How to Buy a Car for Your Grad

How to Buy a Car for Your Grad

Although most high-school graduates aren’t lucky enough to get a car for finishing school, you may be in a position to offer your child a sweet ride for getting around. However, while this can be an exciting time for him or her, it’s imperative that you search for the right vehicle for your grad. 

Today, we want to go over some of the crucial details to pay attention to when buying (or helping finance) a car for your teenager. Because he or she is still new to driving, you want to be sure that you’re making the right choice. 


You want your teenager to be safe behind the wheel, so look for cars that have high crash test ratings. These are publicly available on sites like the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. You can also look up other safety features such as:

  • Airbags
  • Blind Spot Warning
  • Lane Assist
  • Car Alarms/Anti-Theft Devices

Fortunately, modern cars are only getting safer, so getting something newer for your grad can help provide both of you with peace of mind. 


As they say, it’s not the years – it’s the mileage. When picking out the right vehicle for your teenager, pay attention to the number of miles on it. Older cars can be in excellent condition if they’re lightly used, so don’t assume that newer cars are automatically better. Also, remind your teen that older cars are more cost-effective, and that they’re not paying for it. 

Cost of Ownership

While the sticker price counts for a lot, that’s only one aspect of owning a car. Consider everything that may increase the overall expenses for the vehicle. If your grad isn’t making substantial money, then getting a cheap car that requires more maintenance may cost you more in the long run. When calculating total cost of ownership, be sure to include:

  • Gas Mileage
  • Cost of Replacement Parts
  • Tire Condition

You will also want to get the vehicle inspected to discover any potential issues that may arise. Depending on where you bought the car from, there may be some nasty surprises waiting for you and your grad. Ideally, have an inspection done before you sign the paperwork to avoid any headaches. 

Don’t Forget the Insurance

You’re going to need insurance on the new (or new-to-you) vehicle. As an independent agency, we can provide you with rates for multiple companies so you can choose the one that best fits your budget and requirements. Call us at 800-624-3339 or click here to contact us. We’re glad to help.

Insurance Tips Every College Student Should Know — Tip #2: Vehicles

Insurance Tips for College Students

In these two weeks, we are discussing insurance tips that every college student should know.  This second tip deals with your vehicle. There are different things to consider depending on your situation.

Coverage Without a Car at College

Even if the student is not driving a car while at school, he or she should still be kept on the policy if driving during breaks or while at home. A distant student discount may apply if the student is attending a school far away from home.

Coverage With a Car at College

Usually a car that is registered to the parents and listed on the policy will still be covered if used by a listed student who is away at college. It’s still important that you verify that the insurance carrier writes coverage where the car will be located and understand that a change in location of the car could change the premium as well.

Driving a Friend’s Car at College

As long as a student is not regularly using the friend’s car and is listed on the parents’ auto policy, he or she should still be covered. However, you should speak with your agent to make sure.


You may be able to get a couple of different discounts for the college student. If a student is enrolled in at least four courses per term, is full-time and meets academic qualifications, he or she may qualify for a good student discount. Those under 21 who complete a driver education course could also be eligible for an auto insurance discount.

Auto Questions for Your Insurance Review

Choose the questions that apply to you:

  1. My student will not have a car while they are away at college in [city, state]. Do I qualify for a discount or does that change my rate?
  2. My student will be taking a car/vehicle registered to me with them to college in [city, state].  Are they covered adequately by my policy?
  3. If my student drives someone else’s car while they are at college in [city, state], will they be covered?
  4. Am I eligible for any discounts based on my student being at college in [city, state]?

How Long Will It Take to Get Answers to My Insurance Questions?

You should be able to get most (if not all) of your information with a phone call or two.  At Bob Johnson Insurance, we are always ready to provide the answers to your questions.  Give us a call at 865-922-3111 or click here to contact us.

Prepping for Spring: Easy Ways to Get Your Car Ready for Spring

Prepping your vehicle for Spring

Cars are a very important part of our daily lives, and as such they should be well maintained and ready to tackle every new season that rolls along. Getting your car ready for spring is a snap, if you pay attention to these tips.

Check on Your Tires

As winter comes to an end, it may be time to change from snow tires back to summer tires. If not, then it’s still a good time to check out your tires to make sure the air pressure is still adequate and the tread is good for another season. After winter driving it can be worth it to have tires balanced and rotated as well, as the changing road conditions could have an impact on how well they ride.

Give the Battery a Once Over

 Popping the hood to see if there’s any built up corrosion, road salt or mud where it shouldn’t be is a good idea. Cleaning the battery terminals and checking the strength of your battery along with that is a great idea as well. Batteries with corrosion won’t work as well, and over time their strength dips, so making sure your battery is ready for spring should be part of a regular spring cleaning routine.

Consider Replacing Wiper Blades

Winter freezes and snow can be a nightmare for wiper blades. Take the time to make sure they are free of cracks, breaks or brittleness to make certain they can handle those spring showers. If there are signs of damage, or if it’s been awhile since they were replaced, including new wiper blades with your spring shopping list can save you the hassle of not being able to see in the rain later.

A New Season Should Mean New Oil

Depending on your manufacturer’s recommendations, it’s likely time to replace the oil in your vehicle as well. While the three month rule has been pushed to the wayside a bit with modern cars and engines, it’s still a good idea to check on the oil now, and it doesn’t hurt to have it changed to keep your engine running at its best for the coming summer months ahead.

Double Check Your Paperwork

While you’re doing spring cleaning on your car, it’s a good time to clear out the glove box and make sure that only the most current registration and insurance paperwork are inside. Having old paperwork can lead to mistakes if anything happens while you’re on the road, so it’s best to get rid of outdated documents. It will also remind you to make sure the registration hasn’t expired.

Did You Do Your Insurance Review?

An insurance review is when you sit down with your insurance agent and go over the specific details of your policies. It’s best to do this with all of your insurance so that you can catch any gaps in coverage and solve that issue immediately. If you didn’t do an insurance review in January, then this is a good time to call Bob Johnson Insurance to see if any changes should be made to your policy. (865-922-3111 or toll free 1-800-624-3339)

Prepping for Spring SeriesPrepping for Spring Series