Pensioners left in the cold by finance firms

Two out of three car insurers have age restrictions, while banks are shutting branches every 48 hours

Motor insurers are still imposing maximum age limits on customers, a shock report published by Which? today has uncovered.

On top of that, many fail to help older drivers find adequate cover, despite new rules which came into place in April recommending that firms help customers find an insurer which is prepared to cover them.

Some 21 of the top 30 car insurers the consumer group examined have age limits, with 14 refusing cover to anyone older than 85.

The news comes against the background of an alarming report published on Wednesday by the International Longevity Centre which showed more older people than ever are being excluded from financial services.

The report found that almost one in 10 people aged 80 or more became excluded from financial products in a six-year period. That's compared to only one in 50 among those in their fifties becoming excluded over the same time frame.

David Sinclair, assistant director at the centre, said: "We should not be complacent about financial exclusion. The most disadvantaged are being hit hardest as a result of a lack of access to financial services and products."

The report revealed that almost 10 per cent of older people do not have a current account and a quarter have no life insurance. People with no banking facilities end up paying more for many bills – such as crucial heating and lighting – as they are unable to pay by standing order or direct debit.

Michelle Mitchell, charity director general of Age UK, said: "Many of these services are essential and so need to be designed with everyone in mind, including older people."

She said many pensioners have become excluded by banks because local branches have been closed, call centres are inaccessible or simply because many older folk find it very hard to get cash out.

A report published by the Campaign for Community Banking this week suggested that things are getting worse for pensioners who rely on their local bank branch as one is shut for good every two days.

More than 1,200 towns and large villages in Britain are now without a bank and 900 have just one branch left, according to the campaign.

HSBC has closed the most branches in the last decade, shutting 386. This year alone has seen 47 HSBC branches disappear as part of its ongoing cost-cutting. Meanwhile, Lloyds TSB has shut 354 and Barclays has closed 162 branches since 2002.

When it comes to car cover, Which? named and shamed insurance giant Direct Line – which also owns Churchill and Privilege – as appearing to exclude people aged 80 or older.

"When we tested the online car insurance quote services for Direct Line brands and entered a date of birth for a driver aged 80 or above, we received an error message saying 'applicants must be younger than 80 when cover is due to begin'," Which? reported.

Direct Line said older people should call for a quote, rather than use its online service.

A spokesman said: "We are unable to provide quotes on our websites for drivers over the age of 79. We never decline to quote for a driver on their age and currently provide cover for many customers into their late nineties."

Which? said there are six companies which have no maximum age limits that are worth contacting: Axa, LV, Nationwide building society, RIAS, Saga and Swiftcover.

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at

Finacial products from our partners
Property search
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Swiss Banking and Finance

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Can you speak German,...

    Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - 6 month FTC - Central London

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity f...

    Ashdown Group: Junior Project Manager (website, web application) - Agile

    £215 per day: Ashdown Group: Junior Project Manager (website, web application ...

    Guru Careers: Software Engineer / Software Developer

    £40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software Engineer / Softw...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before