Most drivers know a person’s age is one of the factors insurance providers use to determine their auto insurance premium. But did you know auto rates often decrease for drivers as they age and build a safe–driving and insurance history?
In fact, many car insurance companies offer discounts and reduced premiums for drivers over the age of 60 since they are more likely to practise safe-driving habits due to their years of experience behind the wheel.
Though seniors tend to be cautious drivers, many may not have refreshed their driving skills since they first learned to drive. Concerningly, statistics from Transport Canada suggest drivers over the age of 65 tend to suffer more traffic fatalities than other age groups. If you’re a senior, it may be worthwhile to refresh your knowledge through a safe driving course for mature drivers. Doing so can enhance your skills, help you maintain your good driving record, and potentially earn you a discount on your premium.
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In Ontario, once you hit the age of 80, you are required to participate in a driver’s licence renewal program to test your driving abilities. The program typically takes about 90 minutes to complete and includes:
- A vision test
- In-class screening assignments
- A driving record review
- A 45-minute interactive group education session
- A road test (if necessary)
In Alberta, at the age of 75 and every two years after the age of 80, you must provide a medical report from your doctor to renew your driver’s licence. You may be required to take a driving assessment test if your doctor deems it necessary, although that can happen to any driver at any age.
What auto insurance discounts are available for mature drivers?
Many insurance companies offer a few discounts you may qualify for, including:
- Senior drivers discount. Many insurance providers will offer a reduced rate for people aged 60 and older who are retired and have clean driving records.
- Usage-based insurance discount. You can potentially earn a monthly discount by enrolling in an insurance provider’s usage-based insurance program, which uses telematics technology to monitor your driving habits and rewards you for safe driving in the form of a discounted premium.
- Bundling discount. Combining your home and auto insurance policies with one insurance company can get you a discount. Likewise, if you have more than one vehicle, consider insuring them with one provider. If your insurance company doesn’t offer a bundling discount, look around for another insurance provider that does.
- Mileage discount. If you do not commute to a workplace often or at all, or if you’re driving fewer kilometres per year, talk to your broker about changing your vehicle classification to “pleasure” and reducing your annual kilometre count. Seniors may also benefit from pay-as-you-go car insurance. The less you drive, the less you will pay.
- 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.
- Discount for choosing a higher deductible. A deductible is what you must pay out of pocket if you file a claim. The more you’re willing to take on, the less your premium will be. Before taking this step, make sure you have the funds available to pay the deductible if the need arises.
- Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) discount. Members of CAA may qualify for an insurance discount as well as other benefits like roadside assistance. It’s worth looking into buying a membership to find out if you can benefit from it.
What are other ways seniors can save on auto insurance?
There are a few ways seniors can reduce their annual premium. Consider these possibilities:
- Keep up with vehicle maintenance. While there are many things you can do on your own to ensure your vehicle is in good condition, having a professional do regular maintenance checks on it is vital. Doing so may reduce the chances of roadside breakdowns or mechanical failures that can lead to collisions.
- Remove collision coverage from your policy. Is your car, pickup truck, or SUV 10 years old or older? If so, you may want to talk to your broker about removing the collision coverage on it.
- Shop around for a better rate. It’s always worthwhile to find out what your options are. Regardless of whether your auto policy is up for renewal or not, it never hurts to shop around for a lower car insurance premium.