Ask an Agent: How Can I Talk to My Aging Parents About Their Driving?

Modern tools and technology can help keep seniors on the road longer.

The Ask an Agent series answers popular questions about car insurance with expert advice from AAA Insurance agents. In this installment, agent Michelle Chatwin explains why rates may go up for older drivers, what they can do to get a discount, and when it’s a good idea to stop driving.

My aging parents have spotless driving records. Why is their auto insurance rate going up?

Chatwin: In your 60s and 70s, auto insurance gets more expensive because your response times are generally slower. A lot of people don’t understand. They’ll say, “Why is my insurance going up? I have all of this experience driving.” But research shows that older people may not be able to see that things are moving as quickly as they are, so they could pull out into the street and have an accident.

How can older drivers bring their auto insurance rates down?

Chatwin: If they have insurance through AAA, they can go to the AAA website and take the mature driver course. [Members get a discount.] It’s a series of videos with some work, and at the end, they get a certificate. People usually get a 5 percent discount on auto insurance with AAA by completing that course.

What can older drivers do to avoid collisions?

Chatwin: My parents got a vehicle with a backup camera because my dad almost ran over somebody’s daughter, and it really scared him. That technology is great. Also, just maintaining good cognitive awareness. If you feel like you can’t remember things, then it might be time to turn in your keys. If your family is encouraging you to do so, they may be seeing things that you’re not.

How can I talk to my aging parent If I’m concerned about their driving?

Chatwin: Driving may feel like their last vestige of independence. It’s really tough to have that conversation with an aging parent when you’re taking that freedom away from them. You have to give them other options for their needs—grocery shopping and going to the doctor and visiting family. It can help if you have the ability to take them to their appointments and arrange rides for them. We now also have grocery delivery and online shopping.

About the Agent

Michelle Chatwin has worked for AAA Insurance for five years. When you call in, her goal is to make you laugh at least once.

  • Favorite vacation spot: My favorite road trips are the ones that take me through redwood forests. I don’t care where we go, as long as I get to see my redwoods.
  • Hobbies: I love photography, cooking, and raising seven decent human beings.
  • First car: 1981 Buick Skylark named Belva.
  • Dream car: Dodge Challenger.
  • Secret skill: I make a mean ham sandwich.
  • Favorite AAA perk: Online shopping and movie ticket discounts.
  • Best advice received: My grandma always asked, “Is it going to matter in 50 years?”
  • Most admired person: Terry Crews. I admire his ability to go from NFL player to actor to motivational speaker. He became who he wanted, not who others thought he should be.

How to contact AAA Insurance agent Michelle Chatwin:

AAA Member Service Center

(844) 547-9400

[email protected]

Provides assistance in English.

Read more Ask an Agent articles:

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of AAA. Products and their features may not be available in all states. Multipolicy and other discounts vary based upon eligibility. Discounts not cumulative; certain restrictions apply. Term Policy Form Series: ICC11-1201/TL-1201.

Insurance products in California offered through AAA Northern California Insurance Agency, License #0175868, in Nevada by AAA Nevada, in Utah by AAA Utah, in Arizona through AAA Arizona, Inc., License #8301727, and in Wyoming through AAA Mountain West Inc., License No. 172603. The provider of AAA Auto and Home Insurance is CSAA Insurance Group, a AAA Insurer. All policies are subject to policy terms, underwriting, guidelines, and applicable laws.