Friday, April 22, 2016

Tips for Buying a Teen Their First Car

Image by State Farm via Flickr
They’ve been looking forward to it for years, and you’ve been dreading it since they were born, but it’s time for your teenager to get their first car. There are many things to consider when buying a teenager their first car. Should you buy new or used? Who will pay for it? Where should you go for the best insurance deals? Try not to panic. The tips below will help make this rite of passage a safe and happy one for the entire family.

Assign Responsibilities
The first decision you need to make with your teen is, who’s going to pay for it. Many parents believe that paying for their own car will make a teen appreciate it more, and others believe their teen is working hard enough that a car can be a reward - and a privilege. Once you decide and make a plan, go over expectations and responsibilities. For example, 12 months with no accidents or tickets could be a long-term goal. It’s up to you if you want to give a reward or punishment if the goals are met or not. Just remember to emphasize safety and responsibility from the start.

Keep in mind that many insurance companies offer discounts for good students. You can use that as an incentive to maintain a good GPA and save yourself some money. You’ll also need to decide . Either the car itself, gas and/or the insurance. If they’re the expenses that your teen is responsible for, such as insurance, maintenance, and gas. Generally, teens are more likely to follow the rules if the car’s costs come from their own pocket, but teens can’t afford to pay all the expenses of owning a vehicle. Assigning them some of the responsibility is a good way to prepare them for adulthood.

Image by State Farm via Flickr
Find The Right Car
Midsize sedans tend to be the safest since more mass means more protection. Selecting a vehicle with a small engine makes it harder to speed as well. Also, make sure to search for good deals online. Consumer reports publish an annual used-car guide that is a useful resource available online. If you are able to afford it, look for cars that are certified pre-owned and that are two or three years old. They cost a little bit more but have a limited warranty and better financial and safety ratings. Try to choose a car that scores at least four stars out of five on government crash tests, making sure safety is your number one priority.

Inform Your Teen
Car accidents are the leading cause of death for American teens. It is important to lay down the rules of the road; always wear your seatbelt, drinking is forbidden, texting is not allowed,etc. The internet is full of tragic stories about distracted driving. Talking about these issues will help them understand that driving isn’t a game, that it’s serious and they not only hold their own lives in their hands when driving but everyone they share the road with.

There are several insurance companies that offer free cameras to place in your teen’s car when they begin driving and various apps to download or software to install. Your teen may not like this and think it’s an invasion of privacy, but it’s an excellent tool that can help you rest easier and show them what they’re doing wrong so they can avoid it in the future.

Like old age and taxes, teenagers driving is certain. It can be one of the most nerve-wracking and stressful time, but you have the power to make the transition as painless as possible - especially if you take your teen into Kuehn Motors to shop for their first car. And remember, it’s not all bad - you finally have your own “personal assistant” to send on those errands you’d rather not do!