How Age Affects Car Insurance Rates

Your age affects how much you pay for car insurance. Find out why drivers under 25 and over 65 years old have the most expensive premiums.
Young and old man talking in a car together.

The number of years since your birth is one of the many pricing factors that insurers use to determine how much you’ll pay for auto insurance.

In general, younger drivers pay more for coverage before they reach the age of 25. On the other hand, older drivers are likely to face higher prices at about their 60th birthday. But motorists between 25 and 65 usually enjoy lower priced premiums.

Age could still make your rates go up, even if you’re a great driver with a history that’s clear of tickets and accidents. This is because insurers associate aging with risk. The general idea is that younger drivers don’t have a lot of experience behind the wheel and could be more likely to get in an accident. Similarly, providers believe that mature drivers’ risk to be in an accident goes up as they get older.

Your rates aren’t likely to skyrocket because you reached a certain age. Insurers use a variety of factors to decide how much to charge you. Insurance carriers use personal details and vital stats to determine how much your premium costs and stage of life is only one of many.

Below are some common rate factors:

This article will break down the specifics of how age can affects insurance rates. We’ll explain how it affects both younger and older drivers. We’ll also give you some pointers on how to lower your premium if it increases because of your birth year.

Young Drivers

You’re more than likely to pay a higher premium if you’re a younger driver. This is because insurers see these motorists, particularly teenagers, as inexperienced and more accident-prone than adult drivers. They’re are also more likely to engage in risky behavior such as:

  • Forgetting to use a seatbelt
  • Driving over the speed limit
  • Driving late at night
  • Texting and driving
  • Using drugs or alcohol

Insurers have statistics on their side to back up the riskiness of young drivers. Per a 2019 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 258,000 teens sustained injuries and roughly another 2,400 died due to serious car accidents.

Teenage drivers who just got their licenses are at the biggest risk of getting in an accident. The crash rate per mile for 16-year-old drivers is about 1.5 times as high as it is for drivers aged 18 and 19. This data comes from the 2016-17 National Household Travel Survey.

You should note that teenagers are only one portion of the youthful driver category who experience elevated insurance costs. Teens take more risk when behind the wheel. Because of this, premiums typically peak around the age of 18 and steadily decline as you go through your 20s and collect more driving experience.

How much you pay for coverage comes down to how likely you are to file a claim. If you’re a young driver, you’ll pay more for insurance. This is because teens and younger drivers under 25 file more claims than any other age group.

One of the best ways teen drivers can save is by being on their parents’ existing policy. Be aware that adding a teen driver to your policy is likely to affect the overall amount of your premium. But keep in mind that it’ll save them from having to pay much more for coverage.

Older Drivers

Imagine that you’ve been a great driver for your entire adult life. You rarely need to file a claim and you avoid getting any tickets. But one day around your 65th birthday, you notice that you suddenly need to pay more for coverage. Why have your rates gone up if you’ve always done everything right?

Unfortunately, you’ll likely start to see higher premiums as you reach your 60s and beyond. To a lesser degree than young drivers, insurers also view seniors to be at more a risk to get into an accident than middle-aged adults. This is usually because of things like slower reaction time, declining eyesight, and other physical or cognitive impairments that may affect driving.

Senior drivers make up a sizable chunk of the country’s population. And the number continues to grow. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) says that there were about 30 million drivers older than 70 in the US in 2019.

Seniors tend to get in accidents because of natural aging and impairments. For instance, the IIHS cites a study that found that older drivers are more likely to get in accidents in situations that require lots of attention and quick reaction abilities. This includes actions like merging onto the freeway, changing lanes, and going through busy intersections.

Though older people aren’t as risky or inexperienced as teen drivers, they still file more claims than people aged 25 to 65. Even if you’ve been a good driver for your whole life and into your old age, you’ll still face higher rates as you grow older.

Ways You Can Lower Your Rates

There are many ways you can lower your rates if they’ve gone up due to age – whether you’re a teen or a senior citizen. Age is no doubt an important factor that helps your insurer figure out how much you’ll pay for coverage. But it’s not the only one.

Below are simple things you can do to keep coverage affordable:

  • Only buy the amount of coverage you can afford. Your rates might be higher if you have lots of policy add-ons that you don’t need or can’t afford. Consider taking stock of what’s on your policy and deciding if you’re paying the right amount.
  • Try to get discounts. You can get discounts for all sorts of things like safe driving, doing well in school, bundling home and auto and more. Contact your agent to find out if you qualify.
  • Take a defensive driver course. This will show your insurer that you’re looking for ways to continue learning and improving your driving skills. You may also qualify for a defensive driving course discount.
  • Drive safely. One of the best ways to keep your rates as low as possible is to always drive safely. Accidents happen. But avoiding tickets and accidents will go a long way in keeping your rates low. Make sure you never drink and drive!
  • Senior discounts. Some providers offer a senior driver discount. Some carriers reward seniors indirectly because only experience and a long track record qualify drivers for the claims-free discount or accident forgiveness.
  • Compare quotes. The best way to keep your rates low might be to find another company. Try comparing quotes between top insurers. You may be able to find a better deal than you have right now.

Frequently Asked Questions

At what age does your premium decrease?

You’ll often hear about 25 being a common milestone for your insurance to start going down. But your rates decline steadily throughout your 20s until you’re around 30. At this point, you’ll have racked up enough years of driving experience to look lower risk to insurers.

When do seniors begin to pay more for auto insurance?

Your auto premium may start to increase around the age of 65 and into your 70s. Once you reach 75, you can expect a bit more of a price hike. As you get older, insurers could see you as more of a risk. That’s the case even if you’re a safe driver.

Do insurers base premiums on how old you are?

Age is one of the primary factors employed to decide how much you’ll pay for coverage. But remember that several other things affect rates, such as your driving record and even inflation. Even so, how old you are is not the end-all-be-all decider for your premium.

Can I stay on my parents’ policy until I’m 25?

There’s no age limit for being on someone’s policy. That means that there’s really no limitation whatsoever. Getting added to your parents’ policy is the best way for younger drivers to afford coverage.

Do seniors pay more or less for car insurance?

Unfortunately, people older than 65 generally pay more for coverage. This is because insurance providers believe seniors are more accident-prone as they age. Declining health, cognitive issues, and poor reaction time is usually to blame in this case. Once you get to around 80, your rate increases may accelerate

Despite the inevitable rate increase due to advanced age, older drivers can take advantage of various senior discounts. They can also keep costs low by driving less and switching to a usage-based telematics program or pay-per-mile plans.

Why do teens pay more for coverage?

Teens can expect to pay much more for car insurance because of their inexperience behind the wheel. In general, drivers younger than 25 tend to get into more accidents than other age groups. Because of this, insurers consider teen drivers to be high-risk. To combat higher rates, youthful drivers can qualify for several student discounts, including:

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