Student Finance

Student Car Insurance

Ben Maples  · Feb 13th 2023

Most students who go to university tend not to take a car with them, but those that do are often worried about their student car insurance.


Taking a car to university can be something of a double-edged sword for students; for some, it is a chance to be able to head around their new cities without any impediments, for others, it’s a chance to have their car seconded by people looking for lifts here, there and everywhere.

Whether you take your car to university or leave it at home, student car insurance is a requirement.

Student insurance car

What is car insurance?

Car insurance is cover for your car. Car insurance works the same way as any other insurance, which is there to work as a safety net for people if their car is stolen, vandalised, involved in an accident or catches fire.

When it comes to cars, car insurance exists to provide you with financial cover if you find yourself causing damage to another car and can provide you with legal or financial cover in the event of an accident.

Do you need student car insurance?

Yes, student car insurance is a requirement in the United Kingdom. Driving without car insurance is a really good way of landing yourself in a lot of trouble.

Driving a car without car insurance, can land you a fine of £1,000 and you can also have your vehicle seized or destroyed. There is also a possibility of a fixed penalty of £300 or have your vehicle, impounded, destroyed or wheel-clamped.

If your car is registered as an “in-trade” vehicle with the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVLA), then you will not need to take out any car insurance, but as a student it is very unlikely that your car will be in-trade and will therefore require student car insurance.

How does student car insurance keep you protected?

Car insurance covers any financial losses that you may incur and will also be able to provide you with legal cover. Any accidents you cause will be covered by your company insurance, assuming you have a set excess, that is all you have to pay.

Your premiums are something to keep an eye on, as well as your no-claims bonus, both of which are affected by too many claims, the former will increase the more claims you have on it.

A Pass Plus Test (PPT) is a practical training course and takes six hours to complete.

What is a No-Claims Bonus?

A no-claims bonus (NCB) (sometimes referred to as a no claims discount) is a count of the number of years that you haven't made a claim on your car insurance. Your bonus is measured in years, the longer you have a no-claims bonus, the bigger your student discount car insurance will be in future car insurance renewals.

You can only claim up to five years no-claims bonus, no more. Some claims are not always reported on your insurance and will not affect your no-claims bonus, though it depends on the severity of the claim.

Some insurers operate differently to others, for some, a claim results in an immediate nullification of your no-claims bonus, for others, it merely means that you will only have a year removed from your insurance.

What is car insurance excess?

Car insurance excess is a set amount of money that you (the driver) are required to pay when and if you ever make a car insurance claim. It is generally considered to be a contribution towards any costs from your end towards whatever the insurance company also pays out.

There are two kinds of excesses that are common in car insurance:

  • Compulsory excess: This is an amount set by the insurance company that the driver is required to pay whenever there is a claim. Compulsory excess is usually based on your age, experience and the vehicle you drive. Compulsory excess does not always appear on a car insurance policy.
  • Voluntary excess: This is an optional amount of money that you can add on top of any compulsory (if you have it) and can reduce the price of any car insurance premium.

Make sure you check, double-check and triple-check your car insurance policy, because the excess total may be one large amount or two separate amounts, as each insurer displays it differently.

What is excess insurance?

Excess insurance is insurance that sits alongside your car insurance and covers any excess that you may pay in the event of a claim.

You will still be required to pay the excess on your overall car insurance policy, but the excess insurance will mean that you will get some, if not all of the money back.

Excess insurance is not a requirement and should be weighed up in a cost vs. return sum. If the excess insurance won’t save you a great deal of money, then it may not be worthwhile, so make sure you weigh up all the different variables involved in the insurance before you decide to take it out.

Car insurance student

What is windscreen excess?

Some insurers have been known to charge a different and usually smaller excess for your windscreen, in the event of it being damaged or broken.

If your windscreen can be repaired rather than replaced, then there is a chance that the excess will be waived entirely, however, this all depends on the insurance company and their regulations regarding the windscreen.

What are the types of car insurance available?

There are a number of different car insurance varieties available. Some insurance companies offer more comprehensive cover than others and the contents of each insurer’s cover will differ depending on who you use.

These are the most common car insurance types available:

Type Main features Suitable for
Comprehensive This usually covers your car, your passengers and sometimes your property too. It usually protects you against vandalism and theft as well. May allow you to drive other cars too. Most drivers.
Third Party, Fire and Theft (TPFT) Covers any third parties involved in an accident and also provides you with protection for your car in the event of theft or fire damage. Anyone looking for a cheaper policy. Price depends on the insurance provider.
Third Party Basic level car insurance cover. Covers injury liability to others and any damage to third party property only. This is the minimum cover required in the UK. People who do not drive frequently or are looking for a cheap policy. Price depends on the insurance provider.

The prices for these individual car insurance types depend on your own history and no-claims bonus and will also depend on the underwriter’s own pricing criteria.

The other types of car insurance available for students are:

Type Main features Suitable for
Multi-car insurance Enables you to be covered on multiple cars. Essentially covers the driver, not the car. Families and couples.
Black Box insurance (sometimes known as Telematics Car insurance) Places a black box in the electrical outlets in the car that monitors your driving behaviour and restricts the hours you can be out at night. Is mainly used for new drivers. Young or new drivers or those looking for exceptionally cheap car insurance.
Young driver car insurance Cover for younger drivers. Young drivers.
Learner Car insurance Car insurance that is designed to cover your car while you start learning and covers you until you pass your driving test (generally only lasts a year though). Learner drivers of all ages (generally recommended for younger drivers).
Short-term car insurance Short term student car insurance for driving a car for a few days or a few hours. Those that are driving a new car temporarily, have a replacement car (that is not already covered by their own car insurance) or those that are needing to use another’s vehicle.

Most of these insurance covers should be enough to cover you as a student and one or two of them, particularly the Black Box insurance cover, will likely be a requirement for you. The premiums will likely be very high starting out, but these can change with things like the black box, which can significantly reduce the price of the insurance.

A no-claims bonus (NCB) is a count of the number of years that you haven't made a claim on your car insurance.

How long does student car insurance last for?

Most student car insurance lasts for a year. There are some policies that can last longer, but this is exceptionally rare and is also for specific vehicles usually, not cars.

Those who wish to cancel their car insurance early are likely to find that they have to pay a cancellation fee. Depending on when you actually cancel the policy, you could incur quite a lot of money, even as much as £60.

Those looking to make changes may need to pay what is known as an admin fee. Though some insurers waiver this particular fee in certain instances, most don’t. The fee is for making any changes to your policy, whether it be your address, name, mobile number of payment method and is sometimes as high as £30!

Cheap student car insurance UK

How often do you pay for student car insurance?

It is up to you how you pay for your car insurance. Most people decide to pay for their insurance once-a-year, though you are offered the chance to pay monthly if you choose.

It has been known for some insurance companies to offer different payment structures for people require them, but for the most part, people pay monthly or yearly. Payment structures may also change depending on the length of the cover, those with a short car insurance term or short-term/student temporary car insurance cover may be allowed to pay at another point.

How can I compare car insurance prices?

You'd be surprised just how many different insurance comparison tools are available. The comparison sites take the data and present it to you in a way that you can filter yourself, either by price, cover or in alphabetical order.

The most common car insurance comparison tools are:

These insurance comparison tools don't always have the same information as they receive different offers and discounts from car insurance providers all the time.

From there, you can click through to the insurance company’s website and sign up through there. You can also contact the insurance company directly, especially since the quotes provided to price comparison sites are often cheaper than the student car insurance quotes you can receive directly from insurers and make for a good negotiation tactic.

There are a number of different car insurance varieties available.

What can affect the price of my student car insurance?

There are a number of things that can affect your price. The main thing that affects the price of university student car insurance is the length of time between passing your test. Depending on how long it has been since you passed your test and taking out your car insurance means that you will have exceptionally high premiums, which is perfectly natural.

It is very common for people to assume that younger drivers receive higher premiums than older applicants, but this is not always true. While it is certainly true that younger applicants are unfairly expected to deal with higher premiums (with insurers known for their notoriously ageist approaches to insurance premiums), it is usually a cause of correlation because younger applicants tend to fit into the category of New Drivers (the category that comes with the highest premiums) more than older applicants, which means that Mature Students that have just passed their test will also see a rise in premiums, so be sure to keep out for some mature student car insurance deals.

Other things that can affect your car insurance prices are things like the type of car, engine size and any modifications. The newer the car, the higher the premiums will likely be.

Engine size can also affect your uni student car insurance deals as well. You don’t necessarily need an Engineering degree to know that the larger the engine, the more power it can ultimately sustain, which can also cause some insurers to either give you a wider berth or increase your premiums further.

As for modifications, these too can have a lasting effect on your premiums as well. Changing engines to those that are not factory-fitted, additions of spoilers or tinting the windows can also result in higher premiums, especially as a lot of these can potentially affect the safety of the vehicle. Statistically, those with modifications to their cars tend to make more claims on their insurance on the hole, which has also likely been factored into most insurance company’s decisions.

Your personal information can also affect your premiums as well. Those that live in high crime areas will find their premiums will be significantly higher. Usually whenever filling out information to apply for car insurance, you will be asked where you'll be parking the car, this is so the insurance company can ascertain the safety of the vehicle. Those parking on the street will likely be penalised in a way that those parking in a locked and safely secured garage or on the driveway of their house, will not.

Your driving experience is also going to affect your premiums as well. If you have had any accidents in the past or have claims affecting your no-claims bonus, then you will likely be charged more for your insurance than those that have a clean NCB or have no previous claims on their insurance.

How you plan to use the car can also affect your premiums as well. For instance, if you use your car for work, then it will be more expensive than if you use your car for leisure. In this instance, using your car for work does not mean driving to and from (as this would come under the commuting), whereas if you are using it as a Taxi service (which would require Taxi Insurance anyway, which is different) or as part of your job (i.e. travelling to and from different meetings in different places outside of your normal commute) then you will need to select Business.

Your excess can also be an influence on your insurance as well. The higher the excess, the lower the premiums, those that opt for lower premiums or none at all will also see their premiums affected too.

Admiral student car insurance

What other cover can be added?

The different cover available to you is entirely down to the insurance company and their own approaches, however, for the most part, most insurance companies tend to offer the same basic additions for anyone looking to take out car insurance.

Type Main features Suitable for
Breakdown cover Provides the driver with roadside assistance in the instance of your car breaking down. Other features depend on the insurer. All drivers.
Legal cover Covers any expenses if you have to take any legal action against a third party. Might not cover you if you are subject to legal action from another driver. Drivers looking for more protection.
Key cover Covers the replacement of any car keys if you lose them or if they are stolen. Can also include locksmith cover. Your policy may even cover transport to a repairer and possibly car hire charges. Drivers looking for peace of mind and cover. Also those that have multiple drivers on their car(s).
Windscreen protection Protects against the cost of replacing or repairing your windscreen. Also covers other windows in certain instances. Covers in the instances of chips or actual broken windows as well. Drivers looking for added protection for their car.
Courtesy car Offers drivers a replacement car in the event of an accident or theft. Check with your insurer as to the terms beforehand though, as you may not be able to get a courtesy car if your car is written-off. Drivers looking for added protection.
No-claims bonus (NCB) protection Allows you to make claims on your insurance without affecting your no-claims bonus. Those looking to protect their NCB.

There may be other additions offered by other insurers. Not all insurers offer additional coverage for drivers, especially if they are relatively a small insurance company. These student car insurance plans will likely increase your premiums and the price will increase further the more you take out.

Those who wish to cancel their car insurance early are likely to find that they have to pay a cancellation fee.

What is Pay-As-You-Drive?

Pay-As-You-Drive (PAYD) works in much the same way as a Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) mobile phone contract in that you only pay for cover as and when you drive your car.

PAYD cover is a fantastic option for you if you don’t use your car very frequently. Usually, this will mean that you will have the Black Box (or Telematics Car device) fitted into your car in order to monitor the usage of the car.

PAYD does not necessarily mean that you will have the cheapest student car insurance, but it may reduce your premiums in the future, so you can eventually get cheap student car insurance.

Car insurance student living away from home

What is Pay-How-You-Drive?

Pay-How-You-Drive (PHYD) works in a similar vein to PAYD. PHYD focuses on how you drive, rather than focusing on the miles you cover.

Again, like the PAYD structure, you will have a Black Box fitted, but instead of monitoring the distance covered, it will instead monitor other factors in your driving and these tend to be:

  • Acceleration
  • Braking
  • Cornering Speed

These are used to determine what kind of driver you are and will also set what kind of premiums you will experience from then on, moving forward.

The Black Box also works as an anti-theft device, which allows the police to track the car via GPS. The reason why the Black Box can be the most expensive insurance option for some is because of the added protection provided to the car with the addition of the box.

If you are found to have driven badly or out of accordance with the insurance company’s rules and regulations, then you will have your policy cancelled.

Excess insurance is not a requirement and should be weighed up in a cost vs. return sum.

What is a Pass Plus Test?

A Pass Plus Test (PPT) is a practical training course and takes six hours to complete. The test is designed for drivers to improve their driving skills and can be taken at any time.

The test itself is a good way of being able to get premiums down for student car insurance. The test is specifically aimed at younger drivers (though older drivers are free to take it as well) and the test is a good way of showing insurance companies that you have a good understanding of driving, even with a driving license.

The discount provided to you by a PPT can be held for up to two years if you do not already have a car, though you should probably check with your insurance company first.

Should I take up the auto-renewal option on my student car insurance? This is of course up to you, but we recommend that you don't take up the auto-renewal option in your insurance policy.

You will almost always be able to find cheaper car insurance premiums at the end of your current deal, maybe even with your own insurance provider and we recommend that you try and look for the best deal possible, especially if you're trying to keep an eye on your student budget, so that you can find the best student car insurance.

If you can find no cheaper alternatives and your auto-renewal isn’t too unreasonable or is at least cheaper than your current deal, we recommend that you look into it, but only if you have considered all other options available.

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