Does Gender Affect Car Insurance?

Caeva O'Callaghan | July 13th, 2020

Do Men Pay More – And Women Pay Less – For Car Insurance?

Statistically, women make safer drivers and men under 25 have more accidents. But will this affect how much you pay for car insurance?

No, not any more.

As of 2012, car insurance companies in Ireland are no longer able to discriminate based on gender. Thanks to these guidelines, it no longer matters to your insurance company if you’re a man or a woman when calculating premiums.

Your gender doesn’t matter to your car insurance provider. When you’re asked to provide this information at the quote stage, it will be for marketing purposes only.

In this article, we’ll cover questions such as:

  • Do I have to tell my car insurance company my gender?
  • Will I pay more for car insurance if I’m a man or a woman?
  • If I switch genders, will this affect my car insurance?

Gender and car insurance might seem like completely unrelated matters today. But it was once a major deciding factor in deciding the cost of your premium.

Gender and car insurance

Before 2012, it mattered to your car insurance provider if you were a man or a woman. The answer you gave to this question at the quote stage would drastically affect your monthly premium.

It was standard practice in the car insurance industry to charge men and women differently for a long time. This is because statistics show that females, on average, have fewer car accidents and therefore are lower risk. This meant women often paid less on their car insurance, and men paid more.

This gave rise to gender-specific insurance products such as Sheilas’ Wheels. Founded in 2000, this company famous for its catchy advert song focused their first marketing efforts heavily towards women. The Sheilas’ Wheels car insurance product introduced a number of “female-focused” benefits that differentiated it from competitors. This included enhanced cover for handbags in cars, “female-friendly” repairers and a free counselling service with its comprehensive cover. Sheilas’ Wheels has always underwritten men as well as women, but before new equality legislation only a tiny proportion of their half a million customers were men.

Meanwhile, some people went to incredible lengths to take advantage of the imbalance. In Canada, a man who found he was paying an extortionate amount for his car insurance legally changed his gender to make a saving. (It didn’t end well.)

The Equality Act

Before 2012, insurance companies would consider your gender a risk factor when calculating car insurance premiums. This is based on statistical and actuarial information that demonstrates that male drivers, particularly those under the age of 25, statistically have worse safety records than their female counterparts.

When the European Court of Justice judged this practice to be in breach of gender equality, some insurance companies were opposed to the new rules. They believed customers should always pay the premium which reflects their risk level as accurately as possible.

When the new laws came into effect, female drivers paid substantially more when they bought or renewed their premiums. On the other hand, many men found their monthly premiums lowered.

All named drivers on a policy fall under the gender equalisation ruling. For example, if you had a son and daughter on your policy who were under 25 in December 2012, it would be more likely when renewing your insurance that you would be paying less for your son and more for your daughter.

Your gender and car insurance

If you change your gender you must tell your car insurance provider, as with any personal details such as name and address. This is not only so your insurance company has accurate information about who is buying their products, but also to help in the event of a claim. If your gender is one thing on your driving license and another on your car insurance, this could be a speedbump to resolving your claim quickly.

Many car insurance providers now have more than two options for gender, but you may still face limited choices. From an insurance premium standpoint, it no longer matters which one is chosen. But it’s important you feel comfortable with the details on record. If you have any concerns just drop us a line and we’ll be able to help guide you through the process.

If you find an insurance provider changes the price of a quote based on gender only, you can report them for discrimination. This practice is no longer legal, and you should never have to pay more because of your gender.

Talk to us today if you are looking for a car insurance quote

If you are researching your car insurance you can talk to our insurance experts anytime Mon-Fri between 8.30am and 5.30pm on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051. We know all the angles, and can help you find the right quote for your individual circumstances.

If you require an instant car insurance quote online, our quote engine checks the Irish market to help find the right cover for your specific needs. But remember, picking up the phone could save you money; 45.4% of customers who called made a saving on their insurance by talking to us directly. We look forward to helping you today!

All Information in this post is accurate as of the date of publishing.