The older the better (until you get wobbly)
Age confers huge benefits on car insurance costs
Wednesday 13 August 1997
Cheaper policies are nothing to with respect for old age. Insurers are keen to attract older customers - and older in this context means anything from 45 upwards - because they are considered a lower risk.
Retired home-owners stay at home more, so are burgled less. Car drivers become more cautious and safer as they get older, until around 70 when their skills wane, and the premiums may rise. Older drivers travel less far, and tend to avoid rush hours and bad weather.
One of the most competitive insurance providers for older people is Age Concern Insurance Services (Acis). The charity's insurance arm developed out of the belief that many policies were too expensive and not sufficiently tailored to the older person.
Since Age Concern launched its insurance business 13 years ago it has attracted 400,000 customers, making it one of the largest insurers for the elderly, and earlier this year dropped its minimum age for customers to 55.
Acis claims it is generally cheaper for older home owners than its competitors, often markedly so. For pounds 20,000 of contents cover in the Manchester area, Acis charges pounds 94 a year, compared with pounds 238 quoted by Commercial Union. Even Direct Line, one of the keenest insurers on price, admits it is unable to match the quotes in most instances listed by Acis.
Direct Line points out that its existing customers are entitled to discounts, and it offers a further reduction for membership of a neighbourhood watch scheme. Acis is only one of several insurers targeting the elderly. Others include Ansvar, RIAS, the Retirement Insurance Advisory Service (which is actually a commercial organisation), SAGA (an extension of the specialist tour operator), and CGT Direct, while all the major insurers offer age- related and home-based discounts.
Large premium reductions are also available for older car owners, with the same specialist providers offering policies. Acis claims to undercut many other insurers by as much as 50 per cent. The Retirement Insurance Advisory Service, the largest specialist provider to older people, also offers policies cheaper than many general insurers, as well as a breakdown policy, launched earlier this year, which was the first exclusively for older drivers. RIAS says its breakdown service is "much, much lower cost" than the AA, RAC or National Breakdown, because mature drivers constitute a lower risk, by ensuring cars are maintained better, and by driving few miles than younger drivers.
Discounts may come at the price of inflexibility, however.
Research by Commercial Union found that about one third of motor claims from mature customers arose from accidents while teenage sons and daughters were driving. For the cheapest premiums a ban on younger drivers is necessary, and temporary cover for the unexpected emergency can be almost impossible to arrange.
Matching premiums to actual risks has meant a much more flexible premium structure, to the benefit of older and other low risk customers.
Norwich Union changed its pricing system this year, whereby points were added or taken away depending on factors that might affect price, such as age or motoring convictions.
"In August we went to a percentage basis, and we can make changes by individual percentages if we wish," a spokesman says. "We have a sliding scale according to age, starting from 25, and as a person gets older the rates get substantially better, with discounts for people who are retired, and other discounts for women, but less so as they get older."
Which means that you do not have to wait until 65 before you can gain from being older. Even insurers with a specific cut-off point for older person's discounts are bringing them down - Commercial Union has just cut it from 55 to 50, and Eagle Star gives a 10 per cent discount for being aged between 45 and 64, before even greater discounts are awarded at older ages.
But there will come a time when the discounts disappear. For Eagle Star that is 75, and for some other insurers 70. After that insurers may require an annual doctor's examination
Age Concern Insurance Services, 0345 125816. Retirement Insurance Advisory Services, 0800 552100. Ansvar, 01323 737541. CGA Direct, 0800 525200
Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
iJobs Money & Business
£32000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Services Manage...
£Neg. (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Finance Account Manager with...
£40000 - £470000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Devel...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity h...
Day In a Page
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A deceptively spacious, beautifully presented Georgian home with 3000sq ft of living space and five reception rooms
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens