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Score a “Mature Driver” Insurance Discount


Lured by insurance discounts, a growing number of older drivers are turning to online driving classes, as I reported on SmartMoney.com Monday. Older drivers who take one of these four-to-eight hour courses can often score anywhere from a 2 – 15% discount on their car insurance, depending on where they live.  For the average driver, a 15% discount would result in roughly $120 per year in savings (and since the typical discount lasts for three years, they’d save $360 in total).

But not all older drivers are taking advantage of this little-known perk, despite the fact that classes typically only cost about $20. (Just 60,000 older drivers signed up for AARP’s online driving course last year, for example.)  To that end, SmartMoney.com has put together a list of the states that mandate discounts on auto insurance for older drivers who take a driving course:

Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Washington D.C., West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Before you take one of these classes, it’s important to call your insurance company and get their approved list of courses, so you can ensure you get the discount, says Wade Mezey, president of Professional Driving Associates, which runs an online defensive driving course.  Not all companies approve online courses, for example, so you may have to take a classroom course.  And just because your state doesn’t mandate an insurance discount doesn’t mean your insurance company won’t offer you one.  Be sure to call and ask.

Finally, it’s important to remember that if you’re looking for comprehensive driving classes, these online and classroom courses might not do the trick.  “Research shows that classroom programs don’t really impact positively on driving performance,” says Normand Teasdale, a professor at the University Laval in Quebec, who studies driving patterns among seniors. “You need to practice and get feedback over and over again to improve performance.”  On-the-road courses typically cost between $50 and $100 per hour.


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About Encore

  • Encore examines the changing nature of retirement, from new rules and guidelines for financial security to the shifting identities and priorities of today’s retirees. The blog also explores news that affects retirement, from the Wall Street Journal Digital Network and around the web. Lead bloggers are reporter Catey Hill and senior editor Jeremy Olshan. Other contributors include The Wall Street Journal’s retirement columnists Glenn Ruffenach and Anne Tergesen; the Director for the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, Alicia Munnell; and the Director of Research for Pinnacle Advisory Group, Michael Kitces, CFP.