Owning a car is a significant source of freedom– especially for high schoolers and young adults. Getting your license-aged child a car can be a substantial step in self-sufficiency, but it also comes with responsibilities. With a car, your teen is no longer limited to getting around the block or walking wherever they need to go. They now have more freedom than they have ever previously had. Here’s what you need to talk with your child about before making the big decision!
There are a lot of decisions to make when getting a car, and one of the most important is: who is going to buy it? Because your child most likely doesn’t have any credit history, consider whether you will purchase the outright and have your son or daughter pay you back as if you were their lender or if you’re going to get on a joint with your child.
Whichever route you decide on, everyone should know what’s expected of them before the car is purchased, so there are no surprises down the road. In addition, your teenager must have a job to afford their car payments!
Teaching your child the importance of working for their car will teach them self-sufficiency, hard work and give them a sense of accomplishment. They will also be more inclined to take extra care of their vehicle because they purchased it.
While these are all critical parts of the conversation you need to have with your child, it is also essential to have these conversations and set these expectations before your son or daughter get’s close to getting their license. That way, they won’t have different expectations going into their driving career.
When the day comes, and they get their car, make sure the experience is memorable. You can include them in the buying process to teach them how that works. But also find ways to get them excited. While a lot of responsibility comes with owning a car, it’s also an exciting time in their life. Getting a car bow to surprise your child with their new vehicle will go a long way in creating a stimulating environment for them.
The average cost of car insurance for a new driver is around $1,000/year. That’s a lot! But what are you paying for? And how do you know if it’s the right price? Let’s talk about it.
You’re basically buying protection from financial disaster in the event that you have an accident or your car is stolen—that’s why insurance companies call it “protection.” The more coverage and protection you want, the higher your premium will be. So to get started, ask yourself these questions: Which vehicle am I driving? Am I financing my purchase with money or by taking out a loan (loan rates vary)? What kind of driver am I, etc.
After you’ve done your research and picked out the insurance that makes the most sense for your new driver and their vehicle, sit them down to talk about it. Make them aware of the costs and coverage to know the type of protection they have.
If you decide to pay for the car in full for your child, you can have them pay for their car insurance. Just like paying for their vehicle, paying for their car insurance will give them a sense of responsibility and ownership that they will take with them for the rest of their lives.
The cost of owning a car goes beyond the purchase price. There are regular maintenance costs to consider, such as paying for gas, oil changes, repairs, and more. Depending on how often you drive your car and what type of vehicle you own, these costs can add up quickly.
Make sure that in addition to paying for the car and or auto insurance, your new driver is saving money for gas, oil changes, and unexpected repairs. Teach them how to keep up on their car’s maintenance and things to look for to ensure their vehicle runs smoothly. If you don’t know this information, next time you take your vehicle in for an oil change or repair, ask the repair shop to go over some essential tips with your child.
Owning a car is a massive responsibility for teenagers and young adults. Before purchasing a vehicle, make sure you have a conversation with your child about the responsibilities that come with driving independence. By setting expectations ahead of time, you can help your child navigate through this exciting but challenging time in their life while helping them develop essential skills and gain new independence.