It’s a fact of life: Teenage drivers don’t have a lot of experience. Your new, license-wielding 16 year old is at a greater risk for accidents, but you can help mitigate the risks. As you search for your teen’s first set of wheels, avoid these car-buying mistakes so that safety and savings remain top priorities:
Don’t: Succumb to style. Teens’ risk for accidents is higher when they’re driving a sports car, motorcycle or small vehicle. In such stylish cars, it’s tempting to drive fast and aggressively.
Do: Consider an SUV. Crash rates are lower for drivers in SUVs and other large vehicles — and SUVs can provide better protection if a crash does happen.
Don’t: Choose a steal over safety. A deal is only good if it’s attached to a trustworthy car. Thoroughly research the vehicle models you’re considering for your teen. Despite an attractive price tag, a car with reliability that’s only so-so might not be such a bargain.
Do: Use our online car-buying calculators to help you compare costs. You may find that a more reliable vehicle is not much more expensive than others.
Don’t: Buy unnecessary extras. Dealerships often try to sell extras such as fabric protection, paint protectant or rustproofing. Don’t waste your money. Vehicle bodies are already coated to protect against rust.
Do: Wash and wax the car regularly, and make use of inexpensive, quality, off-the-shelf products, should your teen spill soda on the upholstery.
Don’t: Skip researching insurance coverage and discounts. When you’re looking to purchase a car for your teenager, Farm Bureau has the auto insurance policy to fit your needs. Remember, accidents and violations can affect the premium you pay for your insurance. Other factors include the make and model of the car and the driver’s age.
Do: Explore the type of coverage you need and any discounts available, which will both affect your premium.
Don’t: Purchase a too-old car to save money. It’s common to plan to buy a used car for teens since their independence on the road is so new. But putting your young driver behind the wheel of a model that’s more than 10 years old could pose safety risks since these models are less likely to have features such as electronic stability control — which helps drivers maintain control on curves and slippery roads — and side air bags.
Do: Prioritize these features in your search when shopping for a used car.
Don’t: Forgo a trip to the mechanic. Even the most reliable vehicle can fail its driver if not properly maintained. Before buying a used vehicle for your teen, have it checked out by a mechanic familiar with diagnostic work. A good mechanic will identify whether the car has been in a significant accident or has a costly problem.
Do: Request a written report of the car’s condition and use it in your price negotiations with the seller.
Our Young Driver Safety Program gives new, inexperienced teenage drivers the chance to build skill and confidence behind the wheel. Plus, drivers 25 or younger who complete the program can qualify for a Safe Young Driver Discount. Connect with an agent today to enroll your new driver.