What women drivers need to know about changes to laws on car insurance

Published date: 19 December 2012 |
Published by: Reporter
Read more articles by Reporter


As a result of a ruling by the European Court of Justice in March 2011, car insurance companies are no longer allowed to take gender into account when calculating the price of annual premiums. From 21st December 2012, this law will apply to car insurance in the UK.
 
In the past few years the cost of car insurance in the UK has been going up at the fastest rate ever since the mid 1990s. This new law could mean even higher insurance costs for women drivers by equalising the gap that currently exists between male and female drivers.
 
Effect on young drivers
Price rises will affect young women drivers the most, as the difference in premiums between males and females under-20 can be considerable, as much as £2,000 per year. The reason is that young men are more than twice as likely to be involved in a major collision as women the same age. They are also 10 times more likely to be involved in a serious accident than the over-35s.
Experienced women drivers over 35 are less likely to be affected by the introduction of gender-neutral policies. The gender gap closes significantly with age and for men and women over 40, and premiums are roughly the same.
 
Act now to save money
Young women drivers worried about a potentially huge rise in premiums should act now before the changes become law. Some insurance providers have already started phasing in pricing changes. Others will implement new pricing structures on 21 December. These are the ones to target if you're a looking for cheaper insurance for next year.
 
With only three weeks to go, you need to shop around fast. Go online and ask for gender-specific quotes at comparethemarket.com to make sure that you don’t miss out on any deals from insurers that have not yet put up their prices. What actions you can take to avoid price increases will very much depend on when you need o renew your current policy.
 
Policy due for renewal soon
Obtain some gender-specific car insurance quotes immediately, select the best deal and hold your preferred insurer to it. If you need to renew your car insurance early in 2013, check if the insurer will allow you to buy ahead. Most insurers will honour their quote for the next 28 days and some will even allow you to buy your policy 60-90 days in advance. As long as the deal is concluded on or before 21 December, it will be valid so you can save a considerable amount by buying early.
 
Several months to go before renewal date
Given the savings for women under-25, the above advice may still hold true even if you have months to go before renewing. However, you will have to ‘ditch and switch’ your insurer in the process, which could have implications when it comes to building up a no claims discount in your first few years of driving.  You will need to check that any potential loss of no claims discount doesn't outweigh the saving made.

There will be other hidden costs as well, notably cancellation fees. These can vary enormously between companies, so you need to check the small print of your current insurance policy and take any cancellation charges into account when calculating the savings to be made.

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