How do you save money on car insurance as you age?
As you move into middle age and you’ve kept a clean driving record, you’ll likely see your insurance premiums drop. As you get older, you’ve got years of driving experience under your belt.
However, as you get into your 60s and beyond, you’ll see your rates go up. This is because seniors statistically tend to be involved in more accidents, and are hurt more often. But there are discounts retired people can qualify for and other strategies for keeping your rates down. Here’s what you need to know about saving on car insurance for senior and retired drivers.
Compare seniors car insurance from top providers
When do you start paying more for car insurance?
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, whether by taking defensive driving courses or even changing companies.
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.
Shop around to get the best rates and find an insurance provider that’s better suited to older drivers. Fortunately there are some car insurance policies designed specifically for older drivers, which can help save you money.Back to top
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 younger and senior drivers, insurance companies can charge more. Or you might find you’re saving money by driving less in your retirement.
From their prospective, many age-related factors can affect your ability to drive, and therefore increase your insurance rates.
- Impaired hearing and vision
- Slow reflexes
- Physical problems such as arthritis
- Poor cognitive functioning
- 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. But with some providers, that discount could come with 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 down South. If you spend your winters in warmer climes, your insurance rates could be different down south than wherever you spend April through October. 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.
Tips for paying less for car insurance
While restrictions on older drivers vary by state, and policy coverage varies by provider, there are things you can do to save money on your car insurance.
- Driving record. Maintain a clean driving record as much as possible. As soon as you make claims and have infringements, your premiums will rise accordingly.
- Defensive driving course. Brushing up on your defensive driving skills can help lower your premiums. They’re offered through AAA, AARP or other private lessons. Contact your state’s Department of Insurance to see what’s available.
- Primary driver. List a younger driver on your policy, if they drive your car a majority of the time.
- Pay-as-you-go option. If you find that you’re driving less, you can chose to pay for as many miles as you drive. See if your insurance company offers a pay-as-you-go plan.
- Choose a safe car. Trade in your flashy race car for a sensible car with safety features or an anti-theft device. If you’re in the market for a new car, get insurance quotes to find a price that works for your budget.
- Market value. Insure your car for market value, rather than agreed value.
- Shop around. It’s a good idea to shop around for new car insurance every year if you want to get the best rate.
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. But 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. Find out whether your provider offers a low mileage discount — most major providers do — and what that mileage threshold is to see if you meet the conditions. You could also consider mileage-based or pay-as-you-go insurance where you only pay for how much you drive.
- 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. There might be special rates involved if you’re considered a mature driver by your insurer.
- Senior organization member discounts. Many senior organizations, such as 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.
Getting a better rate through discounts is definitely appealing. But before you ask your provider to apply discounts to your policy, look into a few possible factors for lowering your rates.
Which providers offer discounts for seniors and retirees?
Most major insurers have discounts geared toward customers who are of retirement age, even if the discounts aren’t written in a way to specifically apply to retirees. If you’re over the age of 55 and you’re no longer working, you most likely qualify for a discount through your provider.
Similarly, if you’re over 55 and you drive fewer than 8,000 miles a year or you belong to a senior organization like AARP, it may be a good idea to check into these insurance providers.
- Allstate. This provider offers a “55 and Retired Discount” to customers to meet certain conditions.
- Geico. Geico offers several discounts that apply to the retired and 50+ crowds, including incentives for taking defensive driver courses, discounts for low annual mileage, and standard senior discounts.
- Liberty Mutual. This provider offers a Newly Retired Discount, though its website doesn’t give an exact savings.
- Esurance. Save up to 10% by completing a defensive driving class approved by the DMV. The discount applies to older drivers, typically at least 50 to 60 years old depending on the state. In 4 states — New York, New Jersey, Georgia, and Oklahoma — the discount is not age-based and is available to all drivers, and you must be at least 25 years old in South Carolina.
Are you safe to stay on the road?
Driving is so important — it’s the key to our 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.
There are a number of signals that you’re risking the safety of you 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
Each state has different renewal requirements for seniors. When you’re a senior you’ll have to renew your license more often, ranging from two to six years, depending on the state. Some states require a vision, health or hearing screening. This means you can’t renew your license online.Back to top
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. No one wants to give up the keys to their car and if you decide to keep driving, here are some ways to stay safe as you get older.
- Stay healthy. Visit your doctor regularly to check that you’re in good health. Keep your medications, eye glasses and hearing aids up to date and working properly.
- Maintain your car. Make sure that your car is running properly, while keeping up with oil changes and tune-ups to keep you from breaking down.
- 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.
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. But before you consider different car insurance or apply every discount in the book, make sure you know your options and whether it actually suits your needs and priorities. And as always, before you commit to switching insurance providers, shop around and compare your options, taking those retirement-age discounts into consideration when you do.
To learn more about car insurance, including how to find the best value and coverage for yourself or your family, check out our comprehensive insurance guide.