Last updated: 25/11/20
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It’s a big dilemma; should I bring my car to university or not? For some, taking their car to uni is a no-brainer because of the freedom it represents. You can get about, have new experiences and be you without any worry about getting from A to B.
But for others, it’s just an extra cost during an already expensive time – and they’d rather concentrate on uni, their course and being themselves without the additional worry of affording a car. We’ve laid out the pros and cons to help you make a quick decision on whether to take your car to university.
Should I bring my car to university?
When it comes to questioning should you take your car to university, here are some things you can think about.
4 reasons it’s worth having your car at university
1 / Freedom!
When you get your first car it represents freedom; the freedom to go anywhere and do anything without having to wait for a bus or ask mum and dad for a lift.
Taking a car to university is exactly the same. It’s the freedom to pop wherever you want, whenever you want without having to walk for 20 minutes to get there or rely on public transport.
2 / You get to see more of the surrounding area
When you’re limited to only going places within walking distance or that are on a public transport route, this can put some restrictions in place. By taking a car to university you’ll get to see more of your new city, with easy access to the outskirts of town so you can visit those attractions that everyone else has a hard time getting to.
3 / It’s not as expensive as people think
When you ask some people ‘is it worth having a car at university?’ they may tell you that it costs too much or it’s too much hassle. But you don’t have to use your car every day and with a part time job, you hopefully won’t notice that small fuel bill every month.
4 / You might make some friends
What’s the true cost of the power and influence you’ll attain by being the person with the car? If other people have asked the question ‘Should I take a car to university?’ and decided not to, or perhaps they don’t drive, they’ll flock to you from miles around to ask for a small favour. You’ll have people queuing up to buy you drinks just to run them to the shops. Seizing the freedom that your car represents could help you become a power broker between your friends and course mates.
Having a car at university also means you can get involved with a student car share as a way to make some new friends.
And 4 reasons you might not need your car at university…
1 / There might be no parking
Most first years stay in halls of accommodation and there isn’t usually any resident parking at halls. And even if there is parking, the number of spots is usually very limited or reserved for staff and commuting students.
It’s usually a lot easier to bring a car to university when you’re living in a shared house (normally in your second year), as there will usually be more parking spaces available, or you can choose a house specifically for the parking.
2 / You might get more exercise without a car
When you have a car sitting just outside the front door, it’s very easy to forget about walking to campus in the cold and wet when you could just drive. Having no car forces you to walk or get the bus, which is not only an easy way of getting in your daily steps, but also give you an opportunity to socialise with your housemates.
3 / It’s more sociable to take the bus
Student discount is often available when you take out a student bus pass, and some universities will even offer free bus travel. Either way it’s usually pretty cheap to take the bus.
The added bonus? All of your flat mates and course mates will probably take the same bus, giving you an opportunity to socialise or catch up on assignments on your way to campus.
4 / While it’s not as expensive as people think, there are still costs attached…
Last, but not least, having a car at university can be costly; you have to pay for insurance, tax, petrol and for any other related costs if something goes wrong and it is has to go into the garage.
While this is not always the case, you may also find yourself spending more money on petrol after always being named the designated driver for nights out and food runs. So bear this in mind when considering whether to take your car to university – and if you do take your car, be sure to charge your house mates for fuel!
Owning a car as a student
In addition to the above pros and cons, let’s take a closer look at the practicalities of having a car as a student.
Do you need a car at uni?
This depends on you and your needs. For example, if you live on campus, a 5 minute walk to the shop and just across from the train station, you may fall into the ‘I want a car’ category.
But if your halls or uni house is a fair walk from any shops/transport, you live far away from home and your course involves travelling for placements (such as a Nursing degree), you’ll probably fall into the ‘I need a car’ category. You’ll need to have a little think about your location, your surrounding facilities, transport links and whether you’ll be able to get stuff done without a car.
What to do with a car while at university
If you’re taking your car with you to uni, have a look on your university/accommodation provider’s website and do some research into parking. You’ll want to make sure it’s always parked somewhere safe and secure.
Leaving car at home whilst at uni
If you’re heading to uni but leaving your car at home and it’s not being used by your parents/siblings, make sure it’s parked somewhere safe, ideally a locked garage.
If you do decide to take your car to university…
Don’t forget to make sure you’re covered before you go with comprehensive student car insurance. Here at Endsleigh, we offer a range of benefits on our student car insurance, including optional RAC cover at discounted student prices.
We also offer specific insurance for new/young drivers to help keep things affordable, like our black box insurance.
Need to borrow a friend or parent’s car temporarily? Find out more about temporary student driver insurance.
If you already have car insurance in place at your parents’ or guardians’ address, you’ll just need to make sure you update your policy documents to reflect your new university address.