Q

Best cars for seniors

A

Safety features, visibility, comfort, and insurance costs all go into choosing the right car for senior drivers. According to the IIHS, the Ford Explorer, Subaru Outback, and Honda Civic are some of the safest new cars of 2022.

Rachael Brennan headshot

By 

Rachael Brennan

Rachael Brennan

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

Rachael Brennan is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. Her work has also been featured in MoneyGeek, Clearsurance, Adweek, Boston Globe, The Ladders, and AutoInsurance.com.

Published March 22, 2022 | 4 min read

Policygenius content follows strict guidelines for editorial accuracy and integrity. Learn about our editorial standards and how we make money.

Older drivers have probably purchased at least a few cars over the years, which gives them plenty of experience in choosing the right car for their needs. But buying a car as a senior driver is different, because needs can change rapidly as you age. 

Compare rates and shop affordable car insurance today

We don't sell your information to third parties.

Something like arthritis or a broken hip could quickly change what you need in a vehicle. Planning ahead  as you age is an important part of choosing the best car (and the best car insurance) for older drivers.

Key takeaways

  • Seniors should consider safety, visibility, comfort, features that are helpful for drivers with disabilities, and the insurance costs when buying a car.

  • When it comes to insurance, choosing a Subaru Outback over a Honda Civic could save you $181 per year, while choosing a Subaru Outback over a Tesla Model Y could save you as much as $1,140 per year.

  • The IIHS used headlight quality, front crash prevention, roof strength, head restraint, and other safety features to determine their list of safest cars for 2022

  • The 2022 Ford Explorer, Honda Civic, Honda Accord, Mazda 3, Nissan Altima, Subaru Crosstrek, Subaru Outback, Toyota Camry, Toyota Highlander, Tesla Y, and Volvo XC60 all made the list of safest cars.

What are the best cars for seniors?

The best car for senior drivers is one that is safe, comfortable, and affordable. Comfort and affordability are a matter of personal preference and budget, but what about safety?

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), which measures cars on both their ability to avoid crashes and on how well they fare in collisions, these are some of the safest cars on the market [1] :

  • 2022 Ford Explorer (MSRP from $33,745)

  • 2022 Honda Civic (MSRP from $22,350)

  • 2022 Honda Accord (MSRP from $26,120)

  • 2022 Mazda 3 (MSRP from $20,800)

  • 2022 Nissan Altima (MSRP from $24,750)

  • 2022 Subaru Crosstrek (MSRP from $22,645)

  • 2022 Subaru Outback (MSRP from $27,145)

  • 2022 Toyota Camry (MSRP from $25,395)

  • 2022 Toyota Highlander (MSRP from $35,405)

  • 2022 Tesla Y (MSRP from $59,990)

  • 2022 Volvo XC60 (MSRP from $45,650)

The IIHS determines its list of safest vehicles by rating headlight quality, front crash prevention, roof strength, head restraint, and other safety features. 

Their list is broken down by vehicle type and size, so it can be a helpful tool for those people looking specially for a sedan, van, truck, or SUV.

What should seniors look for when buying a car?

Your needs are unique to you, which means the best car for you may not be the best car for someone else. But there are some general categories seniors should consider when buying a car:

1. Safety features

Most people know that seat belts and anti-lock brakes are types of safety equipment, but there are lots of other ways your car can help keep you safe. Many new cars come with warning systems to help prevent accidents, like lane departure warning and forward collision warning alarms that tell you when something dangerous is happening, like drifting between lanes or approaching the car in front of you too quickly.

2. Visibility

Being able to see clearly while driving is an important part of preventing accidents. Can you see out of the windshield properly while sitting comfortably in the driver’s seat? Are you able to use the mirrors to see traffic all around you? Do the mirrors adjust so you can see your blind spot? Is the backup camera easy to use? Senior drivers should make good visibility a priority when buying a new car and double check all these features before purchase.

3. Comfort

It can be distracting and unpleasant to drive in a car that isn’t comfortable, so finding a car that has lumbar support and that you can get into and out of easily is a big part of finding the right car for you. 

Comfort can also include t things like heated seats for people who live in cold climates and cars with individual temperature control for people who regularly have passengers in the car, so figure out what you need to be comfortable while driving.

4. Features for drivers with disabilities

Some cars come with features that make driving easier for drivers with disabilities, or they’re designed to be easily adaptable with tools like hand and foot controls, adaptive cruise control, or pedal extensions. 

For example, the Honda CR-V and the Toyota Highlander both have a very spacious design that would be perfect for someone who needs to install a swivel seat. Older drivers should be especially thoughtful about what their needs will be in the future and make sure they buy a car that will still work for them five or six years down the line.

5. Average cost of car insurance

One of the biggest factors in setting your insurance rates is the type of car you drive. The chart below shows the average car insurance rate for several of the vehicles included among the top safety picks of 2022 by the IIHS.

VehicleAverage annual premium
Ford Explorer$1,822
Honda Accord$1,990
Honda Civic$1,925
Subaru Outback$1,744
Tesla Model Y$2,884
Toyota Camry$1,949
Toyota Highlander$1,818

Choosing a Subaru Outback over a Honda Civic could save you $181 per year, while choosing a Subaru Outback over a Tesla Model Y could save you as much as $1,140 per year.

 But you should keep in mind that your car insurance rates are also determined by a number of factors that are specific to you, like your address, credit score, and driving history, so your actual rates could be lower (or higher) than the amounts shown here.

Compare rates and shop affordable car insurance today

We don't sell your information to third parties.

How much is auto insurance for seniors in your state?

Just like the type of car you drive, where you live plays a part in your overall insurance rates. Auto insurance rates for seniors are different from one state to the next, which means seniors in California won’t have the same rates as seniors in Florida. 

The chart below shows the car insurance rates for a full-coverage policy for seniors by state:

StateRates for 55-year-old driversRates for 60-year-old driversRates for 65-year-old driversRates for 70-year-old drivers
Alaska$1,189$1,165$1,257$1,336
Alabama$1,515$1,500$1,602$1,735
Arkansas$1,557$1,537$1,568$1,683
Arizona$1,381$1,386$1,463$1,573
California$1,737$1,712$1,734$1,847
Colorado$1,565$1,550$1,602$1,707
Connecticut$1,622$1,606$1,664$1,835
Delaware$1,864$1,846$1,873$1,985
Florida$2,581$2,551$2,682$2,835
Georgia$1,516$1,517$1,567$1,655
Hawaii$1,200$1,200$1,200$1,200
Iowa$998$981$983$1,038
Idaho$966$953$992$1,079
Illinois$1,219$1,212$1,259$1,367
Indiana$1,073$1,059$1,110$1,193
Kansas$1,364$1,333$1,336$1,381
Kentucky$1,880$1,852$1,924$2,092
Louisiana$2,601$2,592$2,762$2,744
Massachusetts$1,475$1,483$1,282$1,341
Maryland$1,565$1,570$1,759$1,783
Maine$1,043$1,038$1,029$1,041
Michigan$2,143$2,094$2,124$2,309
Minnesota$1,228$1,223$1,248$1,320
Missouri$1,349$1,325$1,331$1,418
Mississippi$1,470$1,452$1,449$1,544
Montana$1,676$1,635$1,663$1,784
North Carolina$967$968$984$1,035
North Dakota$1,197$1,162$1,178$1,223
Nebraska$1,514$1,490$1,497$1,599
New Hampshire$1,083$1,081$1,133$1,228
New Jersey$2,063$2,087$2,162$2,257
New Mexico$1,358$1,328$1,382$1,463
Nevada$1,929$1,904$2,011$2,165
New York$1,912$1,911$1,968$2,082
Ohio$905$897$925$1,004
Oklahoma$1,685$1,670$1,738$1,877
Oregon$1,297$1,289$1,341$1,426
Pennsylvania$1,396$1,378$1,379$1,463
Rhode Island$1,660$1,700$1,926$1,970
South Carolina$1,772$1,756$1,789$1,904
South Dakota$1,396$1,361$1,378$1,405
Tennessee$1,157$1,147$1,185$1,293
Texas$1,618$1,571$1,639$1,752
Utah$1,337$1,330$1,401$1,520
Virginia**$1,119$1,115$1,157$1,244
Vermont$975$975$1,022$1,071
Washington$1,517$1,503$1,563$1,639
Wisconsin$925$923$944$1,017
West Virginia$1,472$1,465$1,506$1,615
Wyoming$1,228$1,216$1,264$1,333

Compare rates and shop affordable car insurance today

We don't sell your information to third parties.

Frequently asked questions

How can senior drivers save money on car insurance?

The quickest and easiest way for seniors to save money on car insurance is to compare quotes between companies to make sure they’re getting the best possible rate. Seniors can also take advantage of bundling discounts, good driver discounts, customer loyalty discounts, and other benefits offered by their insurance company to make sure they are getting the best car insurance.

What is the best used car for senior drivers?

There are several makes and models that are good for seniors, including Subaru Outback, Kia Forte, Toyota Rav4, and Toyota Camry. But these aren’t the only cars you should consider — any car that meets your needs when it comes to safety, visibility, cost, and comfort is a good choice.

How much does it cost to modify a car for a wheelchair user?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the cost of modifying your car could be anywhere from $50 to $80,000, depending on what type of modifications you need. Depending on the situation, you may be able to contact your state’s Department of Vocational Rehabilitation or another appropriate agency to help pay for some (or all) of your modifications.

Does AARP offer car insurance?

AARP members get a discount on car insurance through The Hartford, which has benefits like up to 10% off your premium, plus discounts for requesting a quote online or for bundling auto and home policies.

Methodology

Policygenius has analyzed car insurance rates provided by Quadrant Information Services for every ZIP code in all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C. 

For full coverage policies, the following coverage limits were used:

  • Bodily injury liability: 50/100

  • Property damage liability: $50,000

  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist: 50/100

  • Comprehensive: $500 deductible

  • Collision: $500 deductible

In some cases, additional coverages were added where required by the state or insurer.

Our sample vehicle was a 2017 Toyota Camry LE driven 10,000 miles per year.

Some carriers may be represented by affiliates or subsidiaries. Rates provided are a sample of insurance costs. Your actual quotes may differ.