June 15, 2012

Finding Safe Used Cars For Teen Drivers

Parents rarely give teen drivers brand new vehicles, and teenagers usually cannot afford new cars on their own. When buying used cars for teen drivers, however, it is important to look for vehicles with good safety ratings and affordable automobile insurance policies. Most teen drivers know exactly what they want from a used car lot or a newspaper's classifieds, but sometimes teens need to sacrifice flash and speed for safety and lower-than-average insurance premiums.

Automobile insurance companies charge teen drivers higher premiums because teen drivers do not have experience on the road. Statistically, teen drivers have an overwhelmingly high chance of filing an insurance claim within their first several years of vehicle ownership. However, teens can stay safe and limit their insurance premiums by looking at safety ratings online. Many used car dealerships also list official safety ratings on vehicle fact sheets. While safety ratings affect insurance costs, they are not the only contributing factor, so teens should look online for insurance rates before deciding to buy used vehicles. They can work with their parents to estimate a vehicle's annual costs. Parents should make sure that their teens understand how insurance premiums will increase after an accident and explain the various types of insurance coverage that the teens will need, especially when adding teenagers to household auto insurance policies.

Teen drivers should have their vehicles thoroughly checked by a qualified mechanic. Many used vehicles have engine and transmission engines past about 100,000 miles, so well-used vehicles need extra special care. A trustworthy mechanic will check all of the vehicle's systems and let the driver know about upcoming repairs. Teen drivers can then use this information to negotiate for a better price or forgo the sale altogether if the vehicle is in poor condition. When buying any used vehicle, it is also a good idea to ask about maintenance records, as these are particularly helpful for evaluation a vehicle's condition. Parents and teens should also know how to check car tire tread. By getting a relatively well-maintained vehicle, a teen can drastically reduce his or her chances of an accident.

Teen drivers can also cut their insurance rates by taking additional safety courses after earning their licenses. Most insurance companies also offer special discounts for students who can keep a certain GPA, so high school students can save substantially by studying. Teens should check with their insurance providers to see whether any other discounts are available. They can also head online to compare automobile insurance quotes. By taking these steps and by taking time when choosing a used vehicle, teens can find great, safe vehicles that will last them for years.