Retirement Solutions: What Can Be Done about Soaring Car Insurance Rates?
Once you turn 70, car insurance is a whole new and potentially expensive ballgame. This could be the most wonderful time of your life, at least if you’re prepared for what’s up ahead in the road. But if you prefer to drive without a map, there might be some expensive surprises on your journey through retirement.
It’s true that mature drivers are generally more experienced, and oftentimes safer, than their counterparts who are just starting out. And at around age 50, you’ll probably notice your car insurance rates take a downward trend. Saving money is great, of course, but that trend might only last for a while.
According to DMV.org, your rates are likely to creep back up again around age 70. But here are a few ways you can help minimize the effect:
Take a Defensive Driving Course
Some insurance companies may look favorably on drivers who take a defensive driving course after retirement. Rates go up for a number of reasons after 70. Many people develop vision problems, take certain medications, and may have health conditions that affect driving skills. But if none of those apply to you, a defensive driving course will show that your skills are still sharp and that you’re as much in the game as you were at 50. Plus, honing skills is never a bad idea.
Ask for a Low-Mileage Discount
If you don’t drive as much as you used to, you might qualify for a low-mileage discount. This doesn’t mean you have to stay home all the time. Your mileage might be lower to begin with. If you’ve got the same policy that you’ve had for decades, but only add or remove vehicles when you make a new purchase, your declared mileage might be as high as it was when you were commuting. Average mileage for younger drivers is as much as 18,000 annually, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. If yours is lower, it can’t hurt to ask for a discount.
Buy a Safer Vehicle
Being thrifty is great, but keeping an older vehicle can add up to higher insurance rates. It can also mean you’re less safe on the road than you could be. New vehicles have amazing safety features, from high-tech crumple zones and airbags throughout the driver and passenger areas to dashboard displays with a camera to assist with backing up. Insurance companies love safety features, and your rates could improve with a newer vehicle.
Tweak Your Deductible
Your deductible is the part you pay before your insurance kicks in to pay a claim. A low deductible might have been good insurance sense at one point, but your clean driving record could mean you’d be fine with a higher deductible now. With a higher deductible, you’ll pay less monthly, quarterly, or yearly for your policy. But remember that if you do have to make a claim, you’ll have more out of pocket costs than with a lower deductible. It all evens out if there’s a claim.
List a New Primary Driver
This is a tough one for some retirees, but it’s the perfect choice for others. Let’s say that the primary driver listed on your policy doesn’t have perfect vision anymore. Or maybe the primary driver will turn 70 before anyone else on the policy. DMV.org suggests that listing another driver as the primary could give you a nice reduction on your policy.
Saving money and staying on budget takes a bit of creativity. And sometimes, just when you think you’ve got a great plan in place, an unexpected expense pops up to throw a monkey wrench in the middle of it. That’s a fact of life for many drivers over the age of 70. But you can take steps to do something about it.
Discounts aren’t universal, and your insurance company might not offer one for every situation. But talking with your agent is a great first step. If you don’t get the answers that you want, remember that there’s always another company right down the road.
Learn more about saving money and planning for a great retirement at NewRetirement. We have the tools and information that can help make this the best journey of your life.