How to Car Shop for Your Teen

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Getting licensed is one of the most monumental and liberating moment in a teens’ life. Finally they are free to move about without adult supervision. While you may be excited to no longer have to shuttle them from school to practice to social events at a moment’s notice, several thoughts are probably running through your head. How do you ensure their safety on the road when they don’t have much experience behind the wheel? How do you financially plan for the cost of getting them a set of wheels, insurance, and gas? Borrow is here to help bring peace of mind to all of the question marks concerning getting your most prized possession from A to B.

Budgeting:

Choosing a car is an impossible task without an examination of your current financial situation. Whether they’ll be receiving a brand new car, a lightly used model, or the family beater will all be determined by this. It is important to understand the hidden costs behind the car, such as the insurance premium that is charged for new drivers, as well as maintenance and gas. Establishing who is going to pay for what will engage your teen to be more mindful about how far they are driving and can teach them financial responsibility as they will truly see how much it costs to have the freedom of a car. Remember, since your teen is a new driver, you may want to invest in a car that you don’t mind racking up a couple of scratches and dings, as investing in an immaculate set of wheels will infuriate you when they inevitably bump into a couple of things here and there.

Choosing the Actual Car:

Do you remember your dream car when you were 16? While not all dreams come true, it is important to remember that your teen wants a cool car, something they can be proud of. Getting them a beater car that they hate may sound appealing from a cost perspective, however they will be more inclined to treat it like a beater. Cars are investments, and investing in a car that your teen will be incentivized to treat well may be a win-win for all parties. Do not hastily assume that this means breaking the budget, as every price range has reasonably priced cars that can check all the boxes and still come off as cool. You don’t have to go “MTV Sweet 16” and get them an Escalade with a bow on it, however listening to the cars they talk about can give you some inspiration for a more practical first car.

The must-haves for each teen will vary dramatically based on who they are and what activities they partake in. Do they need room for sports equipment? Are they always hanging out with a huge group of friends? These factors will determine if they need a truck for cargo space, an SUV for passenger seating and all wheel drive, or if they can get away with having a small car.

Safety:

This is every parent’s main concern with letting their new driver out onto the open road. Accident rates are highest among teens, and the kind of car they are in can make a huge difference if they are unfortunate enough to get into a car accident. Researching crash ratings of the potential vehicles you’re interested in through the IIHS and NHTSA may make the choice much easier. These databases provide all the information you’ll need to judge the safety of a car. If it brings more peace of mind, opting for a slightly larger car or one that is elevated farther from the ground may be a good decision.

Choosing Insurance:

While insurance providers may seem like the bad guys, ultimately they want the same outcome as you--for your driver to go as far as possible without ever having an accident. Regardless of who is paying for the insurance, teens are the most expensive drivers to insure, especially males. They’ll use the type of car and how powerful it is to derive a price for the insurance, so choosing a less powerful or sporty car will definitely help manage the outrageous premiums. Less power means your teen will be driving slower in the eyes of an insurer, and whether that’s true or not, it makes a world of difference in pricing. Taking their opinions into consideration is important while choosing the car, however opening their eyes into how much more certain makes and models cost to insure will hopefully make them more aware of why you’re making the decision you’re making.


Borrow is the right way to own a car, with a simple monthly, flat fee subscription. We are bridging the gap between leasing, ownership and on-demand and removing the complexity of car ownership by making the process simple, intuitive and fun. Think of Borrow as your personal mobility concierge. JoinBorrow: Take The Wheel.

Nikko RoyceComment