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Car insurance for seniors
How to save money on car insurance after 55.
As you move into your 60s and beyond, you’ll often see your car insurance rates go up. This is because seniors statistically tend to be involved in more accidents. But there are discounts retired people can qualify for and other strategies for keeping your rates down.
What's in this guide?
- Do senior drivers pay more for car insurance?
- 7 ways seniors can get cheaper car insurance
- Ask an expert: How can senior drivers save on car insurance?
- Compare car insurance for elderly drivers
- 5 ways to get better coverage by switching
- How does being retired affect car insurance?
- Discounts for retired drivers
- What kind of coverage do older drivers need?
- 6 tips for staying safe on the road
- Bottom line
- Frequently asked questions about car insurance for seniors
Do senior drivers pay more for car insurance?
Yes, typically drivers between ages 25 and 65 get the best rates on car insurance.
But once you turn 65, some insurance companies will raise your premium. If that happens, it’s best to see what you can do to lower your rates, like taking defensive driving courses or getting new quotes to find the best deal.
Drivers over 80 might have an even harder time finding good rates or even getting coverage. Some insurance companies set a maximum age they’ll cover customers, which could be anywhere from 70 to 110. Your insurer will notify you if you reach this age before canceling your policy.
- Accident forgiveness
- 24/7 claims hotline
- Customized options ideal for drivers age 50+
Top pick for seniors: The Hartford
Enjoy special benefits including rate lock, no-drop policies and accident recovery. Exclusively for drivers 50+.
- Lifetime renewability for AARP members
- Lifetime car repair assurance
- RecoverCare post-accident support
- 24/7 claims hotline
7 ways seniors can get cheaper car insurance
While restrictions on older drivers vary by state, and policy coverage varies by provider, there are ways to save on your car insurance.
- Ask for discounts. You might qualify for a retired driver, mature driver or low mileage discount. Or see if your insurance company offers a pay-as-you-go plan.
- Shop around. It’s a good idea to shop around for new car insurance every year if you want to get the best rate. Some companies will offer you a discount, sometimes as much as 35% off, simply for signing up online.
- Drive safely and stay up to date. Maintain a clean driving record as much as possible. You can also take a driver safety course to improve your driving record and save up to 10% off your premiums.
- Bundle your policies. Most insurers provide discounts for bundling your policies, like homeowners and life insurance.
- Raise your deductible. A higher deductible can make for lower premiums, while a lower deductible can increase them. For drivers on a limited income, make sure your emergency savings can cover the cost of the deductible.
- List a younger driver. List a younger driver on your policy if they drive your car the majority of the time.
- Choose a safe, inexpensive car. Less expensive cars are less expensive to insure. Trade in your convertible for a sensible car with safety features or an antitheft device. If you’re in the market for a new car, get insurance quotes to find a price that works for your budget.
Compare car insurance for elderly drivers
5 ways to get better coverage by switching
If you haven’t reviewed your car insurance in a while, you might be able to find lower prices or additional coverage with a new policy.
- Reduced level of risk. If you’ve changed address, have a new car or are simply in a different age group, all of these factors can affect your premiums. If your information isn’t up to date, you might be paying more than you need to.
- Updated details. You can adjust car insurance policies directly at renewal time, or when taking out new coverage, to find prices more relevant to your situation.
- Coverage matched to your needs. It might be time to consider adjusting your coverage to suit the condition of your vehicle. For example, you may have policy add-ons that are no longer needed.
- More ideal terms. When you update your policy, you can adjust the benefits for lower prices, change your deductible or add additional coverage.
- Get a better insurer. Different insurance providers can have different terms and characteristics that make them more or less suitable for different people. For example, some insurers will only insure people over the age of 50.
How does being retired affect car insurance?
Insurance companies base their premiums on groups of people. If you fall into a category that tends to be a higher risk, like drivers under 21 and senior drivers, insurance companies can charge more.
From an insurance company’s perspective, many age-related factors can affect your ability to drive, and therefore increase your insurance rates. Factors can include:
- Impaired hearing and vision
- Slow reflexes
- Physical problems such as arthritis
- Poor cognitive function
- Use of prescription medicines
If you don’t drive as much as you used to, you can probably get a low mileage discount applied to your policy. Some providers apply stipulations, mainly that you’ll lose the discount or even possibly be penalized with a fee if you go over your mileage limit.
If you plan to take any long trips or otherwise think you could break that limit after having the discount applied, you may be better off waiting.
Many retirees spend part of the year in a place that isn’t their primary home, including snowbirds who winter in the South. If you spend your winters in warmer climes, your insurance rates could be different depending on your locale. This is especially likely if you renew your car insurance every six months instead of annually.
You might be able to negotiate a cheaper rate during your time in the sun, or vice-versa if you spend your summers in a quiet northern town.
Better coverage protects your retirement savings
While you want to get the best deal, don’t skimp on coverage. If you’re at fault in an accident and you don’t have enough coverage, you could be sued. Legal fees could put your savings at risk if your coverage maximums aren’t high enough to cover costs after an accident.
Discounts for retired drivers
Depending on your provider, you might qualify for one discount or several based on your age and when you retired or plan to retire. Some of these discounts include:
- Mature driver discount. Whether or not you qualify for this depends on the age designated as “mature” by your insurance provider. If you’re old enough to consider retirement, it’s probably worth looking into this discount with your provider.
- Low mileage discount. If you’re no longer driving to and from work every day, your annual mileage could be low enough to qualify you for this kind of break.
- Retired military discount. If you’ve retired from the military, it’s likely that you qualify for a veteran or US military discount. Most major providers have some discounts and rate breaks that are geared toward our troops.
- Mature driver training course discount. Enrolling in these kinds of courses can actually save you money on your insurance no matter how old you are or what your retirement status may be.
- Senior organization member discounts. Senior organizations like AARP partner with insurance providers to help get a better rate for qualifying seniors. If you’re a member of any senior organizations, ask your provider if there’s a discount for you.
What kind of coverage do older drivers need?
Because older drivers tend to be injured more often after an accident, it’s a good idea to increase coverage to include personal injury protection (PIP) or medical payments coverage.
Some providers offer senior-specific car insurance exclusively to drivers over a certain age. The Hartford offers customized insurance for drivers over 50. Thanks to its partnership with AARP, this provider also offers a number of benefits to AARP members, so older drivers may get more out of their policies.
Are grandchildren covered by seniors car insurance?
If you’ve decided to stop driving and need your grandkids or anyone else to drive your car to get you around, you’re required to add them to your insurance policy as a nominated driver.
If you plan on letting your grandchildren drive your car regularly, you should list them as a driver in the insurance policy. This covers them in case of an accident, though it will be more expensive if they’re under 25. Car insurance follows the car more so than the driver.
- If your grandkids only occasionally drive your car, they’ll typically be covered as permitted drivers under your insurance.
- If your grandchildren drive your car often, list your grandchildren as nominated drivers so they’re covered under your policy.
- If they’re not named in the insurance policy, they might be only partially covered with lower limits and less protection. Check your insurance policy for details.
6 tips for staying safe on the road
Having car insurance is necessary to keep people safe and protected. As you get older and your risk and rates go up, it’s important to stay diligent about your ability to drive and stay safe as you get older.
- Stay healthy. Visit your doctor regularly to check that you’re in good health. Keep your medications, eyeglasses and hearing aids up to date and working properly.
- Maintain your car. Make sure that your car is running properly by keeping up with oil changes and tune-ups to keep you from breaking down.
- Avoid night driving. Take precautions when driving at night. If you have trouble with your vision, night driving can be a danger to you and others on the road.
- Get physical. Stay active by taking walks or hitting the gym to maintain your reaction time.
- Create space. Give yourself more room between cars and avoid busy parts of town.
- Make right turns. When possible, avoid trying to make left turns at busy intersections. Make three right turns instead or find intersections with green arrow light patterns.
Watch out for signs of changes in driving ability
Driving is a big part of keeping a sense of independence. But if you have multiple claims, causing sky-high rates, it may be time to hand over the keys. And your insurance might not cover you for certain coverage exclusions if you’re not honest about your driving ability.
Watch out for these signals that you’re risking the safety of yourself and others on the road:
- Trouble seeing traffic signals or cars behind you
- Easily distracted or disoriented
- Frequent close calls
- Other drivers honking their horns
- Misjudging space between cars or lanes
- Feeling irritated or anxious while driving
- Driving too fast or too slow
- Unable to hear nearby cars or ambulances
- Confusing the brake and accelerator pedals
- Failing to notice or follow traffic signals
There are a lot of reasons to let your insurance provider know you’re retired, and available discounts could save you some serious money on your auto policy. Before you commit to switching insurance providers, shop around and compare your options, taking those retirement-age discounts into consideration when you do.
Frequently asked questions about car insurance for seniors
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