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Poll: Parents cut budgets for teen driving costs
By Insure.com staff

Sixty percent of American parents of teen drivers say they've reduced how much they spend on expenses related to their kids' driving because of the tough economy, according to a new survey by Allstate.

Even so, 73 percent say their teen driver has his or her own car, and 8 percent say their child shares a car with a sibling. Among parents whose kids are too young to drive, only 48 percent say their kids will have their own cars.

Most parents say they prefer their children pay a share of the driving costs. But as kids get closer to driving age, parents are more willing to pick up the tab. Only 27 percent of all parents say they believe in fully paying for a car for their child, while 46 percent of parents with a child licensed to drive are willing to pay the full cost.

Parents who say they paid for their own car when first driving are more likely to expect higher contributions from their children. When asked what they would spend to buy a car for their child, 57 percent of parents report they would spend $5,000 or less, and 41 percent say they would spend more than $5,000.

In terms of other driving costs, 51 percent of parents say they would pay all or most of the inspection and registration fees, 45 percent say they would pay for car insurance and 44 percent say they would pay for general car maintenance. Only 17 percent said they would pay for all or most of gasoline expenses, and 17 percent would pay for all or most of the repair bills from damage caused by their child.

Safety is a top priority among parents for choosing a car for their children to drive, followed by reliability, affordability and fuel efficiency. Not one parent among the 600 polled named appearance as a top priority. A car's model and make is a factor in car insurance rates. Safe, family-style cars are cheaper to insure than flashy sports cars.

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