Young women will see insurance premiums soar by 1000 if the European Court of Justice outlaws gender discrimination in insurance next month.
Insurers currently set different rates for men and women, but in the ruling due on March 1, the European Court may put an end to this.
Young women aged 17-22 will be the hardest hit because they are considered a 'safe bet' compared with men of the same age. Young Women pay 1682 a year in motor insurance on average.
However, men in this age group are:
” 10 times more likely to be involved in a crash
” 25 times more likely to commit a traffic offence in first three years of driving
” Paying 2750 a year in motor insurance on average.
Simon Douglas, director of AA Insurance, said: 'This will be particularly bad news for young women who are proven to present a much lower risk to insurers and at present, pay premiums that are up to 50% cheaper than their male peers.
'I expect premiums to increase substantially for them, while they will probably fall a little for young men.'
A spokesman for the Association of British Insurers, Malcolm Tarling, said: 'We believe this will be extremely detrimental to UK consumers.
'If insurers aren't able to take into account risk factors, it will have widespread implications.'
Insurers may look to other risk factors that give an indication of gender, for example occupation or vehicle type, but if this is considered indirect discrimination it is unlikely to be permitted.
Sheilas' Wheels, who specialise in cover for women, said it would not be affected so long as it only has to equalise prices within the company.
Spokesman Adrian Webb said: 'Sheilas' Wheels underwrites men as well as women, but only a tiny proportion of our half a million customers are men.
'That means if prices were equalised, it would make no difference to premiums.'
The AA is advising those buying a car for the first time to take the court announcement into consideration.