Shopping for a car for your teen driver? The right choice can have an impact on your teen’s car insurance premiums. If your kid is like most, he or she will want something that’s cool, sporty and fast. Your job as a responsible parent (and the person who is no doubt footing the bill for the car, its upkeep and the insurance), will want anything but. That doesn’t have to mean the ugliest, slowest family sedan. With a little research, you can reach a compromise that makes you comfortable, doesn’t damage the kid’s street creds and might even help you find cheap teen car insurance…okay, at least reasonably priced teen car insurance.
The ideal teen vehicle will do well on all four crash test criteria: front-end and rear-end collisions; side impact; and roll-over. If you’re buying used, look for models that have both front and side airbags, and anti-lock brakes. Avoid pick-up trucks, which, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association have roll-over death rates two times higher than cars. SUVs, by the way, have come up several notches in terms of stability. Once top-heavy and roll-over-prone, newer model SUVs equipped with stability control now boast 70% fewer single-vehicle roll-overs than those without that feature, according to a recent article “ The Top Cars for Teens: Better Safe Than Sporty” in the Wall Street Journal.
Keep the horsepower under control. A four-cylinder model will not only discourage speeding and reckless driving, it may also result in cheaper car insurance for your teen driver. Besides, putting too much power in the hands of an inexperienced teen driver is not a good idea, even if the car is rated highly in crash tests. The same caveat goes for all-wheel drive vehicles, which safe as they sound, may result in over-confidence and reckless driving.
Cool as a manual transmission can be, it’s probably not the safest choice for a inexperienced driver. Opt for an automatic transmission that won’t challenge a young driver’s skills under pressure.
Your teen will be happy to hear this: forget what you’ve heard about red cars and higher car insurance premiums. When you’re shopping for car insurance for your teen, you won’t be asked what color the car is. There’s also no truth to the urban legend that red cars attract traffic tickets.
You can also qualify for cheaper car insurance for your teen driver by enrolling him or her in a safe driving course, and applying for available discounts for safety and anti-theft equipment, good grades and affiliation with organizations like Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD).