else (a parent, for example) more often than you drive it, consider naming them as the main driver on your policy.
If they are an older or more experienced driver, it’s likely that your premiums will drop, but remember you’ll be able to build up a no-claims bonus only if you’re the main driver on the policy.
But never name someone else as the main driver if they don’t use the car more often than you, as that is fraud.