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Cheap car insurance for women - was it all a myth?

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Much was made of the European Union change of ruling in 2011 which effectively took away cheaper car insurance for women by removing their lower-risk pricing bias. As a consequence of the EU Gender Directive, female drivers in the UK were warned that they would be facing vastly rising insurance premiums, being equated to males in the risk stakes. Suddenly equality took a turn for the worse in terms of matching risk and price in a way that was arguably unfair.

Why did women get cheaper rates previously?

The argument previously of course had been that women were statistically proven to be a lesser risk for insurance providers, due to safer driving patterns and a lower tendency towards accidents. This safer risk profile was reflected in lower premiums. Evidence showed that men were statistically responsible for 92pc of all driving related offences, and 98pc of dangerous driving offences.

Calculating risk

Insurers base their premiums on vastly complex calculations that take into account a range of discrete, interacting factors and these are kept confidential by the owning firm. Although men were known to represent a higher risk factor on the road, it is difficult to say just how much of a premium this translated to in reality, and how much of a discount women did receive- especially those who failed to shop around and check against renewal prices.

The reality was that many women found themselves paying just as much as the men, especially if they were in a younger age category, and automatically a higher risk to ensure. After all, gender is just one factor in assessing risk on the road. Age, occupation, address and other variables all play a part, and combine together to make up the full insurance price.

The situation now

A report in The Telegraph found that insurers were getting around the EU restriction by exploiting a legal loophole that allows them to charge differential rates depending on an individual's occupation. By identifying roles that are typically favoured by either gender, the insurer can tweak insurance premiums accordingly. Age is also still taken into account, as is the amount of no claims bonus. It shows that there are good deals to have, and that insurers are prepared to recognise good drivers and take measures to win their business.

Getting cheaper car insurance

It is possible to get a better quote on car insurance by shopping around, choosing low risk cars and taking measures to secure them. For women, this may offer the opportunity to offset the EU directive effect to a degree, and feel the impact of 'fair' and gender equal pricing less keenly!

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