Auto insurance rates typically rise for senior citizens, who can be more accident-prone than they were in middle age with slower reflexes, changes in hearing or vision, and health conditions that can make driving difficult.
Older drivers are also more likely to die or suffer worse injuries in auto accidents than younger people, requiring expensive treatment. That can lead to higher costs for insurers, which are passed on to drivers.
Senior drivers can lower their auto insurance costs in a few ways:
Take a class: Many states require discounts for completing a driver safety course. AARP offers many of these classes, which can reduce premiums by 5-15 percent.
Pay as you go: Seniors can save up to 40 percent by using pay-as-you-go insurance programs where a device is installed on their car to record mileage and driving habits. Speed, braking tendencies and acceleration are collected and people who drive safely can have lower insurance premiums.
Drive less: Chances are you’re no longer commuting if you’re a senior driver, so be sure to alert your insurance company to your annual mileage change. Driving about 7,500 miles per year or so can save about 10 percent on insurance. A device tracking your mileage can tell your insurer how few miles you’re driving.
Less coverage: If you go to a second home for the winter and leave your car at your primary home, ask your insurance company if it offers “parked vehicle” or “snowbird” coverage during the months you’re not using your car.
Get a safer car: If you’re thinking of buying a new car, you can save on insurance if it has the latest safety features. Rearview cameras, lane drift warnings, collision warning systems, parking assist, among others that aren’t even on the market yet, can lower insurance rates.
Group discounts: Groups such as AARP have promotional pricing, called an “affinity discount.” If you’re a retired teacher or government worker, for example, your union may have a group discount for members.
Stop driving: This is an extreme way to save money, but if your auto insurance rates are high because you have a poor driving record, it may be time to stop driving entirely.
AARP says that some of the signs that you’re having difficulty driving include frequent close calls, dents or scrapes on your car, getting lost in familiar locations, trouble seeing or following traffic signals or signs, confusing the gas and brake pedals, misjudging gaps in traffic at intersections, and having difficulty turning around to check the rear-view mirror while back up or changing lanes.