If you're a driver aged 70 or above then you've probably started to notice the price of your car insurance creeping up.
It’s a cruel irony that as we reach retirement and start to rely on cars a bit more to make the most of our free time, many of us are stung with higher premiums and even a refusal to insure us at all once we’ve reached 70. With the number of people aged 70 or above with a driving license exceeding 5 million for the very first time in 2018, that’s an enormous number of people who may have been refused cover or forced to fork out big money on a policy, simply for the privilege of having a 70th birthday.
So why is it that after all those years of experience on the roads, many insurance companies penalise older road-users and drive them towards specialist companies such as Age Co, who don’t have upper age limits...
Older drivers have been victim to a myth that they are unsafe on the roads for too long now. Statistics show that they are certainly not the most likely age group to be involved in an accident on the road, however elderly drivers that are involved in car accidents are more likely to be seriously hurt or killed than other drivers. To be clear, elderly drivers are more likely to be a fatality in an accident, but they are not the most likely age group to cause a fatality to the occupant of another vehicle.
Regardless of the research however, quite simply age should not be used as the determining factor when it comes to deciding how much someone should pay for car insurance. Unjustified age discrimination is illegal in most other parts of day-to-day life in the UK, it should be illegal in the insurance and financial services industry too. For too long insurers have not priced car insurance according to the real risk posed by different age groups, over-charging older people based on nothing more than their age. We believe that there should be no upper age limits and no discriminatory policies within car insurance.
Now that you know why some car insurance providers decide to refuse drivers over 70, you’ll most likely want to know how you can lessen the blow and still afford to stay on the road during retirement. There are steps you can take to reduce your insurance and get the best deal, here are just some that could help older drivers:
If you’re an experienced driver, then you’ll already know the importance of shopping around for the best car insurance deal. But as you get older you’ll find it’s even more crucial to consider all options, and to start looking at companies you may not have considered before, who specialise in covering older drivers. Age UK Car Insurance design their policies to suit drivers over 50, and so many older drivers find that they are better off with us than with a provider that views them as a risk.
The main asset that all those years of experience on the road will give you is your No Claims Discount. This will usually make a big impact on the cost of your car insurance, and so it’s important to protect it. You may decide to pay for small bumps and scrapes yourself, but the best way to protect your bonus is to avoids bumps in the first place by being self-aware and taking action if you notice that your health is inhibiting your ability to drive safely.
Older drivers are more likely to have ‘failed to look’ crashes, so always be aware of health problems that could impact upon your ability to observe:
Your hearing, mobility, medication and general health can all impact upon your driving so be honest and practical when self-assessing your capabilities to avoid putting yourself and others in danger and risking your No Claims Discount.
Most drivers find that they’re on the road less after they give up work, so be sure to declare this to your insurer if this is the case. A lower mileage often means cheaper car insurance, so if you’ve reduced your driving in later life then it could work to your advantage.
Again, if you’ve been driving for years and years then you’ll probably have learned all the tricks that could bring your car insurance down, including picking a car that is cheap to insure and parking it off-road, ideally in a garage. This is all still relevant to car insurance for over 70s, so you may be better off picking a safe car that is cheap to insure than something flashy and difficult to insure.
Age UK Car Insurance was created by Age UK charity in response to feedback that many older drivers were struggling to insure their cars with companies that either excluded them entirely or charged them extortionate prices. Age UK Car Insurance takes the view that experienced and cautious drivers should be rewarded with policies that are designed to fit their needs, and that no one should be refused car insurance based on their age alone. As such, they only work with providers that meet Age UK’s standards of service for older customers.
*10% of all customers who took out a Comprehensive policy starting between December 2017 and May 2018 paid £201.33 or less (includes insurance premium tax at the applicable rate).