Many older adults value the independence and mobility that driving a car provides, and senior drivers continue longer in their lives than ever before. In 2021, 87% of Americans 70 and older still had driver’s licenses, compared to 73% in 1997.
Today’s older drivers are staying safer on the roads compared to previous decades, thanks to better overall health and improved safety features in cars. Still, they face higher risks than some other age groups and rely on car insurance for seniors to help protect their finances from the effects of car accidents.
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Common Risks for Senior Drivers
Even people who were skilled, careful drivers in their younger years may run into driving-related challenges as they age. The natural aging process can bring a wide range of new risk factors that make car accidents more likely. Some fundamental changes include:
- Vision loss: Natural age-related vision changes can make it harder to read traffic signs or see movement out of the corner of the eye. Some older adults have eye conditions, such as cataracts or glaucoma, that cause vision problems.
- Hearing loss: About one-third of seniors have trouble hearing. They may not notice horns or sirens that signal drivers to move out of the way, putting them at risk of an accident.
- Slower reaction times: Slower thinking and reduced reflexes are standard parts of the aging process. Older drivers may take longer to notice and react to a potential hazard on the road.
- Medical conditions: Some more common conditions in older adults, such as Parkinson’s disease or dementia, can significantly impair a person’s driving skills.
- Medications: Older Americans tend to take more prescription drugs than younger adults. Common drug side effects like tiredness, drowsiness, or dizziness can make it harder to drive safely.
Auto Insurance Rate Factors
The cost of auto insurance for senior citizens varies from one driver to another. Auto insurance companies consider a variety of factors when setting premium prices. Some common factors include:
- Driving record: A person with speeding tickets, at-fault accidents, or DUI convictions pays more compared to a person with a clean driving record because they pose a higher risk.
- Vehicle type: The cost of the car and the cost of repairs are major factors in the cost of car insurance for the elderly. Low-cost cars with readily available parts are cheaper to insure.
- Location: Car theft rates, car repair costs, weather conditions, and the frequency of car insurance fraud vary widely, and drivers in higher-risk areas of the country face higher insurance rates.
- Gender: Overall, men get into more serious car accidents than women and pay higher auto insurance rates as a result.
- Age: Average crash rates vary by driver age. Crash rates are highest for drivers younger than 25, but they begin to tick up again for those age 70 and older.
Age and How It Impacts Older Drivers
The changes that happen with age may affect seniors’ driving abilities. Vision changes, hearing loss, slowed reflexes, and stiff joints are just some of the challenges older drivers have to contend with. Some drivers also have medical conditions that affect their ability to drive safely.
Overall, older adults are more likely to be involved in some specific types of car accidents compared to younger drivers. Seniors more frequently fail to yield the right-of-way, leading to more crashes in intersections. Older drivers are also more likely than younger drivers to misjudge other vehicles’ speed or the size of gaps between vehicles, resulting in more merging accidents.
Many seniors are aware of their age-related driving limitations and try to avoid driving in challenging conditions, such as at night or in poor weather conditions. Still, due to higher crash rates for older adults, insurance companies tend to charge higher premiums for seniors’ car insurance.
Car Insurance Rates for Senior Citizens
The cost of seniors’ car insurance varies by age. People in their 50s and 60s tend to enjoy relatively affordable rates compared to younger adults, thanks to their years of driving experience. However, by age 70, car insurance rates for seniors start to climb, and car insurance for the elderly can become costly.
In the table below, you’ll find average rates for car insurance for senior citizens. Individual seniors may pay higher or lower prices based on their location, driving record, vehicle, and other factors. For an accurate quote, work with a trusted insurance agent or broker.
$145 per month
$140 per month
$140 per month
$145 per month
$160 per month
$175 per month
$220 per month
Ways to Save on Car Insurance for Seniors
Despite age-related premium increases, older adults can still find ways to save on car insurance. Some key strategies for lowering the cost of auto insurance for senior citizens include finding discounts, making policy adjustments, choosing the right vehicle, and shopping around.
Finding Insurance Discounts
Insurance companies offer a variety of discounts for seniors to help eligible drivers save money. Some common discounts to look into include:
- Bundle discounts: Many insurers offer discounts for policyholders who buy both home and auto insurance. Advertised discounts range from 10% to 25%.
- Good driver discounts: Safe driver discounts reward people who have not had an at-fault accident within a certain number of years.
- Low mileage discounts: People who drive infrequently may be eligible for premium discounts. The cut-off for low mileage is typically around 7,500 or 8,000 miles per year.
- Senior discounts: Some insurers offer discounts to drivers above a specific age (often 55 and up).
Making Policy Adjustments
It’s possible to change an existing car insurance policy to lower the premium. Drivers who want lower-cost auto insurance for seniors could consider:
- Increasing the deductible: Choosing a higher deductible typically results in lower insurance premiums. However, a higher deductible means higher out-of-pocket costs in the event of a claim.
- Dropping collision and comprehensive coverage: Collision coverage pays for accident-related car damage, while comprehensive coverage pays for non-collision damage like theft. Canceling these coverages could make financial sense for seniors who drive paid-off, low-cost vehicles.
- Reviewing policy add-ons: Optional coverages, such as roadside assistance or rental car reimbursement, come at a cost. Seniors could save money by canceling add-ons they rarely or never use.
Choosing Your Vehicle Wisely
Some cars are more expensive to insure than others. Seniors who are planning to buy or trade in a car may want to keep in mind the following factors that affect insurance rates as they shop for a new vehicle:
- Cost of repairs: Luxury and foreign cars tend to have pricier parts than lower-end and domestic cars, which makes them more expensive to insure.
- Theft rate: Insurers may charge higher premiums for frequently stolen vehicles, which include muscle cars, luxury vehicles, and large pickups.
- Modern safety features: Features such as blind spot detection, lane departure warnings, and forward collision warnings help drivers avoid collisions and may result in lower rates.
Premium rates for auto insurance for senior citizens vary widely from one insurance company to another. That’s because each insurance company uses slightly different rating factors. Available discounts also vary from insurer to insurer. To shop around successfully, keep the following tips in mind:
- Get multiple quotes: Seek out at least three quotes from different insurers to understand what prices are fair in your situation.
- Compare apples to apples: When comparing quotes, ensure each policy offers similar coverages to be certain the lowest price is actually a good deal.
- Work with an agent: Trusted auto insurance agents help senior drivers navigate the many policies on the market.
How to Choose the Right Car Insurance Plan
Selecting the right auto insurance for seniors can seem daunting, but it’s easier than it looks. Keep the following considerations in mind to narrow down policies that suit your needs and preferences:
- Coverage needs: Understand the types of coverages required by law and optional coverages you may need to protect your finances. Make sure to consider working with an agent to identify suitable policies.
- Potential costs: Ensure the monthly premiums fit comfortably into your budget, and consider the deductibles or out-of-pocket expenses you may have to pay in the event of an accident.
- Insurer’s reputation: Read customer reviews for warnings about claim denials, poor customer service, and other complaints. To learn about an insurer’s ability to pay claims, check financial ratings from third-party companies, such as A.M. Best or Standard and Poor’s.
- Claims process: Look into how the insurer handles claims, including how easy it is to file a claim and the level of customer support provided during the process.
Putting It All Together
Auto insurance helps motorists of all ages protect their finances from the costs of car accidents. However, seniors’ car insurance is especially important since the rate of car accidents steadily increases once drivers reach their 60s.
Auto insurance for seniors tends to cost more than it does for their middle-aged and younger counterparts, though there are still ways to save money. For help finding affordable car insurance for senior citizens, work with a trusted agent.