A university education doesn’t come cheap these days – what with the high price of tuition, accommodation and ever-increasing living expenses – so the added cost of pricey car insurance is the last thing you want.
Even running a car as a student is expensive. Considering you’ve invested all that money in learning to drive, it would seem a shame to not take your hard-earned motor with you to university if you need it.
But don’t commit yourself to a budget diet of beans on toast just yet, as there are things you can do to make car insurance for students as cheap as possible without compromising on cover.
Car insurance for students is expensive
For new drivers between the ages of 17 and 24, a group to which most students will belong, the average insurance premium is £1,242 (December 2017)*.
The high price is simply because, as a group, students are statistically more likely to make a claim on their insurance than older drivers. The reasons for this are obvious – students tend to be young people with limited driving experience, and data shows they are more likely to be involved in an accident.
It could also be because students tend to live in areas with higher crime rates and so their cars are more prone to theft or vandalism. Plus, student houses are frequently burgled because they have laptops and other such expensive stuff.
There’s no getting around it, car insurance is a legal requirement for all UK drivers – no matter how tight their budgets may be.
This means that student car insurance premiums tend to be higher than average as the insurance companies need to offset the risk of paying out.
But there’s no getting around it, car insurance is a legal requirement for all UK drivers - no matter how tight their budgets may be. Students need to work harder than many drivers to get the best possible price for the cover they need.
How can I get cheap car insurance for students?
- Compare policies online: One of the most important things to do is to shop around for student car insurance policies. MoneySuperMarket’s quick and easy car insurance comparison service will tell you if you could save money and help you find the right level of insurance at the lowest price.
- Security measures: Invest in some extra security for your car if it’s going to be parked in a high-crime student area. Industry-approved steering wheel locks and immobilisers reduce the chances of your vehicle being stolen and a claim being filed, so they can lower your premiums.
- Telematics insurance: You could consider a telematics or black box insurance policy, where the insurer fits a small ‘black box’ to your car that measures how much you drive and monitors your driving style, rewarding safe and infrequent drivers with lower premiums.
- Size does matter: If you’ve not yet bought a car, bear in mind that more powerful and expensive cars cost more to insure because they’re more likely to be involved in a claim for damage or theft. So a smaller run-around will be cheaper to insure and less attractive to thieves.
- Named drivers: Adding older, more experienced drivers to the policy as named drivers can reduce student car insurance premiums, as the more drivers there are on your policy, the less time you’ll spend behind the wheel – at least in theory. Statistics show that 35% of younger drivers already have a named driver making their policy cheaper. However, you must never have an older more experienced driver ‘front’ your policy for you – but more on that in a moment.
- Pick the correct policy: Since younger, less experienced drivers started buying third party or third party fire and theft policies and then claimed after an accident, these types of policy have significantly risen in price. It might be cheaper for you to buy a fully comprehensive policy.
Pitfalls to avoid
Fronting: Setting up a policy on your car with someone else as the main driver and you as a named driver is a big problem.
It is known as ‘fronting’ and while it could earn you a much cheaper policy on paper, it is illegal. If you get found out the policy would be invalidated. Worse still, you could find yourself facing criminal charges for driving while uninsured.
Don’t buy too much insurance: If you’re only going to be using your car to visit home during the holidays, you might be better off getting temporary car insurance. You will only pay for the weeks or months you’re using the car, saving money in the process.
You must have insurance: You need to make sure you don’t fall foul of Continuous Insurance Enforcement legislation, introduced in 2011. Under the laws, you must insure any car you own unless it’s officially declared as not in use with a Statutory Off Road Notice (SORN) from the DVLA.
Anyone found with an uninsured vehicle not declared SORN can be issued with a fixed penalty notice of £100, and failure to comply could even land you in court and facing fines of up to £1,000.