Car and travel insurers scrap age limits

older driver loooking in wing wmirrorThe insurance industry has promised to make it easier for older drivers to find car and travel insurance.

The deal, which comes into force on Friday, means members of the Association of British Insurers will either offer cover or pass on requests to insurers that will or "signpost" older people to the British Insurance Brokers' Association to find a specialist.

The old ones are the best

Last week LV announced it was scrapping its maximum age limit for new car insurance customers – it already continued to insure existing customers and scrapped its travel insurance age limit earlier. Other insurers, such as Direct Line Group, which includes Churchill, are expected to follow.

Research firm Defaqto says there are already many firms offering older drivers insurance. It claims that of the 232 comprehensive private car insurance policies currently available of those policies that state a maximum age the average is 81.4 years.

It found 17 policies with no upper age limit and one where the limit was 120. Six more had age limits of 100 or above.

Seeing clearly?

But some insurers, such as RSA, remain sceptical and have demanded the government introduce better eye sight testing for all drivers but specifically introduce tests for older drivers. Older drivers are said to cause more expensive accidents and it is typically a crash that leads to older drivers giving up their cars.

Under the deal, the ABI will start to publish claims data showing the cost of insuring older drivers.

The Home Secretary and minister for women and equalities, Theresa May, welcomed the insurance deal. She said: "I fully support the work the Association of British Insurers and the British Insurance Brokers Association are doing to make it easier for older people to get motor and travel insurance and provide greater transparency on how decisions are made.

"This is a great example of businesses working with government to tackle discrimination."

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Mark Hoban, said: "It can be difficult for older people to find the right car and travel insurance. We've worked closely with the ABI and BIBA to make it easier for older people to find the right policy for them. We will keep a close eye on this to make sure the insurance industry meets its commitments."

Otto Thoresen, ABI director general, said: "The insurance industry wants to ensure that older people get the best possible insurance deal, by having as wide access to the motor and travel insurance markets as possible. This agreement shows how the industry can work with Government to improve increase access to insurance, improve transparency, while preserving insurers' ability to assess and price risk fairly."

Eric Galbraith, BIBA chief executive, added: "This new agreement is a great solution to helping older people more easily access suitable insurance protection. BIBA's 'Find a Broker' helpline and website can help older people to achieve the cover they need, giving them the peace of mind to go on holiday and drive their car into their later years."

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