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Student car insurance

Compare car insurance and get the right cover when you’re studying.

Do I need car insurance as a student?

If you’re taking your car with you to university or college – or if you’re leaving it at home during term-time and will only be driving it during the holidays – you’ll need to make sure you’re correctly insured.

Anyone who drives a car on the road is required by law to have third party car insurance as a minimum.

This covers damage and injury you cause to other people, their vehicle or property. It doesn’t cover costs relating to your own vehicle.

car insurance for students

What are the different types of car insurance?

There are three levels of car insurance. It’s worth comparing quotes for all three levels of cover as comprehensive can often be cheapest, even though it provides the most protection.

  • Third party only

    This is the minimum level of cover required by law. It covers damage or injury you do to other people, their cars and property when you are driving. It won’t cover any damage to your own car.

  • Third party, fire and theft (TPFT)

    Also adds cover for your car if it’s stolen or damaged by fire.

  • Comprehensive

    This extensive cover includes everything included in TPFT as well as repair or replacement costs if your car is damaged or written off, even if it was your fault.

Do I need to insure my car if I’m not using it?

If you own and drive a car, you need motor insurance.

However, if you won’t be using your car for an extended period of time – for example if you’re studying away from home and aren’t taking your car with you – you do have the option to register it as ‘off the road’ with a Statutory Off-Road Notification (SORN). You can do this online or by ringing the DVLA.

Once your car has a SORN, you can stop insuring and taxing it.

You will automatically get a refund of any car tax due to you. But you’ll need to contact your car insurance company to cancel your policy and to let them know you’ve made a SORN. How much you get refunded will depend on the terms of your policy.

With a SORN, your car cannot be parked on a public road. Instead, it must be kept in a garage, on a drive or on private land. No one can drive the car when it has a SORN. The only exception to this is if the car is being driven to a garage for a pre-booked MOT appointment.

As soon as you want to get behind the wheel and drive your car again, you must tax and insure it.

It’s usually only worth cancelling your car insurance policy if you don’t intend on driving for a lengthy period, not just a few months. If you’re not driving during term-time, but intend to use your car when you come home during college holidays, for example, then it’s probably not worth cancelling.

You’ll stop building up your no-claims discount and cancelling a policy (especially if you do it frequently) can sometimes mean your premiums go up when you decide to renew.

Do students get a discount on car insurance?

As a student, you don’t get particular discounts when taking out car insurance.

But, like any driver, there are plenty of things you can do to help keep costs more affordable.

These include taking out telematics, or black box insurance. And being careful about the type of car you choose to drive. Smaller, less powerful cars, for example, usually cost less to insure.

Is car insurance more expensive for students?

It can be, because most students are aged between 17 to 25 and are classified as ‘young drivers’.

Statistics show that young drivers are more likely to have accidents and to make claims on their insurance. They’re therefore seen as more of a risk, so the price of car insurance policies usually reflects this.

Even mature students can see their premiums go up because they may be put into the student risk category, regardless of age and driving experience.

Prices are also high for many students because they’re often inexperienced, new drivers, so won’t have had time to build up many years of no-claims discount.

Where you live can also hike up the price of your policy. Universities are often in busy cities and towns, some of which have higher crime rates. Cars parked overnight on the street in these types of areas will cost more to insure due to these risks.

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How to get cheaper student car insurance

Our tips could help keep the costs down:

  1. Pay annually

    If you pay monthly you’ll usually be charged interest. So if you can afford it, pay the full amount at the start.

  2. Try telematics

    Black box, or telematics insurance, monitors your driving through a device installed in your car. Driving well and responsibly could see you rewarded with lower premiums.

  3. Avoid unnecessary extras

    You may be offered all sorts of policy extras – like driving abroad cover, or courtesy car cover. But only add what you really need, as extras increase the cost.

  4. Do an advanced driving course

    Taking an advanced driving course, such as the Pass Plus scheme, not only increases your road knowledge, awareness and safety, it might also result in lower insurance premiums.

  5. Pick a small car

    A modest car with a small engine might be all you need as a runabout. These sorts of cars are in lower insurance groups, which means cheaper car insurance.

  6. Add a named driver

    If a parent or friend with more experience drives your car, adding them to your policy as an additional driver might reduce your premiums.

  7. Avoid modification

    Cars that have been changed from factory standard are considered high-risk by insurers.

  8. Security solutions

    Keeping your car as secure as possible from break-ins or theft can lower the cost of insurance. Check with your insurance provider if fitting an approved alarm, tracker or immobiliser – if your car doesn’t already have one – could reduce premiums.

  9. Keep mileage low

    Insurers always ask for an estimate of yearly mileage when they calculate premiums. People who do low mileage are deemed less of a risk because they’re on the road for less. So, if you only intend to use your car when you’re home for the holidays and won’t be racking up high mileage, you could get cheaper insurance.

  10. Look up pay-per-mile insurance

    Sometimes called pay-as -you go insurance, this type of policy could save you money if you don’t drive much and you’ve been quoted high premiums as a young driver. A tracking device is fitted in your car and you get charged for each mile or hour you drive on top of a fixed annual or monthly rate that covers the car against damage and theft while it’s parked. People who drive less than 6,000 miles a year might find this type of insurance works out cheaper.

What details do I need to get a quote?

Getting a quote for student car insurance is easy. You’ll need to provide:

  1. Your age and driving history including any claims or accidents in the last five years

  2. Your car registration, make and model

  3. Details of any modifications

  4. Your estimated annual mileage

  5. Information on where your car is usually kept overnight

  6. The name and type of course you’re studying

Students typically pay more for their car insurance, mainly due to their lack of experience behind the wheel. But don't even consider lying about it to your insurer - that's fraud and could invalidate your cover completely"
Ryan Fulthorpe - Motoring expert at GoCompare

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