For many young people, owning a car is a rite of passage. But, with so much choice available and with many young people on a tight budget, selecting the right student car can be tricky.
Warranty Direct has put together some helpful tips to help student motorists make the right decision, from buying your first car to beyond.
Where to start
When looking at potential vehicles, you can be tempted to go to the first car that catches your eye. However, it’s important to keep your budget in mind when choosing what’s right for you.
Firstly, you need to decide whether to buy a new or used car. Although initially more expensive, newer cars are normally more advanced in terms of safety, technology and fuel efficiency. This could save you money in the long-term.
On the other hand, a new car can lose around 40% of its value in the first year, so you may be left out of pocket when you go to sell it later.
Statistics also show around one-quarter of young drivers are involved in a crash within two years of passing their test. So with this in mind, it might be more cost-effective not to purchase a brand-spanking new vehicle until you have a little more experience on the roads.
Don’t get caught out with insurance
For the majority of students, expensive car insurance is far from ideal. Drivers aged between 17-24 can expect to pay over £1,100 for their insurance policy.
Limited driving experience and a greater likelihood of being in an accident account for this high rate. However, there are ways for students to keep their insurance costs down.
For example, adding a more experienced named driver on a student’s insurance policy can shave an impressive 13% off their insurance premiums.
Younger drivers can make further financial savings by opting for a black box insurance policy. This is where the insurer fits a telematic tracker – which records speed, braking and cornering behaviour – to your vehicle.
In fact, according to recent figures, 60% of the cheapest black box deals are for under-25s, compared with 50% two years ago.
Factor in reliability
It’s important students know what they need from a vehicle, not just what they want. Factors such as safety, cost and reliability need to be considered; particularly if you’re facing a lengthy commute from home to your new student accommodation.
Look out for vehicles with low repair and maintenance costs and features such as light steering and user-friendly controls.
Using tools such as our Reliability Index to see which vehicles are the most reliable could help you avoid expensive maintenance issues further down the line.
If you’re willing to look beyond flashy alternatives, the trusty Ford Fiesta is a good bet for students on a tight budget. The Fiesta scores highly in the reliability stakes and suits the needs of most young motorists.
Fuel for thought
For cash-strapped young drivers, one of the major drawbacks of owning a car is the cost of keeping a vehicle on the road.
With fuel costs rising, it’s worth looking out for the most fuel-efficient models on the market.
It’s also important to account for vehicle tax, MOT tests and the general cost of upkeep for your new vehicle. On average, it costs around £472 to maintain a used car over the course of a year.
It might be worth considering Just Add Fuel options which combine finance, breakdown, servicing and tax costs into a single monthly instalment if your heart’s set on a brand new vehicle.
Owning a car can give you your first taste of ‘grown-up’ responsibility, so it’s important to think wisely if you want to experience the joy of the open road on a student budget.
This article was originally published on the Warranty Direct Blog.