Sheila Hancock: Bias against older drivers

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Actress Sheila Hancock has described a £1,373 leap in her insurance premium in the space of just a year as "absurd", and claimed there is a prejudice against older drivers.

The 82-year-old was shocked when her insurance company informed her she would have to pay £2,246.79, up from £873.29 last year to insure the Mini Cooper she bought in 2012.

Hancock, who contacted the Guardian to share her outrage, wrote to Admiral Insurance to protest against the massive hike in her premium explaining that she had not made any claims in more than six decades on the roads.

The company admitted to the paper the rise was "unusually high", but said that while they take into account age and occupation when calculating their client's policies those two factors were not the reason for the star's increased fee in this particular case.

Hancock, who first made her name in BBC sitcom The Rag, said she had two "non-fault" incidents in 2013 and last year, neither of which she made a claim for.

But Admiral said there is an increased likelihood of such a customer making a claim in future, and added that the rise was down to "a wide variety of small-to-average increases to our rates" for some factors affecting Hancock's premium.%VIRTUAL-ArticleSidebar-motoring-guide%
The actress, who reinvented herself in recent years as a best-selling author, musical star and TV talent show judge, said: "What is going to happen with the ageing population?

"If I was stuck in the country and couldn't afford my insurance - and a lot of people couldn't - what do you do? It's absurd."

She added: "If you look for insurance over the age of 80 there are hardly any companies which will even touch it, yet I would be pretty sure that if you look at the statistics there are far fewer accidents with older people than there are with butch 30-year-olds who work in the City."

The widow, whose husband Inspector Morse star John Thaw died in 2002, said there should be independently adjudicated tests for drivers aged over 80 to show competence.

She has since taken out an insurance policy with Cornmarket Insurance for £1073.83, the paper reported.

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Sheila Hancock: Bias against older drivers

Price new: £5,995

Dacia has made a big impact in the UK with its line of affordable motors.
The Sandero is the foundation of the brand's offering and is famed for being the UK's cheapest car.

With a group two insurance classification it's also one of the cheapest cars to insure right now.
The entry level Access model is sparsely equipped, but it has a practical interior, big boot and low running costs.

Price new: £8,060

The Seat Mii is a small city car which Auto Express praises for its spacious interior, good build quality and supple ride.

All models are in insurance group one, bar the group two Sport version.
The Mii is available in three-door or five-door styles, but both measure just 3.5 metres, making it perfect for getting around town.

Price new: £8,090

The Skoda Citigo was crowned Auto Express Best City Car 2013.

The magazine praised its low running costs and practicality as well as its grown up driving experience.
Like its Mii stable mate the Citigo has group one insurance in all apart from its top specification model, making it one of the cheapest cars to insure.

Price new: £8,265

The third of the Volkswagen's group of three city cars to make the list is the Up!

Auto Express says the Up! was 'born to rule' city streets with its small dimensions and lightweight body.
There's three versions of this fun city car; Take Up! has a group one rating as does Move Up! while the higher spec High Up! gets a group two classification.

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The Hyundai i10 is another car which can get you a cheap insurance quote thanks to a group one insurance rating across all the 1.0-litre petrol models.

Auto Express says the new 2014 i10 offers big car features in a small package. And for £8,345 you also get Hyundai's five-year warranty and roadside assistance package.

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Vauxhall has managed to squeeze one of its full sized Corsas into insurance group two.
Auto Express says the 1.0-litre ecoFlex model has the lowest insurance costs of any mainstream supermini.

The eye-catching design, solid interior and big-car features make it an appealing buy for drivers.

Price new: £9,575

The Smart car caused a bit of a stir when it first appeared thanks to its dinky dimensions and bold two-seat layout, making it very useful for driving about town and absurdly easy to park.

The Smart ForTwo is the latest incarnation, which keeps to the same formula; it still has only two seats and is one of the smallest cars on the road measuring just 2.5 metres long,
The entry level 0.8- and 1.0-litre models qualify for group two insurance.

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The Peugeot Partner Tepee 1.6 VTi is the passenger version of the Partner van and according to Auto Express easily the most spacious new car that currently qualifies for a group two insurance rating.

It's got a boxy shape that provides plenty of room and has sliding doors which make it a very practical and flexible family car.

If you're after something smaller the Peugeot Bipper Tepee, which is the smallest of Peugeot's family of Tepee MPVs, also gets a group two insurance rating.

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