Getting a driver’s license is a rite of passage for the majority of teenagers in American society. Of course, as soon as they get their license, most teens start asking parents if they can borrow the car.
Soon enough, parents start to complain about how much the teen driver is monopolizing the car or when a parent gets in the car to go to work and finds the car with an empty gas tank (“Really Mom! I forgot! Let me borrow it now and I will go fill up the gas tank right now!”). Of course, the teen usually believes the most logical solution to the parent’s complaint is that they should have their own car.
For those parents who can afford it, many provide their children with a new (used) car on their 16th birthday. Those parents who cannot afford it, or who decide to teach their children responsibility, help their children purchase the vehicle as long as they are working and earning the money to buy their ride. Regardless of how the first vehicle is obtained, someone will have to pay money for the teen’s liability insurance.
With insurance rates for a teenage driver starting at $100+ per month, this can be a daunting task for most teenagers and many of their families. It is also an expense that every car owner must face.
When a vehicle is purchased, certain financial obligations are implicit to the transaction. In most cases, before you drive the car off the lot, the new owner must obtain a vehicle insurance policy that covers the minimum state liability and any additional coverage required under the vehicle purchase agreement. These expenses are incurred, just like the cost of fuel and maintenance, at the signing of the contract and must be calculated when determining the actual cost of vehicle ownership.
But, who pays for the insurance? Should the parents increase their monthly expenses to allow their child to drive a car? Or should the teen driver accept the responsibility and pay for it themself?
In my opinion, if a person is old enough to obtain their driver’s license, then they are also old enough to be responsible. If the privilege of driving is important enough to the teenager, then this should be sufficient motivation for them to get a job, and cover the expenses for their vehicle. If they cannot handle this responsibility now, when it means the freedom of driving themselves where they wish, then how are they going to handle the responsibility of being an adult that is just three or four years away?
Loving your teen driver does not mean that you have to provide everything for them on a silver platter. Teach them the pride of car ownership by letting them earn it rather than just getting it handed to them. Teach them the satisfaction of making the payments, not just on the car, but on the insurance as well. They may not like it, but in the long run, it will help them learn to be responsible for themselves, and take pride in what they have.