What's the only thing scarier than your teen driving on the open road? Perhaps it's the cost. Or, it may be a mix of both in the event of an early fender-bender, as those aged 16 to 19 are the most likely age group to be involved in an auto accident, according to the CDC.
Getting ready for the road Whether you buy new or used, use or don't use financing or any other major car-buying decision, keep in mind the total cost of ownership - what the car really costs to own and operate. As Consumer Reports note, a Mazda 6 family sedan looks nice at $1,900 less than a similar Toyota Camry - but the Mazda would cost an extra $2,000 to own than the Camry. Tools like Consumer Reports and Kelley Blue Book compile this information to help car buyers make better choices. Once you take in the purchase price, maintenance, insurance and fuel, you'll really get a sense of the real cost of the car.
Keep in mind your budget and how it will all work out to move forward. Will you or the teen pay for the car, gas, insurance, etc.? Used cars will provide good value, especially for a first car. It is normally best for teens to stick to used cars in order to keep costs as low as possible. Some recommend having 20% down on the car, or it's easy to owe more than what it's worth.
What cars can teens consider? There is safety, reliability, low insurance costs, and even - at least for the teens - the cool factor. But where does that lead us? Parents and teens can take notes from lists like The Best Used Cars for Teenage Drivers. This piece from Forbes has some good recommendations, and it's important to see how all of these vehicles had an important option like including electronic stability control, which is now standard on all cars. On this list, SUVs and pickups were left off the list due to security concerns. Using total cost of ownership and safety considerations, parents and teens can make a smart financial decision for their first car. It's up to the teen to drive safely and maintain the car - and the insurance costs stay as low as possible.
About the Author: Brian Neese is an author that specializes in content marketing, social media, and SEO. He writes about technology, personal finance, and much more.