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Older drivers’ car insurance
- Driving experience can cut premium costs, but over a certain age prices start to rise
- Drivers over 65 may have a smaller choice of insurers and policies
- Telematics or black box policies could benefit you – so consider comparing these
- While car insurers value safety and experience, when you pass a certain age you’re likely to be faced with a smaller choice of policies and rising premiums
- Using a comparison site like us to review as many options as possible is one way to counter this. You can also look at insurers who specialise in older drivers
- Telematics policies are worth thinking about – the price you pay will be directly linked to how you drive, and how safe the insurer considers it to be
- If you have medical conditions that have to be declared to the DVLA, make sure you disclose them accurately when buying insurance
Elderly drivers: The facts
There are plenty of myths about older drivers: notably that they’re less alert, more dangerous and generally slower behind the wheel than the rest of the driving population. Luckily, the facts commonly dismiss these claims, and older drivers actually make up a surprisingly large portion of road users in the UK.
“The baby-boomers are going into the older population and retirement age group,” said Peter Rodger of the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM). “A higher proportion of that group drive than was previously the case.
Licence renewal, medical conditions and disabilities
In terms of driver competency, the law requires every driver over the age of 70 to apply for a licence renewal. † On top of that, drivers over 70 are also required to reapply every three years thereafter to prove their continued capability.
At each renewal, the driver is legally obliged to disclose any new or altered medical conditions. This may prompt the DVLA to request further information and, in some instances, revoke the driver’s licence altogether. Remember that failing to give accurate information could lead to a hefty fine and can affect your insurance cover in the event of an accident, so be as truthful as possible with your answers.
If you do happen to have any DVLA-reportable medical conditions or disabilities, be prepared for your policy choices to naturally be more restricted. Meanwhile, it’s also worth noting that many insurers will not quote online as they may require further information before deciding whether to offer a quote.
Risks from older drivers
When it comes to the price of elderly car cover, it’s a hot topic that’s sparked much debate – particularly when it comes to the risks posed by older drivers. However, research from Swansea University in 2016 found that young men between 17 and 21 are three to four times more likely to have an accident than 70 year olds.
It also argues: “In general, risk declines rapidly from 17 to 21 and continues to decline through to the late 50s/early 60s before starting to increase again.”
Peter Rodger of IAM notes: “Once you go past 70 then insurance premiums start to rise. At 75, some people start to find it becomes difficult to get insurance.” However, Rodger also claims that, “statistically, the over 70s are the safest group on the road in terms of their involvement in accidents where there are injuries.”
Specialist car insurance for elderly drivers
While insurance companies are exempt from the legislation banning age discrimination, there’s a glimmer of light within this grey area. The government and the insurance industry did reach an agreement in 2012 that requires insurers to ‘signpost’ customers to another company if they turn them down on the basis of their age.
Who offers the best car insurance for older drivers?
Age UK offers specialised car insurance provided by Ageas Insurance, which you would think makes it a natural choice. However, while these policies are specifically aimed at over 50s and have no upper age limit, Age UK was heavily criticised in 2016 with accusations of overcharging and poor value for money. †
Saga offers an alternative with cover also targeted at the over-50s market. Its standard policy allows for any driver to take over the driving mid-journey, and also allows a third party to drive the car back home in the event of a medical emergency.
Meanwhile, RIAS is another provider which offers specialist policies for those at the starting age of 50.
As ever, shopping around is the best option for finding the right car insurance policy for older drivers. And it’s worth bearing in mind that the cheapest policy doesn’t necessarily mean the best – the right policy for you will offer the exact cover and features for your needs.
Cheap car insurance for older drivers
Low mileage can have a positive effect on a quote, while black box insurance (aka telematics) can also be well worth considering. The latter involves fitting a device to your car that records driving data – such as driving speed, journey distance and time of day – while also assessing maneuvering, such as braking and cornering.
“The retired older drivers tend to self-regulate themselves,” said Peter Rodger. “They drive more carefully, they drive less often at night or during rush hours, and their journeys tend to be local. They’re not being bullied by the clock in the same way working people are.”
Gordon Morris, managing director of Age UK Enterprises, said: “Driving brings both freedom and independence to all ages. But it’s particularly important to those in later life, so it’s crucial we help people go on driving as long as possible.
“Given that those in later life use their cars so regularly, it has never been more important for them to be able to access car insurance products that are specifically designed to best meet their individual needs and requirements.”
By Martyn Grant