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 VouchedFor.co.uk

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

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

    £15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Advisor is r...

    Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

    £22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

    SThree: HR Benefits Manager

    £40000 - £50000 per annum + pro rata: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

    Day In a Page

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
    A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

    It's not easy being Green

    After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
    Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

    Gorillas nearly missed

    BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
    Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

    The Downton Abbey effect

    Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
    China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

    China's wild panda numbers on the up

    New census reveals 17% since 2003