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On December 21st, The European Court of Justice's insurance gender equalisation ruling comes into effect, with a far bigger impact on the world if insurance than we could ever imagine.
The main premise of the ruling is that gender can no longer be allowed to pay a part in pricing when it comes to insurance (despite UK insurance companies being against the idea), and for women drivers, this can mean an increase in premiums by up to £2,000, depending on their age.
Because, despite all the jokes about women drivers, they are considered a better bet by insurance companies when it comes to safety, so their premiums are lower; but not after Dec 21 – with under-35 tear old women looking to lose out most. According to TV Guru Marti Lewis’s moneysavingexpert.com website “On average, women currently pay £315/yr less than men, while it’s been predicted under-20s could pay up to £2,000 more after 21 Dec.” All this despite Department for Transport figures revealing that younger men are three times more likely to be killed or seriously hurt at the wheel than women of the same age – generic data that insurers won’t be able to use now to set insurance rates.
Grant Mitchell – no, not that one - head of motor insurance at The Co-operative, says: ‘Statistically speaking, women are safer drivers than men, which is why they have historically paid less for car insurance. But when the gender ruling comes in to force, many women will get an unfair deal.’
Could men’s insurance drop? Don’t hold your breath as insurance companies err on the side of caution and increase women’s to the heights of men’s, with a small drop possible.
So, what can you do to avoid this ladies? Mr Lewis offers a few alternatives.
You could try ditching your current insurer and finding a cheaper one already, rather than waiting around post Dec – even if it doesn’t expire yet. If you haven’t claimed on it, you should get a bit of a refund, but there will in all likelihood be a release fee. Make sure you allow for this when working out what’s going to be cheaper. (You could, of course mention that you are leaving to your current supplier and see what they will offer to keep you too!)
And then look at ALL the price comparison sites – not just the ones that advertise on TV and offer soft toys and Nectar points and feelings of being epic – as well as the big insurance companies that they don’t have (like Aviva, Direct Line and Admiral Multicar.)
You could also try adding a reliable (and older) driver to the policy that will cut both price and risk to insurer.
And finally, you could try what is called telematics: that’s the black box that records all your movements in the car – good and bad. It’s mainly used for younger drivers but can be an older person’s option too!
One option that the ever-lovable Mr Lewis has forgotten to mention is that the insurance companies are very well aware of the ‘problems’ that this is likely to cause and are no doubt, right at this moment, preparing advertising campaigns to attract women in some way or another before Dec 21 with a loophole that they would have found. You could wait and see what is going around the end of November and start of December – it’s a gamble but could pay off.
And it is, of course, not just car insurance that will be a victim of these equality rules It is believed in the financial sector that while the biggest impact may well be on motor insurance, life and illness cover and pension annuities will also be seriously affected..
Otto Thoresen, director general of the Association of British Insurers, says: “We fought for nearly a decade to continue to offer customers premiums and benefits that reflect risks linked to gender. The real effect on rates will be clearer as the new rules bed in but we will remain competitive.”