Preparing for a Teen Driver

Children grow up too fast. One day they are playing with toy cars, and the next they are preparing to take their driver’s test. The old saying, “the older they get, the more they cost you” rings true in many situations, but in this one especially.

My youngest daughter earned her learner’s permit recently and has begun the rite of passage of becoming a licensed driver. Luckily, my wife and I have learned our lessons from our oldest child and are better prepared this time around. Adding a new driver in the family has many implications, including several financial considerations.


One pleasant surprise that many don’t know about, is that while your teen has their learner’s permit, they are fully covered under their parents’ insurance (most carriers won’t charge you, but it is good to ask just in case). Once your teen gets their driver’s license, it is a very different (and expensive) story. I was shocked at how much it cost to add my oldest daughter to our insurance. This time around I won’t be as surprised, but I will definitely shop my insurance to see if I can lessen the financial impact. Luckily the credit union now has its own licensed insurance agent who can do all the shopping for me so I can compare the best quotes.

Buying Another Vehicle

Another important decision is whether you plan to buy a vehicle for your new driver. In my family’s case, we let our oldest daughter drive one of our cars that was already fully paid off. With my youngest, we quickly realized there wouldn’t be an older vehicle to give her. Reluctantly, we started putting some money aside so that we would be able to buy a reasonably-priced used car when she’s ready.

If you plan to purchase your teen a vehicle and finance it, remember that any financing would be in your name, and would be your responsibility. The credit union has a free vehicle search engine you can use, where you can search for new and used cars with our preferred car dealers. If you have any questions along the way, feel free to reach out to your credit union for help.

Maintenance Costs

Regardless of whether your teen will have their own vehicle or share one with the family, there will be added maintenance costs. More vehicles mean more registrations, oil changes, potential issues, and other sometimes unexpected upkeep costs that can be expensive. Even if you plan to share a vehicle, the added wear and tear on a vehicle will increase your maintenance costs, and is something that you should be prepared for.

Not only is driving a huge step up in responsibility for your teen, but for you as a parent as well. Extra costs to the family budget means taking the time to look over your finances and preparing early so that you are not blindsided by any expenses. I highly recommend discussing these added costs with your teen, so they realize that driving is a privilege that comes as a cost and not a right.


Post author: Jamieson Mackay, CCUFC

The opinions expressed on this page are for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal or financial advice. The views expressed are those of the author of the article and may not reflect the views of the credit union.