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Auto insurance for seniors - Complete guide

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Over 30 states plus D.C. require car insurance companies to offer mature drivers a discount for attending a driver safety/improvement course.
Requesting all the discounts you’re eligible for, keeping a good driving record and shopping around are some of the best ways to save when you’re a older driver.

Car insurance rates increase in your senior citizens years.

Even if your driving habits remain the same and your record stays clean, the rate you pay for car insurance changes over time as you age. Typically, auto insurance rates drop as drivers move into middle age, having acquired years of driving experience and loyalty discounts. Once you are over 65 years of age, however, expect to pay more for senior car insurance.

Here's what you need to know about saving on auto insurance in your 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond.

Car insurance rates for seniors
Senior auto insurance by decade
Senior car insurance discounts
Best car insurance for seniors
Safety tips for older drivers
State laws specific to senior driver

Car insurance rates for seniors

Auto insurance for seniors often costs more. Older, senior, drivers as a group are more accident-prone than their middle-aged counterparts. The reasons for this include age-related changes in hearing or vision, slower reflexes, health conditions and medications.

In addition, regardless of accident severity, older drivers suffer graver injuries and more fatalities than younger people. This makes seniors more expensive to treat following an injury. These factors can increase insurers’ claim costs, and those costs are passed on.

Will your insurance premiums increase just because you join the ranks of "older" drivers? What if you have no accidents or tickets? That depends on your insurance company, but the answer is "probably."

Insurance rates are partly determined by the entire group to which you belong, not just your own driving record. So, if you live in Mayhem Metro, you may pay more than a driver from Safe City. In most cases, if you drive a flashy coupe, you're statistically more likely to have an accident than if you've got a mundane minivan.

Insurance.com data shows that older drivers do pay more than middle-aged drivers as a group--but not much more. Explore our car insurance calculator to see what premium rates apply to you.

Car Insurance Rates by Age

However, there's a flip side -- many states mandate that drivers over 55 be given discounts for good driving and/or for taking approved driving courses.

Car insurance rates for seniors tends to rise after the age of 65 but really spikes up after age 80.

According to AARP, 34 states plus the District of Columbia require discounts for driver safety classroom-based driver improvement courses. Of this list, 23 and D.C. require car insurance companies to also offer a discount to drivers who complete an online driver improvement course. Either way the course is taken, it must be state-approved, so before signing up and paying out for a course, make sure it will count for the discount. Here are the states that mandate the discounts with the ones in bold that allow for an online class.

  1. Alabama
  2. Alaska
  3. Arkansas
  4. California
  5. Colorado
  6. Connecticut
  7. Delaware
  8. Florida
  9. Georgia
  10. Idaho
  11. Illinois
  12. Kansas
  13. Kentucky
  14. Louisiana
  15. Maine
  16. Minnesota
  17. Mississippi
  18. Montana
  19. Nevada
  20. New Jersey
  21. New Mexico
  22. New York
  23. North Dakota
  24. Oklahoma
  25. Oregon
  26. Pennsylvania
  27. Rhode Island
  28. South Carolina
  29. Tennessee
  30. Utah
  31. Virginia
  32. Washington
  33. West Virginia
  34. Wyoming
  35. Washington, DC

AAA, The National Safety Council (NSC) and AARP are a few of the organizations that offer mature driver courses.  Check with your senior car insurance company to find out more about this discount and who offers it in your area. A typical discount ranges from 5 to 10%.

Senior auto insurance by decade

seniors driving

Here's how your age may affect your driving and your insurance costs in your 50s and beyond.

"Not all insurance companies start charging higher rates at the same age, so it pays to shop around if you get a rate hike," says Penny Gusner, consumer analyst for Insurance.com. "It all depends on the internal statistics within the insurance company, so some will raise rates in your 60s while others will wait until your late 70s."

Let’s compare a full coverage policy of 100/300/100 liability coverage with physical damage coverages of comp and collision as you age.

Auto insurance in your 50s

Car insurance for people over 50 is usually cheaper than it is for younger and older drivers. That's because drivers in their 50s are among the safest -- you have lots of experience but still have good health, quick reflexes, and reliable hearing and vision.

The average rate for full-coverage auto insurance for a 55-year-old is $1,519. 

Auto insurance in your 60s

Barring an unlucky streak or late-onset midlife silliness, you're likely to pay less for car insurance than you ever have between the ages of 50 and 65. At 65, however, some insurers raise premiums. Your current insurer may not be among the best insurance companies for older drivers. Turning 65 might be a signal to shop for a better deal.

The average rate for full-coverage auto insurance for a 60-year old is $1,507.

The average rate for full-coverage auto insurance for a 65-year-old is $1,547. 

Auto insurance in your 70s

Does car insurance go up when you turn 70? Sorry; it probably does.

Data from the National Transportation and Safety Bureau (NTSB) and National Automotive Sampling System (NASS) show that drivers 70 and up experience much higher rates of intersection-related accidents and fatalities than younger drivers. More accidents mean more claims and higher rates. However, this is just the point at which accident rates begin to increase -- it isn't until drivers reach their late 70s or early 80s that their abilities degrade significantly. Some insurers recognize this and continue to offer reasonably-priced car insurance for those over 70.

The average rate for full-coverage auto insurance for a 70-year-old is $1,626. 

The average rate for full-coverage auto insurance for a 75-year-old is $1,808. 

Auto Insurance for Seniors Over 80

driving in 80s

Driving becomes increasingly hazardous for people 80 and up. According to American Automobile Association (AAA), older drivers’ fatality rates are 17 times higher than those for 25- to 64-year-olds. It's mostly not due to bad driving; it's because of the human body’s fragility in its ninth decade of life.

Car insurance for older drivers gets increasingly costly with age, so it’s critical to shop for car insurance quotes and grab every discount to which you're entitled.

The average rate for full-coverage auto insurance for an 85-year-old is $2,165. This is a 20% increase from age 75 rates and a 44% increase from the cost of car insurance from when you were 60.

If you’re not driving as much and have lowered your insurance to liability limits only, dropping comp and collision, then here are how senior car insurance rates would compare as you are age:

AgeLiability 50/100/50
55$598
60$598
65$622
70$665
75$758
85$958

Senior car insurance discounts: tips for saving

There are plenty of discounts available to older drivers, and you should pursue all that apply to you. Below are eight specific actions you can take to reduce your premium costs:

  1. Drive less. If you've stopped commuting and are driving less than you have in the past, inform your insurance company. Depending on your state (some require insurers to consider mileage when setting rates), savings range from almost nothing to more than 10 percent. Most insurers define "low mileage" as 5,000 to 7,500 miles or fewer, but others are more generous.

  2. Bring in Big Brother. Gusner says some seniors can save up to 40 percent with usage-based or pay-as-you-drive insurance auto insurance programs. A device installed in your car records your mileage and driving habits -- your speed, braking tendencies and acceleration. If your habits mirror those of most middle-aged or older drivers, you could save two ways -- for driving safely and for driving less. Discounts vary by insurer by can go as high as 40%.

  3. Have some class. Mature driver courses offered by AARP and others, as discussed earlier, can reduce your premiums by 5-15 percent. Most states require the discount, but insurers in other states often offer rate reductions for driver training as well. Age eligibility varies by state.

  4. Drop a driver. In states that don't require all licensed drivers in a household to have car insurance, you can exclude anyone (such as an older spouse or parent) who no longer drives in order to reduce your rates. Alternatively, you can change the primary driver to a younger member of the household, if that reflects the reality of your circumstances.

  5. Buy some bells and whistles. The latest vehicle safety features may get you a reduced rate on your insurance. Even without a discount, features such as rearview cameras, lane drift, collision warning systems and parking assist can prevent accidents and claims, which can minimize future premium increases.

  6. Keep a clean record. The bells and whistles on your car that can keep you out of an accident can really payoff if you are able to keep a driving record free of violations or accidents. Having a clean record for the last three to five years should give you a good driver discount that ranges from 15 to 40%.

  7. Join the club. Membership in organizations such as AARP can enable you to access promotional pricing. It's called an "affinity discount."

  8. Dial back coverage. If you have homes and vehicles that you use only part-time, look into cheaper "parked vehicle" or "snowbird" coverage during the months in which you're not driving them.

  9. Bundle it up. If you haven’t yet checked on the cost of buying auto and home insurance with the same insurance company, do that now. It is a nice perk to have just one company to deal with for home and auto policies, plus you can get a discount that on average is around 11%.

  10. Stop driving. If your insurance rates are sky-high because of your driving record, it might be time to quit. AARP lists a number of signs that you should give up driving, including frequent close calls, finding dents or scrapes on your car or other objects, getting lost in familiar locations, trouble seeing or following traffic signs and signals, slower response time to unexpected situations, misjudging gaps in traffic, causing other drivers to honk or complain, difficulty concentrating while driving, trouble turning to check the rear view mirror when backing up or changing lanes, and receiving multiple traffic tickets or warnings. AAA gives guidance on how to evaluate your driving abilities.

For more information, review our tips on being a safe driver. Drivers of any age can raise deductibles, bundle with home or renter's insurance or reduce coverage in order to save on premiums.

Insurance.com's coverage calculator can help you set an appropriate level of coverage for the coming years.

senior car insurance discounts

Best car insurance companies for seniors

There is no single "best" car insurance for seniors. Different insurers calculate their rates with proprietary methods and each has a different set of behaviors it chooses to encourage, deter or ignore. The cheapest auto insurance for seniors depends on the driver, vehicle and location. However, to get an idea of what you'll pay, we provide average rates for full coverage, with a $500 deductible. The data is based on rates from up to six major insurers in nearly every ZIP code of the country. The table below shows average rates for drivers age 60, 65, 70 and 75 in all states.

Top Car Insurance Companies for Seniors

Select your age and state below to see the average annual and monthly rates.

Currently showing results for age 60 in California
Company NameAvg. Annual PremiumAvg. Monthly Premium
 

Safety tips for older drivers

The National Institute of Health (NIH) advises that you can be safer on the road by addressing the effects of aging on your driving and being aware that your driving ability will almost certainly be impacted by changes to your body. Here are the most important tips:

  • Maintain your health. Have your hearing, vision and general health evaluated regularly, and keep any prescription equipment such as glasses and hearing aids up-to-date. If you don't see well after dark, avoid driving at night.
  • Stay physically active. Physical activity may foster quick reaction times.
  • Adjust your vehicle. Elevate your seat for adequate vision and switch to power steering, brakes and mirrors to control your car.
  • Review medications. Understand how your medications may affect your driving ability. Avoid driving after taking any drugs with warnings about operating machinery.
  • Create a healthy buffer zone. Follow at a greater distance and avoid busy parts of town and busy times of day.
  • Plan your route. Intersections are especially dangerous for drivers over age 80, and there is no reason to make a risky left turn when three right turns will get you to the same place.
  • Sharpen skills. Defensive driver classes and behind the wheel refresher courses can sharpen your skills and lead to lower insurance rates.
  • Maintain your vehicle. Regular inspections and tune-ups reduce the chance of roadside break-downs.

State laws specific to senior driver

Some state motor vehicle departments treat you differently once you meet their definition of "older driver." You may no longer be allowed to renew your license by phone or online. Your renewal period may be shortened, and you may be required to pass extra screenings.

Here is information from the Governors Highway Safety Association about the differences by state:

StateSenior-related license restrictions
AlabamaNone
AlaskaNo mail renewal at 69
ArizonaFive-year renewals at 69; no mail renewal at 70
ArkansasNone
CaliforniaNo mail renewal at 70
ColoradoFive-year renewals at 61; no electronic renewal at 66 and mail renewal requires positive vision exam in six previous months
ConnecticutTwo- or six-year renewal at 65; mail renewal only if a hardship
ColoradoFive-year renewal at 61; no electronic renewal at 66 and mail renewal requires positive vision exam in six previous months
DelawareNone
District of ColumbiaVision test, possible reaction test, and physician letter needed at 70
FloridaSix-year renewal with vision test at 80
GeorgiaFive-year renewal at 60 and vision test at 64
HawaiiTwo-year renewal at 72
IdahoFour-year renewal at 63
IllinoisTwo-year renewal between 81 and 86; every year at 87; and road test at 75
IndianaThree-year renewal between 75 and 84; two years at 85; no electronic or mail renewal at 70
IowaTwo-year renewal at 70
KansasFour-year renewal at 65
KentuckyNone
LouisianaNo mail renewal at 70
MaineFour-year renewal at 65; vision test at every renewal at 62
MarylandVision test at 40
MassachusettsRenewal in person only at 75
MichiganNone
MinnesotaNone
MississippiNone
MissouriThree-year renewal at 70
MontanaFour-year renewal at 75
NebraskaNo electronic renewal at 75
NevadaMail renewal needs medical report at 70
New HampshireRoad test at 75
New JerseyNone
New MexicoYearly renewal at 75
New YorkNone
North CarolinaFive-year renewal at 66
North DakotaFour-year renewal at 78
OhioNone
OklahomaNone
OregonVision test at 50
PennsylvaniaNone
Rhode IslandTwo-year renewal at 75
South CarolinaFive-year renewal with vision test at 65
South DakotaNone
TennesseeNone
TexasTwo-year renewal at 85; no electronic or mail renewal at 79
UtahVision test at 65
VermontNone
VirginiaFive-year renewal with vision test at 75
WashingtonNone
West VirginiaNone
WisconsinNone
WyomingNone

If you realize that you may have passed your prime as a driver, talk to your physician. You may come up with a plan of how to addresses your limitations, decide that it is time to give up driving or getting a license with limits. Some states offer a restricted license, such as not driving at night if that is your problem area.

It may also be time to look at alternative modes of transportation, such as community offered senior rides, Lyft or Uber. If you sell your vehicle, you could easily offset other transportation costs from the savings you receive from no longer owning and maintaining a vehicle.