Insurance: Fresh hope for older drivers

Posted on April 12th, 2012 | Categories - News

Older people might find it easier to get car and travel insurance following a recent announcement.

It has long been a cause of frustration that some insurers make more elderly people pay more for their motor or travel insurance, or even refuse cover because of age on some of their products.

However, an agreement which started last week, between the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and the British Insurance Brokers Association (BIBA) means that elderly consumers will be referred to BIBA’s “Find a Broker” service if an insurance company cannot provide cover due to age or product restrictions.

LV (formerly Liverpool Victoria) has already announced that it is removing the upper age limit on its car insurance policies, having previously refused cover for anyone over the age of 86. LV has previously removed the maximum age on its travel insurance policies.

Figures from Defaqto, the financial analyst firm, show that getting insurance for more elderly people can be a real problem. Of 448 annual travel insurance policies currently available, around a quarter will not insure people over the age of 74. When it comes to car insurance around a 20% of available policies would not insure past the age of 80.

Mike Powell, Insight Analyst at Defaqto, said: “As age increases the number of available policies decreases, for example someone aged 86 can choose from only 25 per cent of the available policies”

Insurance costs

Although the new agreement between the ABI and the BIBA may help improve access to insurance companies who will insure more elderly people it remains to be seen whether the number of policies available to this group will increase or if it will have any effect on premiums.

Under the new agreement the ABI will publish claims data, broken down by age, to demonstrate whether more elderly people represent a greater degree of risk and should therefore pay higher premiums.

At least one expert says premiums should not rise with age, Debora Price, from the Institute of Gerontology at King’s College London says: “There has been a lot of research in the past few years and the statistical evidence for the extent to which older people are a higher risk is very mixed, the higher premiums are not really evidence based.”

For travel, car as well as home insurance there are of course specialist insurers and brokers, such as Sage, Age UK and Castle Cover Home Insurance, who specialise in providing cover for more elderly people.

Saving money on insurance

Insurance experts believe there are many things more elderly people can do to save money on their insurance.

When it comes to car insurance you should make sure that the cover you have accurately reflects how often you use the car and the mileage you do. For example if you don’t work or use your car at work, make sure you are not paying for business cover and if you only do a small number of miles each year your insurer may well offer you a discount.

For travel insurance try and find insurers who include as many medical conditions as possible for free and for regular travellers, who make at least two trips a year, an annual multi trip policy could work out to be cheaper.

Trying different levels of excess may also help to reduce your premium; experts warn though that you should be careful here not to take your excess to such a high level that a claim becomes uneconomic.