MILLIONS of over-50s are routinely paying more than double what they should for insurance and could be wasting thousands by choosing the wrong life, home and motor policies.

According to protection broker Cavendish Online, many of those buying specialist age-related life products would be considerably better off with ordinary versions – and the same applies to car cover.

Meanwhile, charity Citizens Advice says older people are being massively overcharged for home insurance because they are less likely to shop around than younger customers.

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Several life insurers aggressively promote over-50s plans with the promise of a great value, low-effort deal, particularly for those keen to cover funeral costs. They frequently throw in sweeteners such as shopping vouchers or TVs.

However, Cavendish believes that many are being duped.

Managing director Ian Williams said: “Our research shows that older people could be paying twice as much for their life insurance as they need to.

“Some of the marketing of over-50s policies suggests that standard life insurance is harder to get or that a medical will be required to get cover, but that’s simply not the case.

“There are plenty of policies on the market which offer better value for money – even for those with less than perfect health.”

Most ask applicants to answer a brief medical questionnaire, but this is well worth doing for the potential savings.

Cavendish quotes a premium of £18.96 a month for a £15,000 whole-of-life policy for a healthy 50-year old. For a similar value over-50s plan, the monthly cost would be £43.

If the over-50s planholder continued paying for 30 years, they would have spent £15,480 – £480 more than they would get back – compared to just £6,825 for the standard policy.

Cavendish says that even those with health issues could save. A 50-year old with poorly managed type 2 diabetes would pay £30.25, falling to £22.72 if it was well controlled – a considerable improvement on the age-related premium.

The savings can be even more impressive for older policyholders. A 70-year old in good health could pay £33.08 a month for a £10,000 policy and £58.55 if they had well-managed diabetes, against £69 for an over-50s plan. Only with a poorly managed condition might a standard policy cost as much.

Those choosing age-related car insurance could be overpaying too. A 55-year-old accountant living in the West End of Glasgow driving a four-year-old Kia Cee’d could pay £399 for a year’s comprehensive cover with Insure Wiser compared to £495 with over-50s specialist Saga.

Citizens Advice says many older people are also paying over the odds for home insurance, because they mistakenly believe staying loyal to their existing provider will get them a better price.

According to the charity, charging continuing customers more than new ones is a market-wide practice, and despite rules requiring insurers to provide a clear reminder of the past year’s premium at renewal, many are failing to do so.

Chief executive Gillian Guy said: “Home insurance companies are taking advantage of people’s loyalty, and it’s older people who are suffering the most.”

Citizens Advice says 40 per cent of over 65s have had their policy for more than five years, which this means they could be paying 70 per cent more than new customers for equivalent cover. This could add £110 a year to the cheapest policy for buildings and contents, and most would pay far more.

To ensure you are not caught out at renewal time, never assume your current provider or one promoting age-related cover for your life, car or anything else will be cheapest, even if it was in the past.

Always shop around for the best deal to suit your particular circumstances, either doing it yourself or using an independent broker.

The simplest way to obtain a range of prices yourself is via online comparison services, but use more than one, as they do not all include the same providers. This will take a little longer, but the saving should more than make up for the time spent.

Do not chose solely on the basis of price, though. When considering quotes, make sure you are comparing like for like, that the policy is right for your needs – and never be swayed by the inducements on offer.

Mr Williams said: “Customers should be wary of adverts that seek to scare them into taking insurance that offers poor value, especially those which offer a high value ‘free’ gift.

“There’s nothing free about something which is being paid for with sky high premiums, so always compare before you buy.”