Car insurance for seniors
Car insurance is legally required in most states, regardless of your age. As you get older, though, your car insurance needs can change. For example, you might stop commuting to work, move to a new state or trade in your family’s old SUV for a smaller sedan. If you’re a senior driver, it’s important to reevaluate your car insurance needs based on your current lifestyle.
In general, car insurance premiums are typically cheaper for seniors than they are for younger drivers, but in the states of Hawaii and Massachusetts, age is not a rating factor for insurance. In these states, premiums may be fairly level for both younger and older drivers. In other states, there are some car insurance carriers that are better suited for senior drivers than others. You may even find special discounts aimed at seniors and retired drivers. If you are trying to find the best car insurance for seniors, Bankrate’s research may be able to help.
Best auto insurance for seniors
Bankrate’s insurance editorial team obtained average premiums from Quadrant Information Services looking at the largest insurance companies by market share. We analyzed the premiums for senior drivers, combined with each company’s financial strength rating, customer satisfaction scores from J.D. Power, available coverages and discounts.
If you are looking for the best car insurance for seniors, these four major insurers might be a good place to start:
|Car insurance company||Average annual premium for full coverage for 70-year-olds||2020 J.D. Power customer satisfaction score|
*Not officially ranked by J.D. Power due to eligibility restrictions
Although its average full coverage premium is the second-highest on our list, Allstate, the fourth-largest U.S. auto insurer based on market share according to the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I), makes the list of best auto insurance for seniors for the variety of discounts it offers. Allstate’s above-industry-average customer satisfaction score means that clients are generally satisfied with its level of service. The company is also financially strong and is rated A+ (Superior) by AM Best.
You cannot change how a company rates your policy based on age, but you could take advantage of numerous discounts to offset a higher premium. Some Allstate discounts that might reduce the cost of auto insurance for seniors include:
- Drivewise program: Downloading the Drivewise app and allowing the usage-based telematics program to track your driving habits could earn you up to a 10% discount. If you are able to improve your driving habits, you might receive up to a 25% discount after six months.
- Multiple policy discount: If you insure your home and auto with Allstate, you could save on both policies with a bundling discount.
- Responsible payer discount: Seniors are generally more financially stable than younger drivers. If you paid your premium on time over the past year, Allstate may give you a discount.
Allstate offers several optional coverages on its auto insurance product as well, which may help you tailor your coverage to your needs.
Learn more: Allstate Insurance review
Geico, the second-largest U.S. auto insurer, consistently has some of the lowest average car insurance prices on the market. The company’s standard policies are fairly basic with only a few add-on coverages, but Geico offers plenty of discounts that might appeal to you if your primary concern is keeping your insurance costs low.
Seniors will appreciate Geico’s Prime Time Contract, an automatic renewal policy ensuring you have coverage as long as you are a licensed driver, do not have any drivers under 25 on your policy, do not use your vehicle for business purposes and have not had an at-fault accident in the last three years. On top of already low average prices, you may be able to take advantage of Geico’s numerous discounts such as:
- Defensive driving course: Seniors who have completed a virtual defensive driving course might be eligible to receive 5% to 10% off their policy, depending on the state.
- Retired military or government employee discount: If you are a military veteran or government employee, you might get an additional discount on your car insurance.
- Membership discounts: If you are a member of certain organizations, including professional trade associations and alumni groups, you may get a discount on your car insurance policy.
Geico offers numerous other discounts that could help you save money on your auto insurance costs. The company carries an A++ (Superior) financial strength rating from AM Best, the highest level possible.
Learn more: Geico Insurance review
The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) is nearly 40 million members strong. You must be an AARP member in order to get an auto insurance policy through The Hartford, which does have a cost. However, AARP members, who are typically age 50+, have exclusive access to special car insurance rates for seniors underwritten through The Hartford, one of the Top 20 auto insurers in the country with high customer satisfaction ratings from J.D. Power and an A+ (Superior) financial strength rating from AM Best.
The Hartford’s auto insurance policies may not be the cheapest on our list, but the insurer provides exclusive senior auto insurance benefits. This includes RecoverCare, which will reimburse you up to $2,500 for the expenses of household services you can’t complete because of a covered auto accident injury.
Some of The Hartford’s car insurance discounts that can be leveraged by seniors discounts are:
- Alternative fuel discount: Save money on your policy when you insure an electric or hybrid vehicle.
- Defensive driving course discount: You might qualify for savings if you complete a virtual defensive driving course.
- Paid-in-full: If you pay your premium in full, you might qualify for a discount.
You can also ask your Hartford independent agent about how you can further lower your rate.
Learn more: The Hartford Insurance review
USAA sells insurance exclusively to active-duty military members, veterans and their eligible family members. USAA consistently receives the highest scores from J.D. Power but does not qualify for official ranking due to its eligibility restrictions. However, the company carries an A++ (Superior) financial strength rating from AM Best.
If you qualify for USAA auto insurance, you may have access to some of the cheapest average premiums across the country, as well as numerous discounts to help you save even more.
USAA premiums are already priced competitively. The company also offers numerous senior-focused discounts to save even more, including:
- Defensive driving: If you pass a virtual defensive driver course, which could help reduce your chance of getting in an accident, you might receive a discount on your premiums.
- Low mileage: If you no longer need to commute to work, and drive less than 7,500 miles a year, you could save on your car insurance.
- Length of membership: The longer you are a member with USAA, the more you will likely save based on your insurer loyalty.
If you are an active-duty military member, the company also offers discounts for garaging your vehicle on a military base and for storing your vehicle while you are deployed.
Learn more: USAA Insurance review
Cost of auto insurance for seniors
On average, 70-year-old drivers pay $1,685 annually for full coverage car insurance. This is nearly equivalent to the national average cost of car insurance, which is $1,674 per year for full coverage.
However, keep in mind that car insurance rates are based on more than a dozen individual rating factors, according to the Triple-I. Seniors tend to be relatively safe drivers, but if you have had an at-fault accident, moving violation or DUI conviction in the past several years, you may pay higher premiums. The type of car you drive, the coverages you choose and the discounts you qualify for will also impact your rates, so you may pay more or less than the average.
Optional car insurance coverages for seniors
As you age, your car insurance needs may change. Coverages or policy features that made sense for you in years past may no longer be right for your needs and could require adjustments. As you reach your senior years, you may want to consider the following coverage changes:
- Higher liability limits: You may have more wealth and assets to protect in your senior years than you did when you were younger. Choosing higher liability limits gives you more financial protection if you cause an accident.
- Car rental reimbursement: Many seniors downsize their cars if all members of the household are retired. If you only have one vehicle, this coverage could be helpful. If you are in an accident and your car is not driveable, this coverage will pay for a rental car up to your policy limits.
- New car replacement: If you have purchased a new vehicle, you may want to consider adding this option. Each company’s new car replacement coverage works a bit differently, but typically this endorsement will pay to replace your totaled vehicle with a comparable new vehicle, rather than paying you the depreciated value which is what a standard policy would include.
- Accident forgiveness: Although the specifics will vary by company, this optional coverage typically forgives one at-fault accident every three to five years, which could help keep your premium from increasing if you cause an accident.
Talking to your agent or a representative from your insurance company about your changing car insurance needs could help you identify gaps in your coverage or potential features you should take advantage of.
Car insurance discounts for seniors
Most insurers offer discounts to help you save money on your car insurance. Although discounts vary by company, many insurers offer discounts for seniors who take defensive driving courses. You can also find discounts for retired drivers over a certain age, typically starting at age 55.
Here are some other car insurance discounts you might be able to benefit from:
- Bundled or multi-policy discount: If you insure your home and vehicle with the same insurance company, you may qualify for a sizable discount.
- Safety equipment discount: Newer model vehicles often come with factory-installed safety equipment such as airbags, anti-lock brakes and anti-collision technology which could qualify you for more savings.
- Safe driving history discount: If you have an accident-free driving history, insurers may provide you with a discount on your premium.
It never hurts to ask your agent or company representative about the discounts you might be eligible for.
Other ways senior drivers can save on car insurance
Other ways senior drivers can save on auto insurance include:
- Shop around: Every insurance company offers different rates, so you may find the same coverage for a lower price. When shopping for auto coverage, it’s typically suggested to get a minimum of three quotes from a mix of national and regional insurers.
- Update your driver information: If you are retired, you might get a discount on your policy. You may also receive a discount if you update your policy to designate your vehicle for pleasure use, rather than commute use.
- Pay your premium in full: If you can afford to pay your premium in full, you might save money.
- Reconsider the car you drive: You may be able to save on car insurance by downgrading the vehicle model you own or buying a newer model with more safety equipment. Just be sure to get an auto insurance quote for a vehicle before you buy it, to make sure it saves you money on insurance.
By going through this process, you may be able to save money on your premiums. Even a small percentage of savings can add up over time.
Frequently asked questions
Do seniors pay higher rates for auto insurance?
On average, auto insurance premiums decrease as you age but can begin to increase again around age 70. However, the cost of auto insurance for seniors typically varies based on several individual rating factors, including your motor vehicle record, the make and model of your car and the coverages and deductibles you choose. Other factors, like the state and specific ZIP code you live in, your credit-based insurance score, your auto insurance claim history and how many miles you drive per year may also affect your premium, depending on your state’s regulations.
What is the best car insurance for seniors?
The best car insurance company will be different for everyone because each driver has unique rating factors and is looking for different things from an insurer. Getting quotes from several companies can help you to compare the premiums, coverages, discounts, customer service scores, financial strength ratings and policy features. This could help you to find a company that fits your needs.
How does a defensive driver course for seniors work?
Some companies offer discounts for seniors who take a virtual defensive driving course. If you are considering taking advantage of this discount, you may want to first contact your company or agent to confirm your auto insurer offers this discount and to check what courses are approved. Once you know what courses will qualify, you can sign up and complete the course online in the comfort of your home. You will likely receive a completion certificate that you can present to your insurance company to qualify for the discount.
How can seniors lower their car insurance premiums?
Accidents, tickets and DUI convictions on your motor vehicle record (MVR) can cause your auto premiums to increase substantially, as insurance companies will rate you as a higher risk driver. As such, you can usually save money on your auto insurance premiums by maintaining a clean MVR. In addition to maintaining a clean driving record, there are a number of ways that seniors can get a more affordable car insurance price. Make sure you are taking advantage of all the discounts your insurance company offers. Some discounts are easy to claim, like enrolling in automatic payments or signing up for paperless policy statements.
Do insurance companies give seniors special discounts?
Special discounts available to senior drivers depend on your company. Some carriers may have mature driver discounts. Seniors may be more likely to take advantage of loyalty discounts, which reward you based on how long you have stayed with your current insurer. Each company’s discount offerings differ, so speaking with our insurance agent or company representative is the best way to learn what savings opportunities are available to you.
Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2021 rates for all ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Quoted rates are based on a 70-year-old male and female driver with a clean driving record, good credit and the following full coverage limits:
- $100,000 bodily injury liability per person
- $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident
- $50,000 property damage liability per accident
- $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per person
- $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per accident
- $500 collision deductible
- $500 comprehensive deductible
To determine minimum coverage limits, Bankrate used minimum coverages that meet each state’s requirements. Our base profile drivers own a 2019 Toyota Camry, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually.
These are sample rates and should only be used for comparative purposes.