As the next generation of ‘freshers’ begin their exciting journey at university, many have passed their driving tests and are looking for a reliable student car. Whether they are looking for a cheap runaround to avoid relying on public transport or a more reliable model for longer journeys back home, there are a number of factors to consider.
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In the build up to starting university, many students are likely to have been working as much as possible in order to save a good sum of money to help prepare for their entry into independent living. For many, this will be the first time living away from the security of family. A car can be an expensive commodity, and with other priorities such as rent, books/stationary, food and being able to take part in all the social aspects that university brings, it is worth calculating whether you will have the funds available to run and maintain a car. Fuel, insurance and parking permits are all additional costs which need to be factored in. It is also important to bear in mind what will happen if anything goes wrong and repairs are needed.
Car insurance providers are known to charge higher premiums in regards to age and experience which could penalise many students who have recently learnt to drive. Certain cars will also attract higher premiums, and there is always a danger of being attracted to the aesthetics of the car, rather than its associated costs. If you are searching for a car, remember there are many sites such as comparethemarket.com which allow for a quick and easy search via the car registration, make or model. Alongside the premiums quoted, you can also weigh up the extra benefits each provides and how these impact your premiums; it might seem that declining them all will save you money but it is important to be realistic in the long run – so make sure to fully consider important issues such as your excess levels and courtesy car options.
When considering buying a car, your choice is likely to be influenced by various factors including budget, size, fuel type and insurance bracket. Whether you are moving far from home or you know you will be expected to commute for your course, you might want to consider a diesel engine which will be more economic on fuel. If you are set to be more city bound and travel less, a petrol engine may be more efficient. It is also worth spending extra time to research the cars that will be more likely to hold their value when it comes to resale if looked after.
If your university isn’t located in your hometown, you will naturally want to suss out the area. You will want to know what local amenities are nearby including shops, nightlife, gyms and libraries. If you are in a big city, there might be an array of transport options open to you so will be worth looking into the value of these over a car, especially when you take into account student discounts. Also, when choosing accommodation, you might need to specify if you have a vehicle and there might also be limited parking spaces. This is an important consideration, as if you don’t have sufficient parking, this could affect insurance premiums. To keep your insurance valid it is also important to keep your address details up to date, including on your driving license.
Whatever your circumstances, choosing the right car for your student years will ensure that you can maintain regular visits to friends and family, get around the area more conveniently and enjoy all the extra-curricular activities that university life has to offer. The convenience of a car must always be weighed up with the costs of maintaining it to ensure that you are able to afford its upkeep in addition to your other financial commitments whilst at university.
Darren Miller is the Marketing Director of Big Motoring World in Kent, the UK's leading independent pre-owned prestige car supermarket discusses his top tips to consider when finding your perfect student car.
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