/ Money, Motoring

Are older drivers being unfairly penalised on car insurance?

Older driver at the wheel

Have you been driving for many years without an accident or making a claim? Do you feel you’re paying over the odds for your car insurance based on the risk you represent? Then there’s a chance you are…

Despite car insurance premiums falling, on average, 16.6% in the last year, according to the AA Index, our members have been contacting us with some eye-watering quotes, many of whom have never made a claim.

The industry’s argument for their high premiums for older drivers is that are more likely to make a claim than younger drivers because they have slower reaction times, poorer eyesight and hearing, increased propensity for confusion, or haven’t driven for a long time.

High premiums for older drivers

But the statistics tell a different story. According to the latest available Association of British Insurers’ data, a 61 to 65-year-old pays almost twice as much in premiums for their level of risk (claims frequency multiplied by claims cost) than an 18-21-year-old.

The data also shows that, in general, the older the driver, the fewer claims they make.

Little’s changed since the last time we looked at car insurance premiums two years ago. Back then, we found that in all of the age groups we analysed (the 61 to 65s, 66 to 70s, 71 to 75s, 75 to 80s and 81 to 85s), the premiums quoted were higher than the risk the drivers in these groups would seem to merit.

Our research found that despite 81 to 85-year-olds being less likely to make a claim, the quotes they received were 50% to 74% higher than people aged 41-45. And despite drivers aged 76 to 80 submitting claims that cost 12% less on average than those aged 41 to 45, the premiums they were quoted were 9% to 23% higher.

We want to hear your experiences. Do you feel you are being unfairly penalised in the price you pay because of your age? How does your insurer justify the premium they charge you?

Do you think older drivers are penalised on the cost of their car insurance?

Yes (60%, 705 Votes)

No (21%, 253 Votes)

Don't know (19%, 224 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,182

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It is FEWER claims, not less claims.

Nicely spotted Terfar – fixed. What do you think of premiums for older drivers?

Patrick, I’ve not experienced any serious problem due to age – but at 68, I don’t consider myself any more than middle-aged. (I expect the young will think I’m ancient, whilst the truly old will have a laugh!)

The usual problem is that often the ‘automated renewal’ tends to be a big hike, so I always hunt around. Several times, I have renewed by going on line to the same provider (think dog), got a new quote which I accepted and simply cancelled the automated renewal. Crazy. If the automated renewal was at the competitive rate, it would save my time and the dog’s administration effort.

I’m now with LV= because of Which? reporting better customer service. Time will tell!

PS I pay around £200 fully comp for the wife and I on an Octavia DSG estate. That seems reasonable.

I have a problem tho not common is really annoying. several times in the last 3 decades i have left the country for various periods always more than 2 years, on returning i have lost all my no claims bonus despite driving with insurance in the relevant countries i have lived in. I returned from Canada and US 4 months ago and bought another car, when trying to get reasonable insurance i trawled the sites but still could get nothing less than 480/ yr I am 67 and have been driving in many countries continuously and in that time have had three accidents none in the last 20 years.
To me insurance companies are as bad as the banks at stealing our money.

I had the same problem, so I always get a letter from the insurer in the country stating my no claims in years and some (not all) companies accept the letter and credit you the NCB. In my case it was RAC who accepted the information. Hope that helps.

Tj says:
4 June 2014

I used to get my car insurance through Churchill but it increased on automatic renewal. When I rang and said I could get it cheaper elsewhere they said they would match the price. No way, should have done it first. I am now with LV, superb and at £163 with one named extra driver for my old W reg Rav4 it is fair at my 72 years.

This situation is appropriate to all forms of insurance. On several occasions I have had a renewal request for both car and house insurance with increased premiums and have found lower cost alternatives. Invariably when I ‘phone the old company to cancel the policy, I am offered a more competitive price. If they had offered this in the first place, I wouldn’t have changed! They seem to operate on the ‘captive audience’ basis where the renewals requests are simply accepted without question.

My problem is because I live in London and get FREE Travel on all forms of Transport in London, I seldom travel by Car (or Motorbike, because I possess Licences to drive both) and this means that I’ve let my Car Insurance lapse. Because the last accident I had, which was my fault, was when I was 26, when I last had Insurance I had a 65% No Claims Discount, which today I have not because this has elapsed. I’m thinking of purchasing a Car because I’m finding difficulty walking and getting on Buses. To my horror I’ve been quoted almost a £1,000 to insure the lowest CC rated Car for 3rd Party, Fire and Theft. I think that’s a tad unfair for a Man that has had an unblemished insurance record for 34 years, before he sold his last Car and just because he’s not been insured with any Insurer for almost six.

Tim Bolt says:
28 July 2014

I insure with Budget and have done for some time.

Received renewal notice quoting £465, checked a comparison site and was quoted £209 – by Budget – so guess what! I opted for the lower quote for the same insurance cover. Definitely worth investigating other options.

Anthony Relph says:
10 March 2015

I am 81 years old. Comprehensive, Rover 75 Connoisseur, 1900 cc. Auto, Diesel, 120.000 + miles.

Never had an accident which I was to blame, never refused insurance, NO claims 60 years. just passed a medical designed to allow me to drive a coach, Double Decker, Articulated lorry, driver them all here and overseas, don’ intend to drive any commercials, my car is garaged, lowest Quoted, £175.00 with additional driver she has a clean licence aged 60 yrs. many thank.

[Hi Anthony, we’ve removed your personal data to protect you from identity theft. Thanks, mods.]

Anthony Relph says:
10 March 2015

Sorry to make it clear please sent a Quote as my above message for my Rover 75 car.

Thanks for your comment Anthony – as you’ll see we’ve just removed some of the data from your post as we wouldn’t want others getting hold of it. Thanks

If just received my renewal notice it’s gone up from 592 pds to 730 pounds despite 9 years ncb im74 yrs old and have a1400cc 2010 Honda mass car

I have recently had a qouth from a well known web ‘compare site’

Being abroad temporarily I suspended my insurance for three months. On renewal the said site were qouthing me double my previous insurance.

I have an impeccable record at 78 including 12 years no claim so needless to say I refused the extorniate increase for allegedly being punished for having the temerity to stop paying needlessly for months alluded to andI told them it would be cheaper for me to hire a taxi.

Is there any way we can avoid the exploitation of aged drivers whose driving records is above the average etc etc ?
Maybe a creditable insurer will emerge !!!??? of insuring those with lowest proven risks in my age range, also as I drive for an average of only 2000 miles per year-they will be encouraged to insure low risk drivers like myself and hundreds of thousands of others!!!

30 January 2019

is this a joke ?? old people pay less then young people …. im paying 250 quid a month for a 1.4 fiesta show me an old person paying this and they should be paying more esp when 65 plus !!!!! there an absolute nightmare on the road and the reason young people get blame is the country is run by old people and of course they dont want to be seen as dangers on the road and why would they wanna pay high premiums when theres young people to blame !!!!

Sadly, Daniel, the accident statistics prove the opposite. Young (below 25) people cause or are involved in most accidents.

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I feel sorry for those who pay high premiums when they are young and never have an accident. They are victims of statistics.

When they don’t make a claim they can build up a decent discount. Obtaining an advanced driving certificate from schemes like Pass Plus (still around?) can give a discount, as can a black box. Insurers work on risk assessment and, until you demonstrate you are a better risk they will use data for your age group, occupation, area you live, car type etc. Risks are assessed from “statistics” and you will benefit from statistics if you live in a lower-risk area, have a better-risk occupation and a lower-risk car. And when you have no accidents you will also benefit.

Young drivers are still being hit with higher premiums irrespective of whether they are good drivers, simply because young drivers on average have more claims. When I was young I drove my fathers car for years before taking out my own insurance, but not having made claims did not give me any discount on my insurance, and having taken over my father’s three year old car I was even driving the same car, living at the same address and doing the same job. I wonder if experience gained by driving a car on someone else’s insurance is taken into account these days.

Both of our two took the IAM Advanced Driving Test within a few months of passing the normal test. Their insurance plummeted. Pass Plus was a bit of a joke; when we investigated it seemed that the discounts were not very good from the very few companies that offered it, and as there was no pass or fail component in it it seemed a bit of a waste.

“irrespective of whether they are good drivers” . I’d suggest the way to assess a good driver is by more advanced tests, that are open to them,with reductions in premiums as Ian has pointed out, and by having an accident free record, also resulting in lower premiums. Black boxes seem a good way to monitor driving style and times when you are out and about; these also, I believe, keep premiums down. Any other ways an insurer can identify “good” – lower risk – drivers?

“because young drivers on average have more claims.“. Which is why they require higher premiums.

The present situation is akin to being assumed guilty until proved innocent. Why not take into account experience driving on someone else’s insurance without having an accident or incurring other claims?

I have nothing against people taking an advanced driving test and maybe we should all do this fairly soon after passing the driving test.

In terms of the risk factor of older versus younger drivers I would suggest that older drivers are much less likely to be driving in the dark which significantly reduces their risk of a collision.

It also seems from incidents reported in the press that more young drivers than older drivers are involved in single-vehicle collisions with trees or other solid objects off the highway. A tree is actually the worst thing to hit – a wall or post will usually give way and absorb some of the impact.

Young drivers should take especial care around Sandringham, however, where some older drivers can be back behind the wheel in a new car within hours of a write-off. I don’t think the insurance industry has an answer for that situation.

I wonder if those older drivers are insured, and if so perhaps with Royal and Son Alliance? Pulling out when you can’t see because of the sun is careless driving.

I realised after this post that the accident was actually the result of a Royal and Sun Alliance. 🙁

Ooooh, that’s truly groanworthy.

daniel butler says:
13 November 2019

also might i add that oaps are more likley to drive up the moterway the wrong way , everyday im almost in an accident due to an oap pulling out of a side road at 5mph with out indicators , also they seem to not care about the give way to the right rule on round abouts and then give hurl abuse at you for nearly hitting them like its your fault , the car insurance companies are all owned by old people , there hardley going to label there fellow oldies as high risk so its the younger drivers that take the blame and are hit with huge premiums ,someone who has the highway code fresh in there mind is alot safer on the road then an older person who has either forgot the highway code or just doesnt care about it because there old and the old thing there above the rules and the law

I think the information the insurance companies have on collisions and risks enables them to make fair judgments on the levels of premium. Most of the elderly people I know do very little driving these days, rarely drive at night, tend to abstain from drugs and excess alcohol, and have many years of driving experience behind them. Some have given up altogether. Sure, some elderly drivers do make mistakes and lose control but they are not the only drivers who do so by a long way.

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Insurance companies have no way of knowing how much experience a driver has driving on someone else’s insurance. You should not be the “main driver” in this circumstance; the insurance companies make that clear.

It has long been a requirement that anyone driving on someone else’s insurance must not be the main driver.

Some people don’t take up driving until later in life, for example out of necessity when their partner has to give up driving or is likely to have their licence removed. Those that I know have not faced the very high premiums that are common for young drivers, even though both are novices and may or may not be safe drivers.

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I’m not doubting that young drivers, especially male ones, are on average more likely to have accidents and claims on their insurance, Duncan. That does not mean that all young males are dangerous drivers. Equally, I’ve seen a few older drivers who probably should not be on the roads but also many who are experienced, still fit to drive and don’t really deserve premium increases just because they are getting older.

nellie dautrich says:
16 July 2019

Ihave first time forgiveness, but any wreck after that it’s goes against you even if it is not your fault. That is Bull because if it is not your fault it is not your fault.

Frank says:
19 October 2020

Now 83 and as fit as I have ever been I suddenly find my insurance has doubled, £208 to £407. I have never been involved in an accident in 65 years of driving including 17 years on the road as a salesman. Specsavers have just given me a clean bill on all fronts. I am curnently driving iro 3,000 miles a year in my old faithful 24 year old Polo but have just bought a nine year old Hyundai i10. If that’s not ageism what is? Surely it can’t be because of the difference in paper value of the two cars?

ROBERT martin says:
31 January 2021


Robert – Although you have not made a claim in sixty years of motoring, the insurance industry does take the view that advancing years over a certain age do increase the risk of a claim.

If you have been paying only £307 a year until now I think you have done very well indeed for some time; the extra £143 is nearly a 50% hike which is probably quite a shock but I don’t think it is unrepresentative. You shopped around and saved over £50 on an alternative quotation; it is possible that there is a better deal to be done if you carry on searching or go to an independent broker. I would recommend the latter for the cost of a phone call, or call in if you have one in your local area.

If you used a comparison website, be aware that some of the best quotations are not represented because the margin is not sufficient to cover the website’s commission, moreover they do not have the capacity to reflect the particular requirements of individual customers so they focus on standard composite policies that are typical across a number of insurers so are therefore easily comparable.