Women’s car insurance has traditionally been cheaper than men’s. The simple reason for this difference is that women tend to drive more carefully and at slower speeds. Women are less likely to be involved in a road accident because they are travelling at lower speeds so any impact damage is likely to be less and cheaper to repair.
The European Union doesn’t see it that way though. Legislation is being forced through parliament following a ruling from Brussels that insurance companies must not discriminate between male and female drivers in terms of premium charges.
As a result, the cost of car insurance for women will rise. Projections indicate that a young woman, aged 17 to 25, will have to pay up to 25% more than at present. Young men will benefit by way of an estimated 9% decrease in premium prices. However, it is anticipated that insurance companies will err on the side of caution in their charging policy, so everyone could end up paying more than they should.
The new legislation, due to be enforced from 21 December 2012, may well be phased in from September in order to ease the massive logistical nightmare of changing over computer systems to the new charges.
So where does this leave the ladies? Most insurance companies at present offer discounted premiums for women drivers. Indeed a number of specialist companies have sprung up offering exclusive car insurance for women. The levelling off of premium charges will change the face of the car insurance industry.
Female drivers will need to shop around to find the best deals. Churchill car insurance for women, for instance, offers the following incentives:
• Up to £100 personal belongings cover with comprehensive cover;
• Up to 65% No claims discount;
• Repairs guaranteed for up to five years (when using an approved repairer);
• Guaranteed Hire Car provided while the policyholder’s vehicle in being repaired (only applies to comprehensive cover);
• Personal accident cover for the policyholder and spouse or partner (again, only with comprehensive cover).
When comparing various car insurance deals, it is important to make sure you are comparing like-for-like. One company may give you a cheaper quote than its competitors, but is the level of cover the same? Does the cheaper policy give you the same amount of protection? Are there additional benefits that are not included in the price? And definitely check what excess you have to pay if you need to claim.
A reliable motor insurance provider will clearly state what is included within the policy price and what extra services can be made available, subject to a supplementary charge.
These are some of the services that may be included in the price:
• Uninsured Driver Cover – make sure your No Claims Discount is protected if someone who is not insured bumps into you;
• 24-hour accident recovery helpline;
• New replacement car if your car is less than 12 months old;
• Named driver receives their own No Claims Discount.
Additional services may include:
• Legal Assistance services;
• No Claims Discount protection insurance;
• Guaranteed Hire Car service if your car is stolen and not recovered.
It remains to be seen whether insurance companies will offer additional incentives specifically for women drivers that reflect their lower risk rating. Any such incentive will presumably need to demonstrate that it does not fall foul of the European Union’s discrimination policies.
So, in summary, drivers, male or female, should make sure that they get the best deal available by comparing car insurance policies from a number of providers. But remember, the cheapest option is not necessarily the best value option. Compare levels of service and optional extras. As ever, read the small print.