This article has been updated from a previous version
Experience matters — and being a mature, experienced driver does have advantages. That’s why many car insurance companies will recognize your experience and deem you a safe driver, which can translate into senior driver discounts.
If you are 50 years of age or older, have a clean driving record, and no history of collisions, you may be eligible for a premium discount. Typically, insurance rates get lower as drivers roll into middle age and have years of driving skill under their belts. The tipping point for leveraging that experience, though, may be between the ages of 65 and 70.
What affects the cost of car insurance?
Your age is one of many factors insurance providers weigh when determining your premium. There are others, including:
- Your driving record. The more traffic convictions and collisions you have, the more you’ll pay. However, if you have a squeaky clean driving record, you’ll likely qualify for a lower premium.
- Years of experience. Novice drivers of any age typically pay more than experienced drivers. That’s a bonus for seniors who have years of experience behind the wheel.
- The type of vehicle you drive. The overall value of your vehicle, its rate of theft and accidents, safety features, and the cost to repair it all affect your premium. Also, any vehicle that is classified as ‘personal use’ will cost less to insure than that same vehicle being used to commute to work.
- How much you drive. Driving fewer kilometres per year means you’re less of a risk. If you’re driving less, let your insurance provider know. Maybe your premium can be reduced. If you are retired and rarely drive, tell your insurance company.
- Where you live. Where you live makes a difference -- areas with higher occurrences of theft and collisions result in higher premiums. Plus, if you reside in a bustling city like Toronto, you’re more likely to pay a higher rate than someone who lives in a smaller or rural community.
- Your claims history. If you’ve been claims-free for at least six years, you may qualify for a discount. But if you have a collision or two in the last few years on your record, you may be viewed as a more significant risk and end up paying more.
- Your insurance history. Have you missed paying your insurance bills? Or were there a few years in your driving history when you were not insured? These types of instances may reflect a greater risk. If you have maintained continuous coverage with no history of missed payments, however, it ought to prove beneficial.
- How much coverage needed. The larger the scope of the coverage and the higher the coverage limits you choose, the more you will pay for insurance. A deductible is the portion of your auto policy you agree to pay upfront and before your insurance kicks in you’ll need to cover this amount if you need to file a claim. Be sure, though, you have the budget available to pay the deductible should the need come to pass. If you are willing to take on more risk with a higher deductible, your insurance provider will offer a cheaper rate.
What senior auto insurance discounts are there?
Finding the auto insurance policy that suits your lifestyle is important. Many insurance companies offer a few discounts you can tap into, and there are things you can inquire about, including:
- Mature drivers discount. Many insurance companies will offer a lower rate to people aged 50 and older or those who’ve retired and have a clean driving record.
- Bundle your insurance. Combining your home and auto insurance policies under one insurance company will get you a discount. If your current insurance provider doesn’t offer a bundling discount, it might be a good idea to shop around for an insurance company that does.
- Change your vehicle classification. If you’re not commuting to work regularly or at all, or if you’re driving fewer kilometres per year, ask your broker or insurance provider to change your vehicle classification to “pleasure.” You’ll likely reduce your annual mileage and the premium you’ll pay that way.
- Sign up for Usage-Based Insurance (UBI). You can potentially earn a monthly discount by enrolling in an insurance provider’s UBI program, which rates how you drive, how often, and how far.
- Vehicle safety discount. Suppose you have a newer vehicle that is equipped with what's known as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems such as lane departure mitigation, blind-spot detection, and rear-view cameras to assist when reversing or parking. In that case, some insurance companies will provide discounts for those safety features.
There are a few other ways that experienced drivers may be able to save on their monthly premiums:
- Drop your collision coverage. If your vehicle is old, say 10 years old or more, you may want to talk to your insurance broker about removing the collision coverage on it.
- Keep your vehicle in tip-top shape. Regularly maintaining your vehicle is essential. Ensuring your car or truck is in excellent condition reduces the chances of breakdowns, as well as the possibility of getting into a collision.
No matter how old you are, it’s wise to compare policies and prices when shopping for car insurance to find the most affordable coverage whether your policy is up for renewal or not.
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