Taking a car to uni
You’ve bought your stationery, stocked up on packet noodles and completed all the pre-course reading (well, read the blurb online). So that just leaves one important question: do you take your car to uni?
There’s no doubt that taking a car to university has its perks. Going out to get pizza, being invited to all the parties (if only to be known as ‘the lift giver’), and going home at the weekends with a sack full of laundry are all easier when you have your own set of wheels.
However, there’s also a lot to consider. If you’re thinking about buying a car to get from A to B in the city of your studies, make sure you get clued up on what’s involved before you hit the road.
It’s no secret that insurance premiums for first-time drivers are a bit pricey, but there are still ways to help reduce them. If you’ve recently acquired a driving licence, but not yet purchased your run-around, carefully consider the make and model. In general, the smaller the size and engine, the cheaper the policy.
It’s worth knowing about the latest generation of telematics or ‘black box’ insurers, such as Ingenie. Such insurers monitor your driving on an ongoing basis and reward safer drivers with discounts. Securing your car with an alarm or immobiliser, or agreeing to park off-road overnight, could also help to keep premiums down.
The most important thing to remember after passing your practical driving test is to drive safely and responsibly. While that might sound obvious, a year’s no claims bonus could save you loads on the following year’s policy.
Another thing you might want to consider – especially if you’ve bagged yourself a bargain banger – is breakdown cover with RAC, which you can buy for around £30 per year. Vehicle-based breakdown cover, which only provides roadside assistance for the car itself, is cheaper than personal cover, but with a vehicle based policy you won’t be covered if you break down in someone else’s car.
Be sure to check the parking facilities of your university. Some universities try to discourage students using their own car, whilst others offer free parking. You may even require a permit for the campus and your accommodation.
If you’re lucky enough to have a driveway or on-street parking, owning a car means you can replenish your stash of packet noodles without having to struggle home on public transport with heavy bags. It’s likely that your uni mates will want in on the action too, so be savvy about it and ask for a little petrol money for longer trips.
You can also look to save on motoring costs (as well as being kinder to the planet) by car sharing. Many universities have car-sharing schemes for students who make regular one-way journeys.
Another option is StudentCarshare.com – a free service that helps match you with other uni students making similar journeys up and down the country. Those who opt in agree to pay towards fuel costs, so you could make a few pennies as well as some new friends.
Ready to go?
If you’ve decided to take your car to uni, make the most out of your new freedom. From road trips and parties to regular visits home and later wake-up calls for lectures, the endless possibilities are all part of the journey.