For years, men have watched female drivers struggle to drive into spaces in empty car parks, drive through barriers at ticket machines and mount curbs and pavements across the country and yet somehow, women are charged less for their car insurance. Finally, that seems set to change, thanks to a new ruling from the bastions of common sense at the European Court of Justice (ECJ).
In the past, insurers were able to offer women preferential rates on their car insurance, due to the statistics that show they are less likely to be involved in accidents than men. This led to companies such as Sheila’s Wheels being set up especially to cater for women’s insurance needs – and to plague our televisions with eye-gougingly annoying commercials.
Now, the ECJ has ruled that, from December 2012 onwards, insurers will no longer be able to use a person’s gender when calculating the risk of that person being involved in a car accident. So, when you next see a female driver stretching the petrol pump around her car to refuel, or spending half an hour trying to parallel park her Jeep in a space too small for a pushbike, you can rest assured that she won’t necessarily be benefiting from cheaper insurance than you.
The ruling is expected to mean a drop in car insurance premiums for men of around 10 per cent but the news is not all good for men. Insurance costs are currently spiralling at a rate of around 40 per cent per year and this new enforcement by the ECJ is only going to speed up that increase.
As moneysupermarket car insurance expert Julie Owens explains: “We will now see a fundamental and significant change to the UK insurance market. ”
“This move will be detrimental to UK consumers, and in the case of car insurance, premiums for female drivers will certainly increase sharply as a result. In addition, with record price increases to car insurance premiums, the ruling means it is likely many more motorists will be forced off the road, or even worse, be more tempted to drive without any cover at all.”
She added: “We have already witnessed a sharp rise in the cost of car insurance premiums to date, and recent moneysupermarket.com analysis has shown premiums are rising by 44 pence per day on average.”
More bad news on the back of the ruling is the fact that annuity rates for men are set to drop. In the past, a man’s pension would buy him a better annuity rate because he is expected not to live as long as a woman. The ECJ ruling means annuity companies will now have to offer men and women the same rates and those rates will be significantly lower than those that men currently benefit from.
Don’t believe us, check this parking masterclass out…