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Car insurance rates are likely to start crawling uphill once you hit your senior years. That means it’s time to focus a little harder on getting the best rates.
Below are some of the cheapest and best car insurance companies for seniors, plus how to save as you get older.
The cheapest car insurance for seniors
Nationwide, the average cost of car insurance for a 60-year-old driver with good credit and a clean driving history is $1,431 per year for full coverage. That drops to $511 per year for minimum coverage. But car insurance premiums tend to increase once you hit your 70s, so use these rates as a benchmark when shopping around for car insurance.
Below are the cheapest auto insurance companies for seniors based on a variety of driving histories, including good drivers, drivers with a recent accident or traffic violation, and drivers with a recent DUI.
How we found the cheapest companies: NerdWallet’s editorial team analyzed full and minimum coverage car insurance rates from analytics company Quadrant Information Services for the 10 largest auto insurance companies in the country that provide pricing data. Our analysis evaluated 60-year-old drivers in all ZIP codes across the 50 U.S. states and Washington, D.C., with good credit and a variety of driving histories. All drivers had a 2019 Toyota Camry L.
Seniors who don’t have a recent violation or accident on their driving record will typically pay less for insurance than those who do. Nationwide has the cheapest average full coverage rate for 60-year-old good drivers, at $1,131 per year, or $43 per month.
Geico has the cheapest minimum coverage average, at $342 per year, or $29 per month.
» MORE: Cheap auto insurance
Drivers with an at-fault accident
A recent accident can increase how much you pay for car insurance. Our analysis found that American Family has the cheapest average full coverage rate after an accident for a 60-year-old driver, at $1,444 per year, or $120 per month.
State Farm has the cheapest average minimum coverage rate, at $578 per year, or $48 per month.
Drivers with a speeding ticket
A recent speeding ticket on your record can bump up your auto insurance premium. Nationwide has the cheapest average rate for full coverage after a ticket for a 60-year-old, at $1,430 per year, or $119 per month.
Meanwhile, Geico has the cheapest average rate for minimum coverage, at $443 per year, or $37 per month.
Drivers with a DUI
If you have a DUI, you'll likely pay more for car insurance until it drops off your record. American Family has the cheapest average full coverage rate for a 60-year-old driver with a DUI, at $1,608 per year, or $134 per month. It also has the cheapest average rate for minimum coverage at $675 per year, or $56 per month.
The best auto insurance for seniors
A good insurance company will have a high financial strength rating and few complaints to state regulators for a company of its size. Seniors should also look for extra perks, like discounts for taking a defensive driving course or being affiliated with an organization like AARP.
Here are NerdWallet’s picks for the best car insurance companies for seniors.
The best of the cheapest: Travelers
Travelers has the lowest average full coverage rate for a 60-year-old with a clean driving history, at $1,186 per year, or $99 per month. The company also has a 5-star NerdWallet rating due to its high financial strength rating and the fact that it has fewer customer complaints to state regulators than other insurers of its size.
While discounts may vary by state, you could save if you’re a member of certain qualifying organizations such as credit unions. Other possible discounts include those for insuring multiple cars, being a safe driver, owning a home, bundling your auto with another insurance policy, or purchasing a car that’s less than three years old.
Travelers offers a variety of optional coverage types, including new car replacement, which pays for a brand new car if you total a car that’s less than five years old. Accident forgiveness is also available, which can prevent your rate from increasing due to an accident.
If you opt into the Premier Responsible Driver Plan, Travelers will offer a deductible credit for every policy period that you drive accident and violation free, so your deductible effectively decreases over time. And if you purchase the Total Loss Deductible Waiver, you won’t need to pay a deductible if your car is totaled.
Read more in NerdWallet’s Travelers auto insurance review.
Best for AARP members: The Hartford
The Hartford partners with AARP to offer exclusive perks and discounts, which makes the company a great choice for seniors with an AARP membership. The company has a high financial strength rating, though it has more customer complaints to state regulators than other companies of similar size. According to our analysis, The Hartford has an average rate of $1,708 per year for a 60-year-old good driver with full coverage.
Depending on your state, AARP policies automatically include new car replacement, accident forgiveness, legal assistance after an accident, a waived deductible for windshield repairs, assistance finding a car mechanic after a covered claim, 24/7 roadside assistance, and coverage for things you can’t do after a car accident injury, like house cleaning.
Discounts are available for paying your premium in full, bundling your auto insurance with another policy, and driving a car with safety features like anti-lock brakes. Seniors who take a defensive driving course can also qualify for a three-year discount, and there are additional savings just for being an AARP member.
Read more in NerdWallet’s The Hartford car insurance review.
Best for veterans and military family members: USAA
USAA caters specifically to veterans, active members of the military and their family members. The company boasts a high financial strength rating, and it's consistently one of the cheapest auto insurance companies in our analysis of 60-year-old driver rates. For good drivers, USAA has an average full coverage rate of $1,027 per year, or $85 per month. Minimum coverage is even cheaper at $343 per year, or $29 per month.
Discounts may vary by state, but seniors can save if they drive relatively few miles per year, insure a car less than three years old, have a car with anti-theft devices, or go more than five years without an accident or driving violation. Seniors who take an approved defensive driving course may qualify for a discount.
Depending on your state, the company may offer additional coverage beyond the standard coverage types, including accident forgiveness and car replacement insurance if your car is totaled (which pays out 20% more than the actual cash value of the car).
Read more in NerdWallet’s USAA auto insurance review.
How to get cheap car insurance for seniors
Just because rates may increase as you get into your golden years doesn’t mean you don’t have opportunities to save. Here are some tips on how seniors can lower their auto insurance premium.
1. Take a driving class
Seniors who take a defensive driving course may earn a discount on their auto policy.
Many classes are offered online through groups like AAA, AARP and The National Safety Council. Check with your state insurance department to see which ones are approved for getting the discount.
The classes are relatively cheap and cover a lot of ground. You’ll learn how aging and medications affect driving, how to accommodate those changes safely, and how to navigate common-but-challenging driving situations.
2. Choose a car that’s cheap to insure
Car insurance rates vary widely depending on the type of car you drive. The next time you go car shopping, get insurance quotes for the models you’re considering. The cheapest cars to insure usually don’t cost a lot to repair and replace, and are built to protect drivers and passengers in crashes.
Make sure you get all the discounts you can from your car’s features. Many auto insurance companies offer discounts for cars equipped with anti-lock brakes and airbags.
3. Protect your car
Besides helping you avoid a loss, anti-theft devices can score you discounts with many insurers.
Technology products that could save you money include alarms, disabling devices (which don’t allow the car to start if someone tries to steal it), and vehicle tracking systems such as OnStar. If you have devices such as these in your car, make sure to check with your insurer to see if they qualify you for an insurance discount.
You don’t have to go high-tech to get a discount. Many insurance companies also offer discounts for etching the Vehicle Identification Number onto a car’s windshield.
4. Get credit for driving less
Recently retired and driving less? Let your insurer know. Your premium should go down if you no longer commute to a job every day and log fewer miles.
If you drive infrequently, you might want to consider pay-per-mile insurance, which bases premiums in part on how many miles you drive. You’ll use either a device plugged into your car’s diagnostic port to record your mileage, or download an app to your smartphone which tracks your driving behavior and sends the data to your insurer. Metromile, Allstate, Nationwide and Mile Auto all offer per-mile insurance in select states.
5. Raise your deductible
If your policy has a low deductible, but you could afford to pay more out-of-pocket in the event of a claim, you can reduce your premium by choosing a higher deductible. The deductible is the amount your insurance company subtracts from your collision or comprehensive claim payout. For example, if car repairs cost $5,000 and your deductible is $1,000, the insurer will pay $4,000.
6. Drop coverage you no longer need
Look closely at the details of your policy. If you drive less frequently these days, you may no longer need coverage for a rental car when yours is in the shop for repairs. If you owe little or nothing on your car loan, gap insurance isn’t necessary; it’s only for those who owe more on a loan than the car is worth.
If you drive an older car, think about whether it makes sense to drop collision and comprehensive insurance. These coverage types pay to repair or replace your vehicle if it’s damaged or stolen, but the maximum payout is limited to the current value of the car, minus your deductible. Check what your car is worth to determine the coverage value. If the cost of your policy and deductible combined are more than your car’s value, it’s time to drop collision and comprehensive coverage.
7. Consider bundling your insurance policies
If retirement means relaxing on your boat on the lake or traveling the country in an RV, you may have opportunities to save by bundling insurance.
Companies often give discounts for buying multiple policies from the same insurer. A typical bundle combines auto and home insurance, but some insurers also offer price breaks for bundling a car policy with boat, RV, motorcycle, renters or life insurance.
8. Shop around for coverage
Auto insurance rates tend to creep up over time, so it’s a good idea to shop yearly for car insurance. Compare multiple quotes to make sure you’re still getting the best rate possible.
Rates vary widely by company, state and neighborhood. If you’ve retired and moved to a new location, the company that gave you the lowest prices in the past may not be the cheapest for you now. You can easily compare rates with NerdWallet’s car insurance comparison tool.
Auto insurance ratings methodology
NerdWallet’s auto insurance ratings reward companies for customer-first features and practices. Ratings are based on weighted averages of scores in several categories, including financial strength, consumer complaints and discounts. Our “ease of use” category looks at factors such as website transparency and how easy it is to file a claim. Using our editorial discretion, we also consider customer satisfaction surveys. These ratings are a guide, but we encourage you to shop around and compare several insurance quotes to find the best rate for you. NerdWallet does not receive compensation for any reviews. Read our editorial guidelines.
Insurer complaints methodology
NerdWallet examined complaints received by state insurance regulators and reported to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in 2018-2020. To assess how insurers compare to one another, the NAIC calculates a complaint index each year for each subsidiary, measuring its share of total complaints relative to its size, or share of total premiums in the industry. To evaluate a company’s complaint history, NerdWallet calculated a similar index for each insurer, weighted by market shares of each subsidiary, over the three-year period. Ratios are determined separately for auto, home (including renters and condo) and life insurance.
Average rates methodology
NerdWallet averaged rates based on public filings obtained by pricing analytics company Quadrant Information Services. We examined rates for 60-year-old men and women for all ZIP codes in any of the 50 states and Washington, D.C. Although it’s one of the largest insurers in the country, Liberty Mutual is not included in our rates analysis due to a lack of publicly available information.
In our analysis, “good drivers” had no moving violations on record; a “good driving” discount was included for this profile. Our “good” credit rates are based on credit score approximations and do not account for proprietary scoring criteria used by insurance providers.
These are average rates, and your rate will vary based on your personal details, state and insurance provider.
For minimum coverage rates, sample drivers had the minimum required coverage by law in each state. Some policies include additional coverage at the insurer’s discretion.
For full coverage rates, sample drivers had the following coverage limits:
$100,000 bodily injury liability coverage per person.
$300,000 bodily injury liability coverage per crash.
$50,000 property damage liability coverage per crash.
$100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage per person.
$300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage per crash.
Collision coverage with $1,000 deductible.
Comprehensive coverage with $1,000 deductible.
We used a 2019 Toyota Camry L in all cases and assumed 12,000 annual miles driven.
These are rates generated through Quadrant Information Services. Your own rates will be different.