It feels like they were learning to ride their bikes only yesterday. Today, they’ve passed their driving test and are chomping at the bit to gain some independence. Buying a car when you’re a teen is almost impossible to do, especially when you consider the cost of insurance. This is why they’ve come home with a loan application for the bank of Mum and Dad.
As parents, we’re keen to do whatever we can to help our kids make it in the big wide world. In truth, you’re probably a little fed up with playing the unpaid taxi driver. Getting your child his own car gives you both a lot more freedom! Of course, cars don’t come cheap. You might not have a few thousand just lying around waiting to be handed over at the car dealership.
Having The Chat
Start by having a frank discussion with your son or daughter. If borrowing your car isn’t practical, then you need to make some decisions about what kind of vehicle would best suit your child. Safety is likely to be your biggest concern. You probably want something small and low-powered. Of course, the latest models have additional safety features and often offer more security for the driver and owner too.
Small cars are still dangerous in the wrong pair of hands. This means you’re probably looking for a car you know your child will admire. They’re more likely to keep it clean and tidy, and they’ll drive it with more care if they like it a lot. Does your son or daughter have a model in mind? Do you have an alternative model in mind? Until you’ve done your homework to determine what features are included, it’s difficult to make up your mind. Then, of course, you need to figure out the finances.
If you’re buying from a dealer, you might be able to negotiate down the price a little. Of course, what you’re looking for is a deal that suits your pocket and the age of your child. Some manufacturers offer new cars with a year of insurance included. However, it’s rare for an under 18 to be offered this. You might choose to wait for a birthday. The lesser the value of the car, the cheaper the insurance. But with no insurance history, you are in for a big expense here.
Once you’ve figured out which make and model you wish to buy, you need to raise the cash to pay for it. Many parents demand their kids take a job and contribute some of that pay packet to paying off any loan you take out on their behalf. As a homeowner, you’re in a position to approach a secured loan lender for a favourable rate that your child wouldn’t be eligible for. It would become your responsibility to cover the cost of the repayments, no matter what.
Other approaches include saving up until the cash price is available in full. It may not sit well with your eager offspring, but it’s a good way to teach responsible finances. If your child is over the age of eighteen, it’s possible they could apply for a credit card, overdraft or loan themselves. It’s up to you if you’re willing to allow them to explore this option. Of course, at the age of eighteen, poor Mum and Dad no longer have a say!
If your son or daughter has made sacrifices to get the car they want, chances are they’ll want to look after it. Perhaps they’ve had to work endless Saturdays to raise the cash? Or maybe they sold some beloved possessions to generate enough money to cover the cost of the car? Beyond all this, you’re going to be keen to ensure they are driving as safely as possible. You might want to invest in some additional driver training, or simply accompany them from time to time to satisfy your concerns.
You might also choose to put restrictions on their driving. Perhaps you’re keen to limit the number of people in the car to two? Or maybe you would prefer to request a mileage restriction, so they don’t drive too far at once? Yes, accidents happen, but you can help reduce the risk of them by helping your child recognise where the risks are.
Buying a car is a really big deal for a teenager. They’re keen to have the freedom car ownership offers, as well as the responsibility of such an adult lifestyle. It’s not easy for parents to hand over the keys at times. We’ll worry, whatever they’re driving!