Up to a quarter of all women drivers could be forced off the road as a result of higher premiums when the EU Gender Directive comes into force next month, according to a survey from Uswitch.com
The directive, which comes into effect on 21 December and will prevent insurers from discriminating on a gender basis, could leave 13% of women unable to afford insurance, said the price comparison website. It added that a further 11% said they would be forced to sell their cars.
With premiums for female drivers widely expected to rise by up to 25%, more than one-third (35%) of women claimed they would have to reduce living costs, while another 5% said they would be forced to borrow money to meet the cost of higher premiums.
The survey found that despite the hardship facing female drivers, two-thirds (66%) of men said they believed the new legislation was needed. A fifth (18%) of men felt they had been unfairly paying the lion’s share of premiums, and just under half (45%) believed they have been unfairly discriminated against.
However, only 18% of women thought the legal change was acceptable and one in four (25%) were concerned they would end up footing the bill for riskier drivers.
Two-thirds (66%) of women were aware of the new insurance rules and had underestimated the potential extent of the price rise, while two-fifths (43%) believed their premiums would rise by 15% rather than the 25% predicted by the industry.
Men had little or no idea how the changes will affect them, with 45% admitting to being unsure about the effect of the directive, and a further 16% incorrectly believing their premiums would go up too.
Although there is still time for women to beat the price rises by renewing their policies before the 23 December deadline, only 23% planned to do so. More than half (54%) said they were willing to risk the rise and pay out next year.
USwitch.com personal finance expert Michael Ossei said men were used to paying large insurance premiums because they were statistically more likely to claim.
“While millions of male drivers will be celebrating cheaper premiums, female drivers need to brace themselves for significant price rises,” he added. “It’s more important than ever that they shop around to find the best deal at renewal time – with more than 100 providers on the market, there is a big difference between the cheapest and the most expensive quote.
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