A WEARSIDE charity boss fears elderly drivers are facing increasing discrimination over car insurance.
Alan Patchett, director at Age UK Sunderland, said research has found older people are still being unfairly singled out when they try to buy car insurance, despite a recent agreement intended to protect them.
The “mystery shopping” study found that 21 per cent of shoppers aged 80 plus were not given phone or online quotes because of their age.
“We understand how crucial it is for many older consumers to have appropriate insurance cover, but unfortunately our survey has found that this unacceptable discrimination still exists,” said Mr Patchett.
“We therefore urge all consumers to persevere and shop around to find the best deal for their needs.”
The agreement between the Government, Association of British Insurers (ABI) and British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) was introduced in April and calls for insurers to “signpost” customers turned down because of their age to other companies that may be able to insure them.
If an insurer or insurance broker is unable to offer cover to an older motorist, or traveller, due to the fact that their age is above any upper limits they have, then they will automatically refer them to an alternative provider who can meet their needs or to a dedicated signposting service, such as BIBA’s Find a Broker service or website.
All ABI members adhere to the agreement as a condition of membership and all BIBA brokers will also undertake to comply with this agreement.
Non-ABI and BIBA members will follow the agreement on a voluntary basis.
However, Age UK research found that 85 per cent of people aged 80 and over were not directed on.
Mr Patchett said Age UK offers insurance without upper age limits or hidden charges.
“We have a long history of providing car and travel insurance to those in later life without upper age limits or any hidden fees.
“Most of our 1.1million customers purchase from us in later life, and choose to stay with us because they value our dedicated customer service and the reassurance that we don’t impose any hidden charges.”
For more information and advice on car insurance, call 514 1131 or visit the Age UK centre at the Bradbury Centre, in Stockton Road, Sunderland.
Alternatively, visit www.ageuk.org.uk/products/