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Teen Driving: What to Consider When Buying a Car for Your Teen

Published: June 2011

Although buying a car for your teen definitely puts you in the "Cool Parent" category, there are a lot of things to consider before you make your purchase. What kind of car will you get? Will you buy new or used? How much will the car insurance cost? And with car accidents ranking as the leading cause of death among teenagers in the United States, ensuring that your teen is safe on the road is incredibly important—and involves a lot more than just a quick trip to the local car dealership.

Teen Driver getting the keys to her first car

Choose the Right Car

Let's face it, if you left the decision up to your teen, you would probably end up with either a huge SUV or a suped up sports car, neither of which is particularly safe for a young, new driver. However, there are plenty of options out there to make both you and your teen happy. And with the right research, you can find a car that is not only fun to drive, but also safe and reliable, too.

Choosing a midsize car is the best way to go, according to The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety and the Insurance Information Institute . Depending on your budget, you can opt for either a new or used model - just make sure the car is in good condition with updated safety features like airbags and electronic stability control. Also, you'll want to check out crash test and safety ratings before making your final purchase.

Fuel efficiency is another important factor to consider, especially in today's economy. Unless you're willing to cover the cost of filling your son or daughter's tank each week, buying your teen a gas guzzler is probably not a good idea.

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Get the Best Auto Insurance Rate

The truth is that no matter what car you choose, insuring your teen driver will increase your auto insurance rates. But there are some things that you can do to make these costs as manageable as possible. In fact, another great reason to opt for safety first at the car dealership is that it can help keep your auto insurance premiums down. Because safer cars tend to have a lower accident risk, they are usually less expensive to insure.

Another way to get the best auto insurance rates possible is to scope out potential discounts. If your teen is a full-time student, for instance, he or she may be eligible for a good student discount. Researching your options beforehand will help you to make an informed decision when trying to find the right car for your teen.

Set Boundaries

Choosing a good car and purchasing the right auto insurance are only the first steps in keeping your teen safe on the road. Talking with your teen about safe driving and setting clear rules and guidelines are also important. To ensure that your teen stays safe behind the wheel, you can:

  • Limit the number of passengers your teen can have in his or her car at any one time;
  • Establish a "no cell phone" policy to ensure that your teen does not text or call while driving;
  • Discuss what to do in cases of emergency, including accidents and adverse weather conditions,
Buying a car for your teen can be both exciting and scary. For more information on teen driving and ways to keep your child safe on the road, check out Allstate's Safe Driving Program.

Let an Allstate agent help you as you determine your new insurance needs. Don't hesitate to find an Allstate agent near you or get an online quote today.

*This information was obtained by the Pennsylvania Auto Theft Prevention Authority at

The availability, qualifications and amounts of these discounts may vary from state to state. In addition, terms, conditions and exclusions not described above may apply, and total savings may vary depending on the coverages purchased. In some states, we may offer discounts that are not listed here. For more information regarding your eligibility for these savings opportunities, please contact your Allstate agent.
ECC Monitor: OK