Monday, September 21, 2009

AARP Auto Insurance

aarp auto insurance

AARP/The Hartford’s auto insurance policies have many of the same provisions as their competitors but also offer three unique features tailored to older drivers.

- 12-month rate guarantee: Most auto insurers can raise rates after six months, but AARP/The Hartford locks in prices for 12 months. This may be useful to older drivers with fixed incomes who want to keep their expenses predictable.

-RecoverCare: Since an older driver in an accident may need a hand getting back on his feet, AARP/The Hartford policies include a $2,500 RecoverCare benefit to pay for necessary help up to six months after an accident. You shell out the cost of things like a cab to the doctor’s office or hiring the neighbor’s kid to mow your lawn. Then you submit the charges to a customer service rep from The Hartford for reimbursement.

- Lifetime renewability: Once you’re an AARP/The Hartford policyholder for 60 days, you generally needn’t worry about losing your coverage just because of a fender bender or two. But although AARP’s TV ads say its auto insurance will never be canceled, the fine print has exceptions: You can be canceled for not paying premiums on time, for losing your license, for getting convicted of driving under the influence, or if a doctor says you’re not capable of driving. What’s more, this provision is not offered in the five states that require elderly drivers to take tests to renew their licenses. (And there’s no guarantee that rates won’t increase, of course.)

Bach thinks these features are “nice to have,” especially RecoverCare. “Out-of-pocket expenses after an accident are always higher than anyone anticipates, so I like that feature,” she says. But she wouldn’t pay extra for these extras. “The auto insurance market is so competitive, I would shop around to see if I could get good service and a better rate before I paid more for those features,” she says.