Last month I focused on available discounts for young drivers. This month I would like to look at the older driver (since I am one). The first advice would be keeping a clean driving record so your auto policy is not adversely affected. Surcharges for accidents or a pattern of risk taking on your motor vehicle report can seriously increase the premium you are paying.
In order to keep premiums affordable as you age, you should enroll in a defense driving class. These are available throughout the midstate, either sponsored by AARP or another organization. You do have to pay to take the class, but the cost will be more than made up for by the discount on your auto policy. Typically these classes are offered in a classroom setting on a Saturday for six hours. It is a good class that allows you to interact with your peers and learn from qualified instructors. Once completed, you will get a certificate that is good for a three-year discount on your auto policy. After three years you will have to take the class again to retain the discount.
Also, as you and your vehicle age, you might want to consider dropping physical damage coverage on your vehicle(s). If you have a vehicle that is 10 years old or older, it might not pay to continue collision and comprehensive coverage. You have to weigh the cost of replacing the vehicle versus the years of insurance premiums you are paying.
The other thing to look for is the dwelling value of your home on a homeowner insurance policy. Most policies have an inflation factor built in that increases the value every year. You may buy a policy and it is issued 10 years ago at $250,000 and is now listed at $325,000 on your policy. That may not be the current replacement cost and you may be paying for something you will never collect in the case of a total loss to your home. You also may want to increase your deductible from $1,000 to $2,500 to bring down the cost. The bottom line is that you need to take ownership of your policies.
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The last cost saving item is to insure your vehicles and home with the same company. Most companies offer significant discounts for bundling the two together. Why not take advantage of it?
I cannot stress more to get set with your insurance company before you turn age 70. Some have programs that will keep you, once insured, regardless of future accidents. You do not want to be out there shopping for insurance at 75 with several at fault accidents on your record.
Dave Pushman is the former regional vice president of Geico in Macon and is now an independent insurance agent with Tidwell and Hilburn Insurance. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.