August 3, 2011

When Auto Insurance Is Not Cheaper For Some Older Drivers

Insurance rates skyrocket when teenagers get added to an auto insurance policy, and as they prove they can handle themselves maturely and safely behind the wheel, they begin to cost less. As time marches on, the rates tend to level off until around the age of 50 to 55, then rates are likely to ascend again, no matter how safe older drivers are.

As the senior citizen population increases in the United States, insurance companies are calculating the additional risk of automobile accidents among that age group. Many drivers will see their auto insurance premiums increase by the time they reach age 65. While older drivers aren't usually found racing the streets or driving recklessly to show off for their friends, there are other inherent risk factors that increase as drivers age.

Insurance companies make it their business to know at what age, on average, certain senses begin failing. These are the very senses that are important to being a good driver, vision being of the utmost importance, followed by reaction time and hand-eye coordination. Once a person hits a certain age, these senses begin to decline, adding to the risk of an accident on the road. These seniors, age 55 and up, often face other health challenges that could hinder their driving skills as well. Illness, hearing loss, and other physical factors contribute to the risk insurance companies take into consideration when calculating premiums for older drivers.

Even for a 70-year-old person with a perfect driving record, who is in great health and at no obvious risk of accident due to their age - there are prices to be paid because insurance companies don't calculate premiums on a case-by-case situation. They assess risk in groups - unfortunately for that spry grandfather who just bought himself a new sports car - the rates often come at a "premium." While it may seem unfair to charge the same premium to someone who is in tip-top shape, insurance companies need to average out risks in every age group.

Some states offer a certified driver improvement course that is designed to help keep insurance costs down for drivers 55 and older. A discount is provided for drivers who successfully complete the course. In addition, older drivers might want to check into senior organizations that offer discounts for insurance to their members.

The best thing to do is discuss the concerns of aging with an insurance agent who can suggest ways to reduce auto insurance premium costs. Look for additional ways to save on insurance, such as combining home and car insurance in a package deal, increasing the deductible or signing up for an autopay program.