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Tips For Older Drivers: Vehicle Insurance, Discounts & Driving Alternatives

Senior Drivers

Are you an older adult looking for ways to decrease insurance premiums while continuing to drive for as long as safely possible? Are you unwilling to give up the freedom, mobility and independence that driving offers you? Then it’s time to talk about insurance rates, how they’re calculated, driver discounts, driving alternatives and the role you play as a driver.

How Insurance Rates Are Calculated For Older Drivers

Insurance rates are calculated using your data and the data of the group insurance companies associate you with. When the data suggests there’s a certain amount of risk involved in insuring you or the group you’re associated with, risk is reflected in dollar amounts.

In the eyes of your insurance company, there are a few ways for you to decrease your level of risk. You can reduce risk by decreasing the number of daily miles you drive and by staying abreast of new laws. Also, be aware of changes in vehicle technology and driving techniques that can help you and your passengers stay safe. You can also save when you purchase pay-per-mile insurance or use a safe driving app that tracks and rewards you for practicing safe driving habits.

To put it another way, if you’re retired and no longer make a long, daily commute to and from work during rush hour, you’re probably eligible for a low-mileage discount. If you complete an online mature driver training course and provide a certificate of completion to your insurance provider, your reward is a discount on your insurance premium.

As far as group associations go, when you nudge up to 60, 70 and 80 years old and beyond, you become associated with all of the other drivers in your age group. On the positive side, you might be eligible for discounts simply because you are a member of a specific group such as veterans, federal employees, college alumni and more. On the negative side, as you reach 70 and beyond, other risk factors for your age group come into play, such as vision and hearing impairments, disabilities, reflex times and the use of prescription medications.

Staying Proactive As An Older Driver

Here’s where it pays for you to be proactive by keeping your hearing device updated and having your vision checked regularly so you’re able to pass the screenings required to obtain and keep your driver’s license. Staying fit also has its benefits as it’s been proven that reflex times improve in older adults who take part in fitness activities. It’s also imperative to talk to your doctor and pharmacist about how prescription medications affect and restrict your driving ability.

Only you know the driving challenges you face and it’s up to you to make the modifications necessary to continue to be a safe driver. When you realize you are becoming confused and agitated in traffic, plan alternate routes to avoid congested intersections and highways. If sun glare and night driving have become difficult for you, alter your driving habits to avoid sunrise, sunset and nighttime driving or find alternative forms of transportation when it’s imperative to travel.

There are many types of assistive devices available to help improve your safety and comfort while driving. Installing larger rear view and side view mirrors and a back up camera on your vehicle improves visibility. Seat belt pulls, hand controls, steering wheel knobs, grab bars, leg lift straps, swivel seats and left foot gas pedals allow you operate your vehicle more comfortably and safely. Plus, many vehicle manufacturers offer reimbursements as high as $1,000 to customers who install adaptive devices in newly purchased and leased vehicles.

Most of all, remember you’re not alone. Driver rehabilitation specialists will work with you to evaluate your driving ability and offer assessments, customized training and equipment modifications to help you continue to safely operate your vehicle.

Alternative Forms Of Transportation For Older Drivers

During certain times in your life, you may need to temporarily or permanently hang up your car keys. If you worry about obtaining transportation during these times, set your mind at ease. There’s a national network of providers waiting to help you. One of the largest transportation services for adults age 60 and over is offered through the Independent Transportation Network (ITN).

ITNs offers aging adults transportation with a modest annual membership fee that’s well below the cost of vehicle insurance. If you need a ride for any reason at all, contact one of the ITNs in your community. They operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week and offer discounts to riders who pre-arrange transportation services. Last minute rides are also available. ITNs continue to expand their network to include transportation services for aging adults who live in rural areas and small towns. They also administer a comprehensive, searchable database of transportation services.

If you’re hesitant to ride on subways, buses or trains, public transit and local aging organizations now offer demonstrations and training to teach you how to travel safely and independently on public transportation. Discounted fare cards and tokens are also available to aging adults. Through an application process, discount vouchers for taxi service may be available through your local Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) or Aging and Disability Resource Center.

Assisted Living facilities also offer transportation with the cost included in their monthly fees. When you need to get to a medical appointment, check with Medicaid to find out what modes of transportation are covered.

A variety of vehicle insurance discounts and alternative transportation services are available as you reach hallmark birthdays of 60, 70, 80 and beyond. Even when it becomes necessary to stop driving, there’s no need to give up the freedom, mobility and independence transportation offers you. In the meantime, seek out opportunities for discounts on vehicle insurance and enroll in courses and training programs to help you stay safe on the roadways as you enter into the next phase of life.