Navigating the world of car insurance can be quite a journey – especially as your insurance rates start to head up in your mid-60s. Learn the ins and outs of car insurance for seniors so you understand everything from discounts you might be eligible for to how your age can impact your coverage.
The good news is that many seniors pay less for auto insurance than younger drivers. Invest time in better understanding these coverages, how they work, recommended coverage amounts, how to get car insurance quotes and ways to save on premiums.
How to shop for car insurance for seniors
It’s important to understand that not all insurance providers have the same rates; shopping around can save you money. Are you ready to start searching for an auto policy? You can do so online or with the help of a live agent.
Pros of buying car insurance for senior drivers online
- Convenience is a key advantage here, enabling you to easily compare quotes from multiple insurance companies.
- Online quoting involves a brief form, providing rapid access to quotes.
- You can shop for car insurance online 24/7, whenever it’s convenient.
- By opting for an online approach, you can bypass the sales pressure of interacting with a live representative.
Pros of buying car insurance for seniors with an agent
- Engaging in a conversation with a live representative either over the phone or in person offers the advantage of immediate expert assistance.
- An agent can recommend a personalized policy tailored to your specific needs, including coverages and coverage levels.
- Building a rapport and establishing a comfort level with a dedicated individual assigned to your policy creates a sense of continuity going forward.
“For senior drivers who may have specific needs and preferences, the human touch of an agent can simplify the process, ensuring they receive the attention and respect they deserve,” Shirshikov says.
Compare quotes for car insurance for senior drivers
To find the best deal, explore multiple vehicle insurance quotes.
“The Insurance Information Institute recommends getting a minimum of three quotes from a mix of national and regional insurers during the auto insurance shopping process. This approach enables a comprehensive assessment of both costs and coverage,” Friedlander says.
Remember that the goal here is to obtain prices and carefully compare different insurers and policies, including the fine print in those policies and discounts offered by the carriers. When shopping, do your due diligence – read online reviews and check on each company’s AM Best Rating and Better Business Bureau grading to determine the carrier’s financial health and customer service reputation.
“Regardless of your age, you should seek carriers with strong financial stability, excellent customer service and a solid claims satisfaction record,” Shirshikov says. “Personal anecdotes often reveal that those who take the time to understand their coverage needs and shop around tend to find the best fit for their circumstances.”
Gather the required information
Be ready to provide essential personal information, either online or to an agent, including your complete name, age, address, phone number and vehicle identification number. Furnishing these details enables the insurance company to suggest appropriate coverages and provide an accurate quote.
Choose your coverage
Whether you shop online or with an agent, you must choose from the coverage options. These include liability, collision, comprehensive, UM and UIM, PIP, medical payments and more. Consider each option carefully to determine the coverage amounts that suit your requirements.
Save on car insurance for seniors through discounts and bundling
You can save a lot of money if you qualify for discounts. Here are some of the most common discounts available to senior drivers:
- Combining auto insurance with homeowners insurance or other policies
- Insuring multiple vehicles under the same policy
- Opting for paperless billing
- Demonstrating a positive credit history
- Maintaining a clean driving record without any accidents or tickets in the preceding three years
- Opting for automatic payments
- Paying the premium in full rather than through installments
- Electing a higher deductible for collision and comprehensive coverage
- Selecting a usage-based or telematics insurance program
- Successfully finishing a defensive driving course
- Staying with the same company for a loyalty discount
- Driving a vehicle equipped with preferred safety features
- Installing anti-theft devices
- Owning your home
- Driving fewer miles each year
- Opting to install a telematics device on your vehicle
“You may also be able to get a discount if you are retired or work fewer than 25 hours per week. This makes sense because the carrier likely expects seniors to drive a lot less than younger drivers who commute to work every day,” says Todd Stearn, founder/CEO of The Money Manual.
How much does car insurance cost for seniors?
The average cost of car insurance nationwide is $1,528 per year for 100/300/100 full-coverage insurance for 65-year-old male drivers with clean driving records and good credit scores, based on a CarInsurance.com rate analysis.
“Car insurance generally gets cheaper as the driver gets older, down to about $1,500 per year for 60-year-olds. But then car insurance rises, peaking at about $1,800 per year for those ages 75 and older,” Stearn says.
See how much car insurance for seniors costs in each state in the table below.
What types of car insurance should senior drivers buy?
Each auto insurance policy offers varying degrees of protection, with certain coverages being mandatory in many states versus optional coverages.
This mandatory coverage, applicable in almost every state, is intended to cover expenses related to property damage and bodily injuries for which you are deemed at fault.
Collision is required when you finance or lease a car; it covers damage due to an accident.
“This optional coverage goes into effect when your vehicle is damaged in a crash, regardless of who is at fault. The coverage amount is usually aligned with the depreciated value of the car,” says Dennis Shirshikov, adjunct professor of economics at City University of New York.
Comprehensive coverage, also required with a loan or lease, protects against damage or theft resulting from incidents unrelated to collisions. With comprehensive coverage, you’ll be covered for vandalism, flood, theft, fire, falling rocks or trees, hail, animal strikes and other non-collision risks.
Uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist coverage
Uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage step in when an uninsured driver is at fault in an accident you’re involved in or in the case of a hit-and-run. While UM and/or UIM coverage is mandatory in some states, it’s not universally required – although it is recommended.
Certain states mandate personal injury protection coverage, better known as PIP. It’s designed to cover personal medical expenses resulting from an accident, with the coverage amount varying depending on the insurance provider and state regulations.
Medical payments coverage – required only in Maine, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania – assists with medical expenses incurred by the driver, passengers and any third parties involved in an accident, regardless of fault.
Let’s imagine your new or newer auto is stolen or completely wrecked. If so, there could be a disparity between what you owe on your loan and your insurance coverage. Optional gap insurance can mitigate this, covering the difference between the actual cash value of the vehicle and your remaining debt.
Gap coverage is highly recommended – especially if your vehicle is expensive or you have a longer loan, such as six to seven years.
What happens if your vehicle breaks down, runs out of gas, suffers a flat tire, has a dead battery, or leaves you stranded? That’s a serious concern, especially if you’re older.
But if you have roadside assistance on your policy, you’re in good shape. That means costs related to vehicle lockout service, flat tire changes, towing and fuel delivery should be covered. If you have AAA, though, you might not need this optional coverage.
Expert recommendations on how much car insurance you should buy?
Experts say the appropriate level of auto insurance you should have in place depends on different criteria. These include the age, mileage and make/model of your vehicle, your driving patterns, your age and policy affordability.
According to personal finance pro Andrew Lokenauth, “most seniors should consider maintaining a minimum of 100/300/100 in liability and uninsured motorist coverage, along with collision and comprehensive coverage tailored to the value of their car.”
Here, “100/300/100” means coverage of $100,000 per person for bodily injury or death if you are at fault, $300,000 in bodily injury protection per accident and property damage coverage to a maximum of $100,000.
Many states require a minimum of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per incident in bodily injury liability coverage. Additionally, most states mandate a minimum of $25,000 in property damage liability coverage. But this coverage is rarely enough financial protection in case of an accident.
“But it’s a good idea for seniors to carry coverage beyond the minimum state requirements to ensure comprehensive protection and decrease your financial risks,” suggests Mark Friedlander, director of corporate communications for the Insurance Information Institute.
Friedlander also advises securing comprehensive coverage to ensure sufficient financial safeguard against substantial losses resulting from a fault-based accident and beefing up your medical payment amount to at least $5,000 in coverage.
“The golden rule is to have enough insurance to cover your net worth – the assets you could lose in a lawsuit following a serious accident,” Shirshikov says. “Seniors, often on a fixed income, must balance the need for comprehensive protection with their budget.”
Mark FriedlanderDirector of corporate communications for the Insurance Information Institute.
Should seniors carry more car insurance than the state minimum?
“It’s a good idea for seniors to carry coverage beyond the minimum state requirements to ensure comprehensive protection and decrease your financial risk.”
Resources & Methodology
CarInsurance.com editors in 2023 collected rates from Quadrant Information Services for 65-75-year-old male drivers with a Honda Accord LX, good insurance score and no violations with a 12-mile commute. We analyzed 51,088,003 quotes, 167 companies and 34,588 ZIP codes in every state with full coverage insurance policies with limits 100/300/100 and $500 comprehensive and collision deductibles.