Buying your teenager their first car:
And how to save a wallet-friendly £621…

It’s a rite of passage every new driver goes through – but what about the cost to mum and dad?

Remember your very first car? Bit of a tatty wreck, probably, but you loved it because it was yours. Now, a generation later, you’re buying a car for the newest-qualified driver in your house. Here’s what to expect… and what you’ll only know once they’re on the road…

Looks aren’t everything

Your kids probably envisages a shiny new ride like all the stars in the movies. But even if you’re happy to splash out on a brand-spanking new car, it's likely that even the most proficient of new drivers might get a little prang in them. In fact, one in five newly qualified drivers will have an accident in the first six months after passing their test. So it might be worth considering a slighter less-new car just in case of any minor scrapes it'll be dealing with. 

teenagers first car

Did you know?  

Parents in the UK spend £2 billion a year to cover their children’s motoring costs, with around 10% of UK parents contributing in excess of £1,000 a year.

car

Money, money, money

You think your car insurance is pricey? Just you wait. There’s a very good reason why you shouldn’t spend a fortune on those new wheels: newly-qualified drivers, especially teenage ones spend over £2,000 a year running a car and tend to have higher insurance premiums – the average cost to insure a 17-22 year-old taking to the road for the first time is a wallet-busting £1,257.

Don’t despair, however. Telematics insurance – also called “black box insurance” could be the answer to your young driver insurance prayers. Our data shows, when comparing policies, where telematics policies were the cheapest policy available, the average saving was a whopping £621.16.

A mobile app, or software installed inside the car will send detailed data back to the insurer about the driver’s behaviour and driving ability which is used to determine whether the premium is reduced. (Of course, the reverse is also true…).

We’ve got you covered

15% of parents lend a helping hand to cover high insurance premiums. Want to get a competitive quote for young drivers? We’ve got you covered with our car insurance comparison service

Be a smart buyer

There are two ways of approaching this. You can either buy the car in secret - tie it up in one of those giant bows, and lead your delighted offspring outside to see it on the morning of their birthday.

Or, you can think these things through together, so your budding star in a reasonably priced car gets a little taste of the admin that comes with adulthood. After all, they've just leapt over the hurdle of passing their driving test, now's the time for rigorous organisation! Just as you can compare different car types online through sites such as AutoTrader, you can compare car insurance using our car insurance calculator. You can even show your teenager how a bigger engine, insurance group or a snazzy modification could increase their insurance quote.  As a starter for ten here’s our list of the cheapest cars to insure for 17-24 year olds:

cheapest car

Dust off that wallet again

One in five parents either fully purchase or contribute to the purchase of the child’s first car.  

car

Say goodbye to Saturday night

Saturday nights in with the family used to spell comfort food, primetime TV in your pyjamas and a decent night's rest. 

But now? They’ve got a car! And suddenly they're the most popular person in town. People they once sat next to in maths back in Year 9 will become their best pal, and your front door might start revolving with teenagers exploiting his or hers designated driver status. And given that the gang can’t leave until the most disorganised member has shown up, that’s a good two hours of your Saturday evening taken up with dealing with them all. And you thought paying for the car was the main cost!

Will it ever end?

More than 40% of parents chip in to cover the costs of driving with offspring aged 26-30, and a third of parents support children past the age of 31.

But then it’s worse once they’ve gone…

Do you remember The Fear? The first time they went to the corner shop on their own. The first time they walked to school alone. Their first night away without you.

None of these are anything compared to the first time they go out in the car alone. You’ve paid for lessons. You’ve told them over and over again how loud music can distract them. But once they pull out of the drive that first time (and second, and third, fourth, twelfth, twenty-second…) you’ll still do nothing but worry. Until you cannily learn that there are ways of keeping them safer- and your wallet – safer; as we mentioned earlier some insurance providers offer a telematics policy which means the installation of a 'black box' in the new car. This responds to the car's movements provides feedback on how the driver drives and rewards drivers with a lower premium if they drive safely. Pass Plus courses give the driver more experience, and therefore can sometimes drive premiums down. But better yet these might give you the peace of mind you need to be confident about your child’s safety.

But it’s for good reason:

35% of parents who contribute to the cost of their kids’ motoring costs said it is to ensure their children are driving a safer car.

car interior

Every cloud has a silver lining… and vice versa

On the other hand… need a few bits for Sunday lunch? Need an elderly relative ferried home? Fancy a glass of wine tonight? Or need someone to drive you to the airport?  They could be helping you out and sharing the driving.

However, car of their own or not, you might still be picking them up from parties and clubs for years to come… and, of course, those windswept lay-bys if they run out of petrol or the car breaks down. But then that’s what being a parent is all about, right?

Breakdown cover could be included with your insurance policy, so check if you’ve got the right cover and call your insurance provider if you would like it included.

They value our opinion:

41% of drivers aged 18-24 said they would call their dads first in the event of a breakdown – and only 30% would call their breakdown provider first.

To start comparing car insurance prices and get your teen started. Check out your options with our car insurance comparison service.

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