One of the biggest financial problems with owning a car for a student driver is going to be the cost of car insurance.
With accommodation and general living costs already taking a huge part of the budget, adding to that a monthly insurance bill is going to be a large undertaking, and anything that you can do to lower the costs means more free cash for books, stationery, and (of course) beer.
Here’s some advice for keeping those insurance costs down:
It may seem counter-intuitive, but one very real option is to not drive.
If you are studying in a city with decent public transport, it may well be worthwhile ditching the car for the bus.
If you own a car and intend to leave it at your parents (or other safe place) while you are studying though, it must still be taxed and insured unless you apply for a Statutory Off-Road Notice (SORN) from the DVLA.
One of the reasons that insurance for younger drivers is so high is that the insurance companies don’t trust you to drive carefully.
By opting for black box insurance means a tracking telematics device is fitted to the car and reports on your driving habits (speed, braking, mileage, time of driving etc.) to your insurance company, so you can build up a level of trust with them that is otherwise lacking.
Black box insurance may make you feel like you are being watched, but it could save you hundreds of pounds a year on your insurance and is well worthwhile.
If you have a parent with a good driving history, see if you can add them as a second driver on your policy. Their good habits could well improve the level of risk you are seen as and drive down your insurance premiums.
Note that you should never lie and have another person as the main driver on a policy if that’s not the case – it is fraud and can result in fines and even prosecution.
It seems obvious, but if you consistently drive well, your insurance will become cheaper. This doesn’t help initially, but by building up a no-claims bonus over years you can save a massive amount on your insurance.
Do you really need to bring your Audi R8 to college with you? Maybe switch it out for a more insurance-friendly Clio or Corsa.
Sure, you are less likely to impress people, but at least you can afford to go out with the ones that like you no matter what car you drive!
You can always show them pictures of the hundred-grand car stabled in its garage with Daddy’s Aston Martin.
Keeping your mileage low is going to help on your insurance costs. If you are only driving around the city, your mileage should be well under 10,000 per year and that can make moves into lowering your premiums. Estimate your mileage for your new student lifestyle – don’t just assume it’ll be the same as it always has been. Remember to take into account the regular trips home to get your washing done!
Excess is the amount you are liable for before the insurance kicks in. An excess of £500 means any accident that would have you claim on the insurance is going to cost you £500 and they’ll cover the rest.
You can voluntarily raise the excess and your premiums will drop – just make sure you are happy with the amount in the case of an accident.
Don’t accept the first quote – do some internet searching and see who offers the best deal, then call them and try to get them to lower it.