Cuvva, the flexible insurance provider, is drawing attention to the pressure placed on the UK’s almost two million university students, by restrictions around planned journeys home for the Christmas vacation. Ongoing advice against non-essential public transport journeys means that this Christmas, students require even greater flexibility to make their journey home.
Inflexible annual policies offered by most of the UK’s motor insurers limit options for borrowing friends’ or family cars with ease, for short periods. Cuvva is calling on the insurance industry to support students with an early Christmas present of rebates or increased flexible cover to help students and their families navigate this difficult period.
Every year, the UK’s almost two million students travel an average of 91 miles home from University. With varying degrees of national lockdown measures in place throughout the UK, this year’s exodus will be even more challenging than usual, as students and families face the pressure of tight deadlines to make their journeys home. Restrictions in England give students a ‘travel window’ of six days to make the journey home once current national lockdown measures are lifted – currently planned for 2nd of December.
With travel between England and Wales prohibited during these measures, the Welsh Government has also given students a similar deadline, calling on students to travel home by 9th December 2020 at the latest. Scotland similarly is calling on its estimated 80,000 students planning to travel home to take voluntary tests.
Universities and UK Governments have promised rapid testing for students, with a 24-hour turnaround time. Restrictions require students to take a test before travelling, and delay travel following a positive test, or if they display symptoms. Even with these measures, Government guidance continues to advise against non-essential public transport journeys. With family safety a top concern, many students may therefore be reluctant to make their journey on crowded trains, preferring the flexibility of borrowing a family car or sharing the long drive with friends.
Despite these challenges, the insurance industry remains out of touch with rapidly changing consumer needs. Inflexible annual policies offered by the UK’s top car insurers limit students’ options for borrowing friends’ or family vehicles for a few hours. The alternative is ringing up an insurer, waiting in a long queue and paying more than is necessary to add someone to a policy for one journey. Majority of the UK’s top ten car insurers, for instance, do not offer a flexible cover option on borrowed vehicles, that would benefit so many students and their families this year.
As students and families navigate this exceptional journey home for the holidays, requiring travel plans to rapidly respond to changing restrictions, and to be as safe as possible, Cuvva calls on the insurance industry to recognise the need for greater flexibility.
Freddy Macnamara, CEO of Cuvva, commented:
“The festive period is always a high-pressure time for student travel, this year more so than ever. Government restrictions give students a very tight deadline to return to their families, navigating rapid testing and varied national lockdown restrictions. Students and their families need the flexibility to make these journeys as safe and stress-free as they can be. The insurance industry must recognise the particular challenges of students under lockdown and adapt to meet consumers’ needs.
“Locking consumers into Inflexible annual premiums, with few options for flexible cover to adapt to challenges this year has presented, means students’ options for borrowing or lending vehicles for these important journeys is restricted.
“At the end of an incredibly difficult year, students need the opportunity to celebrate and spend time with their loved ones, and to do so as easily and safely as possible. The least the industry can do is give consumers a much deserved and early Christmas present by offering rebates for vehicles many have been unable to use regularly during lockdown, whilst also ensuring that they do all they can to help students get home easily and safely to their families for Christmas.”