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7 Things to Consider When Purchasing Your Child’s First Car

young girl smiling sitting in a car with keysYour child’s first car is a right of passage into young adulthood. With such a huge milestone at your doorstep, the purchase process and decisions can seem overwhelming. Since this is such an important decision we decided to share some things you should consider before purchasing your child’s first car.

Take Safety Features Into Account

As a new driver, your teen naturally will be new to road safety. Therefore the safety feature of the car should be top of the list of considerations. Many older vehicle models lack the built-in technology safety features of newer modeled cars such as:

  • Impending shortstop
  • Self-braking
  • Real-time location apps
  • Rear reverse cameras
  • Lane departure warning system
  • Blindspot detection
  • Parking assistance systems
  • Automatic high beams


These safety features and systems will help protect your new driver. Avoiding older car models will alleviate many fundamental safety concerns. More importantly, what may seem like luxuries to more experienced drivers, are actually important preventative measures. For example, blindspot detection is helpful for inexperienced drivers as every car and driver has different sightlines.

Purchasing Considerations

Purchasing a car is a big expense. Consequently, considering how you will finance the car is a smart move. Instead of going directly to a dealership and using in-house financing it may be more advantageous to find an auto loan via your preferred financial institution. Failing to do this legwork beforehand could result in missing out on an opportunity for lower interest rates or better repayment terms.

In addition to determining how you will purchase the car, it’s also important to set a budget that’s conducive to how your child will use the vehicle in the near future. Remember, your child will soon be venturing off to college or traveling to and from work in the next couple of years. Therefore, providing them with a vehicle they can actually afford to maintain is ideal. As well, a moderately priced vehicle gives your child the option to take over payments after a couple of years if necessary.

Rule of Thumb for Used Car Mileage and Certified Pre-Own Vehicles

If you decide to purchase a used car for your child consider the general rule that 15,000 miles  being the average number of miles per year. Meaning, if you intend on purchasing a car that is 2 years old, anything over 30k miles would be considered a high mileage car and anything less than 30K miles would be considered a low mileage car.

Additionally, if you can find a Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) Vehicle for purchase that would be ideal. A CPO vehicle is typically considered a low-mileage vehicle backed by manufacturers. CPO vehicles go through rigorous inspections to ensure it meets manufacturer requirements before being certified. As such they are generally considered smart used vehicle purchases.

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Always Get a Vehicle History Report Before Purchasing

Purchasing a car without a history report leaves you susceptible to many unknown variables. If you decide to purchase a used car always request a vehicle history report. If the owner will not provide one, you can easily obtain a report from vehicle history providers. The most common vehicle history providers include CarFax and AutoCheck. These reports routinely provide information such as accident history, structural damage, last known mileage, service history, natural disaster incidents, length of ownership, and much more. These report details help build trust between you and the seller. More importantly, it provides a sense of documented assurance that the vehicle was pre-loved and well maintained over time.

Consider the Cost of Insurance

Whether you’re buying a used car or a new car understanding state and financier requirements for insurance is an essential part of the process. If you are purchasing an automobile in Florida take some time to review legal information provided via Florida’s Office of Insurance Regulation website. There you’ll be able to review regulatory requirements regarding personal automotive insurance. You can also use the website’s Auto Rate Comparison Tool to identify PIP and All Coverage Rates. For example, at the time of this article, the tool allows you to use search parameters to yield a list of comparative rates. These parameters include:

  • Selecting Insurance Type (e.g. Family with Young Drivers)
  • Selecting a specific county in Florida (e.g. Palm Beach)

Alternatively, you can search by Company

Don’t Ignore Practicality

Oftentimes we make decisions based on what our children want. You’re not alone, as our children have the tendency to tug on heartstrings. However, a car purchase should definitely consider practicality over what’s cool or trending. Avoid impractical buys like the classic car or convertible. Instead, opt for more reliable and safe options like new car models or standard 4 door sedans.

Final Thoughts on Purchasing a New Car for Your Child

>We all know that purchasing a new car comes with many responsibilities. As parents or guardians walking our children through this milestone provides an excellent teaching opportunity. Use this occasion to impart practical financial advice and personal responsibility tips that your child can use well into the future.

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Topics: Financing


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