A car for a teenager?

I’ve had my yellow Mini a couple of years now and I love it. It’s pretty reliable (well, apart from the time it broke down) and it’s easy to park, even for a terrible driver like me. I only need it for driving to school and dance lessons, so a small car is perfect for me.

Unfortunately, my eldest thinks it will be perfect for him too.

He’s nearly 16, so he’ll be learning to drive in just over a year. And he thinks he should have my car. Not just use it. HAVE IT.

Mini, car, 365

I beg to differ. Because it’s my car and I need it to transport him and his siblings. Plus, cars for teenagers are ridiculously expensive. They don’t realise that it isn’t just the cost of buying a car. They think they can save up for them because they’ve seen one that is only a few hundred quid. They forget about the astronomical cost of insurance on top of that, not to mention the fuel and tax.

Insuring a car for a teenager to drive is extremely high. It seems that the costs can vary by hundreds of pounds. Some insurance companies just don’t want to insure young drivers at all, so they put the premiums up so high that you just wouldn’t use them. Others are slightly more affordable. But only slightly.

Because teenagers are high risk drivers. Teenagers don’t have the skills and experience of older drivers, plus they tend to do stupid thing. Driving with friends makes them worse as they encourage each other to drive faster or overtake on a bend.

The thought of my son on the road is a worry. I hate the thought of him taking risks, or being put at risk by his friends who are driving.

And if I did let my son have my car, I would need a new one. Would I be able to afford it? I could of course buy myself a new (to me!) Mini for less than £3,000, but that would be older than my current car. And how would I know it would be reliable? I would definitely want to spend more than that for peace of mind.

It’s still over a year away, so I’ve got time to think. What would you do? Let him have my car? Insure him on my car? Or make him wait until he’s a bit older before giving him access to a car?

It’s a tough choice.





Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. Ahh this is a tough choice but I think I’d be tempted to make him wait! Like you say, there is so much more to consider when owning a car and I think it’s important that they can take on that full responsibility. My eldest two are 17 and 19 and haven’t even started having lessons yet. I always thought that they would start as soon as they turned 17 but as it happens, neither of them have been that interested yet. My daughter is thinking about starting when she turns 18 in the summer but we’ll see!

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    • He’s very keen to learn to drive, but that doesn’t mean he should have a car! It’s great that your kids haven’t bothered about learning yet. I learned at 17 and had access to my mum’s car (of course insurance was much lower then!), but didn’t have a car of my own until I was 25. My husband had a car at 18 and it was such a drain financially for him.

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  2. Eek it is absolutely extortionate for a teen these days just purely on insurance. I remember passing at 19 but not driving till I was 23 and then I crashed it within a week and destroyed the engine within a year. I’m good now though. Mostly!

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    • My neighbour told me her two teenagers’ car insurance is more expensive than their mortgage!
      You didn’t get a great start to driving! I passed at 17 and had access to my mum’s car. I didn’t have my own car until I was 25.

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  3. having looked into insurance for the oldest two boys and as Peter had a company car, it only left us with the option of insuring my Jeep, which was astronomical, we told them we wouldn’t be letting them drive my car. Child 4 learnt to drive though in my (new) Jeep when we moved to South Africa as there was no additional cost for learner drivers, he then took it off roading, Top Gear style, as in ‘at speed’ and broke the suspension. I happily handed the car over to him for after school activities to save me going back and forth to school all day, it also meant in exchange for using the car he had to run his brother around and pick up shopping on his way to and fro.

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    • I do like the idea of him being able to take himself to his own activities, particularly if he goes to a school further away (although by the time he passes he will almost be leaving the school!). Great that your son was able to help out with a few chores too.

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  4. Oh gosh no, you’re far too nice! I wouldn’t even contemplate giving him your car, it’s a fab car. I’d be buying him a reliable old car to start with, it’s bound to end up with bumps and scrapes on and it’s better than watching your pride and joy get ruined.

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    • Thanks very much, you’re so right! My car is pretty old and has a lot of miles on the clock, but I can’t really see myself being ready to give it up in a year or 18 months’ time. x

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  5. Firstly I think your son would be a sensible driver so wouldn’t worry on that front. But giving him your Mini – no I wouldn’t. Besides aren’t they expensive to insure? Our eldest bought his first car himself – it was only £500 (a Ka). The insurance we went with Endsleigh and I was advised to stay away from the black box (esp as he was driving himself to school up the motorway in peak time – it means he would be penalised!) Best of luck whatever you decide.

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    • Thanks very much! I’ll remember to check out Endsleigh! I’m impressed that your son bought his own car, that’s the sort of attitude I like in a young person!

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  6. No I would definitely keep your own car as it’s yours. I wouldn’t give my car to my teen and it’s 14 years old this year. I would want him to save up at least some of the cost of the car and for the extortionate insurance. I passed my test and got my first car at 17, BUT I did work in a bank and got a cheap loan. But it was my responsibility to pay the loan back and sort out the insurance etc. Though I do appreciate that at 17 our kids will not be in full time work at that age x

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    • Thanks very much. You’re so right about keeping the car! It’s my pride and joy! I didn’t have a car until I was 25, so there’s a big part of me that thinks he should wait until he can afford it all for himself. If he gets a car, he will certainly be making a big financial contribution himself, but we’ll see what happens!

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