Following a ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union, insurance companies will soon no longer be able to charge a different rate for car insurance based on the gender of the policy holder.
The change stems from an EU directive first issued in 2004 which called for equal treatment in the supply of all goods and services and therefore outlawed all forms discrimination based on gender.
It is a directive that files in the face of the one plain and simple fact that every car owner knows: men, young men in particular, tend to drive more recklessly and are therefore far more likely to be involved in the kind of incident that leads to a claim for traffic accident compensation from road traffic accident solicitors. This is the reason they have traditionally been required to pay higher insurance premiums. Little wonder the decision has already described by at least one leading lawyer as ‘completely bonkers’.
In reality, the situation has never been quite as black and white as insurance companies would have us believe. While statistically men may have been more likely than women to be involved in accidents and speeding offences, there have always been plenty of exceptions to the rule. Some men are extremely careful drivers, regardless of their age, while some middle-aged women can be every bit as reckless as testosterone-filled teenage boys.
The Case For
Ultimately, it is only right and proper that men and women should be treated as equals in all aspects of life. Although women may end up paying more for their insurance and men slightly less, this will be balanced by other areas affected by the same directive. Women generally live longer than men so they have traditionally paid more for life insurance, but this too is set to change.
For some time, the current situation, particularly when it comes to young male drivers, has been little short of ludicrous. Even with the benefit of schemes such as Pass Plus which offer substantial discounts to first-time drivers, young men have routinely found themselves having to pay more for their insurance than for the actual car itself in the first two years after passing their tests.
The Case Against
As it stands, the present system is fair and has always rewarded careful, considerate drivers, regardless of gender, which is why the current no-claims bonus system offers discounts of up to 75 per cent on the usual cost of a premium.
One benefit of the present system is that many young drivers are so terrified of losing their no-claims bonuses that, even when they are involved in an accident, they end up covering the costs themselves rather than making a claim. This means that, despite the supposed risks they are taking, many insurance companies never have to pay out on claims for young drivers and this helps keep the cost of insurance down for everyone else.
Once the system is changed, young men may be tempted to buy larger, more powerful cars as they will no longer be impractical for them to insure. This in turn will lead to more accidents and more claims, which will ultimately increase the cost of insurance for everyone, regardless of gender.
This post was written on behalf of specialist personal injury solicitors Hughes Carlisle