The 10 least expensive cars to insure for your teen driver

Carolyn Crist

least expensive cars to insure for teen driversTurning 16 is even sweeter for teens when they get behind the wheel of their own car. But for parents, it's a time to worry about their teen's safety on the road - and how to keep car insurance costs down.

According to insurance experts, one way for parents to keep their costs down is to buy cars that rank high in safety tests, such as minivans and family sedans. These cars get into fewer crashes than the expensive, high-horsepower cars that appeal to younger drivers, according to the Highway Loss Data Institute, a nonprofit research organization that publishes insurance loss statistics on most vehicles.

Outside of a vehicle's make and model, other factors also influence how much you pay for car insurance. These may include:

  • Age. A 16 year old teen will typically cost more to insure than a 17 year old.
  • Credit score. In most states (excluding California, Hawaii and Massachusetts), insurers will use your credit score as a factor when calculating rates.
  • Driving records.

Each year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the Highway Loss Data Institute team up to identify the safest cars in the nation. The institutes set up crash tests to determine how well a vehicle protects drivers and passengers.

Among the 27 models with the highest safety rankings, InsuranceQuotes.com selected the 10 cars that cost under $25,000 new --and are the cheapest to insure for teens.

10 cheapest cars to insure for teen drivers

1. Honda Civic 4-door - $18,390*

Recently, Honda Civic designers have focused on safety, adding a reverse camera to all vehicles. In addition, the Civic features electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes, daytime running lights, side airbags, front and rear head curtain airbags and front seat-mounted torso airbags. Winning top marks in all IIHS safety categories since 2006, the latest models incorporate hands-free Bluetooth phone connection and digital dashboard control, which is sure to appeal to teens seeking a modern feel. Only hybrid versions have front crash prevention.

*all vehicle prices in article are MSRP starting prices

2. Mazda 3 - $16,495

The Mazda 3 feels like a sports car but its affordability and excellent safety rating make it a great choice for teens. The Mazda 3 has received high safety ratings in all IIHS safety categories since 2011. This model features a rollover sensor, electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes, daytime running lights and side airbags. The new Mazda Radar Cruise Control monitors the engine and brakes to maintain a safe speed and distance between you and the car in front of you.

3. Toyota Prius - $24,200

Eco-friendly and affordable, the Prius is a hybrid electric mid-size hatchback with electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes, side airbags and a driver knee airbag that helps to minimize knee injuries in frontal crashes. For an eco-conscious teen, the Prius offers three drive modes that improve fuel economy by adjusting the throttle and climate control.

4. Honda Accord (2-door and 4-door) -$21,955

The Accord resembles the Civic in safety and reliability but is a bit more luxurious. An Accord includes a rearview camera, anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, daytime running lights, a rollover sensor, side airbags, front and rear head curtain airbags and front seat-mounted torso airbags. The newest models also feature LaneWatch, which activates a camera on the passenger-side mirror when you use the right turn signal. LaneWatch allows drivers to see almost four times what the passenger-side mirror alone would show, helping teens avoid blind spots.

5. Mazda 6 - $21,190

This larger family sedan isn't just for parents. Mazda touts the vehicle as a "sports sedan" with excellent safety and reliability ratings, including anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, daytime running lights and multiple airbags on the front and side. New features include blind spot monitoring and a rear cross-traffic alert system to notify drivers about objects and people behind the vehicle.

6. Ford Fusion - $20,795

Terrific fuel economy might draw parents to this mid-size sedan, which has tons of safety features, including stability and traction control, integrated blind spot mirrors and optional lane departure warning. The optional MyKey feature limits top speed to 80 mph and radio volume to 45 percent, which can help parents breathe a little easier when teens gets behind the wheel.

7. Mitsubishi Outlander - $22,995

In the small SUV category, the Outlander boasts safety features such as a rollover sensor, driver knee airbag, electronic stability control and airbags on the front and sides. With seven-passenger seating, front dual-zone climate control, a rearview camera and a 6-inch touchscreen display, the Outlander is built for young drivers who want to sit higher than in a sedan but still want a sleek ride.

8. Nissan Rogue - $22,790

The Rogue is another great pick for teens seeking a safe but eye-catching SUV. The model features head curtain airbags for all three rows of seats, front seat-mounted torso airbags, a rollover sensor and electronic stability control. If your teen is planning on driving long distances to activities or to college in a few years, the "Zero Gravity" front seats are designed to improve blood flow and minimize fatigue during long drives.

9. Subaru Outback - $23,495

The Outback features a rollover sensor, electronic stability control, daytime running lights and side airbags. The IIHS gave it a top ranking for front crash protection. The new EyeSight Driver Assist system uses two cameras mounted near the rearview mirror to monitor traffic and alert you if it senses a collision. The system even warns a driver when if the vehicle swerves outside of the lane and automatically taps on the brakes.

10. Subaru Forester - $22,195

The Forester earned a perfect rating for head-on collisions and side-impact crashes from the IIHS. Its safety features include a rollover sensor, electronic stability control and a driver knee airbag.

See how much you could save today on your car insurance. Get your free auto insurance quotes today!