Elderly Drivers and Car Insurance Author:    Posted under: Auto InsuranceAuto Insurance questions answeredAuto Insurance Ratings and Factors


What most people don’t realize is that those over the age of 75 are among the highest group involved in daytime auto accidents.

The American Automobile Association (AAA) and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) are the authorities when it comes to elderly drivers in the United States. AAA has reported that drivers in their 50s up to early 60s are considered among the safest drivers in the country. Past the age of 60, however, senior drivers are likely to become involved in an accident. Statistics show that the older the driver, the more susceptible the driver may be to fatal crashes. Likewise, studies that have been conducted have also shown that drivers past the age of 80 put other drivers and pedestrians at an especially high risk.

This is because while older drivers have more driving experience and are far more knowledgeable of driving safety regulations and mind their speed, insurers are of the general opinion that seniors suffer from slower reaction times and decision-making. Additionally, decreased clarity of vision, loss of hearing, and diminished muscle strength are all detrimental to motorists.

Some time ago, denial of new applications for coverage for drivers above the age of 75 or 80 was the only way insurers knew of to minimize the risks. Then, insurers have begun to determine new ways to manage the risk without stripping the elderly of their right to drive. First, they recognized the fact that seniors drive less frequently than other drivers, meaning their exposure would be minimal. Some insurers may possibly respond to this fact and demand by reducing rates for seniors who drive a minimum number of miles a year.

When it comes to driving, seniors and their family must be increasingly aware of specific signs that driving skills are being hampered. The safety of the elderly and of the other motorists on the road depends on these considerations:

Delayed reaction time – generally, seniors are able to do what younger people can, but the response time to perform those activities slows down the older you get.

Effects of medication – individuals under medication are usually cautioned against getting behind the wheel. Discuss with your health care provider any concerns you might have with regards to this. Your size, weight, and condition will determine whether or not you are prone to be affected by medications that will render you a danger on the road.

Restricted mobility – Our flexibility decreases as we age, accounting for loss of full range of motion which is vital for road safety.

Vision and hearing impairment – significant changes to sense of sight and hearing may affect your safety, and those of the motorists you meet on the road. Although many seniors voluntarily give up driving at night, sensitivity to sunlight and glare may also affect anyone. Most importantly, changes in vision depth, peripheral vision and conditions of the eyes such as astigmatism, cataracts or glaucoma may affect a person’s ability to see objects, near or far, adequately.

However, auto insurance companies have to review latest research on elderly drivers and automobile accidents on a regular basis. It would be negligent for car insurance companies to lump elderly drivers into one big group and operate on the general assumption that all senior drivers are dangerous and therefore, need to pay higher premiums for their car insurance.

Seniors have to be able to maintain their independence somewhat, and within safe bounds, this includes their freedom and ability to drive. In some cases completely divesting the elderly of the privilege to drive resulted in an increase in depression, feeling of isolation and other health problems. The need for a better way to address this issue is even more essential now more than ever, as the baby boomer generation approaches their senior years and the instance of more elderly drivers on the road becomes more commonplace.

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