Stretching Auto Insurance Dollars as You Approach Retirement

by John Pirro

If you’re preparing for retirement, you’re likely saving all that you can. Why not try saving some of those auto insurance dollars instead of paying needlessly high auto insurance rates?

Auto insurance is an expense that applies to just about anyone who wishes to drive a car, so why not make sure the cost is as affordable as it can be? If you’re nearing retirement age, you probably don’t want to spend a large part of your savings on premiums for auto coverage. Fortunately for older drivers, there are state-mandated discounts for completing a state-recognized driving course.

For example, Montana law requires auto insurance companies to give a discounted premium to motorists 55 years of age or older if they have successfully completed an approved course. The following three courses are listed specifically on the state’s website:

  • American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Smart Driver Program
  • Montana DRIVE. Advanced Driver Education
According to the AARP website, many states require car insurance discounts to be given for completing a classroom-based, state-approved driving course. Some states approve of Internet-based courses, which makes taking the class and getting the discount pretty convenient.

Check with your state or contact your current insurer to see if these auto insurance discounts apply to you.

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Consider a Driving Course, Discount or Not

There are many benefits of taking classes and really no downside. If you’re over the age of 50, then the car you are driving is probably much different than the one you first learned to drive with.

The traffic laws, roads, and drivers have changed as well. One common focus of these classes is defensive driving techniques, which can come in handy considering how many more motorists are sharing the roads today compared with the past.

The population in California, for example, was estimated to be just over 23.5 million in 1980, which is around the time 55-year-old drivers began driving. The 2018 estimated population was nearly 39.5 million, which means that there are plenty of additional drivers to “defend” against.

Defensive driving techniques that are commonly taught include minimizing the effects of blind spots, maintaining proper distances behind other cars, making safe lane changes, properly using safety features, knowing the effects of medication on driving, and eliminating distractions.

Learning or refining these skills can help you stay safe while behind the wheel and can lead to cheaper car insurance.

Avoiding Auto Accidents Can Save You Money for Years to Come

Avoiding one single accident can save you hundreds of dollars on auto insurance costs for years, especially if the accident would have been your fault. According to the New York State Department of Financial Services website, a first at-fault traffic accident can increase your premiums by up to 40 percent in that state.

Although it’s a good idea for you to take an educational driving course regardless of whether or not you’ll receive a discount on car insurance, you should do a double check to make sure that the class is approved by the state.

State-approved classes are usually the most educational and beneficial to students, plus it doesn’t hurt to make sure you’ll get that discount. You may want to check with your car insurer for suggestions, too.

Reviewed September 2019

About the Author

John Pirro writes informative resource pages about state coverage laws and getting the best deal on car insurance at OnlineAutoInsurance.com.

You deserve a comfortable retirement.

Subscribe to After 50 Finances, our weekly newsletter dedicated to people 50 years and older. Each issue features financial topics and other issues important to the 50+ crowd that can help you plan for a comfortable retirement even if you haven't saved enough.

Debt ChecklistSubscribers get The After 50 Finances Pre-Retirement Checklist for FREE!

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You deserve a comfortable retirement.

Subscribe to After 50 Finances, our weekly newsletter dedicated to people 50 years and older. Each issue features financial topics and other issues important to the 50+ crowd that can help you plan for a comfortable retirement even if you haven't saved enough.

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