Brits brace for unisex car insurance

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They call it the Gender Directive.

Really, they do.

Starting Dec. 21, insurance companies in the European Union won't be able to use gender as a factor when they calculate rates for auto and life insurance.

If you are a British man, you are probably very happy, because you pay a lot more for "cover" than your fairer-sex counterparts. For example, personal finance site Confused.com says the average British man under 20 pays $4,675 a year, but the average woman under 20 pays $2,441.

Britain, Ireland and Italy are expected to see the greatest changes in rates in the wake of a European Court of Justice ruling last year, which extends its 2004 Gender Directive into the realm of financial and insurance contracts.

No one knows exactly how the EU's chromosome-agnostic car insurance rates will shake out, but experts expect a dramatic rise in what female drivers pay -- especially the young ones. Online shopping site Gocompare's head of motor insurance, Scott Kelly, says: "We expect to see premiums equalized at the higher male rate rather than the lower rate for females."

Here's what the difference between the sexes looks like in the U.S. for young drivers, based on a sample of 60,000 car insurance quotes delivered through CarInsurance.com's comparison engine :

Age

Female

Male

Difference

16

 $  3,689

 $  4,287

16%

17

 $  3,399

 $  3,682

8%

18

 $  3,003

 $  3,305

10%

19

 $  2,371

 $  2,627

11%

20

 $  2,260

 $  2,502

11%

21

 $  2,014

 $  2,239

11%

22

 $  1,897

 $  2,033

7%

23

 $  1,791

 $  1,857

4%

24

 $  1,713

 $  1,790

4%

25

 $  1,616

 $  1,593

-1%

As in Britain, differences in rates largely disappear as young drivers mature. Of course, sex is only one of many things car insurers look at (in the U.S., your ZIP code and your own driving record are among the biggest factors).

Polling by shopping-comparison site uSwitch.com says as many as 1 in 10 British women might stop driving altogether. Experts also predict a stampede toward usage-based car insurance programs that monitor driving and deliver large discounts to the safest drivers. (See " Plug in, drive less, save more .")

Women will also get hit on the life insurance side, where their longer lifespan historically has meant cheaper prices.  But they also may get higher pension payments in return.



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.



This article appears in: Personal Finance , Insurance

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