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After dropping gradually as you get older, your car insurance rates are likely to start crawling uphill in your 60s and 70s. That means it’s time to focus a little harder on getting the best auto insurance rates.
But as a senior, you have some advantages that you didn’t have when you were younger. Here are eight tips to save on auto insurance for seniors.
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1. Take a driving class
In most states, car insurance companies must offer discounts to seniors. In Massachusetts you get a discount just for turning 65.
In other states, though, you have to take a class to brush up on your driving skills to earn the discount. Some classes are offered in person, while many are offered online through such groups as AAA and AARP. Check with your state insurance department to see which ones are approved for getting the discount.
The classes are cheap — less than $20 in many cases — and they cover lots of ground. You’ll learn about 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. Generally the cheapest cars to insure are those that don’t cost a lot to repair and replace, are driven by mostly safe, experienced drivers, and are good at protecting 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 air bags.
3. Protect your car
Besides helping you avoid a loss, anti-theft devices can score you discounts with many insurers.
Technology 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 or LoJack. Make sure to check with your insurer to see which products qualify for an insurance discount, if that’s one of your reasons for buying a device.
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 the windshield.
4. Get credit for driving less
Recently retired? Let your insurer know. Your premium should go down if you no longer commute to a job every day.
You might also consider a pay-per-mile insurance program, which bases premiums in part on how much you drive. Typically, you plug a device into your car’s diagnostic port and it records your mileage. Metromile, Allstate, Esurance, 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 in the event of a claim, you can reduce your premium by opting for a higher deductible. The deductible is the amount your insurance company subtracts from the cost of a collision or comprehensive claim; it doesn’t apply to liability coverage. As an 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 don’t commute to work anymore, you might not 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.
And if your car isn’t a brand-new model, think about whether it makes sense to drop collision and comprehensive insurance. This coverage will pay to repair or replace your vehicle if it’s damaged or stolen, but the maximum payout is typically limited to the current value of the car, less your deductible. Check what your car is worth. If your car’s value is less than 10 times the extra premium you’ll pay, it may be time to drop this coverage.
7. Consider bundling your insurance policies
If retirement means relaxing in 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.
Car insurance premiums 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.
And as a senior, you may qualify for coverage that wasn’t an option before. The Hartford, for example, offers insurance tailored to drivers 50 and older, in partnership with the AARP.
Getting quotes from multiple insurers is the only way to find your best rate. You can easily compare rates with NerdWallet’s car insurance comparison tool.
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