women_drivers_insuranceThe debate of “women drivers vs men drivers” has been a popular debate at the workplace for many years! Men tend to share video clips of women drivers performing the strangest driving behaviour and ending up with their vehicles in ridiculous locations…Women answer by alerting their male colleagues to the fact that some insurance companies only provide car insurance cover for women as they are perceived a lesser risk!

On the car insurance blog we have added to this discussion in a blog post titled “Does cheaper car insurance imply women are better drivers?” It is interesting to note that cheaper car insurance for women drivers is not a uniquely South African phenomenon – it is an international trend!

I have come across rather interesting data from the UK. A rather comprehensive research study based on analysis of over six million quotes between June 2008 and June 2009, has revealed the following:

  • The latest car insurance research suggests men, on average, pay more than women for their annual premiums.
  • Twenty-something males shell out 112 per cent more for car insurance than their thirty-something counterparts.
  • According to data compiled by Money Supermarket, men pay an average of 71 per cent more than women on car insurance.
  • Money Supermarket’s researchers found men in their twenties pay an annual average of £1004 on car insurance, compared to around £473 for those in their thirties.

Insurance companies employ the services of highly qualified actuaries to calculate insurance risks presented by all insured clients. They use historical data and are able to adjust premiums as the insurance environment evolves and the risks change. Many new insurers provide specialized services focused on specific areas. We find insurers catering specifically for trucks, 4×4’s, motorbikes and even for a specific gender –women!

Data on car insurance claims has revealed that there is a lesser risk of insurance claims from women drivers. Women are seen as “safer and more mature motorists”. The car insurance premiums for women are both cheaper and decrease with age at a faster rate than men’s.

Younger male drivers have to pay more for expensive motor insurance as they are perceived as a high-risk category. These younger vehicle owners would have to focus on other positives to find cheaper car insurance. These would include:

  • A good driving record / Few or no accidents!
  • The vehicle that you drive – an average, yet safe model that is not too expensive to replace or repair.
  • The ability to shop around and use the internet to compare and find affordable deals.
  • The specific needs of the vehicle owner – distance travelled, risk area to be travelled etc.

It is important to respect this gender bias by insurance companies. This is purely a business decision and not gender discrimination! Car Insurers are fully within their rights to identify a specific risk group of clients within an easily identifiable and manageable risk category.

There are many reasons for the perceived lower risk – which could include amongst others the fact that on average women drivers are driving far less than their male counterparts, tend to drive slower and are not trying to “show off” their driving skills. Female drivers will be able to benefit from these perceptions and even the more aggressive female driver will be able to qualify from a lower “base rate” for her car insurance premium.

This is not an opportunity for vehicle owners to register and insure all vehicles in the names of their spouses. Remain truthful in your insurance application – and if the regular driver is a male driver – it must be disclosed as such. Failure to do so will be fraudulent and could result in your claim being rejected!

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