Older drivers over-paying for insurance, survey finds

Gap between best and worst renewal quotes for the over 70s as much as €800

Insurance for older motorists: In one case, the difference between the cheapest and the dearest premium quoted was over €800

Insurance for older motorists: In one case, the difference between the cheapest and the dearest premium quoted was over €800

 

A worrying new trend has emerged in insurance prices, and once again it’s one that affects drivers of a specific age. This time around, it’s not young motorists who are seemingly being penalised by Irish insurers, but older drivers.

According to research carried out by Insuremycars.ie, drivers over the age of 70 are frequently being presented with vastly inflated insurance renewal quotes. The concern is that many such drivers will just “accept and renew”, assuming that they won’t get a cheaper quote elsewhere.

Jonathan Hehir, managing director of Insuremycars.ie, said: “When it comes to insurance, it’s widely known that the older the consumer, the less likely they are to shop around – mostly down to a fear of change and/or a sense of loyalty to their current provider. As brokers we have noticed this, but we are not the only ones – insurers too are aware of this buyer behaviour, and it seems that in certain instances they are capitalising on it.”

Insuremycars provided The Irish Times with a series of comparisons, based on three notional drivers: a 76-year-old woman living in Dublin 14, and driving a Ford Focus; a 72-year-old man living in Cork City, and driving a Skoda Octavia; and a 78-year-old woman, living in Galway and driving a VW Polo.

The gap between the best and worst quotes was quite staggering. The cheapest quote of all, for the Dublin-based woman, was €582. The most expensive quote “she” received was €1,395 or €813 more expensive. For the 72-year-old male driver, the cheapest quote was €590 and the most expensive was €1,216, a gap of €626. For the Galway-based 78-year-old woman, the cheapest was €642 and the most expensive €1,288 – a potential saving of €646.

The advice for older drivers seeking insurance is what it’s always been: shop around. “You are unlikely to be rewarded by sticking with the same insurer year after year. In addition, for those who fear change, it’s important to note that all insurers are bound by the same consumer protection regulations, so whichever insurer you go to should not make any difference to the service they provide you,” said Hehir.

“Insurers bank on consumer inertia as a way of introducing creeping premium increases to those who won’t and don’t move at renewal.”