Car Insurance for Seniors

We’ve all heard horror stories about 95-year-old drivers who jump the curb and hit buildings, pedestrians or both.  Unfortunately, these incidents are among the factors that drive the car insurance rates up for those in the senior age bracket.

Is it fair?  Well, yes and no.  With people living longer these days, there are certainly many older adults who are very healthy – both mentally and physically – who are at least as skilled behind the wheel as their younger counterparts.  Unfortunately for those folks, the facts remain – seniors are overall a high-risk group.  And that’s what makes their car insurance more costly.

For a variety of reasons, fatal accidents are more common among drivers 75 and older.  Factors include health conditions such as a sudden heart attack and stroke.   There are also some less dramatic reasons why seniors are more apt to be involved in an accident.  These include inattentive driving, slower reflexes and worsening eyesight, especially at night. Dementia can also be a concern.  Drivers who are mentally impaired may become lost and panic.  Some have been known to proceed through red lights without stopping or even travel the wrong way down a one-way street.  And surprisingly, driving below the speed limit can be just as dangerous and speeding.

Not surprisingly, seniors want to be able to drive as long as they can to maintain their independence.  And to keep driving, car insurance is a must.  Here are some tips for senior drivers to consider.

 

  • Be proactive with your driving skills – Go to the DMV and get a brochure with the latest rules and laws regarding driving situations in your state and study them.  It’s easy to forget what’s law ands what’s just etiquette.  Also, with changes in roads and highways over the years, there may be some new things to consider (like roundabouts, for instance) that didn’t exist when you learned to drive.
  • Take a Driver Safety Program — AARP offers such a course, and some other agencies may do so as well.  The successful completion of a safety course can mean a nice discount on your car insurance.
  • Consider the driver’s seat – Can you see over your dashboard?  Is the instrument panel easy to read?  Make sure your seats and mirrors are adjustable and your car is designed to give you the best view possible before you hit the road.  For your personal ease, also choose a car that has lightweight doors, easy-to-use seatbelts and a height best suited to getting in and out smoothly.
  • Don’t dose and drive – Certain medications may affect your driving.  Ask your doctor about side effects and don’t drive if your medicine may make you a danger to yourself or others.
  • Choose a higher deductible – If you’re a safe driver who doesn’t drive as much as you used to, raising your deductible will lower your rates.
  • Discover the discounts – Check into other options that may provide discounts.  AARP or AAA membership.  Drive a car that has a lower incidence of theft.  Buy a car equipped with anti-lock brakes and airbags.  Ask about discounts for low-mileage drivers.  And if your car is an older model, you might consider dropping the collision coverage portion of your policy.
  • Shop around – Get quotes from more than one company before you make your decision.  It just takes a little planning – and safe driving, of course!

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