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Plain and simple - cutting car insurance costs

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Plain and simple - cutting car insurance costs

Michael Challiner
August 16, 2006

According to the Association of British Insurers we can expect, over the next 50 years, an incredible 150% rise in the number of car drivers aged 70 and over, who hold a full driving licence. The fact that the “baby boomers” are now reaching retirement and people are generally living longer is a major factor in this calculation.

They also forecast that this group of older drivers will go from the present approximately 4 million to over 10 million by 2050. It is expected that the number of drivers of other ages will remain fairly constant. If this is correct then by 2050 nearly 40% of the driving population will be aged 60 or more and nearly a quarter of then will be over 70!

The Government has been requested by the ABI to consider the possibility of medical and eyesight tests to be carried out on a regular basis.

As far as insurance is concerned, risk levels are extremely difficult to measure as driving skills are liable to deteriorate over the years, due to a gradual decline in both health and eyesight. The deterioration is particularly noticeable once the driver has reached the aged of 80. This leads to slower response times and therefore puts these people at a much higher accident risk. It also makes recent driving experience, normally a key part in working out risk, less relevant as drivers get older.

The ABI say that the numbers of claims made by older drivers are inclined to worsen with age and that the drivers themselves are more likely to be badly injured or killed if they’re involved in an accident. Claim costs rise with age and are 50% higher for a driver of over 80 than for one aged 60.

No wonder, then, that some older drivers are beginning to have problems with obtaining suitable insurance. There’s no need to panic though, it appears that virtually all insurers will continue your current cover without applying age restrictions. It doesn’t follow that this will give you the best deal, though, and it’s good to obtain a few alternative quotes from time to time.

Currently the insurance market for these drivers is relatively small but as the numbers increase then more insurance companies will join in the competition and specialized firm will join those already offering this type of cover. It’s obviously going to be a fast-growing market.

At the other end of the scale, Norwich Union has just launched a “young drivers” policy for its current customers. As young drivers have a ten-fold chance of a serious accident at night time, there is a charge of £1 for each time they are out on the road between 11pm and 6am.

This is part of a host of new, up to date policies being introduced in an effort to gain new customers, whilst keeping down the costs of insurance.

If you’re willing to pay £475 excess, waive your no-claims discount and courtesy car, for instance, then you can expect to save 12% against the normal fully comprehensive cover quote from Tesco, with their new “Value” policy.

Direct Line is another company with some new ideas, such as allowing motorcyclists to transfer no-claim discounts when purchasing a car. Also they have a policy that lets family members build up no-claim discounts on each others’ cars, and offers a discount if all householders insure their cars with them.

Check carefully before jumping in with one of these new policies, however, as the big insurers will normally let you cut your costs by opting out of some of these measures. For instance, if you were to raise your excess and maybe forego your no claims protection, this would make a great deal of difference to your premium.

It’s a fast changing scene and certainly not easy to keep up with, whatever your age. The best advice we can give is to get online and find an insurance broker. They will take into account all your circumstances and compare a number of insurance companies to obtain the best deal to suit you, at the most competitive price. You'll get your online discount too.

Car Insurance hub is a large website that offers uk residents Motor insurance quotes.

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