For many, many years, seniors in South Dakota have been eligible for auto insurance discounts for safe driver courses completed successfully. This is, however is set to change with the recent changes made by South Dakota legislators that repealed the state law that allowed seniors to enjoy this car insurance discount privilege. The law had previously required car insurance companies to offer discounts to people aged 55 years and above who successfully completed accident prevention courses. These courses were designed to make roads safer by offering complementary training for seniors in a bid to refresh their driving skills. The law providing this auto insurance discount was revoked July 2011.
According to an Associate State Director AARP in South Dakota, some auto insurance coverage providers in the state are still offering this discount, but finding them will prove to be difficult for many seniors. This move has caused a major repercussions. Legislators will see a reduction in the number of seniors seeking to refresh their driving skills through road safety courses offered by AARP and other organizations since the Car Insurance Policy Discount was a major incentive for taking these course. Over seventy percent of seniors over 55 interviewed by the AARP said that they had taken the refresher courses mainly due to the auto insurance discount offered for seniors. Nearly 100% of seniors who had taken these Auto Safety courses reported having benefitted in a big way from them. Where I understand the need for some auto insurance carriers to cut expenses, it seems to me this specific course and discount is important.
A survey conducted by the Center on Disease Control on the effects of aging on a person indicated that cognitive function and vision were two important functions, necessary for driving, that were adversely affected by the aging process that in turn made it more difficult for the aged person to drive safely. The report further added that the number of accidents per mile of driving increased significantly for people over 75 years. Many seniors prefer driving themselves around rather than getting driven by family members and therefore safe driving refresher courses are necessary to make sure they remain mentally fit to accomplish this.
According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, the percentage of drivers over 65 increased by 20 percent between 1999 and 2008. The overall increase in licensed drivers over the same period was just over 10 percent. The AARP in South Dakota pointed out that around 15 percent of seniors over 75 years considered limiting their driving time or stopping altogether after attending the safety driving course.
The law that required auto insurance firms to provide discounts for seniors who successfully completed the safe driving course was repealed after concerted lobbying by the state’s coverage providers and to cut down on administrative costs. The responsibility of providing these courses was the responsibility of the South Dakota Division of Insurance but state officials decided to relieve the division of this obligation by removing the legal requirement that enforced it.
Pennsylvania; the home office state of InsureDirect.com also has a similar course available for its Keystone State Seniors seeking to improve their driving skills and obtain a valuable Auto Insurance Discount. 55 Alive is offered in hundreds of locations in PA. I urge all our PA InsureDirect.com customers whom qualify for this discount to take advantage of the classes and discount.
Michael E. Dortch
President & Managing Agent
Corporate Home Office
618 South Broad Street
Lansdale, Pennsylvania 19446
(800) 807-0762 ext. 602