If your auto insurance bill is ever going to be more affordable, it’s likely going to be when you’re in your 50s.
This is generally the most successful time of a person’s life. It’s a time when people are at the peak of their careers, have either paid off their mortgage or are close to it, and are setting financial goals for putting their kids through college and their own retirement.
It makes sense why this period of life would also bring the best auto insurance rates. However, once we dive into why this seems to be true, you’ll realize it’s not always the case.
Why Insurance Seems to Be Cheaper in Your 50s
There are two main reasons why insurance is oftentimes much less for people in their 50s: good driving history and good credit.
However, these two reasons are not exclusive to drivers in their 50s. Any driver can potentially qualify for these discounts, which could result in much lower premiums than they would be otherwise.
Good Driving History
Almost every insurance company offers big discounts for having no accidents or violations in the last 3 to 5 years. This can result in anywhere from a 10%-30% discount in your auto rates.
However, you don’t have to be in your 50s to have a good driving history. Anyone over the age of 21 can potentially qualify for this discount (since drivers under 21 have less than 5 years of driving history).
On average, most people in their 20s, 30s, or 40s, have some type of accident or violation on their record within the last 5 years. Drivers in their 50s are more likely to have a few years’ worth of clean driving history, which makes them more likely to receive that big discount.
Insurance companies rate heavily based upon your insurance score (credit-based insurance score). The statistics show that people with bad credit have more accidents and therefore cost the insurance companies the most money.
The companies deal with this by having the highest rates for people with bad driving histories and bad credit.
Many people in their 50s tend to have good or great credit. They have had a steady job for a few years and likely don’t have as much debt as they did when they were younger.
This results in another big discount with the insurance companies.
Why Insurance Might Not Be Cheaper in Your 50s
As we’ve discussed, the two primary reasons why insurance is cheaper in your 50s could apply to anyone. It’s just that people in their 50s are more likely to be eligible for those discounts.
The opposite fact is also true: the same factors that affect everyone else’s high insurance rates can also apply to drivers in their 50s.
Drivers in their 50s can’t escape the location they’re rated in. There are many places in the country that simply have very high auto insurance rates. Insurance companies set rates based on zip codes.
If your zip code has a high number of accidents, thefts, vandalism, or any other type of high-risk, then the rates for that zip code will be high. Even if you have a great driving history and drive an old car, your rates will still be higher simply based on your location.
Whether the “mid-life crisis” actually exists or not is beyond the scope of this article, but what is definitely true is that men have a higher rate of accidents and violations, such as speeding and drunk driving, than women do. Men are also more likely to drive riskier vehicles than women, such as sports cars, motorcycles, and trucks.
Type of Vehicle
People in their 50s tend to have more savings than younger people, meaning they are more likely to have nicer vehicles. Even if they are driving a Kia Optima or Toyota Camry, they are more likely to be the latest models, making them more expensive to insure.
The newer the car, the more expensive it is to repair or replace, which makes it more expensive to insure.
Having Young Drivers
One thing that is unique to drivers in their 40s or 50s is having their children on their auto policy. This can have the biggest impact on their rates, even if they excel in all other categories.
For example, a couple in their early 50s that live in a safe area, have a clean driving history, excellent credit, and own 2 safe vehicles, might be paying $800/year for auto insurance.
Once they add their 2 teenage boys to their policy and add a couple more vehicles, they could easily be looking at over $2,000/year. And that’s assuming the young drivers haven’t had any speeding tickets or accidents yet!
Having a Bad Driving History or Bad Credit
While drivers in their 50s are more likely to have a good driving history and good credit, this isn’t always the case. If someone in their 50s has recently gotten into an accident or two, a speeding ticket, and doesn’t have the best credit, they will be paying just as high of insurance rates as someone in their 20s with the same circumstances.
There isn’t anything magical about drivers in their 50s. They will enjoy paying low insurance rates only if they’ve managed to maintain a clean driving record and have good credit.
And even if they do those things, there are other factors that will still make their insurance rates high, especially if they have young drivers on their policy.