If you have many years of experience driving safely, your car insurance rates should reflect those long standing good driving habits. Most insurance companies offer discounts to mature drivers – individuals who are at least 55 years old and retired. Not only are mature driver discounts available, you may be able to obtain a discount for being a member of a group or organization. If you are a member of a credit union, professional organization, your employer or AARP, you may qualify for an additional discount. Some car insurance companies may offer discounts for drivers age 50 and up if they take a safe driving course (also referred to as a defensive driving course) to refresh their driving skills. Both American Automobile Association and AARP offer online safe driver courses that will give you the same discount.
Unfortunately, some driving skills fade as we get older, diminishing your reaction time and eyesight. After age 75, you will likely see an increase in the cost of your car insurance. Increases to your budget when you are on a fixed income can set your whole budget askew. But if you want to continue to drive, see if you can reduce your insurance costs. Think about the following ways to save on car insurance for seniors:
- Usually seniors drive fewer miles than drivers who are still working. Check to see if your reduced driving qualifies you for a reduction in your car insurance costs.
- If you have an older car, consider whether you need comprehensive or collision coverage. (Cf. here for more about types of coverage.)
- If you are keeping your comprehensive and collision coverage, think about raising your deductable. But don’t raise it so high you can’t afford to get your car immediately fixed
- Don’t skimp on liability insurance or under or uninsured motorist coverage. As a senior, you may live on a fixed income but it is likely that your assets (such as your home, car, retirement accounts) are yours free and clear of any loans. With a large amount of unencumbered assets, you should be sure to have adequate coverage in case of an accident. As with any driver, if you are in a serious collision and the damages you caused are greater than the coverage limits you purchased, you may be personally liable to pay for those damages that exceed your insurance coverage. The minimum coverage mandated by many states will be inadequate if anyone is injured in an accident if you are at fault. You don’t want to put your retirement or a planned inheritance for your children in jeopardy.
- Check on group discounts (AAA, AARP, any professional organizations, etc.)
If you, your friends or your family think it’s time for you to stop driving, there are lots of alternatives to get around. Friends, family or neighbors can help you get to your appointments and do errands. Many communities have established senior shuttles to get around your community for non-emergency transportation (medical appointments, shopping, errands, recreation) and those shuttles will take you exactly where you want to go, not a bus stop. Giving up driving is a difficult decision to make but you may find that driving with friends, family, or shuttle is a much more enjoyable way to get around.