My 92-Year-Old Father-in-Law Is Surrendering His Car Keys. How Should I Handle the Auto Insurance?

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Time and the tide wait for no man, as the saying goes. It’s just as true as it was in the first notable reference in about 1395.

Eventually, we all get old. And there comes a point in time where it’s no longer advisable for us to drive.

When that happens, what do you do with the car? And what do you do with the person’s auto insurance policy?

That’s what a listener of the Clark Howard Podcast recently asked.

My 92-Year-Old Father-in-Law Stopped Driving. Does He Need To Contact His Auto Insurance Company?

Our older relative stopped driving. Does he need to call his auto insurance policy and update everything?

That’s what a listener wanted to know on the June 27 podcast episode.

Asked Steve in Wisconsin: “My 92-year-old father-in-law has decided it is time to surrender the car keys. We are grateful that he came to this decision on his own.

“He does not want to sell his car but has asked us to keep it at our residence and use it to take him where he wants to go and even drive it for our personal leisure. We have the space and have accepted his offer.

“Should he contact his auto insurance agent to inform him that he is no longer the primary driver for this car and it is no longer located at his address? I thought it might lower his premium since my wife and I might be considered lower-risk drivers. Even though the car is 13 years old, it has only 25,000 miles on it and is worth between $10,000 and $15,000.”

First thing’s first. If your father-in-law is no longer driving, he needs to call his insurance agent and let them know.

“Absolutely he needs to call his insurer,” Clark says. “Because of the age of the vehicle, I’d be surprised if it’s still worth $10,000 to $15,000.

“But that’s fantastic that the car has only been driven an average of 2,000 miles a year. That car’s got a lot of life left in it.

“The vehicle may be at a point because of its age, even with the low mileage, that it may make sense to only have liability coverage on that vehicle instead of having full coverage.

“And the insurer may say, ‘Hey, it would be a lot cheaper since it’s at your kid’s house that you sign the vehicle over to them and have them insure it.’ That’s why you want to talk to an agent about something like this.”

Clark Once Stole His Mom’s Vehicle

I wouldn’t take Clark for a thief. He’s the type of guy that will alert the self-checkout supervisor at the grocery store when the register accidentally applies a discount he shouldn’t be getting.

However, he did once steal a car — from his own mom! It was for good reason, though. And Clark envies Steve, the Clark listener, since his father-in-law decided to stop driving.

“I think it’s wonderful that your father-in-law was willing to give up the keys. That’s something that is a difficult conversation in just about every family,” Clark says.


“And if you’ve never heard the story, I actually had to go steal my mom’s car. She had reached a point she shouldn’t be driving. And I actually took her car away with the agreement of my siblings. And it was a rough passage.

“So it’s great when somebody recognizes for themselves that they shouldn’t be driving anymore.”

Consider Introducing Your Father-in-Law To a Rideshare Service

The worst part about giving up your car keys in old age is losing your independence. Fortunately, we’re in an era where that doesn’t have to be the case.

“I don’t know where in Wisconsin you live,” Clark says.

“If when it’s not convenient in a pinch if he could get around with Uber or Lyft … I know family companionship is part of this. But in an event – I don’t want him to feel stranded if he wants to get somewhere and you’re not available at that time to help.”

Final Thoughts

When your older relative stops driving, you need to call their auto insurance company.

If you’re not keeping their car in the family, you can simply cancel the policy. But if you are keeping the car, you should switch the vehicle’s insurance policy to the name of the family member(s) that will drive it going forward.

In many cases, an older driver like the 92-year-old in this podcast question will have an older vehicle. So if you’re keeping it, you may only need liability insurance.

These are all good questions to go through with your trusted auto insurance agent.

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