Car Insurance for Elderly Drivers: What to Know
Regardless of age or experience on the road, auto insurance is an important part of a driver’s life. Senior citizens are encouraged to get insurance attributing to their higher tendency to have difficulties in their vision, reflexes, and attention. Fortunately, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), elderly drivers are the more cautious drivers compared to the other demographics. They don’t drink, talk to the phone, and they always practice safety precautions while driving. But there are still some things about auto insurance for the elderly that you’d want to know, here they are:
1. Why They Need It
Insurance doesn’t make somebody a better driver, rather it protects the person’s financial capacity if unfavorable things happen on the road. This is especially important for seniors who are generally dependent on their pension and do not anymore have jobs to maintain an income. Not having one is a serious gamble on their life savings and could jeopardize their immediate future in many ways.
The risk of car accidents increases per mile traveled for people aged 70 and up. CDC shares that around 700 senior citizens are injured in car accidents daily. And over 55% of people 70 and up die in car crashes. The risk is also exacerbated because more than three-quarters of them are under some form of medication that can influence their ability to drive a vehicle. These numbers mean that senior citizens are not particularly vulnerable in an event of a crash and the longer they stay behind the wheel the higher their risks are.
2. Driving Skills
There are subtle signs when a person starts to lose their driving abilities. They may experience blurred vision that can affect their ability to notice signs on the road or oncoming vehicles. They may also find it difficult to maintain focus and they become increasingly susceptible to miss blindspots.
It’s important for seniors to evaluate their driving skills, their license has shorter validity than regular ones because they need to check if they’ll be safe behind the wheel. There are two types of professional driving assessments: Driving skills evaluation and clinical assessments. The former is an in-car assessment of the driver’s ability to perform on the road. They can identify weaknesses and may determine if driving will put the candidate and other drivers at risk. Clinical assessments can identify medical issues and can offer solutions for your individual needs. Your driving skills are an important factor as a senior citizen not only in applying for insurance but also for road safety in general. A minor lapse in judgment or distractions is the most frequent cause of accidents among the elderly.
3. How to reduce insurance rates for seniors
Being a mature driver can mean better rates from insurance companies as they recognize experience and wisdom behind the wheel. Safety is the main component when you want to reduce the rates of insurance coverage, here are some of the things senior citizens can do:
a. Enroll in Safe Driving Courses
There are states that will give senior citizens discounts after completing a safe driving course. Depending on your age, an elderly driver can get a discount after finishing classroom training from well-known insurance companies. Starting from age 50, drivers can enjoy discounts increasing every after five years until 70 when their rates typically slightly rise back up.
b. Discount for Driving Less
Insurance companies consider the mileage of elderly drivers on their cars that is why a mileage-cap is one of the perks they can enjoy with their insurance. If you don’t drive frequently or far outside your home, typically less than 5,000 miles annually, you can try to avail of the low mileage discount.
c. Cars with Safety Features
Many old drivers love to hang on to their old cars or trucks, but without ample safety features they’ll miss out on some of the advantages for their insurance rates. Companies would give lower premiums to cars equipped with certain safety features as well as advanced security features for the car itself.
4. What Loved Ones Can Do
If you have elderly loved ones and are concerned about their safety on the road, it’s important that you express your concern in a constructive and objective manner. Don’t assume things that haven’t happened, rather look for specifics like unexplained dents, getting lost on their regular route, or having impaired senses that are critical to driving. You may also want to suggest that they discuss any issues with their doctor or attend safe driving training.
Driving is one of the things that a person can feel independence and for seniors, it becomes one of the things that display their self-reliance in a time where they’re starting to feel the need for assistance in many aspects of their lives. Having car insurance doesn’t only mean coverage for any vehicular accident but it also signifies the trust of an institution that they are still very much an active member of society.
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JR Dominguez is the technology, finance and music editor for MiLLENNiAL. When he's not writing, you can find him day-trading stocks, playing video games, or composing commercial scores.