- Senior car insurance: What you need to know
- Be careful about “cheaping” out
- Lowest auto insurance rates for seniors
- What is the best auto insurance for seniors?
- Do seniors get a discount on auto insurance?
- Government mandated auto insurance discount for seniors
- Is car insurance higher for the elderly?
- Cost of car insurance for seniors over 80
- How senior drivers can get cheap insurance rates?
If you’re starting to approach retirement age, and you’re wondering if your insurance rates might be going up, you’ll be happy to hear that they probably won’t — which makes sense. If you’re in your 50s and 60s, you probably feel like you’re about as good of a driver as you were in your 20s and 30s, and you may well feel that you’re a far better driver.
The very idea that your rates might go up now may seem ludicrous.
But they will go up. As you hit your 70s, even if it’s not fair, even if you’re driving the best you’ve ever been, the algorithms that insurers depend on suggest that you’re more at risk. Because of that, your rates will start to slowly but surely continue to increase.
But there are strategies you can employ to keep rates affordable. Down below, we’ll show you the average rates by age, coverage level and state – and we’ll rank the cheapest car insurance companies for seniors.
Senior car insurance: What you need to know
It’s maddening if you’re an older and confident and safe driver, but, yes, your car insurance premiums will go up with your age.
“Car insurance rates stay pretty steady during your 50s and even into your 60s. It’s once you creep up to 70s that rates tend to start to creep up,” says Penny Gusner, CarInsurance.com senior consumer analyst.
“Rates tend to go up around an average of 10 percent from age 60 to 70. But the difference between age 60 and 75 is around 20%. The difference in rates between age 75 and 85, I’ve found to be around 25 percent. So, if your policy is $1,000 every six months that would raise it up to $1,250 or $2,500 a year from $2,000.”
And over 85?
The rates go up (keep reading, and we’ll get to more specifics). Above 85, and Gusner says, “It gets harder to keep your driver’s license — typically due to cognitive functions and eyesight issues that tend to arise. Reaction time and your fragility are factors that car insurance companies take into account at older ages since they make elderly drivers pose more of a risk. Driving less will help the rates get a bit of a discount, but it won’t make up for the age and related perceived risks.”
So if you intend to keep driving and would like to save on your car insurance, what should a senior do?
There are a number of strategies you may want to try.
- Comparison shop. “No matter what age you are shopping around when your renewal period comes up is a good idea,” Gusner says. “Look at prices, but make sure the service and company strength is given good reviews and ratings.”
- Ask your insurer for discounts. Such as a low mileage discount, Gusner says. “And see if any affiliations you have will get you a discount, just as being an alumnus of a certain college or being part of a certain association.”
- See if a driver defensive driving course will net you a discount. Typically, it will, Gusner says, although it’ll only likely be around a 5% discount. Still, Gusner says, “Every bit can help.” And sometimes the rates will be higher. For instance, Allstate has a defensive driving course, and if you take a course that’s at least six hours long, and if you have no at-fault claims, you may get their defensive driver discount, which can save drivers up to 10%.
- Try to get a new classification on your car. “If you only use your car doing the weekends, see if it is classified as a leisure car that will bring down your rates,” Gusner advises.
- Make the deductible higher. “If you have decent savings, you can up your deductibles — what you pay out for a collision or comprehensive claim before your policy kicks in — as you are taking on more risk so the insurer gives you a bit of a discount,” Gusner says. “Bumping up your deductible from $500 to $1,000, I’ve seen senior drivers save about $150 annually on their policy.”
- Get a car monitoring app. As in, have your driving tracked by your insurer. “They can also sign up to have their insurance company monitor their driving behavior. If you show to be a good driver you can get really good discounts, some insurers offer up to 30% or so off,” Gusner says. Still, just remember that it works both ways. If you tend to brake hard or speed all the time (we’re not talking every once in a while), your insurer may end up raising your rates.
- Bundle coverage. This is a classic. You don’t need us to tell you that bundling insurance policies with one company is smart, though you may be unaware how much it can help you. For instance, you can get discounts up to 25% for bundling your auto and homeowner’s, condo or renter’s insurance with the Hartford.
- Ask your insurer if they can have discounts you’re eligible for. You won’t know unless you ask. Among their discounts, for instance, Geico offers 50-year-old drivers and up a defense driving discount (complete a course and get a discount). They also will lower your premium if you’re eligible for their retirement government and military discount. You also might be able to nab Geico’s “five-year good driving discount.”
Be careful about “cheaping” out
Yes, you want to lower your insurance car premiums, absolutely. But the goal is to get cheaper but good car insurance, not the cheapest you can possibly find. You should buy at least 100/300/100 coverage. That means you’ll receive up to $100,000 coverage for a person for bodily injury, including death, that you cause to others; $300,000 in bodily injury per accident (so if there are multiple people in the car, the insurance may pay $300,000 for everybody’s injuries); and property damage up to $100,000.
You can get less, like 50/100/50, or you may pay for more, like 250/500/100.
But do yourself a favor and please get at least 100/300/100. That’s because in that unlikely event that you have a very serious accident, and the insurers and authorities decide you were at fault, if you’re underinsured, you could find your insurance paying for a lot of hospital bills and property damage – but not all of it.
And then you’d have to pay the rest, and suddenly your retirement savings is at risk.
Now, everybody’s s financial situation is different. Maybe you’re thinking, “I barely drive. My car is old and not worth much. Nobody could take all of my retirement savings because I hardly have any. I really don’t think I need to go with 100/300/100” Well, maybe you’re right. Maybe 50/100/50 would be better, but do keep in mind that the general consensus among insurance experts is that you get coverage that’s at least 100/300/100.
Lowest auto insurance rates for seniors
If you’re a senior or of any age, and you want to find the lowest auto insurance rates, you have to shop around.
It isn’t exactly a blast, we realize, but you should try to get at least three quotes to compare and see what company yields the most affordable rate.
Ideally, you should shop around for car insurance every time you renew your policy and certainly when you have a life event happen, such as a move, or if you add or drop a driver to your policy or buy a new home. Why? Because those life events tend to make your rates go significantly up or down, and while down is good, they may go even lower with a different insurer.
What is the best auto insurance for seniors?
Good question. Unfortunately, there is no one answer. We wish there was. It would make writing this article extremely easy. We’d just say, “The best auto insurance for seniors is…” and that would be that.
But while some insurers offer discounts for people over 55 or retired or seniors or whatever designation we’re going with to refer to people who are slightly above middle aged, other companies have attractive discounts that are for any age, including seniors. Meanwhile, your unique driver profile has a major bearing on how certain insurers decide what price your premium should be.
To help you decide what’s best for you, here’s an overview of what perks and discounts major car insurance companies offer elderly motorists.
Hartford AARP: Best for customized senior driver service
Reasons to consider it: The Hartford, which has a partnership with AARP, specializes in selling insurance for older drivers. In most states (and unfortunately, it isn’t available in U.S. territories), the AARP Auto Insurance program, guarantees that if you have a policy through them, you won’t be dropped unless you don’t pay their premium, have a serious violation, or lose your license. You can also get your premiums lowered by taking an online defensive driving course, which can take four to eight hours to complete, and which will knock 3% off your monthly rate. The class is $25, but AARP members get a discount off that, typically about $5 off.
Geico: Best for guaranteed coverage
Reasons to consider it: You could see if you’re eligible to sign up for Geico’s “Prime Time” contract, which offers guaranteed renewal. The requirements? You have to be at least 50 years old. You can’t have anyone driving the car under the age of 25. No violations or accidents in the past three years. And you shouldn’t be using the vehicle for any business purposes.
The “Prime Time” contract is available in the following states (but, still, check with Geico to make sure you aren’t running afoul of any other requirements): Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
USAA: Best for retired, veterans
Reasons to consider it: USAA is well known for its insurance coverage for members of the military, both retired and active. If you’re a senior citizen and a USAA member, and assuming you aren’t driving around all that much (generally that’s considered 15,000 miles a year), you may want to inquire about its discount for low annual mileage. USAA also suggests that if you’re buying a car that you make sure it has automatic safety features, such as backing sensors, and that may bring down your premiums.
Progressive: Best for any driver looking for a lot of discounts
Reasons to consider it: Progressive doesn’t have “senior discounts,” but they have a lot of discounts that seniors (or anyone) can take advantage of, including discounts for bundling (i.e., homeowners and car insurance), having multiple cars on a Progressive policy, for continuous coverage, for being a good driver, for being a homeowner for paying in full and even doing autopay. So it’s worth looking into, just for the multitude of discounts the company offers.
Allstate: Best for non-commuting seniors
Reasons to consider it: So you’re retired and not driving somewhere all the time? You may want to include Allstate in your comparison shopping. Allstate has a “senior adult” discount and a “55 and retired” discount – although to meet that latter requirement, you have to be not working and not looking for full-time work. In other words, if you don’t have a daily commute and don’t plan to, you may land a discount that saves you up to 10% on your car insurance.
Farmers: Best for defensive drivers
Reasons to consider it: While just about every insurer offers a defensive driver discount, Farmers has one that’s tailored to drivers 55 years of age and up. To qualify, you’ll have to take a driver’s education course that’s been approved by the Department of Motor Vehicles. Then you’ll want to send it to Farmers. You should get around a 10% discount.
State Farm: Best for safe drivers
Reasons to consider it: State Farm doesn’t have any discounts aimed at seniors, but if you have a solid history of being a safe driver, and you allow them to monitor your driving, you might get a discount for up to 30 percent – and possibly 50%.
Chubb: Best for foreign car and luxury vehicle owners
Reasons to consider it: Half of Chubb clients own European brand cars, compared to 6% of customers with other carriers, according to Chubb, and making it well positioned to handle complex, high-end auto collision claims. So if you’re a senior tooling around in a luxury car, you’ll want to include Chubb in your list as you comparison shop for rates.
Metromile Insurance: Best for the sporadic driver
Reasons to consider it: It’s an interesting insurance plan to look at because the policy is aimed at people who drive less than 10,000 a year, which fits the description of many older seniors. But if that’s you, don’t get too excited. The insurance company only covers residents in eight states at the moment: Arizona, California, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington.
The Auto Club Group (ACG) — AAA: Best for customer service
Reasons to consider it: The Auto Club Group was ranked highest for customer service satisfaction among drivers over age 55 in Insure.com’s “Best car insurance companies 2020” report. It earned a score of 97 out of 100 for customer service, but the carrier also has many other perks such as discounts and TK
Do seniors get a discount on auto insurance?
Yes. We’ve mentioned that earlier, but we realize some people are skimming all of this and not necessarily lingering over every word and sentence that we’ve painstakingly crafted throughout this car insurance for seniors article. Er, anyway, some insurers offer discounts designed for senior citizens, but many insurers offer deals available for people of all ages, including seniors.
But, yes, absolutely seniors can get a discount on auto insurance.
In fact, if you’re a senior, or younger, you can get discounts for taking defensive driving courses, low mileage (meaning, you don’t drive all that much) and auto-home bundle.
And, as a matter of fact, you will be happy to know that some states are required to offer auto insurance discounts for seniors.
Government mandated auto insurance discount for seniors
Yep, some states actually require insurers to offer a discount for seniors; in many cases, those discounts only come if you take a defensive driving course. The 34 states that have a government mandated auto insurance discount for seniors are:
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
Also, the District of Columbia offers a government mandated discount for senior drivers.
Is car insurance higher for the elderly?
As we’ve noted elsewhere, sadly, alas, yes. As you can see by the rates on the age chart, 50 to 60, your rates aren’t so bad, but after age 65, they begin to increase. After age 80, yikes.
Here are the average car insurance rates for ages 60 to 75 for:
- state minimum liability coverages
- liability only coverage but with higher limits of 50/100/50 (meaning $50,000 per person with max limit of $100,000 for bodily injury liability and $50,000 property damage liability)
- “full coverage,” or 100/300/100 liability limits plus collision and comp (with $500 deductible)
The rates creep up after you hit 65. Differences as you age: (depending on coverage level)
60 compare to 65 – Rates are up 3 to 4%
60 compare to 70 – Rates up 8 to 11%
60 compare to 75 – Rates up 20 to 27%
65 compare to 70 – Rates up 5 to 7%
65 compare to 75 – Rates up 17 to 22%
70 compare to 75 – Rates up 11 to 14%
Cost of car insurance for seniors over 80
The cost of car insurance increases quite a bit for drivers age 85 compared to those who are 75. The average rate for a full coverage policy for a senior driver age 85 is 20% higher, about $340 more a year, than the cost for drivers 10 years younger, a CarInsurance.com analysis shows.
How senior drivers can get cheap insurance rates?
So in conclusion (hey, c’mon; no need to applaud), we’ll wrap this up with an overview of some shopping tips for anybody looking to lower their car insurance premiums.
Get an affiliate discount. That is, get your car insurance through a group like the AARP or AAA.
Consider changing your driver’s status. That is, if you no longer commute, tell your insurer. You may get reclassified and see lower rates.
Check for all discounts with your insurer that you might qualify for. Boy, if you get nothing else from this article, we hope you’ll remember to ask your insurer what discounts you are eligible for.
Take as many driver defense courses as you can. But before you take any, check with your insurer and make sure you’re eligible for a discount. You probably can’t take more than one a year with your insurer, and we’re your crushed to hear that, because who wouldn’t want to take one every other month or so?
Bundle. If you get your car insurance with your homeowner’s insurance, you’re going to save money on both types of insurance.
Consider a usage-based plan. Like SnapShot from Progressive and DriveWise from State Farm. That is, you’ll have an app or device monitoring how you drive. If you’re a good driver, your rates will come down. If you used to hang out with Evel Knievel, and he wouldn’t drive with you because he felt that you were a little too reckless, then, um, skip this idea.
Comparison shop upon renewal. Just because you’re comparison shopping, it doesn’t mean you need to make a switch. We realize that it probably isn’t realistic to switch car insurers every single year. But there’s nothing