One of the greatest leaps into independence is getting your first car. And, as a teenager, that freedom isn’t just desired; it’s compulsive. For older teens, the ability to drive gives them the ability to stay out later, see their friends and finally stop relying on you to get them to places. But, having a car is an expensive business and it’s important that your teen understands the financial position they need to be in.
Buying a car is just one part of the expense, here. They also need to be able to afford to run it. So, here are the things you should talk about before jumping in.
Insurance is most expensive for immature drivers, just like your teen. This means that you need to look around and carefully assess which company could provide the best deal. For example, AssuranceAmerica often offers better deals for new drivers or those with a poor credit history.
Do remember though, that as your teen gains experience, their insurance costs are likely to come down. So, while the expense might feel unaffordable right now, as long as they have an accident-free year, it should come down quite considerably next time they pay. Deferring will defer the cost but won’t necessarily make it any cheaper.
Fuel costs are always changing. So, while you can make a good guess about roughly how much a full tank will cost, you should still think carefully about how much your teen will want to drive and how regularly they will need to fill up. You should also look at different types of fuel and weigh up the benefits of each.
However, having a car can open up better job opportunities for your teen so if they are planning to get a job, they should make sure that it covers their fuel expenses at least and gives them some spending money too. Encouraging your teen to get a job is a good way to give them more independence and start learning the value of their time and skills.
The Car Itself
Buying your first car is really exciting but it’s likely that you’ll have to talk your teenager down from a brand new car to a second-hand vehicle as this will be significantly cheaper. Before you even start looking, you should set a sensible budget together. While saving is always the best option, if your teen needs wheels to get to work, you could also have a conversation about taking out a loan.
When you choose the right car, you should always think about the road conditions the driver is likely to face and assess how different features may help them to drive safely. While an old car is often cheaper, it might be worth spending a little more on a model that has rearview cameras, for example. There is always a balance to be had when selecting a car but the main thing is that when you test drive it together, both you and your teen are happy with it.