Kids grow up fast; you probably look at your teenager all the time thinking that it only felt like yesterday when you were changing his diaper or rocking her to sleep. Getting their license can be a tough one for parents to deal with on many levels. It is so grown-up, which can make you feel sad. You naturally worry about your child and them driving probably makes you nervous. Maybe the expense of purchasing a car is weighing on you. Yours and their ideas of a ‘’good’’ car probably vary wildly.
Discuss Costs and Financial Responsibility Upfront
Arranging to share the costs of the vehicle, fuel, insurance and the like is a great way to help your teenager become more responsible. It will also make the car buying process easier as your child will have a more realistic view on what types of vehicles are feasible. Decide how much money your child will be responsible for. Will he be buying his own gas? Are you going 50/50 on insurance or is he handling that on his own. If you are financing a vehicle, how are monthly payments going to be handled? What about repairs? However you want to handle the financial aspects of your teen’s car, it is important to discuss this well before the car shopping begins. Whatever expectations you have, it is important to outline them clearly from the start and come up with a plan on how your child will meet his end of the bargain.
Check Safety Ratings Carefully
With inexperience comes greater risk of mistakes and accidents and driving is no exception. Given that a teenager is four times as more likely to get into a car crash, you want to stack the safety deck in their favor as best you can. Some cars are definitely preferable over others. If you are anything like the average person, you probably really do not know too much about that. But, luckily there are plenty of resources for getting safety rankings of cars and learning more about their individual features. Organizations like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offer crash test information on different vehicles. JD Power and Kelley Blue Book, for example, can offer information on various aspects of a car’s safety.
Buy Used Cars with Caution
For many teens, their first vehicle is going to be a used one and it is important you purchase one that works well and is safe. Ask a mechanic who has been certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) to inspect the car. If you are shopping used cars from private parties, Kelley Blue Book provides a 27-point vehicle condition quiz to determine the true value of the car and its condition.
Consider Car Insurance Rates
When deciding on the type of car you will get for your teenager, it is important to take insurance into account. Obviously a newer car will have higher insurance rates; if you are financing, whether a new or used car, you will need more comprehensive insurance since you do not actually own the vehicle. Will you be putting your child on your insurance or getting him his own policy? How is the insurance being paid for—you, your teen or are you splitting it? All of this is very important to figure out before buying a car so you know what added financial responsibilities you are taking on, whether you are paying insurance in one chunk yearly or adding a new monthly bill.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who covers a range of topics that help people save money. If you are in the market for a car in Iowa, check out Dewey Ford.