Women's premiums rise 15%
THE BEST price a woman can typically get for her car insurance has jumped by £114 or 15% since the start of November, as insurers prepare to comply with new European "gender neutral" rules from next week, a price comparison website said.
The cheapest quote being offered to women is £862 on average - but just six weeks ago the best price was around £748 - Gocompare.com said.
It made the findings from analysing searches for car insurance quotes made for women of all ages on the website, including comprehensive cover and third party policies.
The site, which has monitored more than 10 million car insurance quotes since January 2011, said this is the biggest shift it has seen in premiums so far.
It said the typical best price for women aged 17 and 18 has reached £2,191, representing a £281 hike from the start of November.
The full impact of the new rules which come into force next Friday is yet to be seen, although the choice of premiums available to younger drivers is already showing signs of shrinking back.
Gocompare found that 17-year-olds looking for insurance today would get an average of 32 quotes, which is three quotes fewer than they would have typically had at the start of November.
The changes could lead to many younger drivers being forced off the road. Insurer Aviva recently found that a third of parents who help with their children's car insurance believe higher premiums when the new rules come in will force them to give up these payments.
Gocompare’s head of motor insurance, Scott Kelly, said: "We've tracked male and female premiums for the last 23 months and this is the first real sign of movement as a number of insurers begin implementing rate changes.
"However, with the majority of insurers saying they are leaving full equalisation until the last minute we are not going to see the real impact of the ruling on the best prices available until 21 December."
Despite the prospect of premiums rising, analysts have advised women not to consider cancelling policies now to try to lock themselves into a cheaper deal, as they face having to pay a cancellation fee which would eat into any possible savings they could make.
They could also jeopardise their no claims bonus by cancelling, as successive years need to be built up.
Kevin Pratt, an insurance expert at website MoneySupermarket said previously that he expects insurers to ask drivers more searching questions about their records to try to identify how careful they are.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI), which has published guidance about the ruling on its website, suggests that those who want to keep their car insurance premiums lower could consider extra security measures such as having an approved alarm fitted.
Some drivers could potentially benefit from having a telematics "black box" installed in their car, which monitors driving and helps reward careful drivers with lower premiums.
The ABI has said that customers should not focus on price alone but should shop around and buy the most suitable products.