Elderly-women-perceived-as-higher-risk-drivers-for-car-insuranceIt is well known that women are generally perceived to be less of an insurance risk than their male counterparts. This has lead to many debates on which gender has “the best drivers”. Fact is that young women drivers are paying much less in insurance premiums than men at the same age.

The Guardian has revealed a rather interesting trend in the car insurance risks presented by increased age in the UK. According to their findings older women have found that their car insurance premiums have increased significantly!

While the number of accidents increases with age for both sexes, women in their 70s and 80s are proportionately much more likely to be involved in a collision than men of the same age!

Increase in elderly female drivers and accident claims

Interesting facts included in the Report from Guardian are:

  • Until the age of 60, male drivers have a higher accident rate than women.
  • After 60 women are responsible for a greater number of car insurance claims, and by the age of 80 they are making more than men the same age.
  • The number of older women driving on the UK’s roads has increased hugely in recent years.
  • In 1976, only 4 per cent of women drivers were over 70 – This increased to 20 per cent by the 1990s and has now reached 36 per cent.

Effect on car insurance premiums

Car insurers calculate the insurance premiums based on accident data and the perceived risks presented by drivers, with recognition to factors such as age, gender, location, driving record, vehicle type etc.

While accident data has resulted in cheaper car insurance premiums for female drivers, there has been a shift towards increased premiums for female drivers as they get much older.

Once they are over 80-years-old, women are now paying up to double what men are paying in the UK.

Why are older women a greater car insurance risk?

Even though no scientific or statistical data has been offered for this greater risk, the following arguments have been offered:

  • Elderly women let their husbands do most of the driving.
  • Men are more likely to become unable to drive or pass away before their partners.
  • Elderly ladies suddenly find themselves behind the wheel when the man becomes disabled or dies.
  • These elderly female drivers may have little confidence and little practical experience of modern traffic conditions or motorway driving.
  • Although men’s claims record get worse as they get older too, women’s deteriorates at a faster rate.
  • Both male and female drivers may experience worsening eyesight and insurers have found a surge of accidents involving older drivers when driving at night.

Road Safety and Car Insurance for the Elderly

It is important to recognize that even though the car insurance premiums should increase, elderly drivers are still not near the risk category of young male drivers [under 25]. The insurers are seldom faced with large claims from vehicles that have been written off in accidents. Accidents are more likely to be small claims involving parking, reversing and scraping walls.

We would like to quote from the Arrive Alive website some of the characteristics of driving behaviour from the elderly / Older Road User:

The elderly often compensate through their driving behaviour –

  • They benefit from the insight into their own limitations and driving experience.
  • They compensate by driving when the roads are less busy.
  • Studies have shown that the elderly more often choose to drive during daytime and dry weather.
  • The elderly on average have a great deal of driving experience which gives them the ability to anticipate on possible problematic situations.
  • They display a diminishing desire for excitement and sensation when getting older.
  • They will less often drink-drive than younger adults and generally obey the traffic rules more often.

Advice for elderly drivers

What advice can we offer our elderly drivers with regards to their car insurance premiums?

  • As they get older it will be important to stick with their current insurers.
  • Attention should be given to physical fitness and maintaining good fitness levels.
  • Have younger family drivers drive with you and provide feedback on your driving.
  • Attend refresher courses at driving centres if available.
  • Undergo regular medical assessment –for your safety and that of other road users.
  • Check with your doctor or chemist about the effects of any prescribed or purchased medicines as they can affect driving.

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