When you hit your 60s, your "senior years," your car insurance may start to creep up.
Your auto insurance costs won't escalate to the levels of your grandkids, but it's still important to explore the additional savings you can get once you're in your golden years, whether you're a Dorothy, Blanche, Rose or Sophia.
Let's take a look at how to snag the cheapest car insurance for seniors.
How much is car insurance for seniors?
Car insurance for seniors trends upward as you get older.
"Seniors have experience driving, so it is not comparable to teens," said Janet Ruiz, director of strategic communications, Insurance Information Institute. "Many companies do have safe driving courses for seniors to alert them to the specific things they may encounter as they age. Some give a discount if you take the safe driving course, which is usually offered online."
According to our findings, auto insurance in your 50s is usually cheaper than it is for younger and older drivers. The age group considered the safest on the road in terms of health and safe driving.
In your 50s, you've got a lot of experience behind the wheel, quick reflexes, good health and reliable hearing and vision. That's how car insurance companies view it.
Here's the average costs for four different age groups. We include the cost of state minimum coverage, as well as coverage for $50,000 for bodily injury coverage per person injured in an accident caused by you, $100,000 for everyone injured in the accident and $100,000 in property damage coverage. We also included $100,000, $300,000 and $100,000 coverage. Find out more about liability coverage.
When you hit 65, you're likely to see a bump in your car insurance premium. You're wiser, more mature, and quite possibly having the time of your life. But auto insurance companies see aging as a bit of a risk, so when you turn 65, it's a good time to re-evaluate your current insurance and compare to others that cater to the aging population.
Motor vehicle crashes accounted for less than 1 percent of fatalities among people 70 and older in 2016, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). However, the study found that people 70 years or older are less likely to be licensed to drive and drivers 70 and older drive fewer miles. That said, those drivers in their 70s who do keep their licenses are keeping them longer, and driving more.
Does that sound like we're going to tell you that you'll catch a financial break as you head into your 70s? Well you will for many things from movie ticket prices to trips to shows. You'll get discounts on all those things and more; probably not on your car insurance.
While there are a growing number of mature drivers (that means older than 65) on the road, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association, 6,702 fatal crashes involved those 65 and older in 2016. Of course, more accidents equals more claims, which means more risk for insurers.
How to get the cheapest car insurance for seniors
Several auto insurance companies offer discounts that are particularly applicable to mature drivers.
Being loyal to your auto insurance company can earn you up to 30% off your premium. Geico, Nationwide, American Family and Progressive are among those companies that promote loyalty savings programs. Be careful, though. Most experts agree that a loyalty savings rarely outweighs saving either by switching providers, or negotiating with your current provider.
Good driver and safe driver discounts are available to all ages, and by most companies, and can get you between 5 and 25% in savings on that insurance premium. The insurance company usually requires that you have a clean driving record for at least three years. That means no DUIs, no moving violations and no at-fault collisions.
AARP offers mature driver courses that can reduce your premiums from 5 to 15% in some cases. In fact, most states require states to offer a discount.
"AARP Driver Safety offers several educational courses to help older adults remain independent, safe and confident while on the road," said Kyle Rakow, vice president of AARP Driver Safety. "The AARP Smart Driver course is not only a great refresher for experienced drivers, but it can help drivers save money on their car insurance. Discounts vary based on the state, the participant's age, driving record and other factors, so check with your insurance agent before registering for the course."
Car enhancements can also help seniors.
"Newer cars have many benefits for seniors with Automated Driving Assistance features, back-up cameras, etc. IIHS Safety ratings are often considered by insurance companies when putting together the cost of the auto policy,” said Ruiz.
Perhaps you have retired and you're driving a lot less. This is the perfect time to tap into low-mileage car insurance discounts. These usually kick in if you drive less than 7,500 or 10,000.
"Driving fewer miles means you have less road time, resulting in lower risk of getting into an accident," said Ruiz. "Most insurers ask for yearly mileage to give a lower rate to drivers who are on the road less."
Should you participate in this discount, auto insurance companies may require you to install a device that records the mileage data and sends it to them.
If you take precautions to thwart off car thieves, your insurance company usually shaves some off your bill. You could save up to 30%.
Bundling your homeowners or renters insurance along with your auto insurance can save up to 30%. We found that the national bundling averages are:
- Auto and homeowners insurance at a savings of 11.4%.
- Auto and condo at 9.6%.
- Auto and renters at 5%.
- Auto and life insurance at 2%.
Take advantage of a multi-car discount of up to 25%, too, by insuring one or more cars with the same company. These discounts typically apply to your collision, liability and comprehensive coverages. It doesn't always work best to bundle, though. Compare and contrast before merging.
Now that you’re in your senior years, you may be more financially stable. You've got years of balancing budgets behind you, and you've got it down to a science, right? If so, and you can shell out the money to pay your car insurance bill in full, you could save up to about 10%.
Ways to get the cheapest car insurance for seniors
Comparison shopping is important at any age and for any product. As life brings changes, and companies quietly shift rates and costs, you've got to stay on top of not only who gives you the best deal, but the best auto insurance for your current situation.
You may already have the best deal going with your current car insurance company. But you're never too old to start a new relationship: in many cases, looking yonder may secure you a better deal.
The best time to assess your auto insurance and gather new quotes is each year when your current policy is up for renewal.
Also, take a look at your insurance should any of these circumstances arise:
- Purchase a new or different car
- Add or remove a driver
- Add a teen driver
- Home purchase
- DUI or major violation - review DUI insurance
- Change in credit score
For more information, see "7 reasons your car insurance rates drop."
Several auto insurance companies tend to fare well in "best and least expensive for seniors" surveys, including The Hartford AARP Program, which was created solely with the older driver in mind. This insurance guarantees you won't get dropped unless you lose your license or don't pay your premium. It even has a program called RecoverCare that kicks in to help cover costs that Medicare doesn't should you get in an accident. It also includes lawn maintenance, snow removal, transportation services, food preparation and dog walking.
Amica, State Farm, Geico and Allstate additionally rate highly for companies that cater to senior drivers. Geico, for instance, has a policy called Prime Time, a contract offered to those 50 or older who have no one under his or her policy under the age of 25. Allstate offers senior discounts for those older than 55, or working part-time. Dairyland provides a pay-as-you-go option that is ideal for seniors who may have been denied standard insurance, and Metromile is a cheap alternative for those who drive infrequently.
If you’re a veteran, USAA car insurance has a policy offered to those who served the nation at the lowest premium possible. USAA also boasts a Senior Bonus program for those who have been with them for more than 40 years.
Some alumni groups and professional business associations also offer group plans and reduced rates. Experts from the Insurance Information Institute suggest checking with your affiliated organizations to see what they offer. Buying car insurance as part of a group can earn you many benefits.
Have you ever thought of increasing your dollar deductible? Just bumping up that from $250 to $500 drives down the cost for collision and comprehension. That'll save you, in some cases, up to 30%. You can save even more if you raise your deductible to $1,000. Of course, though, this means paying more out of your pocket should you cause an accident.
Beware of scam auto insurance
Make sure when you're scouting for that affordable auto insurance that you don't fall victim to any scams. According to the National Council on Aging, financial scams "targeting seniors have become so prevalent that they're now considered 'the crime of the 21st century.'"
The rationale for these scammers is that it is assumed seniors have money accumulating in their accounts, and that they are particularly vulnerable and trusting.
There are several scams that seniors should watch out for, according to Jessica Winn, media relations manager, AARP:
- Stealing your premiums. An agent pockets your insurance premiums instead of sending it to the insurer. Crooked agents may steal your premiums to support their business, feed a gambling or drug habit, or buy luxury goods such as cars or jewelry.
- Selling phony insurance. An agent or company rep sells you fake coverage from a phony insurance company. Or the agent sells you bogus coverage using a legitimate company's name, or a name that's similar to a legitimate insurer. You might receive an official-looking policy or proof of insurance that's worthless. You could lose thousands of dollars if you suffer a loss and don't have a real policy to pay your claim.
- Selling coverage you don't want or need. Maybe the coverage is real, but it's expensive, unnecessary, and your current policy may already cover that risk.
- Worthless investments. You may be urged to invest in insurance-like instruments. One is viaticals, which are investments in life policies taken out on sick or terminally ill people. Viaticals can be a legitimate investment, but some can also be phony or misleading. Another scam is promissory notes, in which agents promise quick, high and certain returns for investing in promissory notes supposedly backed by insurance. Often the promissory notes don't exist, they're just a sham to steal your money.
So watch out, shop around and be smart! You're in the most wonderful decades of your life; make sure you're not spending too much on your car insurance so you can put it toward that next vacation.