Choosing car insurance can be a little daunting. There are loads of options and they all compete for our attention. When those of us who have been driving around for a relatively short time consider insurance, we perhaps need a little more spoon-feeding. But what’s it like for drivers in their mid 50s? At this point they may have been driving for well over 30 years so it’s interesting to see what their experiences may be.

In order to find out the how and the where we spoke to three older, more experienced drivers.

'I wouldn’t ignore casual recommendations or anecdotal stories of other people's’ bad experiences.'

First we spoke to Gary Williams, a 57-year-old artist and keen cyclist who lives in a small town nestled in between the English and Welsh borders. When he thinks he can get away with it without being told off, he will spend his money on cycling gear and parts for his road bike and when he has some spare time, you will find him in his studio painting and printmaking.

We asked him about his experiences buying and looking for car insurance.

car insurance

Do you head straight for the internet to look for insurance or to your bank?

I predominantly head for the internet because I can compare instantly, and besides – the bank would probably use the internet as well, so why not just cut out the middle man?

Do you use comparison websites? Which ones?

Yes I think I’ve used Go Compare and Money Supermarket. They’re pretty much my first port of call.

Do you seek family and friend’s advice?

Not particularly although I wouldn’t ignore casual recommendations or anecdotal stories of other people’s’ bad experiences. They might sway me one way or another.

Would you like to speak to someone face to face to talk over your options, or are you happy making the decision on your own?

I’m usually happy to make the decision on my own. My needs are relatively straightforward and I’m an experienced customer; I mean I have nearly 40-years experience. I was around when you went to a broker on the high street and they filled in a form in biro, pre computers, so it’s not new to me. Maybe if there was something technical that I didn’t understand I might seek help over the phone.

Do you prefer longstanding companies or will you just as likely choose new ones?

I am just as likely to choose new ones as it’s more dependent on the offer.

Is price very important for you?

Not entirely no, I don’t always go for the absolute cheapest, it really depends on the level of cover. I would choose the most all round cover.

Will endorsements from public figures help you make a decision?

Nope, not at all. Well, they’ve been paid to say that. So, unless it’s Bradley Wiggins or Geraint Thomas (favourite pro cyclists of mine), it won’t make it any difference to me.

Do you read reviews before committing? Why?

I probably should but I don’t as it usually turns out that my renewal quote is fairly competitive and I don’t do much chopping and changing.

'I’ve used that bloody meerkat one - Compare the Market and Go Compare'

Next we spoke to Ros Patching, a 54-year-old self-employed writer, editor and gardener, who lives near Shrewsbury. Her answer to what she liked to spend her money on and to do in her spare time was gardening (but said maybe bell-ringing could replace gardening if she wasn’t allowed it twice).

car insurance

Do you head straight for the internet to look for insurance or to your bank?

I go to the internet because I then have control over where I go after there, rather than guided by a bank.

Do you use comparison websites? Which ones?

Yes, I’ve used that bloody meerkat one – Compare the Market and Go Compare.

Do you find the offering of a cuddly toy can sway your decision?

No, I don’t want a cuddly toy and have no interest in cuddly toys as I have a cuddly husband.

Do you seek family and friend’s advice?

No, I listen to it but don’t necessarily seek it out. If they happen to mention good treatment or a good deal I might follow it up.

Would you like to speak to someone face to face to talk over your options, or are you happy making the decision on your own?

I am happy to make the decision on my own as I like making it on my own. There’s enough information around for me to do that. I may ask a few final questions once I have narrowed it down and I may try to speak to someone in case an over-the-phone deal is plausible.

Do you prefer longstanding companies or will you just as likely choose new ones?

I would read the small print of any company so it wouldn’t matter whether they were a startup or more established.

Is price very important for you?

Yes, on the whole I think that insurance is a rip off so I am highly driven by price considerations.

Will endorsements from public figures help you make a decision?

No, because I don’t believe they know anything more than I do necessarily and they’re being paid to say whatever it is. As my mother would say: “They’ll say anything but their prayers”.

Do you read reviews before committing? Why?

Yes, to see what other experiences people have had as I have more faith in regular punters than I would do in public figures and what they have to say.

'I think of my family as a great network of people who I trust and whose opinion I regard highly.'

Next we spoke to Scott Vaughan, a 51 year old, currently living in Bradford upon Avon with his partner, although he’s originally from Pontypridd in Wales. He’s a tax accountant who’s a big film buff and spends his money on all things relating to the cinema and the big screen, be that premieres or just the first screenings at midnight in his local cinema. When he’s not re-writing Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in his head he’s a keen traveller, consistently looking to get overseas.

car insurance

Do you head straight for the internet to look for insurance or to your bank?

I actually like to go to my bank as it has always done me well to do so in the past and because when I was first getting insurance there was no option to go on the internet.

Do you use comparison websites? Which ones?

No because I don’t go to the internet first, if my bank were to massively change the costs I might. I like to make my own decision.

Do you seek family and friend’s advice?

Of course, I think of my family as a great network of people who I trust and whose opinion I regard highly.

Would you like to speak to someone face to face to talk over your options, or are you happy making the decision on your own?

I always value the input of a professional in front of me who more specifically understands my needs.

Do you prefer longstanding companies or will you just as likely choose new ones?

I prefer long-standing companies, most of the insurers I use I have been using for years.

Is price very important for you?

It’s not the first thing I look it, it obviously affects my decision as money doesn’t grow on trees, but it will be down to the policies coverage.

Will endorsements from public figures help you make a decision?

I enjoy seeing celebrities in certain adverts; I think it was Paul Whitehouse in those Aviva ads, they made me laugh, but they really didn’t affect my decision making.

Do you read reviews before committing? Why?

I do, though I try not to be too influenced by them as reviews aren’t always clear in their motives and one individual’s experience might not be reflective or relevant to me.

Experience is a key factor amongst our interviewees here. They have a good understanding of what to look for, wherever that information might be and whoever is presenting it. They are not easily won over by freebies or celebrity faces, but are prepared to listen to contemporaries and see what others have experienced to come to a conclusion. Sometimes the easiest option is the one you are most used to, but often price will drive a change in old habits.

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We ask three over 50s how they choose car insurance