With all the love and care parents pour into their children throughout their lifetimes, it’s only right that adult children return that love and care when their parents get older. Part of that love and care is to pay attention to their financial and insurance needs. If your parents are elderly, car insurance for them should cover as much as is financially possible.
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Statistics gathered over the last 50 years show that senior citizens are involved in more accidents, and cause more injuries, deaths, and property damage than any other group of drivers. This is not stated as an indictment against elderly drivers, but just a reminder that with advanced age may come reduced driving skills. The increased likelihood of an accident means adult children of elderly parents need to take a good, hard look at their parent’s auto insurance coverage.
With Coverage for the Elderly, Car Insurance Should Protect their Estates
The average American works 40 to 50 years of his adult life while putting away a certain amount of income and investments for his retirement years. Elderly people who have built up a significant portfolio including investments like annuities and real estate could see their entire life savings taken away from them with a single auto accident.
In today’s the litigation-hungry culture, older drivers who carry just the state minimums may find that their million dollar bodily injury coverage is a mere pittance when faced with the jury award from a civil lawsuit. When it comes to the needs of the elderly, car insurance must take into account the possibility of devastating lawsuits that can wipe out an entire estate.
For the Elderly, Car Insurance Rates Can be Tied to Several Factors
As with any driver, insurance rates for senior drives are determined by a combination of:
- Annual mileage driven
- Accident and violation history
- Type of car insured
- Credit history
Thankfully, most insurance companies offer discounts to senior drivers of as much as 10% to 20%. Senior drivers must be over the age of 55 to be eligible for these discounts. In addition, organizations like AAA car insurance and AARP offer insurance discounts to their members.
For elderly drivers whose car insurance rates go up due to a claim, one way to bring those rates back down is to take a defensive driving course. These courses can vary in length from 8-30 hours and provide for proportional discounts. Even if an elderly driver has not made any claims, a defensive driving course could still reduce premiums by as much as 10%.
As the adult children of parents who are elderly, car insurance discounts are something you should pay attention to because your parents most likely will not. Even the smallest discount can make a difference if your parents live on a limited income.
For the Elderly, Car Insurance is not the Only Factor to Consider
For elderly drivers, simply having a car insurance policy doesn’t necessarily make it a good idea to drive. Even though many senior citizens retain all of their mental faculties right through the end of their lives, the fact remains that response times and physical reactions are slower the older one gets. An accident that could have been avoided at age 40 may be unavoidable at age 80.
In addition to slower response times and reactions, physical strength is also reduced with age. In a situation where an elderly driver must slam on his brakes as hard as he can, the limited physical strength in his legs may not enable him to do so with the same force he did at 20 years of age. He also may not be able to crank the wheel hard enough in one direction or another to avoid an accident. All of these physical limitations mean elderly drivers must honestly assess the risk they pose to themselves, and others, when behind the wheel.
For adult children of parents who are elderly, car insurance and keys may have to be revoked if your parents demonstrate unsafe driving practices. It might be difficult for them to give up their freedom and mobility, but far better they do so than injure or kill someone on the road. Part of providing love and care to your elderly parents is to stop them from hurting themselves or others; just as they did for you when you were younger.
Even if you or a loved one is elderly, car insurance rates are available for you online; just enter your zip code now!