Car insurance woes for older driversWhich? finds unfairly high motor insurance quotes

21 September 2012

Car insurance

A new Which? investigation has found that older drivers are often quoted higher car insurance premiums despite posing less risk than those 40 years younger.

Older drivers face disproportionately high car insurance

The Which? research found that motorists aged 81 to 85 are hardest hit on car insurance. Which? found they received quotes 50% to 74% higher than people aged 41 to 45. However, they’re less likely to make a claim and, when they do, it costs just 2% more on average.

Drivers aged 76 to 80 are also potentially being penalised by car insurance companies. They’re submitting claims that cost 12% less on average than those aged 41 to 45 but face quoted premiums 9% to 23% higher than for the younger age group.

The prospect of higher than justifiable premiums seems a reality for all drivers aged 61 to 85. Although the premiums quoted were sometimes lower for the age groups we analysed in this range, they were higher than the relative risk of the drivers in these groups would seem to merit.

Many car insurers still have age limits

Older drivers also have a limited range of companies from which they can source an affordable rate. Which? looked at the online quote facilities of the top 30 car insurance companies to see whether they still exclude new customers over a certain age.

We found that 21 of the 30 have maximum age limits for new customers and 14 set the bar at age 85 or below. So if you’re one of the 1.5 million people aged over 85, almost half the big car insurance companies don’t want your business.

Car insurance industry response

When we spoke to the Association of British Insurers (ABI) about our findings, it said: 'Our figures on average premiums paid by those over age 80 show that they are on average 3% higher than those for 41 to 45 year olds, which reflects the increased claims risk older drivers represent. 

'Obviously this is much less than the 50% to 74% Which? quotes and may well be because the Which? percentage range reflects what older drivers were quoted by comparison websites and not what they actually paid for their insurance cover.'

Which? insurance expert Paul Davies responded: 'We disagree with the ABI and think there is a clear correlation between prices quoted and the premium you end up paying. Millions of people now use comparison sites to arrange their car insurance and the quotes we received will reflect what many consumers actually pay for their cover.'

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