/ Money, Motoring

Are older drivers overcharged for their car insurance?

We’ve found that older drivers are facing much higher car insurance quotes. That must be because they’re riskier than younger motorists and make more expensive claims… right?

Our latest investigation has found that older drivers, notably 81 to 85 year olds, are actually less likely to make claims on their car insurance.

However, we found that these motorists are often faced with premium quotes 50-74% higher than those for people aged 41-45. And when older drivers do put in a claim, on average it costs just 2% more.

High quotations for older drivers

The prospect of higher than justified premium rates seems a reality for all drivers aged 61-85. In all the age groups we analysed (61-65, 66-70, 71-75, 75-80 and 81-85) the premiums quoted to us were higher than the relative risk of the drivers would seem to merit.

Insurers are currently exempt from the ban on age discrimination, but they must publish annual aggregated data on claims frequency and costs to justify charging higher premiums for certain age groups. When we spoke to the Association of British Insurers 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 41-45 year olds, which reflects the increased claims risk older drivers represent. Obviously this is much less than the 50-74% 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.’

We disagree and think that there’s a clear correlation between the prices you’re quoted and the premium you end up paying.

Too old to get insurance?

Of course, older drivers also have the problem of getting car insurance in the first place. Many of the UK’s largest insurers are still imposing maximum age limits – 14 of the top 30 car insurers we looked at set the bar at aged 85 or below.

And although insurers aren’t obliged to provide cover for customers of all ages, new ‘signposting’ rules mean they should at least help you find an insurer that is prepared to cover them.

We actually found the UK’s largest insurance company, Direct Line Group, failing to do so. A spokesperson said it would be looking into this.

So, if you’re over 60, what have you had to pay to cover your car? Is it much more than what your son or daughter pays? Did you struggle to get your car insured at all?


I’m 67 years old. Last month I paid £163.30 to renew my comprehensive policy on a Vauxhall Corsa.


I’m 75 and I pay £320.17 a year for my Jaguar XJSport

caleb adams says:
20 January 2017

i am 75 my cover has almost doubled in the last year no reason given. i am ex hgv driver never claimed in my long driving career for any accidents. the reason can only be my age. i have no health issues am a lifelong non smoker
.i keep my self fit . i avoid peak times and i am never in a hurry to get anywhere.

N.L.N. says:
21 September 2012

I’m 76 and my wife is 74 years old. We drive a Chevrolet Matiz, 800 CC car and our insurance premium has jumped up from £379 in 2011/12 to £697 (Or from £200.+ for 2010/11) for the current year, for no apparent reason other than being old. That is from SAGA which supposed to provide insurance for the older generation. and it is for a modest, less than 6000 annual mileage. Unfortunately none of the comparison websites can find anything cheaper.
Two years ago, I did find a cover on the internet cheaper than quoted by Saga, and they matched-it. ( for one year only) Which was £200. So I’m convinced that I’m the victim of the so called “shared information” between insurance companies.


Older drivers certainly are charged too much for their car insurance relative to the risks. I’m generalising I know, but they tend to drive cautiously and compliantly, travel shorter distances avoiding rush hours and traffic peaks, are not usually involved in the school run, look after their cars well and insure them correctly [often choosing a company with a better reputation but a higher premium], and organise their journeys to prevent driving in the dark or tiring schedules. Mike above has clearly earned superb credits to have such a low premium and perhaps location is the key to the statistical analysis that the insurance wonks apply to the premiums. For sure, loyalty to an insurer counts for little these days; they all have access to the ABI database and know the true claims history before confirming a quote so it’s probably just a question of their overall customer profile that determines their rates. It pays to shop around.


I agree, John. What annoys me most is having to shop around despite never having a claim on my car insurance other than for the odd window replacement.

My current insurance company would not accept the renewal invitation letter from my previous insurer as evidence of no-claims discount, even though this was clearly marked as 9 years (the maximum they offered). Why can’t the companies share NCD information to avoid this messing about?


I agree Wavechange – that is very annoying and shows that the market is far from even-handed . The companies look for any evidence of claims but take little trouble to establish a “no claims” record. They used to take the applicant’s word for it relying on a tendency towards honesty for fear of voiding the cover; now they have access to massive inter-active databases but it doesn’t suit them to look up the positive factors and give credit for them. To disregard evidence when offered [as in your example] and not even attempt to verify it is very underhand. What has happened to honour, probity, and equity?


I am 69 and pay £158.85 on my Renault Megane.

Tony c says:
22 February 2017

Who with it seems very cheap ,I am doing my annual rounds of the car insurers,why after a year free of claims do they have to put premiums by (in my case )£75


All sorts of reasons are put out to justify the rise in insurance premiums , from young drivers – biggest accidents/ fraudulent claims /increase in claims / government imposed tax increases etc but yours going up by £75 looks excessive Tony , shop around , I am with the Co-op insurance at present and have a good deal.


I am 81 and I have an eleven year old Toyota Yaris. I was insured by Toyota for many years, and happily so. But last year in my 80th year the premium went up so much, I decided to shop around, and I looked in Money Marketplace. VG came out about £100 cheaper, and I returned to them again this year, paying £234. I have never made a claim, and only drive locally, so the mileage is very small, but that isn’t taken into consideration. I will turn 82 before my insurance is due, so it will be interesting to see what happens then.

franjam says:
21 September 2012

Why is it, when filling in details on car insurance websites, almost impossible to find a tick box that asks “Have you passed an Advanced Driving Test.”
In fact that should asked even if you are not an older driver.


I have read that it is not a useful indicator of risk compared with claims record, no-claims discount and age. If you shop around you can probably find a company that will offer a discount for having the qualification but that does not mean that it will offer the best value cover.

I was annoyed that I could not get a discount for having driven for ten years on my father’s insurance. That was a long time ago, but I believe this still applies.


I was the spouse on my husband’s insurance from 1968 to 2002, and never made a claim from the insurance. Toyota were very good to me when my husband died in 2002, and at the age of 72 I took over his insurance and I had the full no claims and also paid less because I was a woman.

But last year I had to think about the amount I would be saving by shopping around because I was 80. hence, my previous message. Money is tighter now, and the car is an expensive commodity, but it gives me my independence.

franjam says:
21 September 2012

Wavechange, re. Advanced Driver discount.
Yes I shopped around and found a saving of £80+ with Adrian Flux Insurance Svcs.
vs R.I.A.S renewal quote, (which they could not/would not match). The only downside I could find was higher excess for windscreen replacement. As I had only replaced one in 53 yrs.I did not consider this an issue.
At the age of 21, after 4 yrs as co-driver on my father’s insurance, with a bit of haggling, I was given 20% N.C.D. I was the proud owner of a 23 yr old Morris Ten, but that was a long time ago.

Conclusion. It pays to shop around and haggle, hagggle, haggle.


As a mere 68-year-old, I can only think the reason the companies charge as they do is they think they can get away with it, as older drivers come from a generation that is unlikely to want to spend long on a full shop-around. Short of bringing a USA-style class action for ageism against the ABI or individual insurers (any interest, Which??) the best option is probably to go to an insurance agent and let them do the research.


My car insurance jumped this year. I argued with Sainsburys I could get it cheaper and they reduced
the amount enough not to bother changing. They did however increase the amount later because
I could not prove 9 years no claim bonus. My previous insurance(2 years prior) only no claimed for 6 yrears – I was ‘ fooled again’!


I’m 82 – cost for my 1999 Hyundai Lantra was £600 for fully comprehensive cover with 75% guaranteed NCD – so looked around and found Churchill offering similar cover for £400 – My insurer matched the price – this year it is £410 – Never had an accident (or traffic offence) in 66 years – except for a police car crashing into my properly parked car at 0500 while I was asleep in the house last year.
The premium increased from £200 for a Nissan Bluebird when I bought the Hyundai a few years ago


I drive in East London – and have done so.for 40 years. I do understand that location has an enormous impact on premium.


Parking on the street affects premiums too.

Robert says:
19 January 2016

Hi Richard.
Insurance for my Vauxhall Insignia my renewal for this went up from £480 to a Staggering .
£1600. with RAC insurance I am 86 years old but still a very good driver of over 60years accident free driving .I declined the offer

Ticker John says:
23 September 2012

I am running a 2011 Citroen C4 VTR+that Iv’e had from new .My insurance is with SAGA and is
full comp. and I’m 80 yrs old. ,I have very low claim record, 60% n.c. bonus and I am charged
:- £815. per annum,
I live in” the leafy suburbs” in an area of low car crime. IMHO .
I do very low mileage . and drive (not at 20 mph ) but with respect for other road users. having always enjoyed driving fast cars safely !!
When I was test driving this C4 ,I was insured pro-tem by Citroen insurance, and they asked if I wished to “take up their policy”. I declined without looking at their terms, foolishly perhaps,but
thought the SAGA was more for the OLDER group.??
I think that us Oldies, are paying for ‘whip-lash claim culture ‘ that have beset the vehicle insurance
Business UNCHECKED for too long .
regards “Ticker john”..


The only way of finding out whether you are paying over the odds is to get other quotations, John. For many years my insurance included any driver over 25, but I discovered that that this had become a very expensive option. Choosing a very low excess on claims is another reason for higher premiums.

My local Citroen dealership has switched to Skoda. The reason given was that although new Citroens are very good value for money, repairs and servicing are extremely expensive. If this is true it could affect premiums.


I pay £260 at the age of 61 and this is my second year with John Lewis. I drive a Yaris.


I’m 68 and have just renewed a comprehensive policy for a 1.3 Toyota Yaris at £164.

Ticker John says:
1 October 2012

please refrain from putting my full name on any future comment I may make,and please use nickname “Ticker John” instead .
I trust this request is in order.


Hi Ticker, I’ve changed that in your previous comment. If you register, make sure you pick the username you’d like others to see: https://conversation.which.co.uk/register


Tony Palmer says:
25 October 2012

Just had Marks and Spencer unable to obtain a quote to re-insure my car, after over 5 years with them. I am in excellent health, held a clean licence for nearly 50 years, live in a very quiet part of Sussex, drive an ordinary car which is under 4 years old and owned since new. I have driven only 20,000 miles in last 4 years. Only change in circumstances since last year – I turned 66 recently!!!!
Strangely they can insure my wife with a similar profile and I can get a quote from them from on price comparison sites. I suspect a serious case of ageism and will take it further.

mr. c . scott says:
23 August 2013

my car insurance last year went from 440 too nearly 900 pounds that was with Lv a which reccomeneded provider when i told them to think again or shoveit they came back in ten minuites which was the time itold them i would alow them the new quote 400 happy days!


Privilege quote for a diesel jaguar approx £850. Went age uk and the price is £3839. how does that work.

Toby Jug says:
16 June 2017

Why are the insurance companies exempt from “Ageism”. That, in itself, is discrimination!.


This country is a bit secretive in the type of driver involved in road death/accidents ,not so in the USA- the biggest cause of death in young people in the USA is ROAD ACCIDENTS ( while driving ) -2,333 deaths -16-19 years old -221,313 emergency room treatments . In case of arguments this is taken from a US government website and 2015 figures -CDC.GOV -Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Ah ! got a British one – 2009 – car accidents- age/gender – BOTH male/female peak at 30 % at the ages of 15-24 years old. ,old drivers down to nearly zero-60-84-zero (approx ) -RAC Foundation .org


I don’t know the evidence that we are secretive. Insurance is based on risk and these statistics will be a necessary part of the information they need. Putting in “road accident statistics” into Google brings up a number of UK klinks such as this, which I have not had time to look at:
Reported Road Accident Statistics – Parliament UK


I had a look through UK.gov website on car accidents told you everything-weather , road types etc etc etc but not a word about age group related.


This is the content of a document provided for MPs and on the web that I referenced above. It does include age.

Reported Road Accident Statistics
Standard Note: SN/SG/2198
Last updated: 24 October 2013
Author: Matthew Keep & Tom Rutherford
Social and General Statistics Section

A. Reported road casualties by severity 2
B. Reported road casualties by road type and severity 6
C. Reported road casualties by road user type and severity 8
D. Reported road casualties by time of accident and severity 10
E. Reported road casualties by age and road user type 11
F. Breath testing among drivers involved in accidents 13
G. International comparisons of road deaths 14
H. Further Information 16


I am looking at government —National Statistics-reported road causalities in GB -main results-2015 and even lumped in with older people the graph still shows 68 % were between 16 and 59 —-+60 = 28 %. and the government websites make it very hard to get age related info in detail many on their websites wont include it and only say “user groups ” . The RAC -Foundation arent as devious and the statistics are for full year -2015- quote – DEATHS from road accidents are much more prevalent among the UNDER 25,s than any other causes of death often reported by the media -between the ages of 15-24 a young person is twice as likely to die from a road accident than being assaulted etc / four times as likely to die from a road accident than from drugs /alcohol poisoning (substance ) .


The data provided in Parliament UK reports and statistics comes from the government. The government gets it from local highway authorities who keep detailed statistics of all fatal and personal injury incidents on UK roads including details of age and sex. The information is also shared by and with the police authorities. The statistics are used to consider where safety improvements are necessary and to help prioritise them.

A particularly significant statistic is single-vehicle incidents which are much more closely associated with young drivers. These include cases where the vehicle is out of control and in collision with an immovable object like a tree; demolishes a wall or other barrier; runs into a property; or runs off the road and turns over or falls into a ditch.

There was a terrible incident in our area recently when four teenagers lost their lives; the driver lost control at a junction and the car hit a tree; no one survived. The driver was a local ‘boy hero’ who had been driving performance vehicles for some time. Strangely, his death was seen as the most tragic; had he survived there is no doubt he would have been charged and convicted of multiple manslaughter.

Although older drivers tend to drive more carefully and tend to only drive on local roads and in the daylight, there is a worrying number of fatal collisions involving drivers over seventy and many incidents that do not cause death or injury but are extremely serious [like driving on the wrong carriageway, or mounting the footway]. Some of the older-driver incidents do unfortunately lead to the death of the driver or another road user. All the statistics feed into a risk assessment process and are weighted according to different factors.

I don’t think insurance companies are “exempt from ageism” as Toby Jug contends. Age is a relevant factor at each end of the spectrum, is useful in making insurance cover and premiums proportionate to identifiable risks, and is not an unlawful form of discrimination in this case. The alternative – a universal premium weighting – would mean a big hike for those giving rise to the least and lowest claims.