Over-50s ripped off by pricey products

Which? analysis of 55 financial products designed for over-50s has found some are a rip-off compared with mainstream alternatives.

We found bad deals in five areas targeted at the over-50s, despite some coming with eye-catching celebrity endorsements and free gifts:

  • Over-50s life insurance plans: These plans usually offer poor value with whole-of-life plans often offering a better return.  For example, we found premiums of £50 per month resulting in pay-outs varying from only £10,185 up to a more generous £13,999. Whereas some whole-of-life insurance policies cost only £27 per month yet pay out £14,000. You may pay in more than you will ever receive.
  • Specialist insurance: We found that specialist car and home insurance for over-50s were often more costly when compared to standard insurance.  For example, compared to the cheapest car insurance we found, in our scenarios, specialist policies for over-50s cost up to £1,075 per annum more. When we looked at home insurance, the difference was £364.
  • Savings accounts for the over-50s: Despite all saving rates being low across the market, we found over-50s savings accounts offering even lower rates of interest. The worst examples our researchers found were Progressive BS’s Premium Return (0.05%) and Danske Bank’s Midas Gold (0.10%), for balances of £5,000. Despite the low interest-rate environment, savers can achieve up to 1.5% in an instant access savings account on the general market.
  • Equity release: We found equity release schemes an expensive way to borrow money, even if as a last resort. Common forms of equity release could mean consumers pay more than three times the loan amount back after 20 years, drastically reducing any property value. Interest rates for equity release products, at between 5.89% and 7.75%, are much higher than standard mortgage rates for 10-year deals, at around 4%.
  • Funeral plans: While some people find funeral plans offer them peace of mind, we found many schemes had potentially costly catches, such as limits on cremation/burial costs and high cancellation fees, with Golden Leaves charging a cancellation fee of 20% of your initial lump sum. Putting premiums into a fixed-rate savings account or leaving an estate will make it easier to meet funeral costs.

 

Editor of Which? Money Gareth Shaw, said:

“Some companies are cashing in on the over-50s through poor-value products and clever marketing. Make sure you shop around and never assume that specialist products and providers are the best deal for you.”

Notes to editors: 

  1. For a full copy of the article, please contact lloyd.purnell@which.co.uk or 02077707562.
  2. Our insurance comparison only considered price, but there are other factors to some insurance policies that may warrant a higher premium or influence your decision.
  3. Best and worst tables for each area, with respective methodologies:

 

–       Over-50s life insurance

over50splan

–       Specialist insurance

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–       Equity release plans

equityrelease

–       Savings accounts

savingsaccounts

–       Funeral plans

funeralplans

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