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The 7 Most Terrifying Car Insurance Words

Moraga says the best thing your teen can do to save you money is maintain "a very clean driving record." Rates won't start to improve until they reach age 25.

"Parents who add teens to their policies will see a rise from 50 percent to 100 percent," says Moraga. "If a teen gets a ticket or gets into an accident, the cost impact will be higher than if somebody else [in the family] did it."

Check out these top reader questions about teen drivers.

6. Fee

If you get into a traffic accident that requires emergency response to come to the scene, you could get a bill for their services, even if the accident wasn't your fault. A rising number of municipalities around the country are charging emergency response fees. Adler says it's "going on all over."

Municipalities have been sold on this concept as a way to raise funds, says Moraga. "You could be driving through a community, get into an accident and then get a bill for $2,000."

There are no standard guidelines for emergency response fees, he adds. "Some [communities] will only charge outsiders -- people who don't reside in the area. Others will charge everyone. Still others will charge you only if you are at fault."

If you receive an emergency response bill, submit it to your insurer, advises Foley. If the insurer says you're on the hook, ask to "see where in the policy it says, 'We don't pay for that,'" he recommends.

7. Step-down

Some states allow auto insurance companies to include "step-down" provisions that reduce your liability limits to state minimums if someone who's not listed on your policy crashes your car. State minimums often are less than adequate. It's one of the many ways you might have less car insurance than you think.

Bach says step-down provisions are a business decision made by some insurance companies, even though it makes their policies less appealing to consumers. They're looking to control their costs, she says, even if some buyers go elsewhere.

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