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Women to pay more for car insurance

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Women currently pay less than men for car insurance because statistics show that they have fewer accidents.

Recent figures show, for example, that male drivers under the age of 22 are 10 times more likely to have a serious crash than female motorists of the same age.

When women are involved in an incident, the damage is also likely to be less severe often because the impact happens at a lower speed.

However, pricing insurance policies according to gender is to be outlawed later this year when the new EU Gender Directive comes in to force.

The directive, which comes in on December 21 this year, effectively bans insurers from charging men more than women for their car insurance based on the expectation of higher and more frequent payouts.

Some male drivers will see their annual premiums fall as a result. For women of all ages, however, the change is expected to add 25% or more to the cost of their cover.

The impact this will have on your premiums
Official figures indicate that millions of women could end up paying an extra 362 a year, or around 30 a month, for car insurance from December this year.

Young men, on the other hand, who are statistically the most dangerous drivers on the roads, will probably pay about 9% less for insurance.

Motorists are therefore being advised to check and potentially change their car insurance now to avoid a costly premium rise at the end of the year.

Top tips for women keen to keep costs down
Keep your car in a locked garage overnight this alone could reduce your premiums by around 5%.

Fitting an insurer-approved alarm or immobiliser to make it less likely that thieves will try to steal your car is also likely to lead to lower quotes.

If you are changing your car, be sure to choose a make and model that falls into a low-risk insurance group (closer to 1 than 50).

You can find out which group a particular vehicle falls into by visiting www.thatcham.org.

Other ways to ensure that your cover is priced on the way you drive, regardless of your sex, age or experience, is to choose a telematics insurance policy, which involves your car being fitted with a black box that monitors how you drive.

Insurers offering cover of this kind, which could help to cut your costs within a few months as long as you drive safely, include the AA, Insurethebox and Coverbox.

Finally, it may also be worth checking out specialist insurers such as Sheila's Wheels, which claims that having more women on its books will enable it to keep premiums lower because they make fewer claims.

The upshot of having 90% women customers, it said, is that the premiums of its female clients will only need to rise slightly to subsidise the claims made by its male customers.

You do not have to spend hours comparing deals to find out whether this is the case, though.

The best way to shop around
Sheilas Wheels is just one of more than 100 insurers included on any MoneySupermarket car insurance search.

That makes shopping around for the best deal quick and easy and could even mean you paying less for your cover than in the past.

Independent research conducted earlier this year showed that a third of drivers save 400 a year by using MoneySupermarket to compare policies.