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Thread: A better option for over-65 drivers?

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    The Land of The Edentulites

    A better option for over-65 drivers?

    Insurance companies are missing out on a great opportunity. A win-win deal. A way they could make money, reduce their liability exposure - and make life easier on older drivers in the process.

    That opportunity? Limited-use car insurance coverage for seniors.

    The idea came to me as I was trying to think of a solution for my Dad, who no longer drives much - but doesn't want to give up driving entirely. But his insurance assumes he's a full-time driver and because he's over 65, his rates have been increasing to the point that he's debating giving up the keys simply because of the cost of maintaining his coverage. (Part of the reason for the high cost is also due to where he lives - Scottsdale, AZ - which is among the most expensive places in the U.S. to insure a car. But still.)

    It's true that drivers over the age of 65 are - as a group - more likely to be involved in an at-fault accident than any other group of drivers except teens. But individual risk within any group is highly variable - and unlike teenagers, seniors have the wisdom of their years going for them.

    Some older drivers - aware of declining visual acuity - voluntary restrict their driving to daylight hours. Some only drive locally, sticking to roads they know well - and avoid long trips, unfamiliar roads and highways.

    They may only drive a couple thousand miles every year - vs. 12,000-15,000 (on average) for most of us.

    A senior driver who drives much less often, not nearly as far - or as fast - and only under ideal conditions on roads he knows intimately - has almost certainly reduced his individual risk profile.

    Shouldn't such a driver be able to get a break on his car insurance?

    Antique/classic car coverage already works on this principle - and everyone seems to be happy with the arrangement. Most such polices require the owner to agree that the vehicle will not be used regularly as a "daily driver" (specific annual mileage restrictions - verified by annual odometer checks - are common) in return for lower premiums than would be the case if the car were used every day.

    It's understood that because the car spends most of its life in a garage - and is taken out only occasionally - and even then only under ideal conditions - the odds of it being involved in a wreck are not just lower but significantly lower than they would otherwise be.

    It seems perfectly logical to offer similar coverage to senior drivers who likewise restrict their driving - and thus, their risk.

    With modern GPS technology, it would be simple to confirm/keep track of a senior driver's habits. If he violated the terms of his limited use policy by going out at night, or driving beyond a certain radius of home, etc. - that would be easy to discover. And his policy could be revoked - or he could be charged the normal going rate.

    Such an option would reward the responsible, lower both premiums and liability costs - and perhaps more importantly, permit individual seniors to be treated more like individuals rather than members of a catch-all group - "older drivers" - with the responsible ones dragged down into the pit of stratospheric insurance costs because of the irresponsibility of a few.

    There's really no reason not to offer seniors a way to avoid ridiculously high insurance costs that assume (a) that they drive as often - and as far - as everyone else; and (b) that because some older drivers are more accident prone, all drivers over a certain age are more accident prone - and ought to be surcharged accordingly.

    Unless, of course, the whole point is precisely that - to milk 'em for all they're worth...

    Just because you can.
    Last edited by Eric; 01-01-2009 at 08:49 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Houston, TX
    I say no to GPS. I would not submit to having a tracking unit in my car under any circumstances.

    It may be true that above a certain age, you are more accident prone, but it is highly dependent on the individual.

    Insurance charges should be dependent solely on accident records. Pure and simple. If you are involved in more than 2 at fault accidents in a three year period, you should pay significantly more for insurance, regardless of age.

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