Cheaper car insurance for women drivers may be about to come to an end. European judges are considering whether the practice contravenes EU equality laws. If they find it does, it will become illegal for sex to affect insurance premiums. This is ludicrous. Car insurance premiums are worked out on a purely statistical basis, the idea being that the less likely you are to claim, the less you pay. And whether the EU likes it or not, women are less likely to claim than men.
And the truth is that if you decide to look at it as Europe clearly is – from the point of view of discrimination – it isn’t just men who are being disadvantaged. So are people who drive at busy times, people who live in areas of high car crime, and people without garages of their own.
All pay higher-than-average premiums.
On the plus side, however high your risks, there are ways you can drag your premiums back down. Regardless of your sex, shop around – use at least two comparison websites to get a broad range of quotes. If you are a woman, don’t be sucked in by the specialist women-only insurers. Contrary to popular belief, they aren’t in general any cheaper than mainstream insurers. An investigation by
The Independent on Sunday found that many quotes from firms such as Diamond can be easily beaten elsewhere, for example.
When you are on the sites you may want to think about how you describe your occupation. Many insurers make assumptions about your behaviour based on your job. So as a journalist it’s assumed I use my car more than average, have a higher risk of having an important passenger, and am more likely to drink on the job. Sadly, none of that is true.
But I’m not the only one whose job is an issue. Builders pay more as it’s assumed they have expensive tools in their car; croupiers pay more in case angry gamblers vandalise theirs. So if more than one job title fits you try both to see which gives you a cheaper premium. For example, I can put writer instead of journalist to reduce my costs, a builder can try bricklayer, and so on. Just make sure the job title remains accurate (I am a writer); if it’s a lie, you’re committing insurance fraud and your policy will be worthless.
Also consider where you keep your car. If it sits on the drive because the garage is full of junk, check how much you could save by clearing some space. Finally, whatever you do, stay legal: telling lies invalidates your policy. So, if you’re under 25, don’t say your mother is the main driver on your car if she isn’t. That’s known as ‘fronting’ and it is illegal.