UK insurers discriminate against young women drivers

Did we want equality or simply fairness?

Many motor insurers are adopting a Pontius Pilate approach to drivers under 25 which amounts to unfair age discrimination against young women who are safer drivers than young men.

Young women are not the same insurance risk as young men. In general, women take longer to pass their test, are less confident and less likely to speed compared to their young male counterparts. Statistics confirm it is young men who are responsible for the majority of serious and fatal road accidents.

I can understand why some motor insurers decline insurance for male motorists aged under 25. The evidence is written large and clear in the UK’s road accident statistics. And of course, some insurers see this as a business opportunity, charging eye-watering premiums that some say are actively encouraging the claims culture to recoup the premium cost… If true, this would be a self-fulfilling and self-defeating circle until the insurance industry gets its act together and agrees a strategic approach towards the young male driving risk.

As things stand, by refusing to underwrite ALL motorists who are under 25, many insurers are effectively discriminating against young women drivers who are the safer and better car insurance risk. These motorists have LESS choice of insurers so available rates are LESS competitive. Young women are therefore being tarred with the same risk brush as young men and are having to pay MORE than they would for their car insurance otherwise, simply because of their age.

Why is that happening now? First of all, it doesn’t make commercial sense because the sooner insurers start their customer relationships with women the more likely they are to reap our loyalty and referrals. Secondly insurers aren’t required to charge men and women the same car insurance premiums until the EU equality ruling takes effect in December 2012. When premiums will rise a lot for all females of course.

How can this be fair for female motorists? Why isn’t anyone standing up for our rights here? Has it ever been any different I wonder…

Some say that all these efforts to increase rates and reduce risk are designed so that insurers can regain lost profits after some lean and excessively accident prone years.

Hence the average 40% increase in rates in 2011 to date. And which seems to have happened without anyone needing to approve this level of increase.

Fortunately both the Ministry for Justice (MoJ) and the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) have been/are looking at different aspects of how the car insurance market is working so we can only hope that the issue of fairness will be addressed alongside that of equality.

Roll on the Ministry of Justice’s implementation of the ban on personal accident referral fees (it’s a start) and the OFT’s Call for Evidence review looking at ways to improve how the car insurance market is working.

FOXY Lady Drivers Club will be explaining to the OFT why this market isn’t operating fairly at present for women drivers with a particular emphasis on young women under 25 years old.

Please contact me via if you have any recent experience about motor insurance premium hikes and/or claims/accident handling to add weight to our submission.