New European rules that came into force on 21 December mean insurers can no longer take a customer’s gender into account when calculating premiums.
The changes, which are the result of a ruling from the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in March 2011, mean that women are likely to see their car insurance costs rise.
Premiums must now be ‘gender neutral’, with men and women being treated the same, even if they present obviously different risks to insurers.
Malcolm Tarling from the Association of British Insurers (which campaigned against the move) said: “On behalf of UK consumers we fought against the gender in insurance ban, as the more relevant factors insurers can take into account the more accurately motor premiums can reflect the actual risk.
"However, despite the gender ban motor insurance will remain competitively priced so all motorists – regardless of their sex – should shop around to get the right policy at the best possible price.”
Ian Crowder, spokesman for AA Insurance, said: “The youngest drivers will be most affected. That is because young men are more than twice as likely to be killed or seriously injured in a car crash than their female peers.
“Young women aged 17 to 22 typically pay up to 40% less for their cover than young men; well, until now at any rate. In middle age, there is little difference in premiums between the genders.”
Premiums are likely to drop by up to 10% for men aged 25 and below and increase by up to 30% for the youngest women drivers, Mr Crowder added.
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