In our household, we decided that we would pick up half the cost of car insurance until our children graduated or turned 18. After that it was up to them. This decision was reached after a long session with the kids where we helped them list how much they would be making and how they could manage it in a way that all of their expensies would be taken care of. If their job did not pay enough to cover all of this, they were not ready to purchase a car.
Even then, before allowing them to actually buy a car, we asked them to make an auto owner’s report where they listed the monthly car payement, their monthly share of the insurance, the estimated cost of gas and oil, and a dollar amount to set aside for unexpected car expenses.
Each of our kids were overwhelmed when they realized how expensive owning a car was going to be, and one of them decided to put off car ownership until he had graduated and secured a good-paying job for himself.
We also suggested that each of them take a class at school called basic car care. Each of them did, and I would guess that it has proved itself to be very worth-while over the years since then.
The final thing to consider is that emergency car care will sooner or later become necessary. Care that will far outstrip anything the child has set aside for this purpose. This is where a parent may decide to step in and help out with a low or
no-interest loan. The loan should be paid back, even if it takes quite a while to do it. Bailing kids out all the time will not prepare them to stand on their own feet as adults.
Helping out without smothering or coddling kids is our job as parents. Your kids may not be appreciative now, but when they finally become the mature adults we have worked to produce, they will realize what a treasure you have given them.