Should you buy a brand new car for your teen?
If you ask your teen this question, the answer will likely be a resounding "yes!"—but there's more to it than that, most notably safety and cost considerations.
If you can comfortably afford to buy a new car for your teen, they'll get the benefits of the latest technology. There may be some bells and whistles they don't need, but many of today's cars' technological advancements and systems are designed around safety. That may justify a new car purchase, at which point you can set guidelines for your teen to choose the car they want within your determined price range. The other option is to buy a used car.
Many of the technological advancements and systems in today's cars are designed around safety. That may justify a new car purchase.
The new vs. used car dilemma
The benefits and drawbacks of buying a new car vs. buying a used car for your teen are simple to explain but potentially difficult to choose between them. A new car costs more upfront but requires less maintenance and fewer repairs. A used car can bring the vehicle cost down but may pose more repair costs sooner.
Even if a used car is cheaper to insure—it could end up being more costly in the long run if it breaks down. You may find an excellent middle ground in a used car that's a newer model with minimal mileage. Learn more about insurance when buying a used car.
The one thing all good first cars for teens have in common
You're understandably a little worried about your teen driving alone. Whether you buy your teen a new or used car, the final decision comes back to safety. Newer car models come with things like advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), automatic braking, collision warning, rear-view camera, blind-spot alerts, and other helpful technology. A 2018 study by J.D. Power shows that new technology keeps people and roads safer.
Three quick tips when buying a car for your teenager
Buying a car for your teenager is a significant milestone and a proud moment for you as a parent. It can be a smooth, rewarding, and even a bonding experience when you keep the following in mind:
1. Communication is key
The more clearly you communicate with your teen, the more you can diffuse any conflicts before emotions get intense. This is especially important when it comes to the gut-check of what you can afford and are willing to pay.
2. Combine safety and style
Your teen's vision of their first car is probably based on a specific make, model, color, and ultimately, the cool factor. Meanwhile, you simply want them to be safe. The good news is that new cars have great safety features, so you can balance the two and see your teen drive away as happy as they are safe.
3. Coverage is crucial
Alongside the purchase, you also want to make sure your auto insurance policy and coverages protect your teen driver and their new vehicle at an affordable price. Even before you purchase the new car, you can get a quote in advance from your insurer to see how adding the vehicle will impact your rate.