Understanding the stats
Q: I’ve passed my driving test. I’ve been told by car insurance companies that there’s no discount for being female, even though women are statistically less likely to have an accident. Why?
A: You’re right that women are statistically less likely to have an accident. In fact, young men under the age of 22 used to pay an average of £1,000 more a year in insurance premiums than women of the same age. This was because the statistics show that young men are twice as likely to suﬀer a serious collision as young women (and ten times more likely to be killed or seriously injured in one than those aged 35 or over).
However, an EU ‘gender directive’ that came into force on 21 December 2012 made it illegal to discriminate according to sex when pricing ﬁnancial products, such as pension annuities and insurance. The change has seen premiums for women under 40 rise and those for men of a similar age fall. Some have argued that this is unfair, but others have said equality can’t be selective. The change is unlikely to aﬀect the premiums of those aged over 40 – the age at which the statistics show that men and women become equally likely to have an accident.