It’s a well known fact that the more experience you have as a driver the cheaper your car insurance is more likely to be. So, with this being the case, it makes sense that the older the driver, the more experienced they should be and therefore their car insurance should lessen with every passing year. However, with news from the licensing agency that the number of motorists aged 80 or over has now broken through the million barrier for the very first time, insurance companies are beginning to grow wary of the senior driver and are either increasing their premiums or in some instances refusing to insure them at all.
The current law states that when a person reaches the age of 70 they must renew their driving licence and this process must be repeated every three years. It doesn’t cost anything to renew a driving licence and you can either apply online at Gov.uk or by filling in the relevant forms that are available from the Post Office. But, this doesn’t mean that a driving test must be retaken, just simply that the licence must be kept up to date with any medical conditions, which could affect the persons ability to drive safely. This could include eye conditions, Parkinson’s disease, Epilepsy, heart conditions and any other condition that would pose a risk to both the driver and other drivers on the road. Ian Crowder from the AA says, “Provided you remain in good health, and don’t start clocking up excessive motoring offences or accident claims, there is no reason why you should not go on motoring into your nineties and beyond. They are still much safer than very young drivers, although we have to acknowledge that every year we will have a few cases of a driver going down a motorway the wrong way before hitting something, and they are usually older drivers. Sometimes there are cases of a heart attack at the wheel.”
If a person is in good health, has good eyesight and has years of good driving experience behind them then why have car insurance premiums risen so much recently for the over 70s? Statistics from the Department of Transport show that drivers aged over 80 are involved in seven times more fatal accidents per driver than those in their 50s and more than 50,000 have penalty convictions on their licences. This, unfortunately, has a knock on effect on premiums and according to the latest British Insurance Premium Index, over the past year car insurance costs for the over 7os group have risen by 17%. Compare this to the increase on premiums for the over 5os; 15% and for under 22 year olds; 11% and it’s clear that the older driver is paying the price for the privilege of driving in their twilight years.
If you are an older driver, don’t despair, as there are still a number of ways in which you can cut the costs of your car insurance that means you can afford to carry on driving well into your 80s, 90s and beyond.
Choose your car wisely
The type of car you drive will seriously affect the amount you pay on your car insurance. Vehicles are categorized into 50 different groups, with 1 being the lowest all the way up to the highest group, 50. The higher the group, the more you will pay, so if you want cheaper car insurance it means you should be aiming for a low group car. To check out which car falls into which group, visit www.thatcham.org and enter the vehicle’s make, model and engine size.
Do you need all of the optional extras?
The majority of car insurance on offer to older drivers includes optional extras, which aren’t always entirely necessary. For example, some policies may include car breakdown cover and legal protection, which although for some people is incredibly beneficial, others may not really get their money’s worth from it. It is worth shopping around to see whether you can get this kind of cover at a cheaper rate from a separate provider, rather than as part of your car insurance policy, as it is these optional extras that can bump up the price of your premium and will cost you more in the long term.
Look for age specific providers
Certain insurance providers state point blank that they will not insure drivers over a certain, whereas others may well be happy to insure the older driver, but the policy will come at a hefty price! This is one of the reasons why we would recommend starting your research with some of the age specific providers, who target their insurance products at the older market and in most instances can offer the best and most appropriate policies. Well known providers of specialist older driver policies include:
Will insure up to the age of 120
Will insure up to the age of 100
If you already have an existing car insurance policy and you reach their specified upper age limit it is the responsibility of your provider to put you in touch with an insurance broker to help find you another policy. If you would prefer to take matters into your own hands you can find insurance brokers in your area on the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) website.
Have you retired?
If you have recently retired, or are due to retire in the near future it is definitely worth letting your insurer know, because if you use your car to get to and from your workplace, your mileage is likely to drastically reduce when you no longer need to do the commute. Fewer miles means lower premiums! Also, make sure you change your policy from commuting to social and domestic use as this too should help lower the cost.
Don’t assume your existing insurance provider is the cheapest
You may well have been with the same insurance provider for years and yes you may also have built up lots of no claims bonus and built up a really strong relationship that has resulted in what seems like an absolutely unbeatable rate, but don’t for one minute presume that this is the cheapest you could possibly get it. It is worth remembering that all of the best deals are save for new customers, so always do your research and hunt around for what is being offered elsewhere.
Go back to driving school
We’re not saying you can’t drive properly, but if you consider joining the Institute of Advanced Drivers and take their Advanced Driving Test you can expect to be offered a discount on your car insurance. Older drivers are notoriously more cautious, hesitant and generally slower on the roads, which can sometimes cause more accidents than a younger, more reckless driver, so any extra driving qualifications you hold will help prove your driving capability.
Get fitted with a black box
This relatively new concept has been predominantly sold to new, younger drivers, however this could also be hugely beneficial to older motorists and is an option definitely worth considering. Some specialist insurers, like Coverbox, issues policies based on your driving skills.? A black box is fitted under the bonnet of your car and this then monitors your day to day driving; if you’re a good driver, have low mileage and don’t travel at peak times then your insurer will reward you with lower premiums.
For further advice on how to cut the cost of your car insurance, read our article ‘Save Money on your car Insurance TODAY!‘.