The EU’s Gender Directive ruling comes in to force from December 21st this year, meaning insurance providers will no longer be exempt from a wider EU principle covering gender equality. Insurers will no longer be allowed to take gender into account when calculating car insurance premiums but until then, insurers can continue to use gender as a rating factor, charging men and women different prices.
Many female learner drivers are racing to pass their tests before the deadline so their insurance will be quoted at a lower rate for the next year, but over three quarters of female drivers have no idea that their car insurance premiums are about to increase and as a result they could end up paying hundreds of pounds more for cover. It is possible to save on premiums by opting to get a quote now which is “guaranteed” for 90 days. For example Direct Line, has said that provided the customer “commits” to buying the policy it will honour the quote even if the policy starts after December 21. However, it is wise to do your homework before locking into a new policy as other insurers have questioned whether a quote which has been calculated using the driver’s gender will be valid after the changes take place in December. Insurance company Sheila’s Wheels has announced that they will be gradually reducing its 30-day “guaranteed quote” period, so price quoted before December 18 when it moves to gender neutral pricing will no longer be valid after December 21.
According to the AA, the typical cost of car insurance for women aged 17-22 is £2,125 (compared with more than £3,000 for men in this age bracket), while women aged 23-29 pay around £1,200 (compared with £1,840 for men). This difference narrows as motorists reach their thirties and by the time they are in their forties both men and women pay around £700 a year for this annual cover.
Contracts already in force before then will not be affected, so it makes sense for people who want insurance or to top up existing policies to consider doing so without delay.
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By Geraldine Ashton Green
Tue, 30 Oct 2012