As a student with a limited budget, you are always going to be on the look out for ways to save money. Running a car while you're at uni can eat into that budget significantly if you're not careful.
In this guide, we'll explain why car insurance in particular can be expensive for students, and offer some tips to help make sure that it isn't too much of a financial burden for you.
In This Guide:
- Why is car insurance more expensive for students?
- How to get cheap car insurance as a student
- What to do if you don't take your car to university
Why is car insurance more expensive for students?
As a student, your insurance is probably going to cost more than what most other drivers would pay. There are a few reasons for this:
Younger drivers tend to pay the most for their cover. If you're under 25, you are statistically much more likely to be involved in an accident than an older driver would be. Higher risk means higher premiums.
If you live in an area where crime rates are particularly high (especially car theft), you'll find that your car insurance costs a bit more. With universities often in major town centres, and residential student areas often attracting thieves, your address could push up your premiums.
Related to your location, student houses are generally unlikely to have features like off-road parking or garages, both of which can have an impact on your premiums. Where this might go the other way is if you're in a student accommodation block that has gated access of some kind.
The younger you are, the less time you will have had to build up a no claims bonus. Since a few years no claims can means savings of a few hundred pounds, this makes a big difference.
How to get cheap car insurance as a student
You're probably going to pay more than other drivers (other things being equal) as a student, but that doesn't mean you have to pay over the odds. There are a fair few things you can do to keep your costs down as a student driver:
Telematics or black box cover
With a black box policy, your insurance provider will install a small telematics device in your car that records how (and how often) you drive. This is a great way to get cheap car insurance, as the more safely you drive, the lower your insurance premiums will be. Black box cover is often marketed at younger drivers and students as a counterbalance against the higher risk of accidents among under-25s.
Add a named driver
If you add a more experienced driver to your policy and make yourself a named (or additional) driver, your premiums can go down. If you do this, however, it is important that whoever is listed as the main driver on the policy is the one who drives the car more often, otherwise you might invalidate the policy. For more information, read our guide on fronting.
Only get the cover you actually need
Cutting costs with insurance too much can prove false economy if you get in an accident, but at the same time there's no need to go overboard and get all the bells and whistles if you only drive occasionally. Fully comprehensive cover is generally worth the cost, but you might not need things like breakdown cover or windscreen insurance, especially if money is tight.
What to do if you don't take your car to university
Another way to keep costs low is to leave your car at home during term time. You can keep your insurance policy running but make sure to tell your insurer that your annual mileage will be lower as this can lower your premium and help build your no claims discount.
You will need to keep your car insured, however, even if you're not driving it. The only way to avoid this it to register your vehicle as off the road with a Statutory Off-Road Notification ( SORN ) which will cancel your tax . You will then need to cancel your insurance separately.
If you declare your car off-road you cannot drive or park your car on a public road until you tax and insure it again. The only exception is driving your car to and from a pre-booked MOT . Driving your car for any other reason can lead to prosecution and a fine of up to £2,500.