Millions of Americans have seen their bills for all kinds of insurance coverage go up in the last few years, and auto plans are no exception. This issue may be particularly onerous for older drivers who may have pulled out of the workforce – or are planning to do so soon – and therefore live on a fixed income that makes it difficult for them to bear large insurance costs. But for these people in many states, insurance agents may be able to provide a little bit of help by directing them toward classes that can serve to slash their premiums significantly going forward.
Today, 34 states plus the District of Columbia allow for older drivers (usually 55 years old or more) to take part in low-cost state-approved classes that will help them to operate their vehicles more safely, according to a report from USA Today. These courses educate students on the habits of safe drivers, re-teach traffic rules, explain the latest driving technology, and let people know the challenges they might face as drivers as they age. In addition, 23 states plus Washington, D.C., allow these courses to be taken online, rather than in a classroom.
What are the other benefits?
The benefit of taking these courses goes beyond simply helping older drivers to understand their positions, the report said. In most states, they also allow for at least some sort of discount on their ongoing auto insurance premiums. While the rules vary by state, providing proof of having passed such a course will usually allow drivers to benefit from completing them for a period of three years. While most states let the insurers assign the discount on their own, a few mandate a specific number; in New York, Delaware, Georgia, and Minnesota, that discount is 10 percent.
Auto insurance agents may be able to do a lot for their clients when it comes to helping them find the most affordable coverage possible, but often what’s more important to those people is the ability to have a strong working relationship with their agent. Having access to reliable customer service will often give customers peace of mind with their coverage that they may consider to be more valuable than being able to cut their costs by 5 percent or so every month. However, striking a balance between that kind of relationship and also being able to provide the occasional discount might be the perfect formula for an agent to maximize customer retention.