Auto insurance rates for seniors are a lot higher than for younger drivers. The number of Americans who are classified as ‘senior citizens’ is projected to more than double from 46 million seniors to 98 million by 2060. The license for senior drivers is reported to have increased by 38 percent from 2006 to 2016.
There are several challenges you have to face as you get older, this ranges from slower reaction times, poorer vision, and several health problems. This blog will sort out some of the more pertinent issues when it comes to auto insurance rates for seniors, how their age affects cost, their licensing requirements and ways to keep their auto insurance rates down.
The Cost of Auto Insurance Rates for Seniors
Auto insurance rates for older drivers vary by state, employer, and insurer. Despite years of experience behind the wheel, insurance companies believe that senior citizens pose a greater risk on the road compared to middle-aged drivers. Beyond a certain age, they’re in the same boat as teenaged drivers who often face much higher auto insurance rates.
This is because as they age, seniors encounter age-related impairments that affect their mobility and vision. Insurance agencies aren’t entirely biased towards seniors and base their skepticism on the raw data. In fact, in 2016, over 6700 seniors were killed in car crashes. Do keep in mind that this number has been steadily declining over 10 years.
This number reflects in their insurance rates. Despite the seemingly greater risk they pose on the road, seniors can still qualify for affordable auto insurance rates by doing their due research and shopping around for different vendors.
The Relation Between Age and Insurance rates
Official data by the government shows that the risk of car crashes per mile is higher for seniors between the ages of 70 to 74 and 85 and older. This group tends to have higher crash rates compared to other age groups. Along with mobility changes and age-related vision impairment, this could account for why auto insurance rates tend to be huge for older drivers.
This does apply to a few states like Maryland and New Jersey. For instance, the laws in Maryland prohibit a higher rate for those that are 65 years and older.
Licensing Issues for Seniors
Due to the onset of deteriorating health symptoms, senior citizens undergo more strenuous licensing requirements which make auto insurance rates for seniors more expensive. 33 states have specific requirements that senior drivers must fulfill to renew their licenses. This may include a vision exam for senior drivers, and spending fewer years between license renewals. In some cases, they may only require a road test.
The following states have no provisions for senior drivers when it comes to renewing their license: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
How to Keep Your Auto Insurance Rates Down
Although it is a fact that auto insurance rates for seniors will be higher, there are ways to reduce those costs.
Here are some things you can do to save money on your auto insurance premiums:
- Drive with due diligence: This one’s a no brainer; you should strive to keep a clean driving record. This will not only help you qualify for a discount but also reduce your risk to insure – a win-win situation.
- Drive less: This one may seem like an oxymoron, but some insurers give extra discounts to drivers who have racked up a low mileage. As a general rule, the less you drive, the lower your average number of miles on the road. Besides, it is obvious that the less you are behind the wheel, the lower is your risk of getting into an accident. Make sure to call your insurer to see if they offer this discount.
- Take a course: Seniors can qualify for lower auto insurance rates by taking a defensive driving course through the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) or your local senior center. AARP’s driver safety course might help you qualify for a multi-year discount on your insurance premiums.
- Increase the safety of your car: Driving a safer car is an effective way of reducing your liability to insurers. Besides buying a safe car, there are a couple of low-investment options such as collision alarm systems, rearview cameras, and installing a monitoring device to help track driving behavior. These measures could reduce your liability by up to 40 percent.
- Raise your deductible: The higher your deductible, the lower your auto insurance rates. Studies show that raising your deductible helps you save as much as 40 percent towards collision and comprehensive coverage.
Adding a Senior Driver to Your insurance
It is a good idea to add a senior driver, such as an aging parent, to your insurance if they plan o driving your car. Not doing so could result in massive out-of-pocket costs, or worse, losing your insurance, if they get into an accident while driving your car.
Signs That You Should Stop Driving
There is a reason that the cost of auto insurance rates for seniors is higher. There are times when a senior should stop driving. If you or someone in your family is reaching old age, it is important to watch out for the warning signs. These signs include being involved in multiple car accidents or getting multiple tickets in the past two years.
Other red flags include:
- Switching lanes abruptly
- Missing traffic signals, especially stop signs
- Losing track of the road when driving in familiar places
- Erratic driving
If you experience rapid changes to your mobility, reaction time, and vision, it may be time to evaluate your driving ability. You can take the self-rating tool designed by AAA or get a professional driving assessment through the American Occupational Therapy Association.
If you exhibit behavior as a senior driver, if someone in your family has driven this way, you should consider a different option to get around while retaining your independence, mobility, and above all, safety.
Make sure to broach this subject with as much sensitivity as possible. Try to be as respectful as possible. Avoid a confrontational attitude such as demanding their keys or attacking their driving.
The steps above should help you and your loved ones stay safe on the road while keeping car insurance costs down for seniors.