Roy Harper has never made a claim or fallen foul of the law in 64 years of driving. But the 86-year-old faces quotes in excess of £3,800 for car insurance.
Roy, a retired heavy goods vehicle driver of 50 years, says older drivers are being unfairly punished by an ageist insurance industry.
He was one of many Money Mail readers to get in touch after we revealed last week the seemingly arbitrary way motorists are hit with higher premiums.
Punished for being over 80: Roy Harper faces quotes in excess of £3,800 for car insurance
Other pensioners say they face astronomical quotes to renew their car cover — despite decades of experience, no claims or convictions, and being medically fit.
Roy, who lives in Enfield, North London, started ringing around insurers after his provider LV= pushed up his insurance by £300.
Last year he paid £1,700 to insure his Mercedes, but on renewal he was quoted £2,037. He contacted other firms to see if he could beat the price. But he was shocked to be offered policies for more than £3,800, and some companies refused to insure him because he was over 80.
Roy says: ‘I am an experienced, safe driver and I have not even had a parking ticket. I am fit and healthy and drive 200 miles a week. If I thought I was going to put anyone in danger with my driving, I would stop tomorrow.’
He eventually managed to find an Admiral policy for £1,824, beating his renewal quote.
Experts also say it is unfair and patronising to charge drivers more just because they are older.
Regardless of his clean record of over 60 years, former company director David Forrest, 82, was quoted almost £1,000 to insure his Lexus.
David, who lives with wife Margaret, 72, in Lincolnshire, says he has no driving convictions, and has an annual medical check and eye test.
He says: ‘To me it is an insult — I am being charged more because of my age.’
David decided to check what other firms were charging after his insurer, the Co-Op, increased his premium from £275 to £316.
He says: ‘It was then I realised I was getting a good deal and should stick with the Co-Op.’
Ken Hughes, 88, was shocked to be quoted £2,025 to insure his Ford Focus by an RAC broker.
But when he went to an insurer direct, he discovered he could get a policy for around £700.
Ken, a former managing director, has been driving since he was a teenager and also has a clear driving record.
When their renewals came up, pensioners Bob Mitchell and his wife, who live in Birmingham, were offered a reduction.
Higher risk? Industry body the Association of British Insurers, says drivers in their 80s make larger claims than other age groups
Bob, 82, was quoted around £701 to insure his BMW, £34 less than the year before. His wife, 74, was offered an £18 reduction for her Vauxhall Astra, bringing the price down to almost £521.
Despite the lower premiums Bob searched for other quotes on a comparison site.
He found a deal for the Astra at £358 and the BMW for £552 — a total saving of £312. Furthermore he discovered Tesco, his insurer for five years, was the firm offering these top policies.
Bob, a former IT contractor, says: ‘It is unbelievable — I found exactly the same insurance from the same provider for hundreds of pounds more.’
Bob telephoned Tesco and the company then offered to match the cheaper policies.
But Bob says: ‘You really cannot trust companies, long-time customer or not.’
Insurance expert Tim Kelly blames the industry for being ageist and patronising. For every argument that older drivers are more of a risk, he says, there are reasons why they are safer.
He says: ‘The retired are not commuting and are therefore not driving during more dangerous times. They are also likely to be driving in areas they are familiar with and are also on the road less.’
Industry body the Association of British Insurers, says drivers in their 80s make larger claims than other age groups.
‘Insurers recognise the growth in the number of older drivers and want them to be able to drive for as long as possible if they are safe to do so,’ a spokesman adds.
LV= says it quoted Mr Harper the correct price based on his circumstances, and blamed the increasing cost of car repairs for pushing up premiums.
A spokesman says: ‘I’m afraid the fact he is over 80 has contributed to the increase, as older drivers are more likely to be involved in accidents.’
Tesco says it works hard to offer the best value premiums. It claims Bob entered different information on the comparison website and received quotes for a different policy — without no-claims protection and with a higher excess — which is why he found cheaper deals.
The RAC says it works with an 11-strong panel of insurers to get the best prices for customers. But only one of the firms offered Ken a quote because of the associated risk factors.
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