All but two states have minimum car insurance requirements. That means when you are in the market for a new vehicle, you will likely have to take into account the cost of coverage when determining a reasonable budget.
Liability coverage can increase your transportation expenses considerably, especially if insurance providers consider you a high-risk motorist. High-risk individuals are those who are more likely to cause a collision and thus file a claim.
Insurance providers typically categorize policyholders based on their driving record and the accident statistics for the various demographics to which they belong. For example, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, roughly 33 percent of all motorists who are arrested for driving under the influence are repeat offenders. Additionally, the average offender has operated a vehicle while intoxicated more than 80 times before the first arrest.
These statistics highlight the fact that drinking and driving is rarely a one-time incident. Thus, insurance providers assume policyholders with at least one DUI arrest or conviction on their record are more likely to drink and drive in the future. As a result, they categorize them as high-risk motorists and charge them higher rates for coverage.
Other parties and demographics whom providers consider costlier to insure include:
- Teenagers and those with little driving experience;
- Men in their twenties;
- Young, unmarried men and women; and
- Motorists older than 60.
How Does Age Affect Car Insurance Rates?
If you graphed the impact of age on car insurance rates, it would essentially look like an upside-down bell curve. Young drivers ultimately pay the most for coverage, but as long as they maintain a clean driving record, they can expect their rates to decrease with time and eventually level off—until they hit about 65 years old.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motorists between the ages of 16 and 19 have a higher risk of getting into a traffic crash than those in any other age group. Additionally, per mile driven, teens are almost three times more likely to be involved in a fatal collision than individuals older than 20.
Fortunately, as teens get more practice on the roads, they become much safer drivers. The risk of getting into a wreck is especially high for newly licensed drivers but decreases significantly with time. For example, the fatal accident rate per mile driven for those who are 16 and 17 years old is nearly twice that of the rate for those who are 18 and 19 years old.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that older drivers have the second highest fatal crash rate per mile driven. This is partly due to their increased frailty and partly due to the way the natural aging process affects driving skills.
Unfortunately, that means even if you maintain a perfect driving record, your insurance rates may increase upon turning 65 or 70 years old. If you are concerned about rising premiums based on factors beyond your control, don’t wait to take action.
There are steps you can take now to secure affordable coverage for years to come. These include:
- Bundling other kinds of insurance with your liability coverage;
- Taking advantage of various discounts your provider offers;
- Purchasing a reasonable vehicle with a high safety rating; and
- Completing a defensive driving course.
It is also important to remember that you do not have to stick with a provider who raises your rates based on a seemingly arbitrary factor like age. If your premiums increase considerably simply because you turned 65 or 70 years old, do not be afraid to shop around for a better deal, regardless of how long you may have been with that particular company.
At the end of the day, your driving record says more about your risk of filing a claim than your age, and you deserve to buy coverage from a provider that appreciates your business.