How finance companies discriminate against the over-50s

One in five refused finance and insurance

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While there's plenty to celebrate about turning 50, one thing may come as a shock: your insurance premiums could rocket overnight.

While age discrimination is banned under the Equality Act, it's perfectly legal for financial services companies to decide that middle-aged people are a bigger risk.

This means they can charge the older-50s more or turn them down altogether - even when there's no other reason than their age.

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And according to the latest research from specialist over-50s insurer SunLife, one-fifth of the over-50s think they have experienced age discrimination when trying to take out insurance - particularly travel and car insurance.

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One respondent said her travel insurance premium increased as soon as she turned 50.

"I phoned for travel insurance with a company I had used the year before when I was 49, but the rate went up drastically with the knowledge that I had turned 50," she said. "My circumstances hadn't changed from the year before."

And a woman in her 70s said her car insurance premium went up when she turned 70. "I've never had an accident so think it is totally unfair, especially as I spent over 20 years training minibus drivers," she said.

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And it is not just insurers that are discriminating against people over 50; SunLife's research also found that 20% of those surveyed thought they had been refused finance because of their age.

One 69-year-old woman said when she wanted a loan for a car she realised her age was against her and out of the question for her older husband.

"As car loans are generally secured against the car I found this even more difficult to understand," she said.

Meanwhile another lady, who has always had a good credit score, was refused new credit cards once she became a pensioner.

"Age discrimination is still a real challenge facing many people over 50 because of outdated stereotypes and ignorance," says Simon Stanney, general insurance director at SunLife.

"But the reality is, the growing over 50s sector is worth £320 billion a year to the UK economy and this is only set to increase, yet over-50s are often neglected, with very few providers offering truly competitive cover."

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