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Car insurance for older drivers

Stay safe on the roads as an older driver

An old man driving a car

Just hopping into the car when you feel like it is a freedom all drivers relish, but for more mature motorists, driving can also help them stay independent for longer. As an older driver, there are some important things to consider before you head out on the roads.

The truth about older drivers

Insurance companies love older drivers, as they tend to be safer, drive fewer miles and have years of driving experience under their belts.

And the stats bear this out. Drivers aged 17 to 24 are three times more likely to be involved in a road accident than a driver aged 70 and over. And if you think that's because there are fewer older drivers on the roads, think again.

In 2015 there were nearly five million drivers aged 70+ with a driving licence. That's three times as many older drivers on our roads today than there were 30 years ago. And 248 of those older drivers are aged 100 or more.

But it's a fact of life that as we age, our health and fitness can deteriorate. In particular, our eyesight, reaction times and general physical condition may cause problems with driving. Although older drivers naturally compensate for their changing health with more careful driving, certain things can help them stay safe on the road.

Stay safe on the roads as an older driver

Keep on the right side of the law

Every driver has a responsibility to make sure they are fit to drive.

If you have a medical condition that limits your mobility, degrades your eyesight or requires you to take medicine that may affect your driving, you should think carefully before you get in a car to drive.

Speak to your GP if you think your driving may be affected by your condition.

Medical conditions that need reporting

You must tell the DVLA (DVA in Northern Ireland) if you develop a condition that could affect your driving.

These are called notifiable conditions. They are conditions like, epilepsy, stroke, physical disability and visual impairment.

You can be fined up to £1,000 if you don't tell the DVLA about a notifiable condition. Plus, you'll be prosecuted and your car insurance won't be valid if you have an accident.

If you report a medical condition, it doesn't necessarily mean that you can no longer drive. The DVLA will assess your ability to drive and may ask your GP or another doctor to examine you (with your permission). Alternatively, they may ask you to take a driving assessment.

You can be fined up to £1,000 if you don't tell the DVLA about a notifiable condition

Eyesight tests

Sadly, our eyesight deteriorates with age. Poor eyesight tends to creep up on us and it's not always obvious that we may have a problem.

That's why it's important to get your eyes tested regularly. There is evidence that when the police offer driver assessment as an alternative to prosecution for older drivers, 70% of those assessed need their eyesight correcting.

The standard eyesight test for driving is that you must be able to read a number plate from 20 metres, wearing glasses or contact lenses if you need them.

Renewing your driving licence

Your driving licence will expire when you reach 70. If you decide to renew it, your new licence lasts three years then you'll need to renew it again.

Each time you renew, you'll be asked to declare any medical conditions and confirm that your eyesight is still adequate.

You can apply for a new licence online or by post. If you don't renew your licence, you won't legally be able to drive on the road and your car insurance won't be valid.

Insurance for older drivers

Insurance companies use several factors to calculate your car insurance premium. And one of these is age. As you've already read, statistically speaking, older drivers are safer drivers, so their insurance premiums tend to be lower than those of younger drivers. Good news!

However, there does seem to be a sweet spot for lower car insurance premiums based on age. After the age of 75 you may find your insurance premiums are higher than they were when you were ten years younger. They probably won't hit the heady costs of an 18 year old but they may be more than you're used to paying.

And some insurance companies won't insure new customers who are over 75. However, LV= don't have any upper age limit associated with their car insurance, so it’s a good idea look around for insurers who provide insurance in to later life.

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