Women hit by £362 car insurance hike

A new edict from Brussels rules that millions of women drivers will now have to shell out more than £350 extra a year on their car insurance.

Why? Because, indirectly, women have fewer accidents than men, leading to insurance discounting. But such 'discount discrimination' must now end, Brussels insists. But total costs could hit £1bn.

'Discount' or discrimination?

The new changes will be pushed through Parliament without recourse - yet - to the European Court of Justice. It means that young men are likely to see the cost of their insurance premiums fall. In effect this 'discount' will mean that some younger, more reckless men will be subsidised by safer, more cautious women.

How's that for EU justice? Association for British Insurers spokesperson Linsey White told AOL Money: "It's disappointing news for UK consumers and this is something the UK insurance industry has fought against for the last decade."

£1,771 less

It means additionally that under the EU rules, some male drivers may not be penalised as much. But it also means that safer women drivers are likely to pay more across the board. It's a topsy-turvy Brussels world.

Confused.com recently claimed that drivers in the 17-20 year old age group saw female drivers paying £1,771 less than men, UK-wide. It costs an average of £1,959 for women aged 17-20 to insure a car compared to £3,730 for men, according to the Confused.com/Towers Watson Car Insurance Price Index (Q4 2011), based on more than 4 million quotes.

Regionally the picture is even more stark, Confused.com says. "Young men passing their driving tests in inner London can expect to be quoted an average of £5,523 to insure their car if they are aged 20 years or younger which is more than 48% higher than the average for this group and 5.7% more than they paid in Q4 of 2010."

Black box bullet

It added: "Their counterparts in Manchester and Merseyside fare even worse, with average costs of £5,724 facing them to insure their cars when they throw away the 'L' plates, a shocking rise of 10.6% year-on-year (Q4 2011 compared to Q4 2010)."

The Labour party claims it would consider forcing every insurance company to offer drivers at least one black box product - technology that measures how hard or safely a car is driven - unless they can voluntarily roll out the technology much more quickly over the next year. Currently there are only around 100,000 black boxes in the UK and most of the major providers don't offer them.

"At a time when motorists are already being squeezed by record fuel prices, women will be dismayed that out-of-touch ministers are not lifting a finger to defuse the insurance time bomb heading their way from Europe," said Labour John Woodcock MP.
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