The impact of age on car insurance

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What Car? Staff
20 Aug 2012 10:17 | Last updated: 14 Jun 2018 00:03

As young drivers know only too well, age has a big impact on the cost of car insurance.

Younger drivers, especially those in their teens with very little experience behind the wheel, pay a lot more than motorists in their 40s and 50s, for example.

At the other end of the scale, however, older people in their 70s and 80s are also often penalised by insurers concerned about increased risks.

Some companies will even refuse to insure motorists above a certain age at all.

Here, we explain why insurers take age into account when pricing policies, look at the impact it can have on the cost and offer advice on cutting premiums for both older and younger drivers.

Young drivers
The average cost of insuring a car for young drivers now stands at around 3500 a year, with newly qualified drivers sometimes facing annual premiums of up to 6000.

That's a lot higher than the average across all drivers of about 1000 a year.

Reasons for the higher premiums include that statistics show that young, inexperienced drivers tend to be involved in more accidents.

However, the lack of a motoring history to draw on also makes it more difficult for insurers to price policies individually.

Many of the 450,000 or so young people who pass their driving test each year are therefore forced to give up their dreams of driving their own cars even if they have saved up to buy the vehicle itself.

Older drivers
If you have a good driving record and have built up a no claims bonus, hitting the age of 50 should enable you to get lower premiums.

Statistics show that older drivers are less likely to be involved in an accident than younger drivers.

Older drivers also tend to drive more slowly, carefully and for shorter distances.

However, our reactions tend to slow down as we hit our 60s and 70s, while many people suffer from deteriorating eyesight.

Because of this, our likelihood of being in an accident starts to rise again.

Figures indicate that drivers aged over 70 are 13% more likely to make a claim on their car insurance than drivers aged in their 40s or 50s.

The cost of insurance therefore gets higher too, with most insurers charging over 70s more and some companies refusing to cover drivers aged over 80 altogether.

How to keep costs down
The best way to ensure that you are paying as little as possible for your car insurance whatever your age is to use a comparison website such as MoneySupermarket to scour the market for the best deals.

Other tips include opting for a relatively new vehicle with a small engine and improving your vehicle security measures fitting an insurer-approved immobiliser for example can make a dent in the size of your premiums.

Young motorists can also consider taking an advanced driving Pass Plus course and adding a named driver such as an older relative to their policy (but only if that person genuinely uses the vehicle sometimes).

For older drivers struggling to find cover, meanwhile, it is worth checking out specialist providers such as Age UK, which does not impose any maximum age limit.

Finally, it is worth looking into telematics insurance policies that measure your mileage, when you drive, and how you drive especially as those found to be driving safely during the first 12 months are often rewarded with much lower premiums when they comes to renew.

Remember, though, that it is crucial to pay attention to the terms and conditions of the policy as premiums will shoot up again if the insurer sees that you are breaking the rules.

This article has been researched and written by whatcar.com's car insurance partner, MoneySupermarket