Senior citizens, like everyone else, want high-quality, comprehensive and affordable auto insurance coverage. After so many years behind the wheel and all the experience that comes along with it, there’s no reason any senior citizen with a valid driver’s license shouldn’t be able to find an affordable auto insurance policy that suits their needs.
What You Need to Know about Senior Car Insurance
Regardless of your age, you must have the minimum amount of basic insurance coverage to legally drive in your state of residence. Finding a senior citizen car insurance policy can be difficult, though, due to the limits that some insurance companies put on older drivers.
Car Insurance Coverage Considerations for Seniors
There are many factors senior citizens should consider when shopping for insurance. The needs of a mature driver are different than the needs of a younger driver, and it’s important to find a senior car insurance policy that suits you at this stage in life. It’s also important to find an insurance company that understands your unique needs. Remember – just because you’re out of the “standard” age range for some insurance companies doesn’t mean you can’t have comprehensive coverage or qualify for discounts. Even if you’ve been turned down or disappointed by astronomical rate quotes and poor coverage options, shop around and see what affordable coverage, premium and deductible options you have available. You may be surprised at what you find.
Auto insurance in your 50s
Car insurance for people over 50 is usually cheaper than it is for younger and older drivers. That’s because drivers in their 50s are among the safest — you have lots of experience but still have good health, quick reflexes, and reliable hearing and vision.
The average rate for full-coverage auto insurance for a 55-year-old is $1,519.
Auto insurance in your 60s
Barring an unlucky streak or late-onset midlife silliness, you’re likely to pay less for car insurance than you ever have between the ages of 50 and 65. At 65, however, some insurers raise premiums. Your current insurer may not be among the best insurance companies for older drivers. Turning 65 might be a signal to shop for a better deal.
The average rate for full-coverage auto insurance for a 60-year old is $1,507.
The average rate for full-coverage auto insurance for a 65-year-old is $1,547.
Auto insurance in your 70s
Does car insurance go up when you turn 70? Sorry; it probably does.
Data from the National Transportation and Safety Bureau (NTSB) and National Automotive Sampling System (NASS) show that drivers 70 and up experience much higher rates of intersection-related accidents and fatalities than younger drivers. More accidents mean more claims and higher rates. However, this is just the point at which accident rates begin to increase — it isn’t until drivers reach their late 70s or early 80s that their abilities degrade significantly. Some insurers recognize this and continue to offer reasonably-priced car insurance for those over 70.
The average rate for full-coverage auto insurance for a 70-year-old is $1,626.
The average rate for full-coverage auto insurance for a 75-year-old is $1,808.
Auto Insurance for Seniors Over 80
Driving becomes increasingly hazardous for people 80 and up. According to American Automobile Association (AAA), older drivers’ fatality rates are 17 times higher than those for 25- to 64-year-olds. It’s mostly not due to bad driving; it’s because of the human body’s fragility in its ninth decade of life.
Car insurance for older drivers gets increasingly costly with age, so it’s critical to shop for car insurance quotes and grab every discount to which you’re entitled.
The average rate for full-coverage auto insurance for an 85-year-old is $2,165. This is a 20% increase from age 75 rates and a 44% increase from the cost of car insurance from when you were 60.
Senior car insurance discounts: tips for saving
There are plenty of discounts available to older drivers, and you should pursue all that apply to you. Below are eight specific actions you can take to reduce your premium costs:
- Drive less. If you’ve stopped commuting and are driving less than you have in the past, inform your insurance company. Depending on your state (some require insurers to consider mileage when setting rates), savings range from almost nothing to more than 10 percent. Most insurers define “low mileage” as 5,000 to 7,500 miles or fewer, but others are more generous.
- Bring in Big Brother. Some seniors can save up to 40 percent with usage-based or pay-as-you-drive insurance auto insurance programs. A device installed in your car records your mileage and driving habits — your speed, braking tendencies and acceleration. If your habits mirror those of most middle-aged or older drivers, you could save two ways — for driving safely and for driving less. Discounts vary by insurer by can go as high as 40%.
- Have some class. Mature driver courses offered by AARP and others, as discussed earlier, can reduce your premiums by 5-15 percent. Most states require the discount, but insurers in other states often offer rate reductions for driver training as well. Age eligibility varies by state.
- Drop a driver. In states that don’t require all licensed drivers in a household to have car insurance, you can exclude anyone (such as an older spouse or parent) who no longer drives in order to reduce your rates. Alternatively, you can change the primary driver to a younger member of the household, if that reflects the reality of your circumstances.
- Buy some bells and whistles. The latest vehicle safety features may get you a reduced rate on your insurance. Even without a discount, features such as rear view cameras, lane drift, collision warning systems and parking assist can prevent accidents and claims, which can minimize future premium increases.
- Keep a clean record. The bells and whistles on your car that can keep you out of an accident can really payoff if you are able to keep a driving record free of violations or accidents. Having a clean record for the last three to five years should give you a good driver discount that ranges from 15 to 40%.
- Join the club. Membership in organizations such as AARP can enable you to access promotional pricing. It’s called an “affinity discount.”
- Dial back coverage. If you have homes and vehicles that you use only part-time, look into cheaper “parked vehicle” or “snowbird” coverage during the months in which you’re not driving them.
- Bundle it up. If you haven’t yet checked on the cost of buying auto and home insurance with the same insurance company, do that now. It is a nice perk to have just one company to deal with for home and auto policies, plus you can get a discount that on average is around 11%.
- Stop driving. If your insurance rates are sky-high because of your driving record, it might be time to quit. AARP lists a number of signs that you should give up driving, including frequent close calls, finding dents or scrapes on your car or other objects, getting lost in familiar locations, trouble seeing or following traffic signs and signals, slower response time to unexpected situations, misjudging gaps in traffic, causing other drivers to honk or complain, difficulty concentrating while driving, trouble turning to check the rear view mirror when backing up or changing lanes, and receiving multiple traffic tickets or warnings. AAA gives guidance on how to evaluate your driving abilities.