Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health insuran...

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager Chris Harrigan

UPDATED: Oct 14, 2020

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Key takeaways...

  • Car insurance companies typically classify experienced drivers as people with nine or more years of licensing experience
  • It’s easier to find competitive rates for auto insurance because having licensing experience will earn you credits
  • Teens and adults who are learning how to drive or who have very little experience will pay high-risk rates
  • Your age, gender, marital status, and address will also have an impact on how much you’ll be charged for coverage
  • Having experience can be beneficial but insurers will start to raise your rates as you age because of accident risk

Experience can go a long way when you’re buying auto insurance. Throughout the years, the time that you’ve invested in becoming a skilled driver can help you qualify for insurance discounts and favorable ratings.

The longer that you’ve managed to keep your driving record clean, the more insurance carriers will perceive you as a good driver who deserves low rates.

It takes life experience to really become an expert on anything from relationships to driving. While experience is a good risk factor that’s used by carriers to collect enough premiums, there’s no rule of thumb that says that all experienced drivers are good drivers.

Compare car insurance quotes today and make sure you’re not overpaying for the coverage you need.

When you’re shopping for the most affordable insurance, here’s how your experience comes into play:

Why do experienced drivers pay lower auto insurance rates?

It’s no secret that teens are the highest cost risk group. Some believe it’s because of the driver’s age, but that’s only part of the reason.

The main reason that teens and young adults pay so much for even low limits of coverage is because of their driving experience.

Driving experience and loss exposure are closely related. If you were to look at accident data and claims data, you’d discover that drivers with little experience have more at-fault losses.

The accident rate starts to decline as they learn to become more responsible drivers.

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When is someone classified as an experienced driver?

Everyone perceives experience a different way. You might classify yourself as an experienced driver after just two or three years of being licensed. Unfortunately for you, insurance companies can’t define experience on a case-by-case basis.

Since experience is a risk factor, the carrier has to use one straightforward definition that applies to everyone.

In most states, you’re not considered experienced until you have at least nine years of driving experience. Since most people test for their license at 16, that makes 25 the golden age for your insurance rates.

You’re no longer a high-risk driver because of solely your experience but that doesn’t mean that you’re a low-risk driver either. If you weren’t licensed at 16, you may have to wait a few extra years to get the favorable experience ratings.

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What other risk factors will affect your rates?

You might begin to see your rates fall as you get more and more experience but other risk factors will also come into play. Here are some of the biggest factors that can really lend to changing rates:

  • Age, gender, and marital status
  • Vehicle make, model, body style, and insurance rating class
  • Vehicle features and anti-theft device
  • Credit-based insurance score
  • Claims history for the last three years
  • Driving record history for the last three to five years
  • Address where your vehicle is stored

When Having Experience No Longer Benefits You

Safe drivers 25 and up will be significantly less for insurance than the younger generation. In your 30s, 40s, and 50s, you might continue to see your rates drop as you earn credits, directly and indirectly, related to how long you’ve been a safe driver.

Unfortunately, when you reach your mid-60s your experience will no long work in your favor.

Insurance companies aren’t quite as friendly to senior drivers as they are to other middle-aged experienced drivers. Generally, rates begin to climb for mature drivers when they reach 60.

Some companies prolong the experience surcharge for mature drivers until they near 70. It gets even worse when you reach 80.

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Why does experience cost you as a senior?

You’d think that the saying that “more is better” would apply to driving experience, but that’s only accurate until you reach your senior years.

As drivers age and their reaction times slow, they are highly more likely to get into a serious accident.

This increased risk of an accident is exhibited by the fact that drivers 80 and older are 5.5 times more likely to get into a fatal accident than a middle-aged driver.

Search For the Best Rates You Can Find

You deserve to pay the lowest rate for the highest level of protection when you’re an experienced driver who has literally proven you have a good driving ability.

Your Motor Vehicle Record abstract and all of the data on your Claims Loss Underwriting Exchange report gives the insurer a clear picture of how good of a driver you are.

Since you’ve been able to demonstrate that you can follow the rules of the road and avoid collisions, you can find a low rate on your car insurance.

The key is to shop around to find the carrier that wants to insure experienced drivers with clean or near-clean records. Some carriers would prefer to take on the risk to charge higher average premiums in that target area of the market.

Find the Best Insurance Company

If you don’t use your insurance, all you have to be concerned with is the rate. Unfortunately, there’s no telling whether or not you’ll be using your coverage at some point in the near future because accidents aren’t predictable.

You need to dig deeper with your research to find a good carrier. Some things to look for include:

  • Financial stability
  • Complaint record
  • State licensing status
  • Customer service record
  • Contact options
  • Claims satisfaction rates

Everyone has to experience what it feels like to pay high auto insurance rates when they are first licensed. Luckily, you get to watch the swelling go down as you get more experience. The best thing that you can do is shop around.

Use our online comparison tool to see how much you’ll pay for auto insurance as a more experienced driver.