Confused.com Offers Advice to Students

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Price comparison and insurance experts advise those preparing for university.

With thousands of students flying the nest, Confused.com offers advice on how to get the best financial products at the right price.

Car insurance

  •     For students taking cars to campus, consider the type of insurance needed. Many will opt for third party thinking it will be cheaper but it can work out more expensive. For a 19 year old student attending University of Sheffield and driving a Ford Fiesta, Fully Comprehensive would cost £1238 and Third-Party Fire & Theft would cost £1196. However Third Party only would be the most expensive at £1861
  •     Students with cars that aren't worth much in value may want to think about Third-Party Fire & Theft as the excesses that are payable on Fully Comprehensive (addition to the repair costs) will probably work out to be more money than the value of the car
  •     Moving house means a call to the insurance provider. A change of address can affect the premiums as it changes the 'risk' associated with the car. If, for example, at Mum and Dad's house in leafy Surrey the car is normally parked on a driveway but now it will be parked in a busy student street in the middle of a City, the risk to the insurance provider is greater, so the premium is likely to increase. And 'pretending' the car is still parked at home is fraudulent and those caught out won't have their claims honoured
  •     'Fronting' is another fraudulent activity to avoid. Typically this is where parent's put their child on the insurance as a named driver but they are actually the main driver. This is often done to obtain cheaper insurance premiums. Be warned, this is fraudulent and will invalidate any claim

Home insurance

  •     Students are more than twice as likely to become victims of burglary so having the right cover for possessions is crucial. Many insurers specialise in insurance for students, which can even include cover for lost keys and library books
  •     Don't assume possessions can be included on a parents' policy. Separate policies should be bought which reflect the amount of contents being taken to university. Even if the student is covered in their parents' policy, it is often not to the same level of cover as a separate policy would be
  •     £2,000 worth of contents may seem realistic for a student's possessions but once an iPod (with all the music downloaded onto it), clothes, laptop, TV, DVD player, stereo are added £5000 could be the closer figure
  •     Items 'Away from Home' as an insurance option could be useful for students who might carry a laptop, mobile, cash and iPods on them as they walk to and from campus. Catering for every eventuality is better than being out of pocket when it's least needed
  •     As with all insurance policies, the lower the risk, the lower the premium. Efforts should be made to limit the risk therefore reducing premiums. For home insurance, consider window locks, alarm systems, and locks on bedroom doors

Energy bills

  •     A classic mistake many students make when they move into a new property is to stay with the previous tenant's supplier. Students need to read the meter as soon as possible, and investigate the previous occupier's energy supplier. Unless that supplier is offering the best energy prices, students should change to a better tariff, or even change supplier altogether
  •     If the property is going to be empty until September, consider switching to a tariff which has no standing charge; if there'll be no usage until the beginning of term, why pay?
  •     A sustained effort should be made to read the meter every time a bill comes in, to ensure bills are based on actual usage, rather than estimates, which can be pricier
  •     Arguments about bills are common-place in student housing but students should try, where possible, to pay by Direct Debit. Some providers offer up to 10% discount to customers
  •     The easiest way to save money on energy bills is to reduce energy consumption. Not leaving appliances on standby, only filling the kettle with the amount that's actually needed and taking a shower rather than a bath (or better still, not washing!) can help with this

Financially

Students currently face leaving University with an average of over £17,500* of debt so trying to minimise this is essential.

  •     Putting together a budget is a sensible idea. Putting a plan that can be stuck to, will help minimise the amount of debt that builds up. Receipt of the student loan can seem like a lot of money, but it has to last a whole term. There is a useful budget calculator on the UCAS website. http://www.ucas.com/students/studentfinance/budget_calculator
  •     Finding the right bank account is crucial. Students shouldn't be swayed just by the freebies - check out all the features such as the level of interest free overdraft, whether there are any other hidden fees and what access there is, i.e. via the internet or telephone
  •     Try to avoid credit cards and store cards as these are a really expensive way to borrow money. Even those who've never had any debt before will still have a poor credit rating as there is nothing to judge them by, so the only cards that are likely to be available, are those with high interest rates. They can be a downward spiral into prolonged and expensive debt
  •     For students that do get into financial difficulty, shouldn't just ignore it, as this will make the problem worse. Try to cut back where possible and seek confidential advice from the National Debtline (http://www.nationaldebtline.co.uk) or Citizens Advice Bureau http://www.citizensadvice.co.uk.
  •     Identity Fraud is becoming more prolific nowadays, so all personal details should be kept safely, and shredded when finished with. Bank and credit card statements should be checked thoroughly

The easiest way to save money on home and car insurance, as well as energy bills and financial products, is to shop around using a price comparison website such as Confused.com.

For further information please contact:
Press office, Confused.com: 02920 434 398

Notes to editors
About Confused.com:
Confused.com is one of the UK's biggest and most popular price comparison services. Launched in 2002, it generates over one million quotes per month. It has expanded its range of comparison products over the last couple of years to include home insurance, travel insurance, pet insurance, van insurance, motorbike insurance, breakdown cover and energy, as well as financial services products including credit cards, loans, mortgages and life insurance.

Confused.com is not a supplier, insurance company or broker. It provides a free, objective and unbiased comparison service. By using cutting-edge technology, it has developed a series of intelligent web-based solutions that evaluate a number of risk factors to help customers with their decision-making, subsequently finding them great deals on a wide-range of insurance products, financial services, utilities and more. Confused.com's service is based on the most up-to-date information provided by UK suppliers and industry regulators.

Confused.com is owned by the Admiral Group plc. Admiral listed on the London Stock Exchange in September 2004. Confused.com is regulated by the FSA.

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Victoria Leyton
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