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    Choosing the Right Vehicle Means Saving on Car Insurance for a Young Driver

    You were there for the first words, the first steps, and that first soccer goal. Now, it's time for another "first" for your child—the first car. But you've heard the stories about exorbitant premiums for teen drivers; so how do you find reasonable car insurance for a young driver? Getting a driver's license is a rite of passage for a teenager, and getting that first car puts your teen on the road to independence. But the statistics on teen drivers are cautionary: Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers and 16-year-olds have the highest crash rate of all drivers in any age bracket. Knowing these statistics may not inspire you to hand over the car keys to your late model car, but making sure your teenager is driving a car equipped with all the latest safety features might mean all the difference—from affordable auto insurance to saving your teen's life.

    In addition to the worry about your teen out on the highways and byways, your bank account might also have some issues when you purchase car insurance for a young driver. Adding a teen driver to your insurance policy can boost your insurance premium by 50 percent. Yet, with a little planning, you can cut those increases by half. According to Consumer Reports magazine, selecting the right vehicle for your teen is the key to making sure that your teen is not only protected while out on the road, but that your family has an affordable auto insurance policy. Knowing that inexperienced drivers often get into fender benders and worse, parents traditionally give their teens the keys to the family clunker, or buy a "junker" car in anticipation of accidents to come.

    Yet, that could be exactly the wrong move to make when it comes to keeping the costs of car insurance for young drivers down. Because teens typically do not have much experience out on the road, Consumer Reports recommends getting young drivers into a vehicle with the advanced safety features such as antilock brakes and air bags that typically are not found in older model cars. Also, it doesn't hurt to do a little research to find out which cars have the best crash test results.

    As a bonus, if your insurance company knows your car is equipped with the latest in advanced car safety features, it can make a sizeable difference in your policy payment. And, don't just get liability insurance. Full collision coverage for a young driver is highly recommended.

    Consumer Reports also confirms that bigger isn't necessarily better when it comes to outfitting your teenager with his or her first set of wheels. While bigger and heavier vehicles have better crash test results, larger vehicles can be unwieldy for inexperienced drivers. (Also, the poor fuel economy of larger vehicles can be a real budget buster for your child's wallet.) Large pick-up trucks and SUVs are popular with teens, but have high centers of gravity, which makes them prone to rollover accidents. When you couple teen driving statistics with the fact that larger vehicles have a higher rate of accidents than other vehicles, you can quickly see why these vehicles are not the best choice for your teenager.

    Ryan Patterson is president of US Insurance Online based in Austin, TX. He graduated in 2000 from the University of Texas with a combined business and computer science degree, and started the company in May of 2005 with fellow entrepreneur Jim Waltrip. The recently re-launched site is designed to provide insurance shopping help and free insurance quotes. If you're looking for car insurance for a young driver, visit


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