The U.S. Centers for Disease Control found that in 2009, there were 33 million licensed drivers over the age of 65 in the United States, and that was a 23 percent increase from the prior decade. Driving can help older people stay independent throughout their golden years, but unfortunately, the number of news stories about elderly drivers involved in car accidents may promote the incorrect impression that it’s difficult for elderly drivers to get car insurance, and when they do get it, they’ll automatically pay higher premiums than younger motorists. If you’re intent on continuing to drive when you’re older and possessing at least the minimum amount of state-mandated insurance while doing it, keep reading to figure out how to get the best rates for your needs.
Don’t Assume Rates Will Skyrocket As You Get Older
Older drivers from Denver, Colorado to Boston, Massachusetts and everywhere in between commonly face the perception that older people have impaired senses of balance, delayed reflexes and perhaps even poor vision, and that all of these challenges make it risky for them to be on the roads. In reality though, insurers often reward people for being safe drivers and gaining experience while doing so. That means if you’re a driver aged from between your mid-50s to about 70, an insurance company may view you as a person with a wealth of experience that’ll pay off if driving conditions are challenging. With that said, you shouldn’t wait for your rates to shoot upwards as soon as you become a senior citizen, but do expect them to rise once you reach your seventh decade of life.
You may also be able to secure lower premium rates by agreeing to enroll in a driver safety course that’s specifically geared towards older drivers. Doing that doesn’t mean admitting your skills are lacking, but it does show you’re willing to admit older age brings new obstacles, and you’re ready to overcome them with knowledge. Also, if you’re considering purchasing a vehicle in the near future, find out which ones are rated most highly for safety features. Driving a car that’s nationally recognized as a safe model can also slash premium rates.
Buy Only What You Need
Collision insurance is helpful because it offers coverage towards the amount you might have to pay to fix your car after a crash. However, if the vehicle you’re driving is very old, what you’d pay for collision insurance may not be worth the expense. As a rule of thumb, multiply the amount that collision insurance would cost by ten. If the outcome is a figure that’s more than the cost of your car, it might not be worth buying until you upgrade your vehicle to a newer, or at least more valuable, model.
Drive Less Often
Insurance rates are often calculated by the amount of miles you drive. If you drive less than you used to, make sure to inform your insurance company of the change. Doing so will ensure the provider has an accurate picture of your driving habits, and it could mean you get a discount off your premium.
Getting older doesn’t mean you have to plan on letting someone else do the driving, but it is useful to understand some of the things you’ll need to know when you’re an older driver who requires car insurance. The guidance above should be useful whether you’re buying insurance for yourself or helping an older family member with the task.
Deanna Ford is a part-time insurance adjuster for a company listed with Auto Insurance, Denver, Co., World Climate.com.