What's happening to insurance premiums?
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Young male drivers are now paying a massive 25% less for car insurance than they were a year ago, according to new figures from MoneySupermarket.
Why are male motorists aged between 17 and 19 are making such huge savings, and what is happening to premiums for other drivers?
Why are young men paying so much less for cover?
MoneySupermarket research shows that young men who have always paid the most for cover in the past are benefiting from a double whammy of lower overall premiums and an 11% reduction that they are getting due to a European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling.
This ruling, introduced on December 21, 2012, stopped companies taking gender into account when pricing car insurance policies and has resulted in male motorists aged between 17 and 19 paying 11% less for car cover.
The flipside, however, is that the new regime has pushed premiums for female drivers of the same age up by 22%.
Female drivers are paying the price for these cuts then?
The good news for women over the age of 20 is that the impact of the gender ruling on their premiums has been negligible so far.
This is because these drivers have generally had the time to build up a personalised driving history something inexperienced female motorists have not had the chance to do.
Even for inexperienced female motorists, however, the effect of the ECJ ruling has been offset by car insurance premiums for younger drivers falling across the board.
In the fourth quarter of 2012, the average premium paid by drivers aged 17 to 19 was 1356, compared with 1482 in the previous three months and 1547 during the same period in 2011.
That's a year-on-year drop of 191 or 12.9%.
Overall, this means that younger women will now pay 7% more for their insurance than in the last three months of 2011.
That's not great, but it's a lot easier to swallow than a 22% hike.
Will premiums keep falling long term?
It is difficult to predict what will happen to cover costs over the next 12 months.
One reason premiums could continue to rise is that insurers are facing higher prices from reinsurers, which provide cover for insurance companies.
This is due to an increase in the payouts to victims of crashes, who can now receive annual payments rather than a lump sum.
Around 100 of these payments which are called periodic payment orders (PPO) and can cost hundreds of thousands of pounds a year are now made to victims each year.
The number of PPOs made is expected to grow, which spells trouble for drivers keen to keep their insurance costs down.
The knock-on rise in the cost of premiums attributable to the increasing cost of reinsurance has been estimated at between 3% and 10%.
For young drivers paying more than 1000 a year, the upshot could therefore be a 100 premium hike.
The best advice for drivers of all ages therefore remains to use comparison websites such as MoneySupermarket to scour the market for the cover they need at the cheapest possible price.
This article has been researched and written by whatcar.com's car insurance partner, MoneySupermarket