Tag Archives: women’s car insurance

Not for profit makes business sense

For a long time I’ve wanted the Club to be a not for profit organisation and today the job has been done. We are finally putting ‘doing the right thing for women and the motor industry’ ahead of the alternative ‘sell as much as you can for as much as you can make’ strategy.

Which feels good to me. Let me explain…

FOXY Lady Drivers Club started out in 2005 when we charged £35 for a year’s membership including a Welcome Pack by post, a quarterly magazine and a telephone service. But we couldn’t make financial sense of the post and print overhead for the first couple of years so we opted to go completely online in 2007. Sadly we lost some of our supporters at that stage who weren’t and didn’t want to be internet savvy. I regret losing them but it was still the right decision to make, until a business grows to be big enough to attract the advertising it needs to support the magazine and so on.

It has always been a chicken and egg story – getting enough members and in the right area to support the garages and so on…

Having dispensed with the traditional postal and print services we were able to drop the annual subscription to £23; that included an online Membership Pack, bi-monthly email newsletters, offers and specialist services plus a £3 donation to the excellent Cancer Buddies Network charity.

Things changed again on 8 August 2008 (coinciding with the Beijing Olympics – an auspicious date apparently) when the Club’s sister business FOXY Choice opened for business. It’s now the UK’s only female friendly garage network but at the time it was a specialist marketing service for businesses that wanted to be promoted as female friendly or to know how they might do a better job. Qualifying independent garages, dealerships, bodyshops and fastfits all pay a modest annual subscription to get female friendly marketing materials, PR services and a lot of online promotion to women and members of the Club.

The plan was always that the retail motor industry SHOULD end up subsidising the Club because if the industry had been better at doing its job the Club wouldn’t have been needed in the first place; to reassure so many wary and ill at ease women when it comes to buying cars, garage services and insurance products.

With the benefit of hindsight, 2008 was probably the worst time to launch a new business into the motor trade in particular, with the first dip of a big two dipper recession to follow. So it has taken us longer to get to where we wanted to be – that the Club’s subscription would get cheaper so it could help more women…

Once we saw that the UK was in for a long and depressing economic slog, and that women were by and large bearing the brunt of the hardship in terms of job losses and ever rising shopping bills we decided to bite the bullet and make Club membership a lifetime subscription. One joining fee of £23 and women drivers across the UK can have a motoring friend for life – was there ever a better motoring deal I wonder?

Finally today we completed the legalities to make the Club a not for profit company that’s limited by guarantee. Thank you Taylor & Emmet LLP for your patient advice here. This means no shares, no shareholders and no staff salaries with any year end surplus going to the Cancer Buddies Network charity when we get there. The online subscription remains a lifetime one at £23 and our FOXY Choice garage partners even have an allocation of gift subscriptions for free.

If you live near one of them, just pop in and ask them if you can have one.

In this way we hope that more women drivers across the UK will join the Club to enjoy better motoring services in future. We don’t think women should have to take a man with them to pay a fair price for a car in a dealership (hence our car buying service). We are confident that women won’t be patronised in FOXY garages (or they’re in serious trouble) and we’ll do all we can to identify the car insurers that try to milk us because of our gender, not our risk, come the EU Gender Equality ruling and unfair car insurance premium rises set to hit females badly this December.

In short, we’re sticking up for women drivers because someone needs to and promoting best practice in the motor industry wherever we find it. And we’re able to do this thanks to the financial support we receive from FOXY Choice subscribers, website advertisers and a few trade sponsors.

Please help us spread the word about FOXY so we can do a better job for more women.


Insurers turn a blind eye to female fairness

As public sector cuts hit more women than men, UK insurers look set to make things worse by jumping on the gender bandwagon in December and charging women up to 25% more for their car insurance premiums in response to an EU ruling in the name of gender equality.

And why wouldn’t insurers do precisely this with the EU to blame, knowing that higher premiums for females mean higher profits for them (because women are the lesser gender risk and therefore cheaper to insure).

But what is our Government doing about this on behalf of women drivers? Not a lot it would appear…

Women bearing the brunt of our double dip recession

As things stand, women are suffering disproportionately in the jobless stakes and the number of female jobseekers has leapt to its highest rate in 23 years with more than a million women registered as unemployed in this country. This is a rise of 91,000 in a year, according to think tank IPPR and based on statistics released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

And they are losing their jobs at a much faster rate than men. For example, during the last three months in 2011, the female jobless rate rose by 33,000 compared to 16,000 for males, with 340,000 women having been unemployed for more than a year.

Oh that this would be the bottom of the trough but the situation looks likely to get even worse because women represent 80 per cent of the 710,000 public sector workers who are to be made redundant over the next five years. And one in 10 jobs is also forecast to be cut in local government where 75 per cent of the workforce is female.

And the Labour Party’s Yvette Cooper, the shadow Home Secretary, is already accusing Mr Cameron of having a “blind spot” when it comes to women’s issues: “As long as the Government is pushing women out of work, weakening action on the gender pay gap, reducing childcare and threatening to undermine maternity rights, they are making it harder, not easier, for women to work or to get promoted throughout their lives,” she said.

Could insurance price hikes be the female tipping point?

By allowing the EU to encourage insurers to penalise women drivers under cover of gender equality legislation, there is the real possibility that the Government will alienate previously loyal female voters simply because the cost of their motoring will soar.

Let’s remember that many women put up with poor public transport systems and depend on their cars for family, community and part time work as well as their personal independence.

If insurance premiums for women drivers rise by up to 25% and UK insurers can lay the blame on the EU, what is to stop women drivers from laying the blame in turn on the UK’s Government who seem to have done nothing to fend off this grossly unfair attack on UK females.

Ironically the EU motor insurance Directive calls itself a gender equality ruling and yet it is clearly discriminating against women drivers who have previously been entitled to lower car insurance premiums based on their lower risk.

If you’d like to subscribe to FOXY’s Insurance News, we’ll keep you posted.

Please also LIKE the Club’s Facebook page so we can share the latest developments and female feedback this summer.


Thanks for your support…

As a result of our lobbying partnership with the ProMOTe organisation, HM Government has agreed that the UK MOT model is the safer choice than the EU alternative for UK motorists.

That’s a result worthy of celebration for all UK women drivers. It’s all too easy to do nothing, thinking someone else will do the right thing.

In FOXY’s experience this isn’t always the case, as in the EU ruling that is set to charge women the same insurance premiums as men come December 2012, in the name of equality. Can you recall anyone standing up for female motorists despite the fact that insurance has always been about underwriting risk and women drivers are known to be the statistically safer and lower risk gender on UK roads?

No protest from MPs or from the RAC or AA… And needless to say, we won’t hear this from insurance companies because they will be richer as a result of this ruling.

Well now FOXY will be speaking out about this unfair ruling that will mean women paying for accidents traditionally caused by young men and bolstering insurer profits. This is the next campaign we will be lobbying for on behalf of women drivers. Please add to our female motoring voice by joining FOXY Lady Drivers Club and we’ll keep you posted about car insurance buying advice and where the best deals for women are to be found.


‘Knock for Knock’ accident claims

This blog entry is as a result of an an email from Elizabeth in Leeds who is a Club member.

Her experience echoes that of other members who are baffled when an insurer pays out in what is typically a no fault accident situation. And who worry that their premium or No Claims Bonus might be affected.

What seems to be happening is that whenever there is a liability dispute (which, let’s face it, insurers encourage by telling motorists not to admit liability even when it’s clearly their fault) both insurers are accepting shared costs (called a ‘knock for knock’ basis) rather than taking this further to identify the guilty or fraudulent party.

Simply because it is often cheaper to pay out on this basis than argue the toss…

This is what Elizabeth tells us about her experiences. Her comments about dealing with uswitch remind me why it can make sense to shop in advance and double check a comparison website later I you aren’t happy as obviously deals can change…

I have recently renewed my car insurance. I tried uSwitch about 2 ½ weeks before renewal and did not much like the premiums. I tried again 2 weeks later and the premiums were 250 pounds cheaper! I chose a company, which I knew was affiliated with my existing one, but it turned out that they are the same company. So I have ended up with the same company, but at the price I found on uSwitch.

By the way, I have chosen a high excess because I have found that if you have an accident with a lower excess, it gets added to your premium anyway. The financial penalty for claiming for small amounts is larger than the claim.

I had an incident nearly 2 years ago when someone claimed I had hit her car and caused damage. I was not aware of anything and there is no way that my car could have caused that particular damage. She harassed me to the point where I had to go to my local police station. They got her to stop. In the end my insurance company (not the current one) settled in error, having received no proof at all from her. I reported this incident to my current insurer last year, but now it seems to have disappeared from their records.”

I have had numerous instances where damage has been caused to my car when I have not been there – and of course no one has owned up.”

FOXY’s advice is always to tell the insurance company the full facts and if you know nothing about any accident or you deny any liability ask them to confirm that they have recorded this as a no fault accident. In these circumstances it would seem unreasonable for the insurer to inflate your premium or downgrade your No Claims Bonus as a result.

And whilst the ‘knock for knock’ settlement system seems lazy and unscientific ie  ‘we’re not sure who’s guilty so let’s split it’ we do appreciate that the time this takes to sort out can be more costly than a 50:50 formula.

If any motorist feels her insurance premium has been inflated by a previous accident that was not their fault they should check whether that accident has been scored against them on their policy. If the insurer is unwilling to review this as a no fault accident and perhaps your no claims bonus has been affected, please let us know the details. And shop around for  a better renewal deal.

I should add that this is going to be doubly hard to police in the lead up to insurers imposing gender equality ratings from December 2012 onwards. This is when insurers will be allowed to charge ALL women drivers more than they have been paying despite the statistically safer driving record of young women drivers compared to young male drivers in particular.

There is nothing fair about this ‘equality ruling’ when it comes to common rating genders for car insurance premiums…


NB: FOXY Lady Drivers Club includes a female friendly accident assistance service to help members and their family after an accident. Providing you contact them before your insurer, they can advise you of your best option in the circumstances. If you don’t claim against/via your insurer but get our service to claim from the liable third party there can be no doubt of this claim adversely affecting your premium in future.

Car insurance reviews for women

I am not always convinced by online testimonials especially when they

  • are bland and lacklustre – what use is that?
  • look like they’ve had their arm twisted to write something OR
  • it’s so glowing it must be a friend or family member doing their bit…

For unless there’s a potential prize or service levels have been massively better than expected (which does happen occasionally) the reality is that few women feel the need to write in to say so. That’s the truth; it’s because we expect quality and value for money.

But bad feedback is another matter and women do this particularly well I find. To help ease the pain, we like to post online, we like to warn others and we increasingly use social media to vent our spleen and then move on. Never to return…

And whilst FOXY counsels women drivers to steer clear of cheap garages they don’t know well enough, who might sell them services they don’t need or compromise their safety, the same is true of buying cheap car insurance. You eventually get what you paid for. And when it comes to car insurance for women the proof of the pudding is in your claims experience.

Now clearly all that complains isn’t always what it purports to be (I’m a cynic yes but I can see a lot of competitive posting in this area) but if you want to see what genuine women have to complain about in this area, you can single out the female car insurance reviews from brands you know market to women via the Review Centre.

Women be warned; these inevitably spell out the sort of customer service you can expect when you have to make a claim – and when you need their female friendly support services most of all. But I doubt you’ll read these when you go to a comparison website to get the cheapest price possible.


We met the Review Centre after a Blogger interview recently to ask us what we thought about a whole range of motoring issues to do with women.