So your teenager wants a car? PANIC!!!!!
Financial help for your family from Logbook Loans…
So that great day has come when your son or daughter has passed their driving test. Along with your natural parental pride in their achievement, you can now say hello to a whole new set of worries!
Because now that they can drive they will want to drive. So you need to work out a way of helping them to make that happen. Should you let them drive your car or find a way of getting them their own car? How much will insurance cost? And how will you actually feel once they are driving themselves around?
We covered the topic of insurance in our article Five top tips for cheaper car insurance for young drivers, so check out that article for some money saving tips.
But as for providing them with a car, what is the best option? Here are some things to consider.
Do they really need a car right now?
First things first, do they actually need a car? Is it something that they will use often and will make life easier for you all?
If your son or daughter has to travel to school/college/work and there is no decent public transport available then it could make sense for them to drive, particularly if it is currently you that has to do the ferrying around. But if they can live most of their lives quite easily using other means of transport, then a car could wait.
Are they mature enough to treat a car responsibly? This means driving carefully, not showing off to friends, and looking after the car properly.
Are you as a family financially able to afford another car? If not, then don’t be tempted to overstretch your finances. You could agree a future milestone – perhaps a significant birthday or the end of college – and all work towards buying a car then.
Using the family car
If the above considerations help you to realise that now is not the right time for your son or daughter to have their own car, a compromise solution is to work out a way of them having access to another family car when they need it. You will need to agree “terms and conditions” early on so that this arrangement works for everyone. For example, these could include:
- If your son or daughter wants to use the car, they must book it in advance with you. They should never just take the car without your knowledge and permission, and need to understand that if you need the car for something else then they won’t be able to use it.
- They need to pay something towards any additional cost of maintaining, insuring and fueling the car that their use is causing. Perhaps either a regular monthly payment or a pay-as-you-go system each time they use the car.
- They need to help with keeping the car clean both inside and out.
- If they damage the car in any way, they must pay for its repair; or, if it’s covered by insurance then contribute if the premium rises as a result.
- If they get a parking ticket, it is their responsibility to pay for it.
- If they get a speeding ticket, not only do they need to pay it but you may want to rethink their use of the car.
- If they offer lifts to friends they must all wear seatbelts and understand that they are not to distract the driver.
- When using the car they need to stick to a zero alcohol policy. Not “just one”: none.
It is important to establish safe and responsible practices very early on, and help your son or daughter understand the huge responsibilities that are part of them being on the road.
Buying a car together
If you do decide that your son or daughter needs a car as soon as possible, then it is much better to involve them in the responsibility and cost of the process rather than just doing everything for them. The car is likely to be their first major purchase so it is a brilliant opportunity to help them understand more about money.
One option is to contribute money to their car but ensure that some of it is coming from them. So you might agree to give them a top up payment to buy a car once they have saved up a certain amount of money.
If they are having difficulty saving money – for example only working limited hours because of their studies – then you may want to come to an arrangement where they take on extra responsibilities around the home for which you put more money into the car fund.
You may also want to get other family members involved in the mission. Perhaps they could give money instead of gifts for birthdays and Christmas, to help the car fund to grow more quickly.
Another option is to look into a loan. If your son or daughter is over 18 then they may be able to get a loan in their own right, though some finance companies may require an adult over 21 to act as guarantor. Or you may be willing to take out a loan on behalf of your son or daughter: check out our range of logbook loans to see how your current car could be used as security for a loan to buy another car. You can apply online or call us on 0330 400 4137.
We hope that the above advice will help you to decide whether now is the right time to give your teenager access to a car, and how to go about doing this.
Remember to check back here soon for more financial and lifestyle tips from Logbook Loans.