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The United Kingdom has long been a popular option for overseas students looking to study abroad. If you are currently living in the UK as a temporary student or planning on visiting, you may have considered purchasing a car for getting around your area or for trips away. Whether you are borrowing a car or purchasing a car of your own for the duration of your stay, you will need to ensure that you have adequate cover in place.
This article will explore what you need to know about getting car insurance as an international student, licensing requirements and steps to pay less for cover.
Every driver in the UK is required by law to have car insurance. Driving without car insurance could lead to a fine, points on your drivers licence, or even the removal of your licence altogether.
The three main types of car insurance are:
Third party car insurance. This is the legal minimum level of cover in the UK and provides the least protection. This means you’re covered if you cause an accident resulting in damage or injury to any other person, vehicle, animal or property. It doesn’t cover any other costs like repair to your own car or medical bills if you sustain an injury.
Third party fire and theft. This type of policy offers the same level of cover as that offered by third party policies, but it also protects against loss or damage if your car is damaged by fire or stolen.
Fully comprehensive. If you’re looking for the greatest level of cover from your car insurance policy, you should consider fully comprehensive car insurance, also known as fully comp cover. This includes cover for damage to your own car as well as any damage suffered by others from a range of causes, including accident, fire and theft. This offers a more extensive level of protection than third party and third party fire and theft car insurance.
You are not legally required to get additional cover to third party insurance, but going without means that the slightest accident could cause severe financial stress. Scratching a more expensive car, clipping a petrol pump or anything else might blow your budget with a significant added cost.
With third party cover, it really only protects other people and their vehicle(s) if an accident is your fault. Everything else is your responsibility.
That’s why fully comprehensive car insurance is a popular option. The main cost is third party liability, which all the policies have, and a lot of the available discounts are for comprehensive cover only. To get a sense of the price difference, you can get a quote for third party only insurance and compare it to a comprehensive car insurance quote.
When you do, remember that there are ways to reduce the cost of car insurance, and that many of these will only be available with comprehensive cover.
See how the different policies protect your needs:
With third party only cover, you:
With third party fire and theft cover, you:
With fully comp cover, you:
Finder’s insurance expert Ronny Lavie answers
As an overseas student with a valid driver’s licence issued from your own country, you can usually drive in the UK for up to 12 months. After that, you may need to exchange your licence or even take a driving test in the UK.
Whether you can use an overseas driver’s licence after the first year depends on which country you passed your test in. Further information can be found on the British Government’s services and information page.
Lastly, circumstances can vary, so it’s always a good idea to should check for information specific to your situation and location at the relevant website.
The cost of car insurance varies depending on your personal circumstances. How likely you are to make a claim and what risk group an insurer places you in determines the cost of your car insurance.
These are some of the elements that can affect the cost of your policy:
Your car insurance premiums are the regular, ongoing costs of having a policy, but they are not the only expense. It’s also important to consider the excess.
There are many large and reputable car insurance providers. If you only get quotes from one, it’s likely that you will end up paying more than you need to for insurance. By getting a number of quotes, you can find the cheapest car insurance with the coverage you need.
There are a lot of different ways to reduce the cost of car insurance and make sure you have effective cover.
Some insurers have specialist policies designed for students. While these are still likely to be a little more expensive for drivers under the age of 25, specialised policies offer more tailored cover, so you are less likely to pay for insurance elements you don’t need. Insurers with dedicated student policies might also have different levels of cover, so that you can choose the one that best suits both your requirements and your bank balance.
To find out how much you’ll be paying, get quotes from multiple insurers.
Making sure you have the appropriate level of car insurance if you decide to take some time out of your studies to take a road trip around the UK should be your top priority.
Taking in all the sights under your own steam is a great way to travel. And with careful research and shopping around, you could save money on a policy that offers protection for you and your wheels at a price that’s right for you.
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