Female drivers face hike in premiums

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Women drivers will no longer be able to benefit from discounted car insurance and may face a shock increase in their premiums just before Christmas.

Until now, all insurance companies have been able to offer reduced premiums to female drivers based on their lower risk of having accidents.  However, this must end on 21st December, which has been named ‘G Day’, after the European Court of Justice ruled that a person’s gender can no longer be a factor in the calculation of car insurance.

Whilst it is still unclear what exact rises women will face on their premiums, it is estimated that they could see increases of 25%. On one particular quote for a 21-year-old female driver, a renewal premium before the new law was priced at £788, but would rocket to more than £1,000 after ‘G Day’.

Car insurance companies have warned that the change is more likely to affect the younger female drivers.

Diamond, a leading female car insurance company said: “Young women, particularly those aged under 22, should be aware that their premiums will probably be significantly higher when they come to get insurance from 21st December onwards.”

Traditionally, men have paid higher insurance premiums due to accident and conviction statistics. Men are three times more likely to be caught speeding and four times more likely to be convicted of dangerous driving than women are. The severity of accidents involving male drivers is much higher than that of females, with the average crash of an under-21 male driver costing an average of 48% more than accidents in women of the same age.

Smithdown Road in the morning rush hour

Following the change in the law, young female drivers will pay the same high risk premiums, despite being classed as a lower risk, sparking a debate as to whether the law change is fair. Car insurance companies believe that each person should pay a particular premium depending on their individual risk.

A spokeswoman for Liverpool Victoria car insurance told JMU Journalism: “In terms of whether we support the new law, we tend to think it’s better for drivers to pay for the risk they personally represent including taking gender into account.”

Aviva car insurance also has a similar opinion on the new laws. A spokeswoman told JMU Journalism: “We were disappointed by the ECJ ruling outlining changes to the EU Directive. Aviva underwrites premiums based on a customer’s individual risk and gender is one such risk, as our claims experience shows there are marked differences between male and female drivers in car insurance claims.  However, we accept that we must comply with the court ruling, and as a result we are making changes to our systems so we can provide unisex pricing for our customers.”

JMU Journalism spoke to young female drivers to get their opinions on the forthcoming changes.

Jennifer Davies, 21, of Liverpool, told JMU Journalism: “I think lads’ insurance should be brought down instead of women’s increasing, it’s ridiculous. Nobody can afford to drive anymore because of insurance. Fair enough if you have a bump, but shouldn’t we be given a fair chance at the start of our premium instead of paying an arm and a leg to drive?”

Danielle Tiernan, 20, from Widnes, said: “To be honest, I think it’s fair for girls’ insurance to rise. Not all boys are racers, some girls can be ‘boy racers’ too.”

Some women fear that after ‘G Day’ they will no longer be able to drive.

Emma Klieve, aged 21, from Widnes said: “I passed in June, and I can’t even afford to drive! Mine has almost doubled.”

About Michaela Shaw, JMU Journalism