Older people paying premiums for travel, motor and health insurance

September, 2012 premiums

Older people are being hit with increased premiums for travel, motor and health insurance, forcing some to give up crucial cover when they need it most.

Pensioners over 80 are paying twice as much a month for private medical cover compared to a 60 year old, while older travellers struggle to find anyone who will insure them to leave the country.

Gordon Lishman, Director General of charity Age Concern, said that insurers offer “unreasonable and disproportionate hikes in premiums that appear to be unrelated to any increase in underlying risk”.

George Connelly, director of healthcare insurance broker Healthcare Matters, said an 80 year old could end up paying over £400 a month for private medical insurance, while the same policy would cost just £137 a month for a 40 year old.

He said he comes across customers who are forced to cancel their insurance because of cost, even though they do not want to and have been paying monthly premiums for many years.

“These policies are really important to the people who have them,” he said. “They don’t want to cancel them, but sometimes they don’t have any choice.”

Jason Pettit, head of personal sales at Bupa, said the company had to charge older people more because of the increased likelihood of a claim. “What you see as a rising cost is a reflection of the rising risk,” he said. He said Bupa patients wanted the best and most expensive drugs, with some not available on the NHS.

Almost three quarters of travel insurers refuse to provide cover for those over 75 at any price, and Mr Lishman, at Age Concern, said that a fifth of travellers over 75 have either been refused travel insurance of had restrictions imposed.

Those who do offer cover usually charge far more for older people. Worldwide annual multi-trip insurance policies range from £106.20 to £319.68 for a 75 year old, compared to less than £30 a year for a man aged 35.

There are only 28 insurers offering motor insurance cover to people aged over 80, and only nine who will cover new customers over 90, according to a survey by insurer MORE TH>N.

However, the insurance industry denied that it discriminated against older people. “Insurers are not ageist. They have to process the likelihood of a risk occurring,” said Malcolm Tarling, from the Association of British Insurers. “Age is obviously relevant when it comes to the amount of claims people will make.”

By Rosie Murray-West, Deputy Personal Finance Editor - 7:30AM GMT 31 Jan 2009

Sourced from The Telegraph

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