Car Insurance – It’s Getting Increasingly Expensive When You’re Elderly

According to the Institute of Advanced Motoring (IAM), there were 550 serious motor vehicle accidents last year in which the driver was more than 70 years old and was seriously hurt or killed. This statistic is 8% of the total national 7,035 similar accidents. This means that drivers over 70 have more serious injuries per mile than any other segment of the population. The Association of British Insurers supports this view. Their research has shown that drivers over 70 years old are 13% more likely to claim on their insurance than drivers between 40-50.

This is a problem for the elderly driver and their families, as well as the police, insurance companies, and all emergency services.

The insurance industry will likely respond in a predictable manner. Many insurance companies believe that drivers older than 80 years old are at the highest risk. They charge premiums to reflect this. Some insurance companies begin to increase premiums when the driver turns 60. At 70, many insurance policies will not offer coverage. Esure and Norwich Union won’t offer coverage after 70, and the pool of specialised insurers that insure elderly drivers narrows down to 80. Market policies like Age Concern and Help for the Aged have no upper limit. Cornhill will only accept new policyholders who are at least 84 years old. However, if you have been insured by Cornhill for more than a few decades, there is no upper limit. Saga and RIAS are happy to accept older drivers.

Car insurance prices are based on past claims experience. A 75-year-old male driver could expect to pay 33% more than if they were 50. The premiums will reach boy racer levels by the time the driver turns 80. Keep smiling at the lowest premiums that you will ever see if you are in your 50s. They won’t last forever.

Even worse is the case for those who sex more freely. While younger women are known for being safe drivers, they tend to be more likely to get into accidents as they age. Male drivers are better with age. (Was that not something we’ve heard before?) Senior women drivers pay the highest car insurance rates.

It is a fact of biology that the older you get, the worse your eyesight and reaction times will be. Older drivers can easily become confused and disorientated as traffic becomes heavier and more complex. Just a split second delay can make all the difference in avoiding an accident or being close to it. Insurers are responding by insisting that older drivers get a medical check before they will provide insurance. It is best to establish a clean record of no claims and then purchase No Claims Protection. Although this protection is more expensive, it is well worth the cost. You should also make sure that you cover any little bumps.

There are simple steps older drivers and all drivers can take to decrease their chances of being in an accident. It is often about the little things and being aware of possible problems. Car parks, for example, are a breeding ground of small accidents. This is why you need to take extra care. You should walk around the car to check how much room there is before you get back into it. You should then carefully move outwards, making sure no cars are parking in your area. Next, if your vision has become more blurred with age, be extra careful at intersections and when you reverse. You’ll improve your vision by moving your head and rotating your shoulders.

Many policies designed for older motorists include special provisions. Saga’s policy, for instance, allows ex-company car drivers to use any no claims records they have. And if a married couple are insured and one of the partners decides to stop driving, then the spouse may take over the no-claims record. Some policies provide full coverage for anyone who takes control of driving in an emergency. Cornhill will even payout £250 if the DVLA stops you from driving for health issues associated with age.

The UK Government is looking at the issue of older drivers driving in poor health as part of its efforts to decrease the number of car accidents involving them. The UK Government seems to be contemplating obligatory health screenings for elderly motorists. Other local councils are also introducing their own initiatives. Torbay council has created a program encouraging families and GPs to be more responsible for encouraging older drivers to stop driving. Torbay council spokeswoman for road safety said, “The problem with the elderly is that they don’t always know when it’s time to stop driving. So those closest to them have to take responsibility.”

The Institute of Advanced Motorists has conducted a survey to confirm that older drivers are aware of the increased risk of being involved in an accident. Seventy-seven percent of older drivers who were surveyed wanted to refresh their motorway driving skills, while six percent desired to improve their performance on unlit roads and at junctions. The Institute expanded its advanced testing to non-members in response to these concerns. This encourages them to increase their confidence and to be more confident. These tests can also identify any serious issues that could cause a driver to quit driving.