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Car Insurance in your 90s - What older drivers such as the Duke of Edinburgh should be paying

Eleanor Newis
Jan 29, 2019


One customer saw their premium soar despite having no accidents.

A motorist called Peter Newton, who is 90, found that his premium dramatically went up recently, even though he has a 10-year no-claims record.

Newton drives around 10,000 each year, and often travels across the UK, meandering from Sussex to Scotland. He has a 10-year no-claims record and last year he also passed a voluntary driving assessment with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (Rospa) with flying colours.

It was therefore a surprise when his insurer, Saga (a specialist firm for older drivers) dramatically increased his premium from £717 to £2,033 in December when his policy came up for renewal.

Newton worked in the motor industry for much of his life. He was shocked and thought that the premium price was a printing error at first. When he spoke to Saga, he was told the company would decrease the price to £1,175 but go no lower, and they would offer no explanation as to why they had asked for more than £2,000. This was a 64% increase on the year before.

Newton told The Guardian: ‘In 2017-18 I paid £717, which in itself is a lot of money for a 1.4 litre five-door saloon. In the end I have had to pay £1,097 after altering my excess to lower the premium. How can my premium be increased by such a large amount when I am only one year older?’

The Duke of Edinburgh, who is 97, has hit headlines recently after crashing into another car and leaving one of its passengers with a broken wrist. This accident has given rise to a discussion throughout the country about whether older drivers are a problem on Britain’s roads.

In the UK, when drivers reach 70 they have to renew their licence every three years by completing a self-assessment form about their health.

Newton has said that he would be happy to take further tests — he was alerted to the possibility of taking a test with Rospa after seeing an ITV series called 100 Year Old Drivers.

But he says that older drivers are being ripped off by insurance companies. He tried shopping around, but found that Aviva bars anyone over 84 from taking out a policy, and relatively few insurers were willing to even offer him quotes. One of the prices he did receive was ‘a staggering £3,800’. 

Aviva confirmed to The Guardian that it does refuse applications from people 84 or older, but says it will offer cover to existing customers who reach that age.

The reasoning behind these price hikes is that older drivers are riskier. Data from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) shows that the costs of claims escalate with age.


The ABI says: ‘Industry claims data points to the average cost of a motor claim increasing once you are aged over 80. For drivers over the age of 90, the average motor claim is £5,670. This compares with £4,195 for drivers aged 18-20.’ 

However, it is worth taking into account that the frequency of claims amongst older drivers is much less than that amongst younger drivers.

Saga maintains that the increase in Newton’s premium was a technical error. They said:

‘The renewal premium offered to Mr Newton in November 2018 was incorrect as a system error occurred. When Mr Newton raised this, an error by the agent meant he was again requited an incorrect premium. We have offered Mr Newton a refund of £265.04 and total compensation of £225 for the delay in resolving his complaint. He has received £175 so far and the rest will be sent to him shortly.’

The older you get, the more important it is to look for the right car insurance policy and the best deal. Insurers do generally charge more as you get older, but there are still bargains out there if you know where to look. 

By using a price comparison website like A Spokesman Said, you can find out where to look for the best deals and make sure you’re not losing your hard-earned cash to car insurance firms.

 

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