Gender Equality and the Car Insurance Industry
Comparisons regarding accident statistics can be made throughout different categories of driver. Younger drivers are statistically more at risk of having an accident than older drivers above the age of 35 so pay a higher insurance premium. They may possess car control skills but lack awareness and planning skills resulting in more accidents. Drivers in the younger age group now find the cost of car insurance prohibitive as the premium can often cost more than the car they intend to drive. If the younger driver is female the price of the premium can be so high as to make learning to drive too costly. This can seriously effect their place in the jobs market and is having a negative effect on driving school businesses. Younger drivers are taking lessons with friends and family members to offset the cost of driving lessons and so are being trained to a much lower standard than if they were taught by qualified instructors.
Older drivers are much less likely to be involved in an accident so premiums are less and this is backed up in real terms by the no claims bonus discounts. After the age of 40 the cost of insurance premiums becomes more even, indicating that the accident statistics also level out. So why aren’t they more level for the younger age group?
From a driver training perspective there is little to distinguish between male and female pupils. Both gender groups seem to have the same ability to pass the test. A big factor is the difference in the nature of accidents. Collisions involving male drivers tend to caused by aggressive driving and excessive speed. When an accident occurs due to these factors there is greater damage to vehicles leading to higher repair claims and a greater percentage of vehicles being written off entirely. Serious physical injury is also a greater possibility in this type of accident so medical bills will be higher. Accidents involving female drivers tend to be a result of poor spatial awareness so tend to be low speed collisions in restricted spaces. Reversing into street furniture is common so although a claim will be made it would only be for minor damages with little or no physical injury. This would require a much lower payout settlement than an accident with a male driver.
As predicted the insurance premiums for female drivers will be equalized to the same level as male drivers and not vice versa. Insurance companies that cater exclusively to women drivers should maintain their market share despite higher premiums as their advertising campaigns are designed to appeal to female drivers. They also offer unique selling points within their policies such as handbag contents insurance which would appeal exclusively to the female driver. The change in legislation could be considered unfair and has had it’s opponents but now it has been passed it looks like a more expensive time for women in the car insurance market.