The average UK driver can expect to be quoted around £641 for their car insurance, according to data from the AA’s British Insurance Premium Index. But how many of us are ‘average’?
If you’re between 60 and 69, that figure goes down to £389. At the other end of the spectrum (if you have the misfortune to be under 23), it spirals to a hair-raising £1,477.
Record high premiums
As is well publicised, premiums across the board are at record highs. Across the long term, the industry has blamed much of this on surging numbers of whiplash injury claims – which the government has repeatedly attempted to address, with mixed results. And more recently, a series of tax rises and legislative changes have added to the concoction, ratcheting prices up further.
Indeed, newly released data from the insurance trade body (the Association of British Insurance) suggests that not only are premiums at their highest – but the rate at which they’ve been going up over the past year is also the highest on record.
Premiums for the youngest drivers
In all of this, the biggest long term price rises have been incurred by the youngest drivers – who have seen the cheapest quotes available to them go up by £258 since the end of 2010, undoubtedly making driving an increasingly impractical choice.
Older drivers’ premiums
However, older drivers – while generally paying less – have seen the steepest proportional rises over that period. Premiums for those aged 60-69 have gone up by a third (31%) from £297 to £389. Meanwhile, for those over 70 the rise has been almost half – from £363 to £541 – or 49%. A noticeable squeeze.
Do you feel you are punished by your car insurance for your age?
Yes (85%, 780 Votes)
No (15%, 141 Votes)
Total Voters: 921
Generally, young and older drivers are charged more than those in the middle as they’re perceived by insurers to be at a statistically greater risk of making costly claims – particularly ones involving personal injury.
What’s more, while younger drivers can at least look forward to their age working in their favour as they get older, industry data tends to suggest that once you’re in your sixties it will increasingly work against you.
Premiums in retirement
In a recent piece of Which? research (you can find more on this the August issue of Which? Magazine), we tested this by obtaining quotes for drivers of various ages (but identical in most other respects) from twelve insurers. With one of our fictitious drivers – living in the North East and driving a Ford Focus – the difference in premium the driver would pay depending on whether they were 65 or 80 was, at lowest, £164 and at highest, £528 depending on insurer.
Of course, this is one scenario – and many of us won’t fit into the ‘average’ bracket, either. What’s your experience been? Has age – young or old – proved a hurdle to you when getting affordable car insurance (and how have you dealt with that, if so), or has it been relatively smooth sailing (driving) over the years?