Seniors auto insurance

The costs to insure motorists varies depending on age. Teenage drivers typically carry more risk when first getting behind the wheel. As they get older, rates tend to drop as a reward for good driving records.

Another age group with high insurance rates are seniors. Older drivers are also considered by many providers to be high risk. However, there are some steps seniors can take to lower their auto insurance rates so they can financially enjoy the retirement period. Senior drivers can lower insurance rates by taking a few steps, such as getting a new car or using a usage-based insurance plan.

Here are four ways seniors can reduce their insurance rates:

1. Enroll in driving course
In every state, teenagers must take a driver's education program to earn their permit, then drive a certain amount of hours and pass a test to earn their license. Likewise, seniors may be able to lower their insurance rates by enrolling in a driving class. Even if seniors have an accident-free history, taking the class will result in lower insurance payments and also help them brush up on the rules of the road.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Highway Loss Data Institute, senior drivers are on the road far less than younger motorists. Those with impairments, such as memory loss or low vision, also limit time spent on the road. However, not every senior driver curbs their driving even if there are limitations, and as a result, driving classes can help everyone in the age group stay safe and reduce rates.

2. Pay as you go
Some insurance plans may offer a plan resembling a usage-based method. Essentially, senior drivers will only pay for the miles driven and may also get discounts for avoiding peak driving times, such as the morning rush hour. Seniors who choose to lower rates this way have some statistics to back up their decision.

When looking at crash rates for older drivers, IIHS found - citing data from 2008 - motorists 70 years and older "drove 45 percent fewer miles than drivers ages 35 to 54." This type of plan can help older motorists save money because they are already not driving as much. IIHS statistics found that, while crash rates increase around age 70, these drivers are traveling fewer miles. Therefore, comparing crash rates per mile traveled may not be an effective measurement when looking at different age groups. In actuality, the number of crashes per 1,000 people steadily declines the older a driver gets.

3. Get a different vehicle
Different cars carry different insurance. A new dad may give up the fast sports car for a more family-friendly vehicle, and the same can be said for seniors who might have purchased a flashy car during retirement. As they continue to age, the need to enjoy that car decreases. Auto insurance rates will also go down if older motorists opt for a car that is cheap to insure. Rates can be lowered even further if drivers get discounts for the car's features, such as airbags, anti-lock brakes and anti-theft devices.

4. Drive less
Aging is a natural part of life. Retirees may be able to get a discount for not having to drive as much for work anymore. Later in life, some drivers may suffer more damaging impairments than others, and as a result, driving may become more difficult. Motorists and their families should identify if there is a time they are no longer safe to get behind the wheel.

"Several studies have shown that higher levels of physical, cognitive or visual impairment among older drivers are associated with increased risk of crash involvement," IIHS said.

When older drivers notice their bodies betraying them, the benefits of not driving anymore, or less, far outweigh the risks.

Older motorists curious about insurance rates for their age group will want to head to CoverHound to compare various plans.

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