How to Buy Car Insurance as a Senior

Senior couple relaxing on porch, holding hand, laughing

Getting car insurance as a senior can be expensive, even if you're still as good a driver as you always have been. If you'd rather avoid breaking the bank for your auto insurance, there are opportunities to earn discounts that reduce how much you have to pay for a policy. Here's what you need to know about buying car insurance as you get older.

How Seniors Can Get Car Insurance

While the cost of an auto insurance policy can change as you get older, the process to buy one doesn't. Here are some steps you can take to find the right policy for you.

Gather Quotes

One of the best ways you can save money on a car insurance policy is to request quotes from several insurance carriers and see which one offers you the best rate. You can do this online or over the phone, by speaking with multiple insurance agents or by working with an independent agent who doesn't work for any specific insurer.

Compare Prices

As you compare quotes from various insurance companies, make sure you're looking at pricing for the same coverages. It doesn't make sense to compare the cost of full coverage from one company with a barebones policy from another, for instance. Insurance companies sometimes advertise low rates, but those prices are typically for their skimpiest policies.

In many cases, you can adjust the quote based on the types and amount of coverage you want. If you already have an auto insurance policy, you can use that as a guide. If not, consider speaking with an agent who can help you determine the right coverage for you. Cars financed by an auto loan you're still paying back typically need to have a certain minimum level of coverage, so keep your lender's requirements in mind when you're shopping for a policy.

Look for Discounts

Auto insurance companies offer discounts as a way to incentivize new signups. While some are common, others may be unique to that insurer. As you compare your options, check to see which types of discounts they offer—including ones specifically for senior drivers. It's also worth checking out discounts that are offered through organizations you belong to, such as AARP.

Select an Insurer

Once you've done your due diligence, you can select the insurance company you want to work with and proceed to purchase a policy.

How Much Does Car Insurance for Seniors Cost?

There's a long list of factors that go into determining the premium for a car insurance policy, and age is one of them. As people get older, the likelihood of them filing a claim or being involved in a crash increases.

As a result, the average cost of a car insurance policy drops to its lowest level around middle age, then starts creeping back up again. Here's what to expect, according to the 2021 state of auto insurance report by The Zebra, an online insurance broker:

Average Annual Auto Insurance Premiums by Age
Age BracketAverage Annual Premium

Source: The Zebra

Remember, though, that there are many other factors that go into your insurance premium, including your gender, driving record, location, type of vehicle and more. These figures are averages, and your rate may be higher or lower, depending on the situation.

Auto Insurance Discounts for Seniors

There are several discounts you can take advantage of as a senior, including general discounts available to all drivers and some specialized ones:

  • Mature driver discount: Some insurers offer a discount to drivers who've reached a certain age. While some may require that you complete a defensive driving course, that's not the case with all carriers.
  • Defensive driving discount: Dozens of states have laws requiring insurance companies to offer a discount to seniors who complete a defensive driving course.
  • Safe driving discount: Some insurers offer discounts to customers who've gone a certain number of years without an accident.
  • Low-mileage discount: If you're retired, you may not be driving as much as you were when you had a daily commute. Update your miles driven per year, and you may see a drop in your rate. You may even consider opting for a pay-per-mile insurance plan.
  • Retired military discount: Some insurance carriers offer a discount that's tailored to retired members of the military community.
  • Multi-vehicle discount: If you have more than one vehicle you need to insure, you may get a discount when you add multiple cars to one policy.
  • Bundling discount: You can also get a discount by bundling your auto insurance policy with other forms of insurance through the same company. This can include homeowners insurance, renters insurance, boat insurance, motorcycle insurance and more.

A Good Credit History May Help Lower Your Premium

Another important factor that goes into your auto insurance rate is your credit history. In most states, car insurance carriers are allowed to use what's called a credit-based insurance score to calculate your rate. This insurance score is different from a traditional credit score, but it includes many of the same elements.

As a result, if you're looking to maximize your savings on a new car insurance policy, take some time to improve your credit. Check your credit score regularly and review your credit report to find out if you need to take action, then take steps to address potential issues that you see.

This process can take time, but it can ultimately save you a lot, both when you apply for credit, and when you apply for an auto insurance policy.