Bringing your car to university? Get the right insurance cover.
Before you consider taking your car to university, it is essential that you have the appropriate insurance cover in place, and that your insurance company is notified of your change of address, or your cover could be void! You might also want to consider getting breakdown cover with your insurance, and if you already have it, make sure you keep that information handy should you ever need it. If you’re slightly worried about how much this will cost, consider opting for black box insurance to keep the costs down.
Calculate your monthly budget for insurance and fuel costs.
Ensure your chosen policy is within your monthly budget. Moving to university means keeping a closer eye on your finances is essential, so it might also worth calculating the distance between your accommodation to your university or place of work to find out how much you’ll roughly be spending on fuel each month. Once you’ve got a rough figure, compare this to your monthly budget to see what you can realistically afford to be spending each month.
Do the relevant safety and security checks.
It’s important to regularly check fluid levels, battery condition, lights and the pressure and tread on your tyres to ensure your car is road safe. Always be mindful of leaving valuable items on display whenever leaving your car, and consider getting a steering lock for your vehicle.
Work out the distance to your local petrol stations.
It’s important to familiarise yourself with the local area and make sure you’re aware of how far away the nearest fuel station is when you’re in need of a last-minute fill-up. It’s also worth downloading a fuel station locator app such as ‘Petrol Prices’ to check all your local garages’ price data to find out where is offering the cheapest fuel at that time. Simply log on, enter your postcode and they’ll display the cheapest fuel prices in your area!
Check your accommodation’s policy on parking spaces.
This is super important. You may need to register your vehicle to be entitled to free parking at your accommodation, however, this can differ for each university and accommodation properties so it’s best to double-check. If you’re living in a residential area, check if you will need a parking permit to avoid being lumped with any fines.
Familiarise yourself with your university car park.
Usually the closest car parking options near your university will be advised – or the university will provide its own. Check whether you need a parking permit or familiarise yourself with the local parking rates. You may be able to get this from your Students’ Union or the local council. You may also be able to get a discount for student parking rates, but you’ll need to register your vehicle, so ensure you have the relevant passes/documentation.
If possible, do a trial run from your accommodation to your university.
When your university schedule is confirmed, check if your lectures or seminars coincide with any rush hours, so you know when to leave extra time for your journey. Avoid any city centre car parks if possible too, as these fill up quickly and can delay your journey significantly while trying to find a parking spot.. Calculate the distance between the university and your family home too – you never know when you will need this in an emergency!
Don’t be scared to ask for fuel contributions.
If you’re the only member of your university household with a car, you may end up becoming the designated driver for the weekly food shop. If this is the case, consider carpooling with your friends and asking for a contribution to the cost of fuel. They’ll be getting a lift for significantly less cost than alternative public transport, at a time more convenient to them, and this will help towards your everyday costs. Remember to check your tyre pressure regularly too and encourage passengers to wear seatbelts when being designated driver, keeping safety in mind at all times.
Update the address on your driver’s licence.
Depending on how far away your university is, you may wish to update your address on your driver’s licence. Whilst university students can keep their parent’s address on their licence, if you aren’t planning to travel home often, you can change this to your student address via the DVLA’s website for free. It’s a legal requirement to keep the information on your drivers licence up-to-date.
Be sensible and plan ahead.
Whilst driving unleashes a new sense of freedom that you should enjoy, remember to never risk your life or others! Take care when driving, and don’t rush when parking. Some of the most common driving offences include speeding, using your mobile phone whilst driving, and using a vehicle with defective tyres. Never get behind the wheel if you’re over the legal limit, and allow enough time for alcohol to have left your system before using your car the next day – even if you feel fine, you can still fail a breathalyser if too much alcohol remains in your system. If you are going to drink the night before, make sure you adjust your plans the following day.