Car Insurance 101: What Kind of Car Should I Drive?

Last week in Car Insurance 101, we talked about choosing car insurance for the first-time driver. Deciding on what kind of coverage you want is a step in the right direction, but what’s the point of purchasing car insurance if you don’t have a car to insure? That’s why this week we’ll be talking about choosing a car for the first-time driver so buckle up!

Car Insurance 101 Infographic Describing What Kind of Car First-Time Drivers Should Drive

Car Insurance 101: What Kind of Car Should I Drive?


Car Insurance 101: Steps to Buying a Car for First-Time Drivers

Before we can talk about buying a car, we need to talk about money.

1. Set Your Budget

The first step to choosing a car for the first-time driver is setting a budget. Most car payments are due monthly, so you will need to figure out how much you can afford to spend a month. Remember that car payments are not the only thing you will need to think about. There are also insurance, gasoline, and routine maintenance to budget for as well. Once you know how much you can afford to spend, you can move on to the next step.

2. Know What You Want—and What You Need

The second step to choosing a car for the first-time driver is establishing your needs and your wants. Needs are things like how many people it can hold, fuel economy, safety features like air bags or roll bars, etc. Wants are things like Bluetooth, GPS, larger engines, etc. Remember that needs and wants are two separate things and while you should try to find a car that meets all your needs, wants are things that can be purchased later, if they become necessary.

3. Do Your Research

Now that you know how much you can spend and what it is you’re looking for, the next step in choosing a car for the first-time driver is research.

Going online is an easy way to research cars. Start with your lists of needs (safety features, fuel economy, etc.) and wants. There are plenty of helpful sites to consult:

While you’re researching cars online, another thing to consider is new vs. used. Used cars are generally much cheaper than new ones, which can be a huge benefit when coming up with your budget. When you’re looking at cars online, you can look at used models of the same type of car and compare the features and prices.

4. Go for a Test Drive

Once you have a car or two picked out, you are ready for the next step of choosing a car for the first-time driver: test drives. There a few things to remember when test driving cars so you can make sure to get the most of it. If you have a friend or relative who is knowledgeable about cars or a mechanic, bring them along. Car dealers can use some confusing language at times and it is helpful to have someone with you who can separate the sales pitch from the facts. If you are looking at used cars, you can also take them to a mechanic or auto shop you trust and have them inspect it for you.

After your budget has been written and your test drives have been driven, it is time to buy your first car. This is a very exciting moment in a first-time driver’s life!

However, you need to remember that negotiation is the most important part of this step. Two of the most important things to know are:

  • Actual value of the car
  • What features come standard and what are optional

Remember your list of needs vs. wants and if the price just isn’t right, you are under no obligation to buy.

There’s a lot more to choosing a car for the first-time driver than we have space for here. If you’re still asking yourself “what kind of car should I drive?” you can read much more:

Next week, we’ll be discussing money-saving tips for car insurance for the first-time driver. See you then!

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