Car insurance rises for female drivers since EU ruling

The cost of car insurance for female drivers aged 17-18 has risen by 50 per cent since an EU ban on using gender to calculate premiums came into force last month.

On 21 December 2012, insurers were banned from taking gender into account when calculating premiums after the European Court of Justice ruled that such practices were unfair.

Analysing more than 20,000 quotes from before and after the changes came into force, price comparison service uSwitch found that 17 and 18 year old female drivers had seen a 'shocking' average increase of 50 per cent. The industry had predicted rises of up to 25 per cent for women.

uSwitch estimates that average premiums for 17-18 year old female drivers have jumped from £1,307 to £1,965, with the average cost for 19-21 year old women now at £1,098 - an 13 per cent post-ruling increase. Male drivers in the 19-21 and 71+ age groups saw their premiums fall by an average 12 per cent.

Across all age groups, average car insurance premiums have risen by eight per cent for women and fallen by six per cent for men.

Despite the ruling, the average car insurance premium for men is still two per cent higher than the average for women. Although the gap has narrowed from 14 per cent, male drivers still pay an average of £619 for car insurance compared to £529 for women.

Michael Ossei, personal finance expert at uSwitch, hoped the high premiums would not discourage young people from learning to drive.

"Young women that have just passed their test may well wish that Britain had never stepped foot inside the EU. A 50 per cent rise in premiums could have a devastating effect on newly-qualified women trying to get on the road," he said.

"Despite the shock hike in female premiums, 17 and 18 year old men still pay the most for their car insurance."

"The gender gap may be narrowing but it's as important as ever to shop around to find the best deal at renewal time - with over one hundred providers on the market, there is a big difference between the cheapest and the most expensive quote. A little bit of research will go a long way towards limiting the financial impact of this judgement and not letting cost force drivers off the road."