5th April 2012
A new agreement between the insurance sector and the Government could make it easier for older people to secure motor cover.
As well as focusing on car insurance, the deal agreed between UK ministers, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and the British Insurance Brokers' Association (Biba) is designed to help older consumers gain access to travel insurance products.
From April 6, insurers will be encouraged to make consumers aware of alternative providers who could offer them insurance if upper age limits apply to their own products.
Drivers and holidaymakers seeking cover will be automatically referred to other insurance providers who might be able to help them.
Alternatively, they could be referred to a dedicated help service, such as the 'find a broker' helpline which is currently run by the Biba.
It is not thought that prices will go down significantly as a result of the new initiative. However, analysts do believe that the scheme will make it easier for older consumers to access insurance cover, in areas where they have previously had difficulties.
Commenting on the scheme, Mark Hoban, financial secretary to the Treasury, said the Government is keen to make sure the commitments of the UK insurance sector are actually adhered to. As a result of this, he said ministers will "keep a close eye" on the scheme as it unfolds.
A spokesman for the over–50s group, Saga, added: "Saga has been campaigning for several years for a signposting system to help people find cover and we welcome the agreement between the Government and insurers.
"A signposting service will ensure that no one will be refused cover without knowing where they can go for a quote – and that has to be a good thing."
He added: "It is a measure that harnesses the competitive insurance market and in doing so will be good for consumers, ensuring keener pricing and availability of insurance. "Forcing all companies to quote for all ages would have the effect of increasing the price of insurance as general insurers would have priced for a risk about which they were unfamiliar."
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