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Auto Insurance for Seniors

The number of senior drivers on the roads is expected to grow steadily over the coming decades. In fact, there are currently 46 million senior drivers on the road and this number is expected to nearly double by 2060. While driving may become challenging as we get older, an even bigger hurdle for senior citizens to overcome is dealing with the insurance companies. In this article we will talk about what all seniors need to know about the costs associated with car insurance including some of the ways they can keep the costs under control.

How Much Does Car Insurance Cost for Seniors?

The price will vary significantly depending on the insurance company and state of residence. For example, in Maryland, insurance companies are prohibited from charging those who are 65 and older a higher rate. California has passed a law that prohibits using gender to determine car insurance rates. Still, given some of the laws in place that are designed to protect senior drivers, their insurance rates remain fairly high. This is because the insurance companies view their age as high risk since senior citizens often suffer from age related illnesses that may impair their ability to drive safely. In fact, senior drivers account for about 18% of all traffic fatalities this year.

How Your Age Affects the Rates

Generally speaking, the older the driver is, the higher the premiums will be. In fact, the statistics bear this out. If we look at the lowest price for the minimum coverage, we will see that a person who is 55 years old will pay $494 while an 85-year-old will pay $778 for the same plan. The statistics remain the same if we look at the car insurance prices by state with older drivers paying higher rates than younger ones.

License Issues for Seniors

While the sheer cost of car insurance can be a big burden for senior drivers, they also have to deal with the provisions imposed by some states. In fact, thirty-three states and the District of Columbia have specific license requirements aimed directly at senior citizen drivers. This includes a mandatory vision exam, road tests and fewer years between renewals. Some states such as Massachusetts and Louisiana make renewing more difficult by requiring you to show in person instead of renewing by mail or online. Therefore, it is always a good idea to check the requirements of your state to avoid any surprises down the road.

Tips to Help You Save on Auto Insurance for Seniors

Even though the cost of car insurance will become higher as you get older, there are still some things you can do to keep the costs down. These include:

  • Maintaining a clean driving record – If you drive carefully and avoid any accidents over a certain time period, you will be viewed as less of a risk thus leading to smaller payments.
  • Driving less – Some insurance companies will offer discounts if you drive less than the average amount of miles per year. If you drive less, the odds of you getting into an accident decrease. Ask your insurance company if they offer such a discount.
  • Raising the deductible – The deductible is the amount that you pay out-of-pocket before the insurance company comes in to cover the costs of an accident. However, if you are driving less, you should consider increasing the deductible since the probability of you getting into an accident is pretty low. In fact, according to some estimates, raising your deductible could save you as much as 40% on both collision and total coverage.
  • Take a defensive driving course – Such a course should be available through your local senior center or AARP. By taking such a course, you could be eligible for a multi-year discount with your car insurance company.
  • Get a safer car – If your vehicle is safer to drive, you are reducing your liability in the event of an accident. This does not mean that you need to install some fancy gadgets or gizmos. This could be something like a rearview camera and a collision alarm system. Also, consider installing a monitoring device in your vehicle which will allow the insurance company to track and monitor your driving activity. If they see that you are a safe driver, you can bet that they will lower the cost of your insurance.

How to Add a Senior Driver to Your Insurance

If you have aging parents or relatives at home, you will need to add them to your insurance policy if they will be driving your car. Failing to do so could result in massive out-pf-pocket expenses or even being dropped by the insurance company in the event of an accident. Please keep in mind, that adding a senior driver to your insurance will not necessarily lead to cost savings since a lot depends on credit scores. This means that a senior driver with a great credit score, but without a stellar driving record could get a better rate than a younger driver, with a better driving record, but with a lower credit score.

When is it Time to Stop Driving?

Soon or later, the time will come when we all must stop driving. Therefore, it is important that you pay attention to the warning signs which signal that it is not safe for someone to drive anymore. If you notice your parents or other senior relatives driving erratically, weaving in and out of lanes or getting lost in familiar places, these should all be red flags. However, it is important to approach this topic with great sensitivity and tell the person that you care for their safety and for others as well, which why you believe that they should not be driving anymore.

The US population is getting older which means that you can expect more senior drivers on the road. It is important to know all of the ways seniors can keep driving by keeping all the insurance costs down and knowing the license regulations imposed by each individual state.

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