5 Tips for Buying Car Insurance for Teenagers

Take (some of) the terror out of letting your teenager behind the wheel and figure out how to cover them in case of an accident. See car safety pictures.
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No two words can fill parents with more unutterable dread than "teenage drivers." If your kids are approaching driving age, you may be wondering how to minimize the costs of insurance, or even whether you should add your teen to your insurance policy at all. It's a tough choice to make: After all, insurance policies that include teen drivers can add more than $1,000 per year to your premiums.

Why is it so expensive to insure teen drivers? Insurance companies calculate premiums based on the risk of an accident. After all, the greater the risk, the greater the chance they'll have to pay on a driver's claim. And who are the riskiest drivers in the world? Teens. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are four times more likely to crash than drivers of other ages. Even though teens only make up about 14 percent of all the drivers on U.S. roads, they account for nearly 30 percent of auto-related injuries, calculated by cost [source: CDC].

That raises the stakes for insurance companies -- and becomes a matter of life and death for teens and parents. In the U.S., 3,000 teens were killed in car accidents in 2009 -- in fact, it's the leading cause of death among teens [source: CDC]. Teenage boys account for even higher risk rates. It's possible to reduce your insurance rates and increase safety for your teen but it requires examining some of the reasons teens are such risky drivers and working to minimize them. These primarily include inexperience and inability to recognize hazardous situations, reckless and aggressive behavior, distractions from friends in the vehicle -- and, of course, drunk driving.

The five tips in this article will not only help you save money on your auto insurance; they will help make your teen a safer driver.