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How Your Age Affects Your Car Insurance Rate

Find out how your age affects your car insurance rate, and what you can do to lower your premiums.

Think all that comes with getting older is more responsibility, wrinkles, and backaches? Here's something that might ease the pain: as your age goes up, typically, your insurance rates goes down.

Yes, the further away from that rebellious teen period you are, the better your rates will likely be. That's because insurers see mature drivers as less risky, says Loretta Worters, a vice president with the Insurance Information Institute (III).

Read on for a rundown of how your (or your kid's) age affects your rate, and what you can do to help lower it. Your rate, that is. You're pretty much stuck with your age group.

Age 16 to 18  - You've probably heard of the "terrible twos" of infanthood, when toddlers drive their parents bonkers. Well, just wait till little Johnny or Sarah get their first license and are added to their parents' insurance policy.

"In fact, if you have a teen on your insurance, you can most likely expect to pay an additional 100 percent, or more," says Worters.

Why? Because of the amount of driving experience teens have, says Worters. "They have very little experience on the road and take more chances than any other age group. They are involved in more accidents than any other age group other than people over the age of 75," she says.

What You Can Do to Help Lower Your Rate:*

  • Make sure your teen keeps up a "B" average in school to qualify for any good student discounts.
  • Buy a car that is less expensive to insure for you and/or your teen, such as a used car or one with safety features that may result in discounts. (Ask for a list from your insurer.)

Age 18 to 22 - Ah, that wonderful time when your kids go away to college and you actually have a shot at some peace and quiet. And potentially lower car insurance rates.

"If kids go to college and move more than 100 miles away from home, you may see some savings," says Worters.

That savings, she says, could be 30 to 50 percent or more. The reason is because the insurer understands that as a student away at school, your son or daughter will only be driving your car on school breaks or holidays.

But, if your child wants to take a car to college with them, then that's another story. In that case, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners' (NAIC) "Consumer Alert: College Insurance Needs," recommends contacting your insurer about the rates for the city and state your child will be attending college. Then you can decide whether or not to keep your child's car on the family policy.

What You Can Do to Help Lower Your Rate:*

  • Again, make sure your child qualifies for any good student discounts.
  • Many college towns require very little driving, so low-mileage discounts could help you save.

Age 25 to 39 - Good news for people in this group: these are the years when people typically settle into a career. And that spells more responsibility and less risk, according to Worters. The result is usually a lower car insurance rate, as long as the driver didn't pile up a bunch of accidents or tickets.

"Insurance rates for good drivers generally drop considerably after age 25," verifies the Texas Department of Insurance's website. Of course, if you're male, says Worters, you'll pay more than women because statistically, men are involved in more serious accidents. But there are circumstances that can bring men's rates down, too.

"If you are 25, male, and married you will see your rates decrease. The view is if you are married, you are less likely to take risks than a 25-year-old single male," says Worters.

What You Can Do to Help Lower Your Rate:*

  • Do everything you can to keep your driving record free of tickets or accidents. According to the III article, "How Can I Save Money on Auto Insurance?," good driving discounts - like no accidents in three years or no moving violations in three years - could help you save.
  • Maintain good credit. In many states, insurers use your credit score as one factor to determine your rate, according to the same III article, which notes that bad credit could result in higher rates.

Age 40 to 60s - With age comes wisdom. And lower insurance premiums - most likely. Yes, when you turn 40, you're a little mellower, which generally results in better driving habits and usually, lower insurance rates.

"Age 40 to 50 is when you see your best rates," says Worters. "People are more mature. They have driving experience under all kinds of conditions and it shows in their driving skills, and consequently their rates."

In fact, according to NAIC's list of "Special Auto Insurance Considerations for Empty Nesters," mature drivers - ages 55 to 70 - may be eligible for discounts.

What You Can Do to Help Lower Your Rate:*

  • Take a driver safety course such as the one offered through AARP, which could qualify you for a discount from some insurers, notes the NAIC list.
  • Ask for any special discounts for seniors, which can include low-mileage discounts or an agreement to only drive during daylight hours, according to the NAIC list.

*Discounts information taken from the Insurance Information Institute, unless otherwise noted. Not all discounts available from all insurance carriers.