Radio Sandwell Miscellanea

Women and car insurance - all the facts

2012-11-19 17:12:47

Woman driver

For years female motorists have benefited from gender discrimination when it comes to car insurance. And if you look at accident statistics - especially drivers aged 17 to 25 - it's justified. Boys are more likely to 'get it wrong' than girls.

According to MoneySupermarket.com, women are still winning the battle of the sexes when it comes to car insurance premiums: male drivers currently pay £111 more on average a year than female motorists.

But with the introduction of a new European court of justice (ECJ) gender equality ruling due to come into force on the 21 December 2012, cheap insurance for the fairer sex could be a thing of the past.

Here's everything you need to know on how the new directive will affect your insurance premiums.

Will female car insurance premiums become more expensive?

Unfortunately, yes, they will. The whole point of the gender equality ruling is to balance insurance prices between male and female motorists. There are many ways this can be done, however...

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How much more expensive is it likely to get?

If you're a guy out there thinking costs for men will fall as prices for women rise, think again.

MoneySupermarket.com car insurance expert Kevin Pratt said:

"The most likely outcome is that the average cost of a female motorist's insurance policy will increase, bringing it into line with costs for men.

"Currently, the difference in premium prices between men and women is around 20%, but insurance companies are remaining tight lipped as to the actual percentage increase they'll impose."

Women-specific insurance companies will obviously be affected by the new guidelines, but far from getting swallowed up, they could be the greatest beneficiaries of the shake-up.

What will happen to women-focused insurance companies?

Director of Wunelli (telematics data collection experts to the insurance industry) Paul Stacy believes that these types of insurance company will actually benefit the most from the forthcoming rules.

"Women-only companies will do well as their business is already skewed towards females. They're well positioned, as statistically females are the safest drivers - 20% safer than boys. Using telematics data [a black box mounted in your car that monitors how you drive] should allow them to offer cheap rates to the best drivers, regardless of gender.

Plus, a high retention rate of female customers will help keep their book full."

Cheapest cars to insure for 17-18 year-olds

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I'm a woman - is it worth me renewing my insurance policy now?

We wouldn't recommend trying to take out new insurance now. In doing so you'd more than likely have to cancel your current policy, incurring an administration fee that could potentially be more than the savings you'll make ahead of the ECJ deadline. There is one proviso, however.

According to Kevin Pratt, if your insurance renewal is due between now and the end of December, check out the prices for renewing the policy - if you receive a respectable quote lock into the policy now to initially avoid the upcoming cost increase.

Similarly, if you're looking for a fresh policy now's the time to buy. MoneySupermarket.com's Monitor revealed that across more than 18 million quotes the price of insurance for drivers has fallen by £456 as insurance companies look to drum up more business before the ECJ decree begins.

How can women get a good deal on car insurance?

Although the days of super cheap car insurance for females are coming to an end, there are still a number of tips anyone can follow - not just women - to reduce the cost of car cover.

Good security systems - such as an alarm, immobiliser and vehicle tracker - as well as a telematics 'black box' can help to keep cover costs down. These systems monitor how you drive, recording acceleration, braking, speed, steering and general behaviour behind the wheel. If you're good, your insurance company will reward you with money off.

Stacy also believes avoiding driving at high-risk times of the day - during rush hour or at night, when drivers may have had a drink - can also lower your risk.

A-Z glossary of insurance terms

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Will it affect insurance costs for blokes too?

Yes, it will, but possibly for the better. In the past some safe, young male drivers have had an unfair weighting applied to their policies because of statistical data.

According to Stacy, the new gender equality rules "will see a rapid onset of telematics recording devices" - if you're a male driver, but a safe driver, using this sort of data logging can help to keep your premiums low, avoiding a statistical penalty.

How can I work out how much extra it will cost me?

There's no hard or fast rule here, we're afraid. According to the various experts we spoke to, the best way is to run two separate quotes on insurance price comparison websites - one as a female and one as a male.

The difference in cost will give you an idea of how much your insurance premium could rise by.

MSN Cars tried this for a 45 year-old sales manager (male and female) with a clean driving licence living in an A-rated insurance area, driving an average 1.6-litre family hatchback over 12,000 miles per year with five years no claims bonus.

We found a price difference between the cheapest quote for a male and female driver of £17.57 per year, giving an indication of the potential future price differential.

Interestingly, the cheapest quote for out fictional female motorist was still from a "women-only" insurance company.

Source: msn.com

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