Older motorists seeking extra cover to make driving affordable

Older drivers are more likely to buy extended warranties, service plans and breakdown cover in the knowledge that repair bIlls could easily run into four figures.

New research from the RAC Dealer Network found that almost half of motorists (47%) would also feel “anxious and financially stressed” by an unexpected £1,000 car repair bill, increasing from 37% compared to the last time the organisation asked this question in 2021.

Those in 35-54 and 55-plus groups were however the most interested in extended warranties, service plans and breakdown cover, while those in the 18-34 group ranked tyre insurance and alloy wheel insurance products highly, in addition to cosmetic damage insurance.

Lee Coomber, RAC client director at Assurant, which partners with the RAC in the aftersales sector, said: “It’s especially interesting to look at demand for all dealer products by age. People in the two older age categories are attracted to products such as warranties that cover the car and make motoring more easily affordable, while the propensity for alloy wheel and cosmetic damage among younger people shows both a desire to keep their car looking good, and to avoid unexpected expenses in this area.”

Almost six-in-10 (58%) of motorists surveyed would not have sufficient money to hand to cover a big bill. Out of those, 21% would rely on their car warranty, 13% put it on a credit card or use another lender, 10% turn to from family or friends, and 2% would use other options – while 12% would simply be unsure how to pay the bill.

Coomber said the findings underline the pressure on personal finances over recent years. “A £1,000 repair bill for a used car is not uncommon – transmission issues, air conditioning compressors or timing chain failure can easily cost this much – and it’s clear fewer people feel that they would be able to cope with this kind of financial strain.”

The RAC Dealer Network’s research also shows that 74% are aware that car dealers offer extended warranties, with 39% likely to take one out on their existing car and 57% on their next car.

Coomber added: “Something we have seen across the RAC Dealer Network over the last two years is a higher penetration of extended warranty sales, underlining the growing demand that exists for this kind of cover as people seek to protect themselves from higher motoring costs.”

The RAC Dealer Network research was carried out for Assurant by Toluna Harris Interactive, questioning 1,000 UK adults who own a car and are looking to purchase another within the next three years.

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