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 and are hurt more often. But there are discounts retired people can qualify for and other strategies for keeping your rates down. Compare car insurance options to help you save on car insurance for senior and retired drivers.
Compare car insurance for elderly drivers
Do senior drivers pay more for car insurance?
Yes, typically drivers between ages 25 to 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.
What kind of coverage do senior 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. Younger drivers might not even be able to get coverage through The Hartford.
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. 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.
How seniors can get cheaper 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.
- Drive safely. Maintain a clean driving record as much as possible. As soon as you make claims and have infringements, your premiums will rise accordingly.
- List a younger driver. List a younger driver on your policy if they drive your car the majority of the time.
- Try pay as you go. 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.
- Bundle your policies. Most insurers provide discounts for bundling your policies, like homeowners and life insurance.
- 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 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.
- Park securely. Parking on the street raises premiums more than parking in a garage, so parking in an unsecured area can, in turn, drive up the cost of your policy.
- Raise your deductible. A higher deductible can make for lower premiums, while a lower deductible can increase premiums. For drivers on a limited income, make sure your emergency savings can cover the cost of the deductible in an emergency.
- 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 instead of over the phone or in another way.
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. But if you’re old enough to consider retirement, it’s probably worth looking into this discount with your provider. Allstate offers a “55 and Retired Discount.”
- 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. Liberty Mutual offers a Newly Retired Discount.
- 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. Geico and Esurance offer up to 10% off for older drivers who complete driver safety courses.
- 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.
How can I 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. Insurers consider many different factors when pricing car insurance, and 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. There are many ways to do this which are explained further below, such as choosing a new deductible, restricting drivers and making sure your vehicle is eligible for discounts.
- 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 relevant to your current situation.
- More ideal terms. When you update your policy, you can adjust the benefits for lower prices or to add additional coverage.
- Get a better insurer. Different insurance providers can have different terms and characteristics which make them more or less suitable for different people. For example, some insurers will only insure people over the age of 50.
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.
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.
Watch out for signs of changes in driving ability
Driving is 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. 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
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, 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.
- 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.
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.
Before you commit to switching insurance providers, shop around and compare your options, taking those retirement-age discounts into consideration when you do.