It’s a question that nearly every parent will hear at least once, and perhaps a thousand times again. When your teen comes to you asking for a car, do you know how you will answer? For some parents, it’s a matter of economics. For others, it’s a question of convenience. Still further, some parents are concerned about giving their child the freedom and responsibility that comes with owning a vehicle.
At Philleo Agency Insurance, we know that parents face difficult choices like these all the time. While we cannot make the decision for you, we can help you weigh the facts and considerations necessary to make a decision that is right for you are family.
Is Your Teen Mature Enough to Own a Vehicle?
Maturity is a major factor in determining whether your teenager should have a car, or even have the privilege to drive at all. Every teenager is different, and no one knows your student better than you do. Before you make a decision, assess your teen’s behavior behind the wheel when you are riding with them. Do they obey all traffic laws? Are they courteous to other drivers?
In addition to driving habits, review your teen’s record of behavior at school. Does your teen follow the rules, or is he disrespectful of authority? Do they have a record of poor choices? Keep in mind that car accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers ages 15 and older in the U.S. Trustworthiness is an important factor in determining whether your child is mature enough to have a vehicle, or if waiting is a better option.
New vs. Used Vehicles for Teens – Which is Better?
Many adults have strong opinions about whether newly licensed teenagers should be driving new, late-model cars. On the surface, it seems that handing over the keys to a more expensive vehicle is asking for trouble, especially given the high crash rate among teenage drivers. There is just one factor, however, that should not be overlooked – safety.
Safety should be the number one factor a parent considers when selecting a vehicle for a teen. While many cars in the past were rated highly for their safety features, they pale in comparison compared to the advanced collision-prevention technology that comes on many of today’s newer vehicles. In fact, today’s vehicles are so much safer that the government had to change its testing procedures and standards of safety for vehicles with model year 2011 and newer.
An article from Forbes Magazine notes that a five-star safety rated vehicle in 1998 may have only two airbags compared to the 10 or more that most vehicles are equipped with today. In fact, the newer the vehicle you purchase for your teen is, the more safety features it may be equipped with.
For example, most of today’s vehicles are equipped with electronic stabilization technology that helps prevent loss of control in wet or slippery conditions. Many also come with backup cameras and automatic seatbelt warning sensors. Some even offer special control features that allow parents to limit vehicle speed or radio volume in the car.
If a late-model car is out of the budget and your teen would be safer in the family vehicle than an older, more affordable one, it might be wise to continue sharing rides.
Who Will Pay the Costs of Ownership?
A vehicle’s cost goes far beyond the sticker price. Even if you offer up the cash for your teenager’s new car, there will be many ongoing costs associated with ownership. Car insurance for teens alone can cost double or triple that of an experience adult’s premiums. There are also fuel costs, maintenance expenses, registration fees, and occasional repairs that will be necessary. Make sure you factor in all of these costs when determining if the addition of another vehicle is right for your family.