Age is more than just a number when it comes to calculating your insurance rates — it indicates a great deal about a person’s likely driving patterns, experience, and risk behind the wheel. A driver’s age affects rates and premiums as a key factor, and impacts the average driver’s premium cost. According to the 2000-2010 ten-year report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on traffic injuries and fatalities, young males are responsible for the majority of high-speed and alcohol-related traffic incidents, injuries, and fatalities, while older drivers pose lower risk of injury-related accidents. Insurers use data like this among other factors to assess each age group’s risk, and charge them higher or lower premiums accordingly.
Below, we’ve included a handy list that demonstrates how a driver’s age relates to an average premium based on a study cited by Fox News as well as information from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Average 6-Month Premium: $3,326
According to Fox News, one major car insurance company in California charges a newly-licensed 16 year old driver at a rate that’s 1.9 times their base premium. And by age 25, drivers can expect the surcharge to disappear completely, followed by discounts off the basic rate after reaching 10 years of driving experience.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that “teenagers’ fatal crashes are more likely to involve speeding than those of older drivers, and teenagers are more likely than drivers of other ages to be in single-vehicle fatal crashes. Plus teenagers do more of their driving in small and older cars and at night, compared with adults. In 2010, 17 percent of teenagers’ fatalities occurred between 9 p.m. and midnight, and 24 percent occurred between midnight and 6 a.m. Fifty-five percent of teenagers’ fatalities occurred on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.”
Additionally, the Insurance Information Institute provides intriguing information on teenage drivers, the risks they pose, and steps that parents can take to keep teen drivers safer on the road.
Average 6-Month Premium: $2,008
For most insurers, drivers age 24 and younger are considered in the same category as teenagers as far as their driving habits, risk of accidents, and types of claims in which they are involved.
Average 6-Month Premium: $1,537
As drivers age, their lifestyles typically change from late nights and irresponsible driving habits of teenagers to commuting to and from work, errands, and more “adult” driving patterns. Drivers in this category pose lower risk of crashes, fatalities, high-speed and alcohol-related crashes than their younger teen and early-20s counterparts, but still pose a slightly higher risk as a demographic than drivers over the age of 40.
Average 6-Month Premium: $1,260
According to a new report published by Fox News, the “sweet spot” concerning age for obtaining the lowest car insurance rates occur after a driver hits 40 years of age, and continues throughout a driver’s lifetime, although rates being climbing back up after hitting the age of 70 or above.
Average 6-Month Premium: $1,138
So what age sees the lowest average premium cost? That’d be drivers at 65 to 69 years old. Their average annual premium is just $1,138, just 28 percent of what a sixteen year old driver would pay. However, drivers can expect rates to begin rising again after crossing the threshold of 70 years old.
Average 6-Month Premium: $1,454
Older drivers are more likely to cause certain types of accidents, according to the IIHS’s data on older drivers. They report that, “compared with younger drivers, senior drivers are more likely to be involved in certain types of collisions — angle crashes, overtaking or merging crashes, and especially intersection crashes. Among passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2010, multiple-vehicle crashes at intersections accounted for 39 percent of the crashes for drivers 80 and older, compared with 17-19 percent for drivers ages 20-49.”