Despite years of experience and safe driving, insurance companies tend to view senior drivers as riskier compared to middle-aged drivers, and raise their rates accordingly. Below we explore what changes senior drivers can expect to see in their rates, and what steps they can take to lower and manage their costs.
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Auto insurance rates generally decrease as drivers grow older and gain more years of experience on the road. Between the ages of 30 and 60, rates actually decline. After 60 years of age, car insurance rates tend to rise. This result was consistent with the findings from our accidents and violations articles, where insurers penalized mature drivers less than they did younger drivers.
To get this data we took rates of a sample 30-year-old driver who drives a 2011 Toyota Camry. We found rates for that driver in different towns and cities in New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, Vermont, and Utah, and then used the same parameters to find those same rates when we aged him from 30 years old to 60, 70, 80 and 90 years old. Pennsylvannia, Florida and Vermont represent states with some of the highest senior populations in the country while Utah one of the lowest, and New York as a control. Our results found that the correlation between rates and trend is not as straightforward as it may seem.
Sample Rates for a Driver Starting at 30
Age really starts to affect rates when one becomes about 70 years old. Between the 70th and 80th birthday, rates did not change too much, only about 5% as opposed to the nearly 20% increase between 60 and 70. Unfortunately, those still hitting the road at 90 will see another double digit percent increase from what they were paying a decade previous.
|30 - Base||$1,000|
Sample Rates for a Driver by Age & Company
Our study obtained quotes from four companies: Allstate, State Farm, Metlife and Nationwide. Of those companies, Allstate raised senior rates the most by 1.60x between 30 and 90 years old, and 1.22x between 60 and 70. While most carriers dropped rates for a 60 year old driver compared to a 30 year old, Allstate increased rates by 4% between 30 and 60. Nationwide was the most lenient toward older drivers among the four companies we sampled, giving one of the biggest discount between ages 30 and 60, as well as the smallest increase between 80 and 90. While they had the highest jump between ages 60 and 70, they were still lower than the other three for the driver background we profiled.
|Company||Sample Rates Compared to 30 Year Old|
If you are over the age of 65, the reality is your auto insurance rates will generally go up. That doesn’t mean though that you can’t keep costs low. Here are a few ways to do that:
Change Your Driver Status
65 is a common age to retire, meaning you are less likely to be commuting to a job which is the where the majority of miles are driven by people every week. Reducing the amount of miles you drive every year can save you lots of money on your rates. Be sure to tell your insurance agent you only drive for 'pleasure' now, and not for a work commute. When you get a quote online, select 'leisure', and re-evaluate how many miles you'd be driving in your retirement. When we reduced the number of miles driven from the typical 12,000 to 7,500 in New York, rates decreased by 5% .
Take Safety/Accident Prevention Courses
Insurance companies offer accident prevention or safe driving courses that could end up saving you up to 10% on your premium. Online courses are quick and simple way to save money from the comfort of a home, and in-person classes are also available. The actual amount depends on where you live. The discount is actually mandatory in a few states once you turn 55 years old. In California, Florida, Pennsylvania, Washington, Tennessee, Minnesota, or Nevada you can find the classes on the DMV page. In Pennsylvania you are entitled to a 5% discount while in Minnesota you get a 10% discount. Classes in California, for example, typically cost about $20 to $40, so on a $1,000 premium you would be saving $100 if the discount is worth 10%.
They aren't just for movie tickets. At certain auto insurance companies seniors can get discounts after they turn 55. Allstate offers a “55 and Retired” discount where seniors who are retired can save up to 10% on their rates. Farmers also has a similar discount. As with all car insurance discounts though, you will have to check if they are available in your state.
If your insurer allows you to combine discounts, you could potentially accumulate 25% off your premiums. Considering the average jump between 60 and 70 year olds was 18%, you may actually be paying 7% less than what you were previously. As always, it is very important to shop around and find the best deal in your area.