Several older Vermonters have asked me if there is anything they can do about their car insurance premiums increasing as they get older. Some wanted to know whether or not this is age discrimination.

Initially, please note that many different factors can affect your car insurance rates. These include the kind of vehicle you drive, your driving habits and your motor vehicle record including the number of crashes you’ve been involved in, your credit rating, demographic factors, where you live, and the coverages, limits and deductibles that you choose. And age is one of the factors.

While this does not seem fair to me, apparently the insurance industry considers a policyholder to be a senior once she or he turns 65. According to the insurance industry, premiums increase because of a higher perceived risk. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, impairments in three areas, vision, cognition and motor function, are responsible for higher crash rates for older drivers. Obviously, this is not true for all older people, but apparently as a whole, crashes increase because of these factors. Obviously, a 65-year-old should be driving better than a 95-year-old and one could reasonably argue that no 95-year-olds ought not to be driving anyway.

There are some things senior drivers can do to lower their premiums and perhaps improve their driving skills as well.

Some insurance companies in certain states will offer discounts to senior drivers if they take an approved collision prevention course through an organization such as AARP.

In many cases, and this is true of course of all drivers, not just seniors, people can save on premiums by choosing higher deductibles or eliminating coverages for older cars that are paid in full. Of course, a higher deductible means you will pay more out-of-pocket in the event of a crash. Each of us has to weigh the pros and cons of choosing a higher deductible.

Some of the insurance advertisements we see are actually true in the sense that if you try and bundle your insurance coverages for both your home and your motor vehicles with one carrier, there are discounts. Also, it is possible that your premium will be lower if your vehicle has advanced safety features.

Even though it can be time consuming, it is worth shopping around whenever your policy renewal comes up.