A simples guide

Do I have to say I am a student when applying for car insurance?

Why do car insurers always ask what your occupation is?

Surely it can’t matter too much, afterall, we’re all supposed to abide by the highway code and we’ve all been declared sufficiently good drivers by passing our driving tests.

But insurance is a numbers game and the numbers show that people in certain professions are more likely to make claims; so what can you do about it?

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Risky business

It’s all about how your profession is perceived and it could have a real impact on how much insurance premium you pay. Some jobs are considered ‘riskier’ than others such as racing car drivers or pilots. But it’s not purely based on assumption of course, the statistics back it up. For example, professional sports men and women are more likely to make a claim, and the prize – a heftier insurance premium. The same goes for other occupations too, so bad luck if you’re an actor, builder or bar worker – you’re all apparently more likely to make a claim and so will probably face a higher premium too.

But there is a way around this and that’s to be selective (while remaining accurate!) about how you describe what you do for a living. The difference between putting yourself down as a ‘photographer’ or a ‘fashion photographer’ could be more than £100, and while saying that you’re a ‘reporter’ not a ‘journalist’ might not save you as much, it’ll still be enough for a few sandwiches.

We should say that not all insurers will have exactly the same classifications and they’ll all base their own quotes on their own criteria and their own experience but it’s worth inputting a few variations just to see what you might get. But let’s be absolutely clear – it’s about tweaking, not fibbing.

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But I’m a student, do I need to tell my insurer that?

You’ll probably have to declare ‘student’ as your occupation – insurers will need to know in order to gauge your premium. Whilst there aren’t many specific student car insurance policies, telling your insurer that you are one and where you’re studying might lead to some benefits.

Student car insurance

We know that looking for car insurance when you’re a student and young driver can be tough. The average premium comes in at £1,246** which is a 10% increase from last year and a huge amount of money when you’ve already got tuition fees, rent and books to pay for. But you can drive down the cost by considering all your options such as:

  • What car you drive – all cars belong to one of 50 insurance groups and generally, the lower the group it’s in, the lower the insurance premium. But that doesn’t have to mean getting an old banger, sometimes it’s worth looking at spending a bit more money in order to make long term savings. Newer cars are likely to cost more and to initially insure but you probably won’t spend as much on repairs or maintenance.
  • Security – invest in an approved security system or immobiliser to make your car less attractive to opportunist thieves.
  • Mileage – be accurate about how many miles you drive and don’t be tempted to round up because it could push you into the next price band.
  • Named driver – see if your parents will add you as a named driver onto their policy. It means you’ll get the same level of cover, however; you won’t build up your own no claims discount. You also need to be clear that as a named driver you’re only supposed to be driving the car occasionally – such as when you’re back in the holidays. Don’t fall into the ‘fronting’ trap where a more experienced driver takes out a policy and declares they’re the main driver when they’re not in order to get cheaper insurance – it’s illegal.
  • Telematics – or better known as black box insurance, this is a smartphone sized device or an app that records how and when you drive. If you’re driving safely  then you could see your insurance premium fall more quickly than if you built up your no claims the traditional way, and if you don’t make any claims you will still be building your own no claims discount.

Start comparing young driver’s car insurance

We get that insurance isn’t fun and it’s probably not something you want to dedicate much time to in between lectures, revision and nights out at the student union. But at comparethemarket.com, we love an insurance quote, so much so we made a website all about it. Just remember that it’s not about getting the cheapest deal you can find, it’s about getting the right cover for your needs.

**All average price amounts based on comparethemarket.com data in February 2016.

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