Over 60 and looking for a better deal on your car insurance?
As you get older, drivers licence requirements become stricter and, depending on your driving history, seniors car insurance can be expensive if you don't know what you're looking for. On the flip side, your experience on the road can mean you can now be rewarded with lower premiums. If you have had your current policy in place for a number of years, it might be worth looking around to see if there is something more suitable and easier on the wallet. This guide looks at the kind of restrictions placed on older drivers, the kind of car insurance for seniors that are available and what can do to reduce your car insurance premiums.
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Find out more about Seniors Car Insurance
The four main types of seniors car insurance that apply to all drivers regardless of age are:
|Type||What it covers||When you need it|
|Compulsory Third Party (CTP)||CTP insurance covers injuries to other people.||It compensates other people you may injure while driving, and is mandatory in Australia|
|Third Party Property (TPPD)||TPPD covers damage to other people’s property.||It pays for damage to other people’s property that you may cause while driving. Strongly recommended as the minimum amount of insurance you should have|
|Third Party Fire & Theft (TPPD F&T)||TPPD F&T covers third party property plus damage from fire and theft.||It has the benefits of TPPD, while also protecting your own vehicle from fire and theft. A good option for people who want TPPD as well as cover for themselves|
|Comprehensive||Comprehensive car insurance covers your car plus other people’s property.||Combines TPPD with complete coverage of your own car from many kinds of damage.|
When do you start paying more for car insurance?
Once you turn the magic 70 years old, your premiums will start to rise, you may have to pay a higher excess than others and if you might find standard car insurance overpriced or harder to find. For example, people in this age group are more likely to suffer sudden health issues while driving, and are usually slower to recover from injuries, which makes medical bills more expensive. Insurance companies tend to spend more on claims from older drivers, and consequently charge higher premiums. Fortunately there are some car insurance policies designed specifically for older drivers, which can help ease these problems.
How does your age affect car insurance?
Factors that can affect your ability to drive (which impact your seniors car insurance premiums) include:
- Impaired hearing and vision
- Physical problems such as arthritis
- Poorer cognitive functioning
- Greater use of prescription medicines
Insurers are all about risk, and they view older drivers as posing a greater risk because they are more likely to make claims.
Should you look for seniors specific policies?
There are limited providers in the Australian marketplace that offer cover exclusively to those over 50. An overview of two of these are as follows:
Apia Car Insurance
Apia is known for being highly recommended by people that use it.
Apia comprehensive seniors car insurance can help you save money on your annual premiums with:
- Discount of 15% if you get your quote online
- Discount if you drive less than 20,000 km per year
- No extra cost for paying your premiums monthly or quarterly.
Australian Seniors Car Insurance
Australian Seniors Car Insurance allows you to build your own policy, providing seniors looking for car insurance with greater flexibility. Pay only for what you need. You may also wish to choose the pay as you drive policy, which can provide you with comprehensive cover at a fraction of the price.
While restrictions on older drivers vary by state, the cost of seniors car insurance is consistently higher than for other demographics. So, what affects the cost of your car insurance?
- How is your driving history? Maintain a clean driving record as much as possible. As soon as you start recording accidents and infringements, your premiums will rise accordingly.
- Have you ever taken a defensive driving course? Take a defensive driving course. This can be done at any age and shows your insurer that you are a safe driver can help reduce your premiums.
- Who is the primary driver of your car? You might want to list a younger driver on your policy. If someone younger does the majority of driving in your car (providing they themselves are not a higher risk than you), listing them as the primary driver may reduce your premiums.
- Is there a pay as you go option available? Choose a Pay As You Drive option if you drive fewer kilometres a year. For instance, Woolworths Comprehensive Car Insurance offers a Drive Less, Pay Less discount if you drive your car infrequently.
- Can you afford to increase your excess? Increase your excess if you can afford to, as this will reduce your premium.
- Are you eligible for a multi-policy discount? Package your seniors car insurance with another policy from the same provider to get a multi-policy discount.
- Is your No Claims Bonus intact? Look for a policy with a No Claims Bonus discount, and try to keep it intact.
- Is your seniors car insurance agreed or market value? Insure your car for market value, rather than agreed value.
- How do you pay your premiums? Pay your premium annually rather than monthly to reduce administration fees and get a kind of ‘bulk discount’.
- Can you get a discount by going online? Yes. Some insurers offer discounts of up to 20% if you get seniors car insurance online.
In short, things that saves the insurance company money will also save you money. Being a lower risk driver means they don’t have to pay as much in claims, while doing things like signing up online reduces their administrative costs which is why they’re happy to offer discounts for it.
How can you help older drivers stay safe on the road?
While it's a delicate situation, friends and family members can help senior drivers stay safe on the road by looking for signs that they are experiencing difficulties driving. These could include:
- They are having trouble turning to see behind them when reversing
- They are easily distracted
- You see other drivers honking their horns at them
- You notice unexplained scratches and dents on their car
- They get irritated or anxious while driving
- They drive too fast or too slow
- They wander out of their lane
- They are slow to react or fail to spot hazards
- They get lost in familiar locations
- They are involved in an accident which is partially their fault
- They rely on a passenger to give them directions
- They confuse the brake and accelerator pedals
- They fail to stop at a red light
- They have received a traffic infringement notice.
In Australia, the restrictions placed on older drivers vary from state to state. Victoria, South Australia and the Northern Territory do not require annual medical examinations for drivers over 70. Their reasoning is that this age group appears to have no more accidents than any other, so they will continue to advocate for self-regulation until such time as statistics show there to be a problem with older drivers.
Restrictions in the other states and territories are as follows:
- New South Wales. All drivers aged 75+ must pass an annual medical examination by a doctor, while drivers over the age of 85 must also do a driving test every two years.
- Queensland. All drivers 75 years and over are not required to do a driving test, but they must carry with them a medical certificate from their doctor, which needs to be renewed every 12 months.
- Australian Capital Territory. All drivers 75 and over must pass an annual medical examination by a doctor.
- Tasmania. Drivers aged 75+ no longer need to undertake an annual assessment to keep their license.
- Western Australia. 80-84 year olds need to undergo an annual medical assessment before they can renew their licence. Those aged 85+ will need a medical assessment certificate and a Practical Driving Assessment.
An option available to older drivers with an unrestricted licence in NSW is to opt for a modified licence without having to do a driving test.
A modified licence is an easier way to stay on the roads, but restricts one to driving only in certain conditions, such as in daylight hours and in familiar local surroundings.
Are your grandchildren covered by seniors car insurance?
Can the grandkids drive your car?
- If the insurance policy lists them as a nominated driver then they are covered with similar benefits to you.
- If they are not named in the insurance policy (not a nominated driver), then they are either not covered at all, or are only partially covered with lower limits and less protection. Check your insurance policy for the exact details or alternative special conditions that may apply to your seniors car insurance.
If you plan on letting your grandchildren drive your car regularly, you should list them as a driver in the insurance policy. This will be more expensive if they’re under the age of 25.