Women’s car insurance

 

Men may like to joke about ‘women drivers’ but when it comes to car insurance it pays to be female.

 

Many car insurance providers recognise that women statistically have a superior driving record to men and reflect this by offering policies with unique incentives geared towards females and cheaper premiums.

 

 

Why do women pay less for car insurance?

Car insurance providers base their premiums on risk – i.e. how likely you are to make a claim. Women are generally deemed a lower risk group than men because statistically they are less likely to be involved in high cost accidents or have serious driving convictions. For example, 2006 research by the Home Office reported that 97 per cent of motorists convicted of dangerous driving are male; while men also make up 94 per cent of those convicted of causing death by dangerous driving.

 

This in turn is reflected in the premiums they receive. Research of six million quotes up to June 2009 by a comparison website found that men are paying an average of 71 per cent more for their cover than women. Indeed an 18-year-old male driver will pay an average of £2,318.83 a year for cover – that’s 87 per cent more than the average female driver of that age at £1,237.33.

 

 

So are women’s only car insurance providers the best option?

You’ve probably heard of insurance companies that market their products towards females suggesting that with a predominantly female clientele they can offer a better deal to their customers.

 

Indeed these specialist providers often offer unique policy features which can be appealing for females. These can include:

 

- Child seat cover: Ensures you will receive a brand new replacement for a child seat following an accident.

 

- Counselling services: Car accidents can be traumatic experiences and so some insurers offer counselling to help you recuperate.

 

- Female friendly repairers: A survey by Diamond in November 2009 found that 52 per cent of women find taking their car to a garage daunting. With this in mind, many specialist insurers offer female friendly repairers that are used to addressing the needs of female customers.

 

- Handbag cover: If you carry a lot of personal items in your handbag it may be worth taking out cover in case it is stolen.

 

- Mobile phone locators: No-one wants to be stranded after an accident – mobile phone locators can track your whereabouts.

 

- Priority breakdown assistance: Breakdown cover is often offered as an add-on to insurance policies and with priority assistance women can rest assured that they will be reached first.

 

- Shopping cover: It’s not just your vehicle that could be damaged in an accident – your shopping could also be ruined and so if you regularly run errands in your car you may wish to look for shopping cover.

 

While these features are well worth considering, you shouldn’t automatically assume that specialist female policies are the cheapest or the best for your needs.

 

For example, in April 2010, we used a comparison website to search for comprehensive car insurance quotes for an 18-year-old female banker, with a 2008 Ford Fiesta GHIA, driving up to 10,000 miles a year, and who has completed the Pass Plus course and agreed to a £250 excess. With zero no-claims, the cheapest deal available to her was £2,113.92 a year. However, had she opted for a female specialist insurer, her cheapest deal would have been more than £1,500 more expensive at £3,856.44. Consequently it pays to take a thorough overview of the market by using a comparison website to compare deals. You should also consider what features are available from each provider too as you may decide it’s worth paying a little extra for additional cover options.

 

 

Other car insurance considerations

In addition to shopping around for car insurance to ensure you receive a competitive deal, women should also consider the vehicle they drive and how they plan to use it. Generally, older vehicles with smaller engines and no modifications earn cheaper premiums as they are less likely to be involved in high impact accidents and cost less to repair/replace. Consider how you will use the vehicle too as agreeing to a mileage limit, for example, or not driving during the rush hour, could save you money.

 

Here are some additional money saving tips:

 

- Build up a no-claims discount: Remember that it pays to drive safely – by avoiding claims you could earn as much as 60 per cent off your premiums after four or more years. There are also rapid bonus schemes available to new drivers.

 

- Choose the right level of cover: Consider which level of cover is right for your needs – comprehensive, third party fire and theft or third party only. Though it’s sensible to take as much cover as possible, you should carefully weigh up what you can afford, particularly as a new driver.

 

- Increase security: Park in a locked garage overnight and consider fitting an insurer-approved alarm, immobiliser or tracking device to your vehicle to limit the risk of theft.

 

- Increase your voluntary excess: The excess is your contribution towards a claim and by increasing it you can lower car insurance premiums. However, only set it at a level you can comfortably afford.

 

- Take the Pass Plus course: The Pass Plus offers additional tuition in unfamiliar driving situations and could help you save as much as 35 per cent on your premiums with some insurers. There may also be financial assistance available from your local authority to help with the cost of the course.

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