A simples guide

Can a parent cover the insurance on a student's car?

If you’re lucky enough to have a car at university, chances are you’ll spend half your time in lectures and the other half driving your mates around. But having a car at uni can be costly – petrol, parking, maintenance, it can be tempting to try and shave a few pounds off somewhere along the way. You could try convincing the bank of mum and dad to fund your car insurance for example. But tread carefully, it’s a fine line between your parents simply paying for your insurance and taking out a policy for you which is called ‘fronting’ – a form of fraud

What is ‘fronting’?

Fronting is when someone tells their insurance provider that they’re the main driver of a car when actually, they’re not. It’s usually done in an attempt to get cheaper car insurance. With the average cost of running a car (Insurance, fuel, road tax, MOT and breakdown cover) if you’re 17-24 being £2,299** it might be tempting.

It might sound like a harmless mistake but more than 4,000 fraudulent car insurance applications are uncovered every week and fronting is one of the most common issues, with parents insuring a vehicle in their name that is being mainly driven by their son or daughter. At best, it means your policy could be invalidated and your insurer won’t pay a claim which could lead to a conviction for driving without insurance, at worst it could result in a prosecution for fraud and a criminal record. It might save you a few pennies in the short term, but it’ll come back to bite you.

Whether someone’s put down as a main or named driver might seem like a narrow distinction but insurance premiums are calculated based on statistics – the more likely you are to make a claim, the higher your premium. Students (who live in big towns and city centres where car crime is higher) and young drivers, are inherently a high risk to insure. But it’s not personal, much can be put down to lack of experience which can result in greater chance of accident (a quarter of young drivers are involved in an accident within two years of passing their test).

So, can a parent pay for a student’s car insurance?

Yes, if you’re a student then a parent can pay for it. But you must be identified as the main driver on your policy if that’s what you are. Anyone else named on the policy must also use the car at some point. The main driver is the person who uses the car for the most amount of time.

hand on steering wheel
two cars on a driveway

Can a student be covered on their parent’s car insurance policy?

If you are not the main driver and only occasionally borrow your parent’s car then yes, you can be added as a named driver – you’ll need to ensure that you and your parent’s insurance provider are clear about this. Some insurers will allow temporary drivers so that you can be insured on your parent’s car when you’re back home and then you’ll be removed from the policy during term time. It’s worth checking because it could shave money off mum and dad’s policy if you’re not always on the insurance. But just bear in mind that it may not be that cost effective once any admin fees are factored in.

One of the disadvantages of only being a named driver is that you might not be earning your own no claims discount. So when you come to buy your own policy later on, if you haven’t been the cause of any claims on your parent’s policy it’s still worth mentioning that you were a named driver on a previous policy with no claims (subject to evidence – of course), some but not all insurers may offer an introductory discount.

How do I keep down the cost of car insurance?

If you’ve been thrifty enough and decided to take out your own car insurance (well done you – very responsible) then there are some simple things that you can do to try and drive down the cost of your premium:

• Choose your car carefully – as a general rule, the more powerful and bigger the engine, the more expensive the insurance will be. It might not be the talk of the student union but a modest run-around will be more cost effective.
• Security – we appreciate you may not have the luxury of keeping your car in a safe, secure garage when you’re a university but fitting your car with an approved security system or immobiliser could save you some pounds.
• Mileage – be accurate about your mileage, rounding up could push you up into the next price bracket.
• Telematics – or ‘black box’ insurance which monitors how and when you drive. If you’re considered a good driver, it could see your premium lowered over time.
• Pay up – if you can, pay your premium in one go rather than monthly. You will usually be charged interest on monthly instalment payments.

What should I do next?

Honesty is always the best policy where your insurance is concerned and face up to whether that means going cap in hand to mum and dad or breaking into the piggy bank. Either way, the simplest way to find the right deal on your car insurance – at the best price – is to use our car insurance comparison service . We’ll show you your options so you can compare and find the right deal for you.


** Average car running costs are based on comparethemarket.com data in August 2016.

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