Retiring can be an exciting step. You suddenly have more time to enjoy your hobbies, to travel, and to relax in your home. You’re not alone if you think that retirement is the best part of life.
But, even as you start to enjoy the perks of retirement, some things, like your car insurance, may get more expensive.
It may seem like high insurance rates are just a part of being a senior citizen, and there are some things you can’t change about your insurance rate. But you don’t have to settle for paying more.
This article will help you find ways to bring your insurance rate down, so you can get the most out of your retirement.
Why Premiums Go Up for Retirees
The first step to getting your insurance premiums back under control is understanding why they went up in the first place.
Insurance companies separate people into different pools based on their presumed risk as drivers. That’s why new drivers tend to have higher insurance premiums, and young drivers cost more until they turn 25. In both cases, insurance companies have statistically proven that those drivers are more likely to take risks or make mistakes on the road.
For retirees, even if you have a long history of safe driving under your belt, insurance companies have shown that risks go up again.
This time it isn’t because retirees take more risks. Instead, what science has shown is that your reflexes begin to slow after about 35 years old. Even if you are still a very safe driver personally, driving risk for your age group increases as you get older.
Since insurance companies need to make money, they charge more for high-risk groups, in anticipation of also paying out more for the people in those groups.
There isn’t much you can do about being placed in a high-risk group because of your age. But there are other options and discounts you can use to bring your premiums down.
How to Bring Your Premium Down
Insurance companies aren’t trying to sneak an extra share from your pension when your premiums go up, so there are plenty of options to help bring the price back down.
Choose Your Car Carefully
It shouldn’t be a surprise that some cars are considered riskier vehicles than others. Sports cars and other high-performance vehicles are generally more expensive to insure. But there are lots of considerations when it comes to the insurance cost for your vehicle.
Balancing Price and Benefit
The more expensive your car is, the more it will generally cost to insure. This is because it will cost your insurance company more if you are in an accident and need to repair or replace the vehicle. If you drive a luxury vehicle from the premier company, it might be worth investing in a separate daily driver so you can reduce the cost of the luxury vehicle.
But, a high price does not always mean high insurance costs. If your expensive vehicle has a lot of safety features that reduce your risk of an accident, that might bring the overall insurance cost down. Anti-lock brakes, backup cameras, and other safety features all reduce a car’s risk.
The one exception with some insurance companies is airbags. Airbags are expensive and difficult to replace, so your car is likely to be totaled if they ever deploy, even if other damage is minimal. However, more airbags might mean lower medical costs after an accident, so every insurance company treats them differently.
Sports Cars, Trucks, SUV’s, and Sedans
The type of vehicle you drive, it’s overall body shape and design, are also important factors to consider. We already mentioned that sports cars are more expensive to insure. It’s more surprising to know that trucks and SUVs are also more costly to insure than sedans.
Standard sedans, especially the ones designed to be family or commuter vehicles, tend to have the lowest insurance rates. This is because they tend to have excellent safety features as well as a small, stable, body design.
SUVs also have lots of safety features, and are often a preferred vehicle for safety, so many people are shocked to learn that they cost more to insure. While these are very safe cars to drive, the truck body and higher center of mass introduce one major safety flaw in SUVs.
They are more prone to rolling over than other vehicles. Because rollover accidents tend to be severe, and the damage to your car is likely to be significant, they are more expensive to insure.
If you want to save on your insurance, you should go for a sedan and extra safety features.
Take Defensive Driver Courses
Many insurance companies also offer discounts if you take defensive driver courses. These courses lower your risk by teaching you to drive cautiously, which can be a great benefit if you are starting to notice slowing reflexes.
The discount from defensive driver courses varies quite a bit between different insurance companies and different plans. You should look carefully at your policy, or call your insurance agent before you sign up for a defensive driver course, so you know exactly what kind of discount to expect.
Defensive driver courses are also a great idea if you have received lots of points from your license due to speeding tickets or other infractions. In many states, taking a state-licensed defensive driver course will automatically return 3-4 of those points.
Use a Driving Tracking App
If you are a very safe and dependable driver, a tracking app or a telematics program can help you prove that to your company. If you meet specific standards, your insurance company may offer discounts for your safe driving.
Not every insurance company will use tracking apps for discounts. If your insurance company does accept tracking apps, you should still check to make sure it will accept data from the app you download.
Tracking apps are also a little inconsistent. If your driving style changes, in response to the weather or a stressful situation, your tracking app will pick up on it and you may temporarily lose the discounts you earn with the app.
Shop the Insurance Market
Especially if you’ve only had one insurance company since you started driving, it may seem like you just need to deal with rising premiums. The truth is, the insurance company that served you well earlier in life may not be designed for seniors.
Shopping the market is important since you may qualify for a specialty insurer. Some companies, like AARP, have programs designed specifically for seniors. Since they cater to that part of the market, many specialty insurance programs offer senior discounts, and other benefits designed to keep insurance premiums more reasonable.
Even if you don’t go with a senior specialty insurer, another company might offer discounts and other benefits for new customers that you don’t receive from your old insurance.
Final Word on Auto Insurance for Retirees
You don’t have to put up with high insurance premiums. Being proactive in your car choice, taking appropriate driving courses, and taking advantage of safety features and devices in your vehicle can all bring your premium down.
Tracking apps can also be an easy, stress-free, way to bring costs down since you’re giving your insurance company clear data that proves how low-risk you really are.
You should also take advantage of market competition and shop for new insurance when you notice rising rates. Specialty insurance, or different plan details, can often offer more coverage for less if you’re willing to shop around.
Use these simple steps, and know that you’re getting the best possible premiums.