Driving change in gender bias

Driving change in gender bias

Forget the stereotype; women are safer behind the wheel than male drivers, new British research has revealed.

The report, commissioned by UK technology company Wunelli, found that male drivers were three times as likely to be seriously hurt or even killed in road accidents.

Female drivers, however, were more likely to stick to speed limits and less likely to slam on the brakes than the blokes.

It may be little wonder then that female drivers in the United Kingdom typically pay less to insure their cars than their male counterparts.

But that is set to change later in the year with the introduction of new legislation enforced by the European Union.

Under the new laws, which come into force on December 21, it will be illegal for an insurer in the EU to charge men and women different rates for the same car insurance product.

But the expectation is that, overall, consumers will pay more as less accurate pricing forces insurers to err on the side of caution.

Grant Mitchell, head of motor insurance at the Co-operative UK said: “When the gender ruling comes in to force, many women will get an unfair deal”.

So is it a step in the right direction towards equality or is it simply bureaucracy gone mad?

Michelle Hutchison, spokeswoman for RateCity, said similar legislation exists in Australia’s compulsory third party (CTP) car insurance market where premiums differ only slightly between providers.

“It’s not necessarily a bad thing for CTP insurance, because it ensures there are no gaps in cover to protect the general public. But if similar regulation was rolled out across the wider insurance industry it could mean fewer new players competing in the market and, therefore, less choice for consumers,” she said.

Drivers who apply for comprehensive car insurance in Australia can expect to be asked a number of questions including about gender, age and driving history as well as seemingly-unrelated questions such as about their marital status or education.

“They do this to determine as much information about how safe and responsible a driver is in an effort to price the premium to suit risk associated with their circumstances and vehicle.”

“In the EU, the gender directive is effectively removing a piece of information that insurers use to make an informed decision on risk,” she said.

Regardless of your risk profile, there are legitimate ways to reduce your comprehensive car insurance premium and potentially save hundreds of dollars, according to Hutchison.

“You can do this by adjusting your excess, adding extra security to your vehicle, garaging it rather than parking on the street and limiting who drives your car – for instance, drivers older than 25 years only,” she said.

“Finally, one of the easiest ways to get a better deal on your comprehensive car insurance is to shop around. Use comparison websites such as RateCity to compare several brands before renewing with your existing provider; it could be the best return on your time you get all year.”

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Learn more about car insurance

Can you insure your car for 6 months?

Most Australian insurers won’t offer you a 6-month car insurance policy, so you may need to buy a policy that covers your car for damages and cancel it after six months. You will need to purchase comprehensive car insurance to protect your car from accidental damage, theft, vandalism, or natural disasters.. 

Consider checking whether your 6-month comprehensive car insurance will cost more if you pay monthly or six-monthly premiums instead of a one-time annual premium. Another question to ask the insurer is whether you’ll need to pay administration or cancellation fees when you cancel the policy.

Alternatively, you can look for a suitable ‘pay as you drive’ car insurance policy, which usually offers you the coverage of a comprehensive car insurance policy but only requires you to pay for the distance driven. Such a policy may not be the ideal 6-month car insurance plan as it is based on how much you drive rather than for how long. If you need to drive a lot, you may end up paying more than you’d pay for regular car insurance. 

Does insurance cover a stolen car if keys were in the car?

A car insurance policy that covers the theft of your car, such as third party fire and theft insurance, usually covers a stolen car, even if the keys were in the car’s ignition.

However, your insurer may deny the claim if you live in an area where there have been several car robberies reported recently. They will see you leaving the keys in the car as a case of negligence. In such cases, your insurance provider may even expect you to have installed anti-theft security measures in your car. 

You may need to confirm whether or not you left your keys in your car, and if they had been stolen or misplaced, before filing your car insurance claim. The loss or theft of your car keys may be covered by a comprehensive car insurance policy, but usually as an optional item.

If you can confirm that your car keys were stolen, mention this in your claim as this will help establish that your car was not stolen as a result of your negligence.