Senior Driver Discounts by State, Age, and Company
The cost of car insurance premiums changes significantly over time, even if you maintain a clean driving record. As a 16-year-old driver, you’re considered high risk, with the rate of car accidents being four times higher for this age group than someone in their early twenties.
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As you progress into your thirties and forties, you’ll be offered some of the cheapest auto insurance rates by most auto insurance providers, as the risk of accidents and claims drops significantly. As a senior, the chances that you will be involved in an accident increases again and your premiums can go the same way.
However, with the right senior discounts and the best insurance companies, you can lock your rates in early and ensure they don’t spiral out of control.
Senior Driver Discounts
Car insurance discounts are offered by most insurers. They are provided either as an encouragement or reward and on occasion they are required by the state. As a result, the available discounts can vary greatly from provider to provider and from state to state.
Where senior discounts are concerned, they are considered mandatory in all the following states:
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
The absence of your state on this list doesn’t mean you can’t get senior discounts or cheap car insurance, it just means the state doesn’t force providers to offer them.
What are Senior Driving Discounts?
Senior driving discounts typically cut your rates by around 10%. But you can’t get these discounts just by proving you are above the minimum age criteria (often 55 years of age). You will need to complete a driver improvement and awareness course, one that is typically provided by the AARP or AAA and can be completed in person or online.
Rules differ from state to state, so make sure you check with your local authorities to see if you can apply. In addition, you can also secure all the usual car insurance discounts offered to policyholders, including:
- Multi-Car Discount: Offered to policyholders who insure more than one car.
- Multi-Policy Discount: Also known as “bundling”, insurers offer this discount when you purchase multiple policies with them, such as homeowner’s insurance or renters insurance.
- Low Mileage Discount: If you have a short commute and don’t use your car a lot on evenings or weekends, you could benefit from a low mileage discount. Some companies will ask you to install a telematics device in your car to track your mileage and determine your driving habits.
- Driver Courses Discount: In addition to the driver safety course required for the senior discount, you can also complete defensive driving courses to reduce those premiums.
- Safety Equipment Discount: Offered by most car insurance companies, this discount is awarded for cars that meet certain safety standards and include features like anti-lock brakes, front-and-side airbags, and anti-theft devices.
Average Car Insurance Cost for Seniors by State
The risk factors associated with being a senior differ considerably from decade to decade. In fact, many drivers under the age of 60 are no more of a threat on the roads than drivers in their 20s or 30s.
The same is true as you enter your 60s, but the risk of causing a fatal accident increases almost exponentially as you enter your 70s, with the biggest changes occurring between the ages of 70 and 74.
From there, it only gets worse, but there are options at all ages:
Senior Insurance in your 50s
The average rate for drivers in this age group is just $550 across the United States, which is less than it is for pretty much all age groups. That’s because many people in their 50s have safe driving records, along with the invaluable experience that comes from spending decades on America’s roads. There are also very few (if any) serious issues involving reaction times and eyesight.
Unless you have a few blemishes on your driving record, you shouldn’t have an issue getting cheap senior car insurance in your 50s.
Senior Insurance in your 60s
The average rate for drivers in their 60s is still on the low side, at around $650. However, this is skewed somewhat by drivers aged 65 or less, as they are still considered to be low-risk. The problem is, once you hit 65, you enter a different category, at which point your premiums may increase and your chances of finding cheap car insurance will decrease.
Senior Insurance in your 70s
It’s highly likely that your car insurance rates will increase as you enter your 70s. It doesn’t matter if you’re a safe driver with a clean record; the stats suggest that you’re a greater risk behind the wheel and it’s these statistics that the insurers focus on. As a result of these price increases, the average rate for drivers in their 70s is around $750 to $800.
Senior Insurance in your 80s
As soon as you hit 85, you enter another realm of risk and may be quoted closer to $1,000 for your car insurance. Furthermore, it won’t get any cheaper from here and depending on where you live, the state may place greater demands on you with regards to license renewals.
Are Senior Drivers More Accident Prone?
According to the CDC, around 15 seniors are killed on US roads every single day, with a further 500 suffering serious injuries. Research suggests that they are much more likely to be involved in an accident than drivers aged between 20 and 50, and the risk increases significantly around Yield signs, suggesting that it may have a lot to do with the declining cognition and sight that mature drivers suffer from.
Seniors aged 85 and older are considered to be a greater risk than young drivers aged 16 or 17. They are more susceptible to medical issues, including those related to sight, attention, and reaction time, and therefore become more of a liability behind the wheel.
Of course, you may have a hard time convincing your 85+ parents or grandparents of this fact and if you are one of those senior drivers, you’ll no doubt scoff at those statistics. After all, many senior drivers have been driving for decades and have more experience than any of those “young whipper-snappers” that insist they are a liability behind the wheel.
But while experience does come into it, there’s also a physical and mental element. If a football player has been playing the game since he was 3 years old and is now 50, does that mean he can still compete with the best of them and will continue to do so for as long as he can hold a football and wear a helmet? Of course not. He might make for a good pundit, but on the field, he is a liability, because experience can only take you so far.
Research suggests that the average driver makes about 20 important split-second decisions during a single drive. They make these decisions in less than half a second, often without thinking about it, and that allows them to stay safe. In older drivers who have slower reflexes and are more prone to distractions, they’re more likely to make the wrong decision or do nothing at all.
This doesn’t apply to all drivers, of course, and several studies have shown that while reaction time and performance can plummet with age, some drivers are able to maintain it and respond with the same speed as much younger drivers.
But insurance companies don’t care about the outliers; they’re only interested in the overall statistics, and those stats suggest that elderly drivers are the biggest liability of all.
State Laws for Senior Drivers
To reduce the risk associated with older drivers, many states have specific laws that apply to drivers once they reach a certain age. These laws may prevent senior citizens from quickly and easily applying for a license renewal. They may require additional tests to prove that the drivers are still capable of being responsible behind the wheel.
Again, while this might seem a little unfair to someone who has been driving all their life without issue, it’s about focusing on what the statistics say and finding ways to keep potentially dangerous drivers off the road.
- Alabama: No specific laws for senior drivers.
- Alaska: No mail renewal allowed from the age of 69.
- Arizona: Five-year renewals begin aged 65 with a vision test. Mail renewals stop at 70.
- Arkansas: No specific laws for senior drivers.
- California: No mail renewal allowed from the age of 70.
- Colorado: Five-year renewals begin at 61 and electronic options stop at 66. A vision exam must also have been completed within 6 months of the application.
- Connecticut: Two or six-year renewal options from the age of 65.
- Delaware: No specific laws for senior drivers.
- D.C.: One of the strictest states of all when it comes to senior driving requirements. In D.C., drivers aged 70 need to complete vision and reaction tests and must also have a letter from their physician to prove that they are in good health.
- Florida: Vision test and 6-year renewal at 80 years of age.
- Georgia: Five-year renewal begins at 60 and a vision test is required at 64.
- Hawaii: Two-year renewal begins at 72
- Idaho: Four-year renewal begins at 63
- Illinois: Two-year renewal begins at 81 until 86, after which it becomes a one-year renewal. A road test is also required at 75.
- Indiana: Three-year renewal begins at 75 until 84, after which it becomes a two-year renewal. Mail/electronic renewals stop at 70 years of age.
- Iowa: Two-year renewal begins at 70.
- Kansas: Four-year renewal begins at 65.
- Kentucky: No specific laws for senior drivers.
- Louisiana: No mail renewal allowed from the age of 69.
- Maine: A vision test is required for every renewal from the age of 62, with renewals taking place every four years from the age of 65.
- Maryland: A vision test is required at 40, much sooner than any other state requirements.
- Massachusetts: License must be renewed in person from the age of 75.
- Michigan: No specific laws for senior drivers.
- Minnesota: No specific laws for senior drivers.
- Mississippi: No specific laws for senior drivers.
- Missouri: Three-year renewal begins at 70.
- Montana: Four-year renewal begins at 75.
- Nebraska: Electronic renewals stop aged 75.
- Nevada: A mail renewal must be accompanied by a medical report proving the driver is in good health aged 70.
- New Hampshire: At 75, drivers are required to complete a road test in the state of New Hampshire.
- New Jersey: No specific laws for senior drivers.
- New Mexico: Annual renewal from the age of 75.
- New York: No specific laws for senior drivers.
- North Carolina: Five-year renewal begins at 66.
- North Dakota: Four-year renewal begins at 78.
- Ohio: No specific laws for senior drivers.
- Oklahoma: No specific laws for senior drivers.
- Oregon: A vision test is required at aged 50.
- Pennsylvania: No specific laws for senior drivers.
- Rhode Island: Two-year renewal begins at 75.
- South Carolina: From the age of 65, renewals occur every five years along with a vision test.
- South Dakota: No specific laws for senior drivers.
- Tennessee: No specific laws for senior drivers.
- Texas: Two-year renewal begins at 85. No electronic/mail renewal from the age of 79.
- Utah: A vision test is required at aged 65.
- Vermont: No specific laws for senior drivers.
- Virginia: A vision test with every five-year renewal is required at 75.
- Washington: No specific laws for senior drivers.
- West Virginia: No specific laws for senior drivers.
- Wisconsin: No specific laws for senior drivers.
- Wyoming: No specific laws for senior drivers.
Bottom Line: Shop Around
Along with the aforementioned discounts, some auto insurance companies offer specific programs tailored towards senior drivers. GEICO, for instance, has a program that promises regular renewal for all seniors who meet the criteria, with highly competitive rates throughout. The Hartford also offers programs in conjunction with the AARP and if you are a veteran, you’ll like to find the cheapest rates with the USAA.
Whatever option you go with and however you spin it, make sure you get multiple car insurance quotes, collect as much information as you need, and apply for all applicable auto insurance discounts. If you’re not sure about the process, take a look at our many other articles on car insurance or work with an insurance agent. An independent agent will take your information and use it to compare quotes from the best providers (Allstate, State Farm, GEICO) to get the best and cheapest insurance policy for you.