Student car insurance

We understand that students need to save cash wherever they can – including on car insurance. So we've analysed your options for getting cheaper premiums.

young woman looking through a car window

Young drivers tend to pay more for car insurance than older drivers, but that doesn’t mean finding affordable cover is impossible. If you’re currently studying or about to start university, there are several ways you can shave money off your premiums.

Find out how much it costs and how to get cheap student car insurance below.

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How much does car insurance cost for students?

The average cost of car insurance in London for drivers between 17 and 22 years old is approximately £1,300 per year, or around £1,000 in the rest of the UK. The specific cost of your student car insurance will depend on your age, location, driving experience, as well as the type of car you drive, and the level of cover you need.

Why is student car insurance so expensive?

In simple terms, car insurance is more expensive for students as they are considered a higher risk than older drivers. This is due to a number of factors, including a lack of driving experience and the likelihood that you’ll be involved in an accident. UK figures show that almost a quarter (23%) of 18-24 year olds crash within two years of passing their driving test.

As most universities are found in cities or other busy urban areas, student drivers are also at more risk of having their car stolen or damaged, which also contributes to higher insurance premiums.

How to get cheaper student car insurance

  • Buy a smaller, less expensive car. Choosing a modest car over a sports model or highly modified vehicle will save you money on insurance.
  • Don’t claim unless absolutely necessary. It might save you money in the short term, but it will wipe out any no claims bonus you may have and mark you as a risky driver, which increases your premiums.
  • Increase your excess. By agreeing to pay a higher excess, you can reduce the cost of your insurance premiums.
  • Don’t list other young drivers. Restrict the number of people who can drive your car, and preferably limit it to those who are over 25, with the exception of yourself.
  • Improve your car’s security. If possible, park in a garage instead of the street, and add security such as an alarm, tracking device or antitheft device for lower premiums.
  • Consider temporary car insurance. If you only drive occasionally, it may not be worth taking out annual cover.
  • Switch to telematics insurance. If you’re a safe driver, consider a telematics insurance policy, where a black box device is fitted to your car to measure driving performance. The better your driving, the cheaper your insurance.
  • Compare student car insurance providers. Always research a number of policies to find the best deal. Some insurers may even offer discounts or specialised cover for students.

Average car insurance premiums by age group

This is the latest available (2016) annual data showing premiums and claims for different age groups, from the Association of British Insurers.

Average premiums and claims

However, if you’re a good driver, you stand to pay less. And even if you’re not (yet) the world’s best driver, there are still ways to save. It helps to understand the factors that affect your premium.

What affects the cost of car insurance for students?

Where you live, the type of car you drive and your age are all key factors for insurers calculating your premium.

Other factors that affect how much your car insurance costs include:

  • Where you live. If you live in an area with a higher crime rate, you’ll find that your premiums will be more expensive on average.
  • Your driving record. If you’ve got a history of poor driving, expect to pay more. But if you’re a good driver, many insurers will reward this.
  • Where your car is parked. Keep it in a secure garage and you’re likely to have cheaper premiums than if you were to park it on the street.
  • Your payment frequency. Some insurers will charge you extra if you choose to pay monthly as opposed to annually.
  • Your chosen excess. If you opt for a higher excess, you can benefit from cheaper premiums. Just make sure you can afford it if you do need to make a claim.

What are my car insurance options as a student?

There are a few different insurance options available that may be more suited to students. These include:

  • Telematics car insurance. Having a black box policy can help you save on your car insurance. A telematics box or black box is fitted into your car and measures how well you drive. This information is then sent back to your insurance company who then assesses your premiums, taking into account your driving habits. This policy is a popular
    choice for young drivers, facing expensive premiums. However, be warned, a black box will monitor how well you drive as well as how badly. Therefore, if your driving is sketchy, your premiums could, in fact, go up.
  • Temporary car insurance. It is possible to get car insurance cover for a short period of time, usually between 1 and 28 days. This may suit you while you’re at home from university or if you’re visiting friends or family and need to borrow their car.
  • Add yourself to your parents’ policy. You could be added as a named driver onto your parents’ policy, as long as you’re not the main driver of a car. However, be aware that if you’re added as a named driver when you’re actually the main driver, this is known as “fronting” and is illegal in the UK.
  • Add a parent to your policy. If you’re the owner of your car, adding an older and more experienced driver to your policy such as your mum or dad could help to lower the premium.

What cover levels are available to students?

No matter how old you are, there are three different types of car insurance available.

To be on UK roads, all drivers are legally required to have at least third party car insurance.

  • Third party (TP). This is the most basic cover level and will cover you if you damage someone else’s vehicle or property, or injure them while driving. However, it won’t cover any damage to your car.
  • Third party, fire and theft (TPFT). If you are responsible for causing an accident, you’ll be protected for damage to other people’s vehicles or property, or if they are injured. You’ll also have protection against any fire damage or theft of your car.
  • Comprehensive. This is the highest level of cover and will provide the same protection as TPFT as well as insuring your vehicle against accidental damage and vandalism. It’s always worth checking the cost of comprehensive cover as it can be cheaper than third party or TPFT. The cover levels available to young drivers will also vary between insurance providers so check your policy carefully to ensure you have the right level of cover.

Dos and don’ts for student drivers

Dos

  • Do tell your insurer if your circumstances change, or the insurer might use this as a reason to refuse to pay a claim later on.
  • Do add a second responsible driver to your policy if you can, as this may help reduce your premium. But don’t nominate an older driver as the main driver if you’re actually the one who drives the car the most. This is known as “fronting” and is illegal in the UK.
  • Do drive safely at all times. A consistently safe driving record will help your no-claims discount and potentially lower your premiums.

Don’ts

  • Don’t lie to or mislead your insurer. If the truth is discovered, your insurance could become invalid and you could be left out of pocket.
  • Don’t modify your car without telling your insurer. Even then, it’s best to stick to legal modifications that will likely be approved hassle-free.

Bottom line

While students typically pay more for car insurance, you could still save on cover by comparing your cover options to find the best deal.


FAQs


*51% of consumers could save £200. Quote aggregator Seopa split the insurers on its comparison systems into different categories. It then selected quotes from the most popular providers as well as quotes from other providers which returned a price. It then selected providers, weighting them according to UK insurance market share (data from the Association of British Insurers), choosing the cheapest of either the most popular providers or other providers ("the cheapest selected quote"). Seopa then compared the cheapest quote on its system against this "cheapest selected" quote. The company then took the savings figure which 51% or over could have saved, using that formula. The savings you could achieve will depend on your individual circumstances and how you selected your current insurance supplier.
Please take reasonable care to answer all the questions honestly and to the best of your knowledge. If you don't answer the questions correctly, your policy may be cancelled, or your claim rejected or not fully paid. The offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of products we can track; we don't cover every product on the market...yet. Unless we've indicated otherwise, products are shown in no particular order or ranking. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations), aren't product ratings, although we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it; this is subject to our terms of use. When making a big financial decision, it's wise to consider getting independent financial advice, and always consider your own financial circumstances when comparing products so you get what's right for you.
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