Usage Based Insurance: Helping Senior Drivers Stay Safe
As reported by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the U.S. Census Bureau predicts there will be 57.7 million adults reaching age 70 by the year 2030, more than double the 23 million recorded in 2012. Baby boomers are continuing to live and drive longer than ever before. This translates into 30 percent more drivers aged 70 and older on our roadways and the number keeps rising.
Some states are concerned that more senior drivers will equal more traffic fatalities and accidents and are creating plans to address the driving issues of our aging population. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration five-year plan includes addressing roadways and driving license restrictions.
Surprisingly, it turns out that senior driving practices are not as risky as previously believed and, in fact, some major insurance carriers even offer premium discounts to seniors. Another Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s report in 2014 indicated that senior drivers have fewer crashes and are less likely to be injured or killed than middle-aged drivers ages 35-54 for the following reasons:
1) Seniors drive less often and for shorter distances
2) Seniors tend to avoid inclement weather conditions and night driving
3) Seniors tend to self-limit their driving if they experience limitations in their health or vision
4) Seniors are the most experienced drivers, making them safer on the road than younger drivers
Adult Children Concerned About Senior Parents Driving
Among adults whose parents are senior drivers, more than 55 percent are anxious about their parents driving habits and safety on the road. Seniors themselves are concerned about their capacity, although they want to continue driving well into their 80s. Quality of vision or hearing, impairment by medications and certain diseases such as diabetes or arthritis, memory loss, and reflex response time are all factors.
According to Liberty Mutual, seniors are willing to have “the talk” about their driving competence with their families but the discussion actually takes place only about 23 percent of the time. USAToday
The Center for Disease Control and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are addressing concerns about traffic safety through public education and outreach. AAA provides no-cost driver self-evaluations to help seniors identify and remedy any areas of concern and identify risk factors before there is an accident. Rather than give up the keys entirely, these programs are designed to help seniors and their families make good decisions about when it’s time to stop driving. Studies indicate that age is not the factor which should determine when an individual should stop driving. Multiple factors must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, including vision, cognition, fitness level, strength and the impact of diseases and/or medications on driving capacity.
Senior Drivers Are a Virtually Untapped Market
Since the majority of current UBI insureds are under 34 years old, auto insurance carriers have a unique opportunity to tap into a new market segment by pushing the benefits of usage based insurance to seniors and their adult children.
User Based Insurance data would help seniors accomplish the following:
• Study driving habits to identify trouble spots and map out alternate routes that minimize risk
• Provide “proof” of safe driving habits and patterns, alleviating concerns
• Alert seniors and their families if their driving is putting themselves and/or others at risk
• Open a conversation between seniors and their adult children about driving readiness
• Raise awareness for seniors about their driving strengths as well as their risky habits
Making seniors safer drivers not only improves public safety and their quality of life, it reduces their liability as insureds, an attractive bonus to carriers. There are potentially 23 million more drivers that will need to be insured during the next 15 years, making them a great potential market for usage based insurance. Want to learn more? Download our smartphone UBI vs. OBD UBI comparison sheet.