There are plenty of things to consider if you're buying a car as a P-Plater, or if you're a parent and buying a car for your child. Here are four things to keep in mind:
1. Your budget
Before you can go car shopping, you need to know how much you've got to spend. Ask yourself questions like:
- Do you need to save up for a while, or do you have enough cash on hand to buy a car right away?
- Would you be able to get something considerably better if you waited a few more months/a year to save more? Would it be worth it to wait?
- Can you afford a new car, or would a used car be more realistic with your budget?
- If your parents are helping you buy the car, how much might they be willing to chip in?
Of course, buying a car isn't a one-off expense. Make sure you consider ongoing expenses, like maintenance/servicing, insurance and car registration too. There are lots of great budgeting tools online that can help you work out your income and expenses – this might help give you peace of mind that you will be able to afford your new car.
Also, it might be worth thinking about how much the car might depreciate over time. Maybe you plan to keep the car long term, so this is less of a concern to you. However, if you think you might trade in your car in say five years, it's good to be realistic about how its value might differ at that point vs when you purchase the car.
Unfortunately, young drivers are more likely to be in car accidents – so you may consider purchasing a car with modern safety features. Not sure where to start? Read plenty of car reviews. Most reviews will consider the safety of the car, which can help inform your decision.
Also, keep in mind that P-Platers aren't allowed to drive some high performance/modified cars for safety reasons. Always check your state or territory's road and traffic authority website to see what is and isn't allowed.
3. Fuel economy
Before purchasing a car, do some research to see how much fuel it uses – and be realistic about how much you're going to be driving it, and where to. Say you live in a city and you're mostly going to be catching public transport to university/work and just using your car on weekends. In that case, a car that is small and easy to park might suit you – and it'll probably be cheap to run in terms of fuel.
On the other hand, if you know you'll be driving long distances and/or need a big car for work/personal use, make sure you understand what that might mean in terms of your weekly petrol spend.
If there's a particular make and model you're interested in and you know people with that type of car, ask them how fuel efficient they find the car to be (and how they like the car in general!).
4. How the car you choose can impact your car insurance as a P-Plater
Here's the thing. While the cost of car insurance can be based on various factors, like your driving history, age, where you live and more, your premiums may also go up or down depending on the car you're driving. To put it another way, the type of car you buy (and its age) can impact the cost of your car insurance.
Getting a quote is the easiest way to estimate how much different cars would cost to insure and, as mentioned above, the cost of insurance varies based on a lot of other factors too. So, it might be worth getting some insurance quotes for a few different types of cars you're researching before you make your final decision about what car to buy.
You should also think about the type of car insurance you'd like. Bingle offers two different kinds of car insurance.
Our Comprehensive Car Insurance gives you cover for accidental damage caused to someone else's car or property while using your car (up to $20m legal liability) and covers accidental loss or damage to your car (up to the market value* ), including damage caused by collisions, theft and natural events.
Our Third Party Property Damage Car Insurance is typically cheaper, however you're only covered for accidental damage to someone else's vehicle or property caused by the use of your car (up to $20m legal liability) – not damage to your car.
For more info, check out our Car Insurance for P-Platers article.
Don't forget you'll also need compulsory third party (CTP) insurance. Bingle doesn't offer CTP, and in some states CTP is included in your cost of registration – so just check what your state or territory requires.
Whatever type of car you go for, make sure you do your homework. And remember there's no harm taking your time to work out what you really want and can afford. Feel free to do plenty of test drives and don't be afraid to walk away rather than being pressured into buying something too quickly!