Act fast on insurance, women urged
Women are being urged to act swiftly to renew their life insurance policies ahead of new European rules which will ban insurers from taking gender into account from next month.
A ruling by the European Court of Justice last year means that from December 21 insurers can no longer consider a customer's gender when calculating, for example, how much they should pay for their car or life insurance or what their retirement income should be.
Women have benefited from lower car insurance premiums due to their lower accident rates, for example. Men have tended to receive higher annuity rates due to their lower average life expectancy, while life insurance has been cheaper for women.
Kevin Pratt, an insurance expert at price comparison website MoneySupermarket, said: "Life insurance has always been cheaper for women as women tend to live for longer and any claim that will be made is further away in time.
"It can be a complicated process and you may need to go for a medical examination."
The website, which analyses millions of quotes, said it is yet to see any huge price hikes across the car insurance market, and the cost of cover for female motorists is around a third cheaper than for male drivers.
However, Mr Pratt warned against trying to cancel a car insurance policy at this stage to try to lock into a deal before the new rules come in.
He also said he did not expect men to see the cost of their car insurance plummet after the changes.
Mr Pratt said: "If someone is deserving of a premium they are paying at the moment there is no reason why they cannot continue to be deserving, provided that the insurer can find out sufficient information about them as a driver. I would expect to see insurers asking drivers more questions about their record to try and identify what sort of driver they are."
© 2012 Press Association