THE MONEY FILE: Will men’s premiums fall much? Fat chance

EQUALITY? New laws will mean women drivers facing huge hikes in their insurance payments

EQUALITY? New laws will mean women drivers facing huge hikes in their insurance payments

First published in News South Wales Argus: Photograph of the Author by

I’M NOT quite sure this is what ’60s feminists had in mind.

Due to a new equality law that comes into play in December, many women face huge car insurance hikes, some as high as £2,000. Yet there’s still (just) time to beat it.

On December 21, the European Court of Justice gender equalisation ruling gains the full force of law.

From that date, insurers aren’t permitted to discriminate by offering different prices based on whether someone is a man or woman – gender is no longer a factor.

So, all other things being equal, you’d pay the same.

The current situation is far from that.

According to Gocompare, at the end of August, men on average paid £315 or 41 per cent more than women.

Men under 20 paid up to £2,000 more, as young women drivers have a far better safety record than their stereotypical boy-racer equivalents.

No one knows for sure what will happen even now, though we’ve known about this ruling for over a year.

This is because insurers are playing a waiting game to spot what their competitors will do, so they can nip in and gain advantage one way or the other.

It is possible men’s prices could drop to that of women’s (fat chance). More likely, women will face monumental hikes and men’s come down a touch.

Act now and you can beat it The younger you are, the more this is likely to have a full-scale price catastrophe impact, as this is where the biggest differences are.

Under-35s are likely to be affected and under-25s hit hard.

If your renewal is due now, great.

Ensure you get a cheap policy that effectively locks in at current discriminated prices for a year.

However, if your renewal date is closer to the law coming into effect, you are at risk.

This isn’t a case of all change on December 21: insurers can bring it in, or at least start to move prices in that direction, earlier.

The one way out is to consider whether you can cancel your current policy and sign up for a new 12-month one now.

Many providers, if you haven’t claimed, will refund you for the part of the policy that’s unused.

However, they will probably charge an early exit fee, and it’s also worth bearing in mind you’re unlikely to get a no-claims bonus for that year.

So before you do anything, it’s worth checking to see what the score is.

If there are costs to cancelling, then it’s a punt as to whether it’s worth it or not – there are no hard or fast rules here. The best thing is try to find a better value policy than you currently have that can cover these early leaving fees.

How to find the very cheapest deal Combine car insurance comparisons.

If you don’t have an unusual insurance history, the easy way to get a cheap price is by using comparison sites.

Yet don’t just look at one: combine a few, as they don’t all search the same companies. This way, you get a wider spread of quotes without adding much time.

My assessment of the current top three for range is: MoneySupermarket.com Confused.com and TescoCompare.com If you have an atypical situation, consider getting one-on-one help from an insurance broker.

Check the biggies they miss. Not all insurers are on comparison sites – the two most notable exclusions are Aviva and Direct Line.

Plus, if you’re in a home with more than one car, it’s worth also checking out the Admiral MultiCar policy, as comparison sites can’t factor that in.

Add in a responsible second driver If you’re a young driver, see if you can cut the cost by adding a second driver to your policy, even if they’ll rarely drive the car.

As it reduces the average risk, it can cut your cost.

It won’t always work, but can make a big difference.

Third party isn’t always cheapest.

Counter-logically, you may pay more, as opting for lesser thirdparty cover can statistically indicate to insurers you’re a higher risk. So don’t assume it’s cheapest: always check comprehensive prices too.

Consider telematics policies.

Young drivers who are struggling to get cheap insurance using the techniques above could also try telematics, where your driving is monitored by a box in the car, and your insurance price reflects this.

For a full rundown of these, see www.moneysavingexpert.com/U25carinsurance

Check for cashback Once you’ve found your cheapest deal, see if you can get cashback on it via a cashback website like www.Topcashback.co.uk or www.Quidco.com to reduce the cost.

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