Savvy Senior: How Seniors Can Save On Car Insurance

D.Ear savvy senior: Can you share tips to help seniors reduce their auto insurance premiums? I am currently hit by a 15% increase in my car insurance and am looking for ways to save. – Fixed-rate franc

Dear Frank: Unfortunately, car insurance rates rose significantly over the past year as the pandemic subsided and more Americans hit the streets again. But there are many ways you can lower your premium. To find out what discounts are available to you, contact your auto insurer and inquire about these and other options that you might benefit from. Here are some you might ask about.

>> Discount for low mileage: Most insurers offer discounts to customers who drive limited mileage each year, which is usually beneficial for retirees who drive less because they don’t commute to work every day. These discounts usually come into effect when your annual mileage drops below 7,000 or 7,500, which is significantly less than the typical 12,000 miles most Americans drive each year.

>> Driver ED Discount: Many states require insurance companies to offer defensive driving discounts of between 5% and 15% to drivers taking a refresher course to brush up their safety skills. These courses, offered by AAA ( and AARP (aarp, cost $ 20 to $ 30 and can be taken online.

>> Discount for supervised driving: Many insurance providers offer discounts based on how and when you use your car. To do this, the insurer would provide a small monitoring device that you place in your car to keep track of things like your acceleration, braking habits, travel speeds, phone usage, and driving behavior. Drivers are rewarded between 10% and 50% for driving safely and for not driving late at night.

In addition, many insurance companies also offer discounts to drivers who have not had any violations or accidents for three or more years.

>> Membership discounts: Organizations you belong to can also lower your insurance premium. Insurers offer discounts with professional associations, unions, major employers, or affiliates such as AAA, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, AARP, etc. You can even qualify for savings based on the college you attended or the fraternity or sorority you belonged to.

>> Package Policies: If your car policy is issued by a different company than the one that insures your life or home, call each insurer and ask if it would be cheaper to bundle the policies.

>> Improve Your Credit Score: You can potentially lower your car insurance premium by paying your bills on time and reducing your debt. Insurers look at how their customers manage loans to understand the risks and price the policies. Better rates are given to those with good credit scores, usually 700 or more.

>> Increase your deductible: While it may not be right for everyone, a higher deductible can save you a lot of premiums. For example, if you increase your deductible from $ 200 to $ 500, you can cut the cost of your collision and fully comprehensive insurance by 15 to 30%. A $ 1,000 deductible can save you 40% or more.

>> Consider your car model: When buying a new vehicle, get an insurance quote before making a purchase. Some vehicles are safer and less expensive to repair than others. Insurance companies collect data on each make and model and use it to determine how much customers to bill.

>> Comparison shop: To find out whether your current premium is competitive with other insurers’ prices, or to help you find another provider, you should do a price comparison. Online brokers like, TheZebra. com and allow you to enter basic details such as your age and make, model and year of your car to compare insurance company rates.

Jim Miller is a contributor on the NBC television program “Today” and the writer of “The Savvy Senior.” Send your questions to Savvy Senior, PO Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070; or visit

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