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Seniors: Learn How To Get a Better Deal On Your Car Insurance

6 minute read

By Lesley Harrison

It’s common knowledge that very young, newly qualified drivers pay more than their more mature counterparts. But you may not realise that when you pass a certain age, car insurance costs start to increase again.

While the recently retired can enjoy affordable insurance, if you’re over the age of 70, mainstream insurers may consider you to be higher-risk. Because of this, it pays to shop around and learn as much as you can about how the car insurance industry works and the ways you can reduce your premiums. Read on for some tips about how to get the best prices on car insurance, whatever your age.

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Seniors Have Some Advantages in the Insurance Market

Car insurance premiums are based on risk. If you’re newly qualified, live in a high-crime area, drive fast cars or do a lot of driving for your job, you’re classified as high risk. In contrast, if you’re a senior who’s retired, has a long driving history and lives in a sleepy rural village, you may be classified as low risk.

Add in several years of no-claims bonus, and if you’re in your late 60s, you may pay very little for auto insurance, even if you drive a luxurious car. Once you’re over the age of 70, however, premiums start to rise again to account for the increased risk associated with bad habits or slowing reaction times.

The Postcode Lottery Still Applies

Regardless of how good a driver you are, the area in which you live makes a big difference to the cost of car insurance. If you live in East London, you may pay much more than someone who lives on the Shetlands. It’s probably not worth moving to reduce your premiums, but if you’re already planning to downsize, consider the cost of insurance at different addresses when you’re evaluating new properties.

Compare the cost of third-party auto, third-party fire and theft and fully comprehensive policies too. Counterintuitively, you can often save money by opting for fully comprehensive insurance, even if you live in an expensive area.

No-Claims Discounts Don’t Instantly Reset to Zero

If you’ve had a driving license for a long time but stopped using a car for a while, you may still be able to get a no-claims discount, depending on how long a break you took from driving. Many insurance providers don’t reset your no-claims to zero after a short break. Rather, they reduce the value of the no-claims discount until it drops below a certain threshold. So, if you’re looking to get back on the road after retirement, try getting in touch with your previous insurer and seeing if they can beat the quotes offered by other companies.

Review Your Parking Situation

One often-repeated myth is that the best place to park your car is in a garage. Depending on the car you own, this may not be the case. Sometimes, parking in a garage can increase your premiums even compared to parking on the street. This is because older garages aren’t designed for the large vehicles popular today, so people are more likely to scratch or dent their cars while attempting to park in a garage. In addition, if someone breaks into your house, they have easy access to the car in your garage, so in a high-crime area, garages don’t offer that much security.

Invest in Security Measures

Insurance providers do look favorably on some security measures, however. Immobilisers, alarms and tracking devices can help cut your insurance premiums. A dashcam can also be a useful addition to your vehicle. An up-front cost is associated with these devices, but they’re worth the investment, not only for the fact they have the potential to reduce your monthly premiums but also because they act as a theft deterrent and give you extra peace of mind.

Consider a Black Box

It’s common for younger drivers to opt for a black box to help them save money on their insurance. Black boxes track your driving habits and send the insurance company information about the time of day you drive, where you drive, your speed and any sudden changes to that speed.

As a responsible driver, you can quickly earn discounts due to having a black box. If you regularly speed or are seen to be driving dangerously (sharply accelerating and decelerating, for example), you end up paying more. If you’re a senior, having a black box can help prove your driving skills are still sharp.

Take Advanced Driver Qualifications

Two advanced driver qualifications recognised by many car insurance companies in the United Kingdom are Pass Plus and the Institute of Advanced Motorists Advanced Driver Qualification. Taking these qualifications can help you show you’re committed to keeping your driving skills up to date and that the people who assessed you are satisfied with your driving ability. Not all insurance companies offer discounts for drivers with advanced qualifications, but many do, so it pays to shop around.

Look for an Insurer That Specialises in Seniors

Mainstream insurance companies start charging higher premiums when you reach the age of 70. You’re likely to see your insurance premiums skyrocket by the time you reach the age of 80. If you drive an expensive, powerful or unusual car or your no-claims history is patchy, you may find it difficult to get insured at all as a senior.

Some insurance providers specialise in working with older motorists. Senior charity Age UK has its own car insurance company, for example. Compare the costs between mainstream providers and some senior specialists to get an idea of where you stand.

Add Other People as Named Drivers

Adding a trusted friend or relative as a named driver on your car insurance can help reduce the premiums. Make sure the main driver is the person who really does most of the driving. Falsely listing someone else as the main driver to get cheaper premiums is known as “fronting” and is fraud. If you’re caught doing this, your policy can be canceled and any claims invalidated. Adding a named secondary driver, however, is acceptable and can be beneficial for both motorists.

Even if You’re Retired, Review Your Job Title

Insurance companies ask you to provide information about your job when you take out a policy, and small changes to titles can make a big difference. You may have more than one way of describing yourself. For example, are you Retired or a Housewife? If you volunteer for a charity in your spare time or are studying courses for self-improvement, are you a Charity Trustee or a Mature Student: Living at Home? Try different titles and options (making sure they’re all truthful), and choose the one that offers the best price.

Pay for an Annual Policy

Spreading the cost of your insurance policy over a year can seem appealing at first, but you end up paying more in the long run if you do this. Most insurance companies treat a monthly policy as a loan and charge you interest for the privilege. If you have the funds available to cover the cost of an annual policy up-front, take this option. If you need to spread the cost, consider looking for a credit card that offers 0% on purchases, putting the insurance on the card and paying it off before the 0% period ends.

Consider Low-Mileage Policies

If you’re retired and don’t do a lot of recreational driving you may end up overpaying on your car insurance because of your low annual mileage. If you drive less than 6,000 miles a year, you may find you’re better off taking out a pay-per-mile insurance policy instead of a standard annual one.

Consider your driving habits, and compare quotes between traditional insurers and companies that specialise in lower-mileage drivers before you make a decision. Always be truthful with insurers about your driving habits, and notify them if you realise your circumstances have changed and you’re driving far more (or fewer) miles than you indicated when you took out the policy.

Lesley Harrison