Car ownership might be complicated when a minor is involved. But seeing how kids are more than willing to use their parents’ vehicle and drive to the house of their friends or the mall, it’s not shocking for minors to ask themselves, “Can a 17-year-old purchase a car?” Most teenagers today are interested in getting their first set of wheels. But is owning a car possible for them? The short answer is yes. However, there might be more issues and extra steps to take than you would think. Most states do not mind a 17-year-old purchasing a car. However, the answers to this question can vary as it will still depend on the state you call home. Laws differ on the permissible age to buy a car.
If you are under the age of 18 and you are interested in purchasing a vehicle, here is what you should anticipate:
Registering A Car In Your Name
In every legal matter, paperwork registration is essential, especially if a vehicle is involved.
Whether you buy a new or used car, insurance from your insurance carrier, car title, and vehicle registration are processes you’ll need to undergo. A minor who has yet to reach the legal age of majority can’t sign a legally binding contract. Due to this, a person under 18 may not be able to be the sole owner of a vehicle and sign for a car title and car insurance. From a legal point of view, the parents own the property until the child reaches the age of majority. The parent must fill out the loan application, process the auto insurance policy, sign the insurance contract, and deal with the car dealer.
The state mandates that all residents complete the registration process. It’s a piece of paper that your state’s tax office uses to confirm that your car has been registered through their system. It also shows that your vehicle has been reported. It indicates that it is safe to be operated on public roads and can therefore be driven.
Even though applying for a car and car insurance in your name seems unlikely, you can still purchase a vehicle if your parents co-sign your auto loan and car insurance. Because it is illegal for people under 18 to buy a vehicle, most car dealers prefer not to sell vehicles to individuals under 18. The same is true for an insurance company whose policies prohibit it from providing auto insurance to minors. (car insurance policy based on your credit history and if you have a good credit score.)
Even though minors can legally sign documents, they are not required to keep the terms of those contracts. It is because they have the right to honor a deal or declare a contract void before they turn 18. It is one more reason an insurance company or a dealer is wary of conducting business with anyone under the age of legal consent, whether it is an auto loan or car insurance.
Due to these rules, if a minor wanted to buy a car and apply for car insurance, a parent or a legal guardian would have to sign the bill of sale and any other paperwork needed. This means that the adult will be bound by the terms of the contract. Insurance companies always check that their clients have a credit history, good credit scores, and a history of making payments on time before doing business with them. It is to make sure they are reliable financial partners.
Buying A Car From A Dealership As A Minor
Certainly, every teenager’s dream is to have their own cars, and who doesn’t?
These days, getting a driver’s license is something that the majority of adolescents eagerly anticipate. However, as mentioned earlier, you might have to play the waiting game because most states do not permit people under 18 to enter into contracts or sign legal documents. If you are a minor, you cannot legally purchase a car and apply for car insurance all on your own. Consequently, you will only be able to buy a vehicle from a dealership if you are under the age of majority once you reach the age of majority yourself. You can always ask your parents or guardian to be with you throughout signing, purchasing your own car, and being held responsible for legal matters if you can’t wait to seize the opportunity. However, if you can’t wait, you can always ask your parents or guardian to be with you for a car loan.
Buying A Car From Private Sellers As A Minor
Buying a vehicle from a private seller or private party entails the same processes and requirements as buying from a dealership, so the same rules will apply. Again, technically, you are allowed to purchase, but you may need a helping hand from your parents or guardian for the contracts, paperwork, auto loan, and car insurance.
If you are a minor and want to buy a car from a private seller, you must ensure that your vehicle is insured. If your parents or legal guardians are not listed on the insurance policy, problems will be immediately apparent. Because insurance companies will not write their own car insurance policy for minors who are not accompanied by an adult at the time of the transaction, you must ensure that you are always present with them.
In conclusion, the answer to your pressing question, “Can a 17-year-old purchase a car?” is yes. The answer is “yes,” but it is essential to be aware of and comprehend that you cannot assume complete autonomy regarding registering and insuring the vehicle, even though the answer is “yes.” Whenever you do something like this, you almost always need to involve your parents or a guardian in order to have your own car.
What About Emancipated Minors?
Being accessible and able to do everything we want comes to mind, especially if we are just teenagers of minimum age.
It’s not true that every rule is created equal. There is, as there is with most things in life, an exception to the rules that have been laid out for you in the preceding paragraphs, and that exception is when you are an emancipated minor who wishes to buy his own car.
Emancipation is the legal process by which a child is freed from their legal guardian’s or parents’ control. In exchange, the parents are released from being held accountable for their child’s behaviors and choices in life.
Here are the most common ways on how a minor can get emancipated:
- Military enlistment as a minor (requires consent from parents)
- Getting married (parental consent required in most states)
- Court order from a judge (does not require approval)
Once emancipated, a minor can legally enter into a contract and sign any legal paperwork needed to buy a car from a car dealer or a private party. In other words, emancipated minors are free to buy, register, and get car insurance under their own name. They are free to do the transactions needed in order to purchase a car and other necessities.
When the time came for a teen to feel the need to drive, there was always going to be questions that came up. You felt pumped up and excited to go for a test drive when you considered the possibility of purchasing a car of your own. However, before deciding on the spur of the moment, if you are getting close to the age when you are legally allowed to drive, you should consult with your parents first and discuss your plans. If you know how much money your family has, it’s in your best interest to adjust your expectations accordingly. Not all parents are wealthy. Your parents may pitch in and help you pay for your first vehicle if you’re very fortunate. No matter what it is, you should consult with your parents first. And if you know anyone else who might be wondering, “Can a 17-year-old buy a car?” please let them know the answer is yes. Tell them that they are not the only ones experiencing this, and direct them to this article so that they can learn more about what you have just gone through.