Everyone’s situation is different, so there’s no definitive answer on what the best car insurance policy is for seniors and pensioners. The driving habits of some seniors and pensioners may mean that a pay-as-you-drive policy could be suitable if they drive less than a certain distance (e.g. under 15,000km) per year.
The type of car you drive can also influence the car insurance features you look for. For example, new cars depreciate a lot in the first year of ownership, so you may find that agreed value car insurance will provide better financial protection for new cars than market value car insurance.
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Pay-as-you-drive is a type of comprehensive car insurance that is typically cheaper than regular comprehensive cover. It isn’t just available for pensioners either; other age groups can also take advantage of this feature, provided they don’t exceed the kilometre limit on the policy.
You specify an amount of kilometres you expect to drive in total over a 12-month period and your premium will be assessed based on this figure. If you exceed this limit, you might face a higher excess; you insurer will check this based on your odometer readings taken before and after your policy concludes. You can often increase your limit if you’re going to exceed it sooner than expected, though this does cost extra and the change must be approved by the insurance provider.
This type of policy is handy if you don’t drive very far or often. Depending on your retirement lifestyle, this could be a product that suits your needs and budget.
Depending on your insurance provider and what’s stated in your PDS, you may be covered for going off-road. However, not all providers insure off-road driving, regardless of whether you have a four-wheel drive, so be sure to thoroughly check the terms and conditions of your cover.
Some providers do offer discounts to seniors, but this isn’t necessarily based on any age group, or whether you receive a government pension or are a self-funded retiree. Most insurance providers will offer those eligible various ways to reduce their premiums.
You may be able to get insurance discounts if you have multiple insurance products with the same company. For example, if you have home insurance with one company and buy a new policy for your car with them too, you may get a discount on your car insurance.
Any modifications to your car to assist with mobility will affect the value of your car, which can affect your premiums. Mobility aids may be covered up to a certain limit if they’re stolen from your car.
Each state and territory has rules regarding senior drivers, and these regulations differ again depending on the type of licence (e.g. motorcycle licences). Once you hit a certain age, you’ll need to meet these conditions to take out car insurance and drive on the road.
N.B. The information below refers specifically to cars and not other classes of vehicle, such as motorcycles.
If you’re a QLD resident turning 75, you’ll need to pass a medical assessment to receive a medical certificate to drive, which you’ll then need to carry with you at all times when on the road.2 The maximum validity for this certificate is 13 months, meaning you’ll need to undergo a medical assessment roughly every year.
Medical professionals may reduce how long your medical certificate is valid for if they want to go through more regular check-ups with you.
New South Wales (NSW)
Residents in NSW who are 75 or older will need to undergo an annual medical review to keep their licence.3 Drivers who are 85 years old will have to undergo an older driver assessment every two years.
Drivers over 85 also have the choice of keeping their unrestricted car licence or moving to a modified licence. A modified licence still requires a medical check every year, but you won’t need to do a driving test. However, the licence only allows you to drive under certain conditions.
VIC drivers who are 75 years old or older can only renew their driver’s license for three years at a time.4
All Tasmanian drivers, including older drivers, need to self-assess their ability to drive should they be concerned about a medical condition. If you’re 65, you’re required to renew your licence after it expires.5 However, if you have a medical condition, you will also need to have periodic assessments to evaluate your ability to drive.
Western Australia (WA)
If you’re a driver in WA, you’ll need to have annual medical assessments once you turn 80 years old.6 At 85 and beyond, you may have to undertake annual practical driving assessments to test your driving ability if your doctor recommends it.
South Australia (SA)
SA residents over 75 years old with no previous medical condition will need to perform a self-assessment of their medical fitness to drive.7 Based on the answers of your self-assessment, a medical professional may need to complete their own assessment regarding your ability to drive safely.
Northern Territory (NT)
NT drivers, including seniors, will need to complete a vision test every five years.8 Medical examinations aren’t required unless you have an existing medical condition that needs regular assessments. Your doctor or medical professional may alert authorities if your condition makes you unsafe to drive.
Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
ACT residents need to have an annual medical examination by a doctor once they reach the age of 70 to be able to drive a commercial vehicle.9 At 75 years old, you’re required to have an annual medical clearance to drive any type of vehicle.
Some car insurance companies do include roadside assistance in their comprehensive car insurance policies, but others may charge extra to add it to your policy or offer it separately. It may pay to compare roadside assistance providers before deciding if it’s worth getting it through your insurer.
Purchasing roadside assistance separately means you can still choose Third Party Property Damage or Third Party Fire and Theft car insurance, which are more affordable (but cover less) than comprehensive car insurance.
Classic car insurance is a specialist product, which differs depending on the age and type of vehicle you own. Through some providers, you may be able to purchase a classic, vintage or veteran car insurance policy as a senior or pensioner.
1 Road deaths: 12 month total Australia – February 2022. Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics, Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development, Australian Government. 2022. Accessed May 2023.
2 Safe Driving. Department of Transport, Queensland Government. August 2022. Accessed May 2023.
3 Your licence from age 70. Transport for NSW, New South Wales Government. 2023. Accessed May 2023.
4 Renew your licence. VicRoads, Department of Transport, Victoria State Government. March 2023. Accessed May 2023.
5 Driving As You Age. Transport Services, Tasmanian Government. June 2020. Accessed May 2023.
6 Seniors. Renewing your licence. Department of Transport, Government of Western Australia. July 2022. Accessed May 2023.
7 Medical fitness to drive. Department for Infrastructure and Transport, Government of South Australia. 2023. Accessed May 2023.
8 Medical fitness to drive. Northern Territory Government. 2023. Accessed May 2023.
9 ACT driver licence information. Access Canberra, ACT Government. 2022. Accessed May 2023.