Auto insurance companies walk a fine line when it comes to seniors. On one hand, seniors pose a driving risk due to age-related conditions like poor vision, hearing, or mobility. On the other, seniors are some of the safest drivers, according to Consumer Reports. Insurance companies are recognizing this and rewarding mature drivers. If you’re over 60 and still competent to drive, here are five ways to lower your car insurance.
1) Buy a Car That’s Cheaper to Insure
If you’re an empty-nester, do you still need to drive the biggest SUV on the block? As for that flashy sports car you dreamed of buying the day you retired, let it remain a dream. Sports cars and high-end luxury vehicles are the most expensive to insure. If you want cheaper insurance, choose a cheaper car to insure. The Subaru Outback, Jeep Wrangler, and Honda CR-V are all excellent vehicles with low insurance rates.
To find the right car, join the AARP (American Association for Retired Persons). The AARP’s Auto Buying Program helps you compare vehicles, pricing, and safety ratings. Plus, the Buyer’s Bonus offers up to $2,000 in additional benefits like auto deductible reimbursement and auto repair expense reimbursement.
2) Take Advantage of Senior Discounts
Growing older has its benefits. Insurance companies know that seniors are responsible, keep their vehicles well-maintained, and drive cautiously. This lowers their risk profile. For that reason, many auto insurance companies offer discounts to silver-haired drivers. These include:
- Mature driver discounts: If you’re over 65, did you know that you may qualify for a mature driver policy or discount? Some insurance companies even offer it from age 50.
- AARP partner discounts: The AARP partners with several insurance companies to provide lower insurance to AARP members.
- Retired military discounts: Military discounts don’t only apply to active-duty servicemen. Retired military personnel may also enjoy discounted insurance rates.
- Safe driver / good driving history discount: If you have an impeccable driving history free of accidents and traffic violations, your insurer will happily lower your insurance rate.
- Multi-vehicle discounts: If you and your spouse own vehicles, inquire about multi-vehicle or multi-policy discounts.
3) Take a Defensive Driving Class
Older drivers have years of driving experience behind them. However, as we age, our reflexes slow and we become less confident on the road. Have you noticed that you’re overly cautious, hesitate when switching lanes, or feel nervous in heavy traffic?
To overcome this, take a defensive driving course. The AAA (American Automobile Association) offers a seniors’ driving course, plus various programs, assessments, and medical evaluations to assist senior drivers. Refreshing your driver skills will boost your confidence. It’s also a factor most insurance companies consider when recalculating your insurance rate.
4) Renegotiate a Rate With Your Insurance Company
Many people miss out on insurance savings because they forget to inform their insurer of changes in life. If your circumstances have changed in any of the following ways, call your auto insurer and renegotiate a rate.
- You’re driving less: If you’re retired, you no longer commute to work. You may qualify for a low mileage discount or you can switch to pay-per-mile insurance that only bills you for the actual miles you drive.
- You upgraded to a car with more safety and security features: If you finally said a teary goodbye to your 20-year old clunker and replaced it with a car packed with safety and security features, your new insurance rate should be favorable.
- Your DUI charge was expunged: If an old driving under the influence charge was recently expunged, inform your insurance company. Now that your record is clean, you can expect a decrease in your car insurance.
- You’ve been claim-free for years: Insurance companies love clients with a claim-free record. They consider you a “valued” client, so negotiating a lower premium will be easy. Try to keep your record clear and then renegotiate again a few years later.
5) Shop Around For The Best Insurance
As a senior, every penny counts. Living frugally will help extend your retirement savings. Insurance is one area you can save money. Your car insurance premium is not cast in stone. Life changes, and along with it, so do your driving needs. Your insurance rate should match that. Shop around for the best auto insurance. Research by The Zebra shows that Geico, followed by Progressive, provides the lowest car insurance rates for seniors.
Age is simply a yardstick insurance companies use to measure risk. If you maintain good health and refresh your driving skills, there’s no reason to hang up your car keys early or endure high insurance rates. In the United States, 40 million people over the age of 65 carry a valid driver’s license. Of those, 3.5 million are 85 and older! Seniors are certainly not going silently into the night.