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Tanya K

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Recent research by Portsmouth

Everyone knows that men pay more for their car insurance because they drive more, not because they’re worse at driving, right? Well, men might like to think that but recent research by Portsmouth telematics business, Wunelli, tells a different story.

Over the past four years, the business recorded the driving habits and styles of more than 19,000 UK motorists through their telematics product and found that, scientifically speaking, women are officially better drivers, making them 20% safer than men. The insurance industry has known this for a long time, and uses gender (along with other factors such as age, occupation and type of car) to put a price on insurance meaning that female drivers often pay less than male drivers. One of the major factors for this is the dramatic difference between young male and female drivers – young men are at a much higher risk of causing accidents resulting in claims for damage to vehicles, injuries and in some cases even loss of life.

But the age-old gender distinction will soon be made redundant with the introduction of the EU Gender Directive, which states that no insurer can use gender to determine a price for a product.

From the 21 December, the insurance industry – whether that’s life insurance, home insurance or car insurance – will not be able to alter price based on gender. All very moral but in reality, it means that young women will likely see a rise in their premiums, while men will pay marginally less.

A spokesperson for the ABI said: “It is important to remember that the insurance industry fought against this ruling for nearly a decade, but now that we are where we are, insurers are gearing up to offer premiums that are as fair as possible.

“Gender is one factor of many that insurers use to price premiums and while it is hard to say exactly how prices will change, the motor insurance market is very competitive, allowing customers to shop around, and it will remain so despite the gender ban.”

If you’re looking for a new car insurance policy in the coming months, the ABI (Association of British Insurers) has some useful advice:

  • Shop around should you need to. It is important not to base your decision on price alone: make sure you purchase cover that is adequate for your needs.
  • Take steps to make sure your vehicle is secure, such as having an approved alarm or immobiliser fitted. This can help reduce premiums.
  • It may be worth accepting a higher voluntary excess in order to reduce your premium. However, do ensure that you’ll be able to pay it should you need to make a claim.

Paying premiums in one lump sum, rather than in instalments, is usually cheaper.

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