What kind of car a teenager drives is a key factor in how much the insurance premiums will cost. Vehicles that are more expensive to repair or more likely to be stolen typically charge higher insurance rates regardless of whether a teenager or an adult driver is sitting behind the wheel. Insurance companies don't insure all types of cars the same. That means teenagers are probably going to pay a lot more in insurance to drive something sporty.
Expensive Vehicles to Insure
Sports and luxury models are among the most expensive vehicles to insure. Even a car that isn't expensive to buy can cost more to insure if that particular model has a high rate of accidents. According to Russ Rader, media director for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, vehicles that are the most expensive to insure either have a high price tag, are costly to repair or offer a lot of engine power. Rader points out that sporty cars are among the most expensive vehicles to insure, especially for young drivers who are already labeled as high-risk drivers to begin with.
When it comes to buyng a car, teen drivers usually look for features in a vehicle such as style, speed and accessories. Although teenagers typically want to drive a trendy car, most look for a smaller vehicle that is reasonably priced and will cost them less in gas, insurance and other driving expenses. The challenge is in finding a car that offers both affordability and style. Parents normally have something practical in mind and shop for a vehicle for their teen that offers safety, reliability, economy and lower insurance rates.
Reasons for Higher Insurance Rates
New cars generally cost more to insure than do older model vehicles, unless an older car delivers high engine performance. Young drivers, particularly males, tend to drive high-horsepower vehicles like sports cars faster and more aggressively. Driving at high speeds coupled with driver inexperience increases the risk for traffic accidents in which teenagers are involved. A high-horsepower vehicle may also have a lower safety rating if that make and model has been involved in more car crashes.
Least Expensive Vehicles to Insure
As of May 2011, the Honda Civic and Volkswagen Jetta are relatively inexpensive cars with high safety standards. Both models are popular among teenagers. Teens especially like the Honda Civic for its style, economy, performance and low insurance rates. The car offers lots of accessories for teenagers looking to customize a car. For teens who want reliability, affordable insurance rates and good gas mileage in a car, a used Nissan Sentra can be a practical buy. Although the Toyoto Corolla may not be one of the fastest cars on the highway, it’s an affordable small car that offers incredible fuel economy, and one that insurance companies single out for safety. A car's safety record is one way to get a lower insurance premium.
Amber Keefer has more than 25 years of experience working in the fields of human services and health care administration. Writing professionally since 1997, she has written articles covering business and finance, health, fitness, parenting and senior living issues for both print and online publications. Keefer holds a B.A. from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and an M.B.A. in health care management from Baker College.