Car insurance cost dips yet effect of gender ruling still to be felt

THE COST of a comprehensive car insurance policy fell to an average of £789 in December – the lowest level since October 2011 – according to figures released today by the AA.

However the company warned that the 2.9 per cent decline over the last three months of 2012 does not tell the full story of what has happened to the marketplace since it became illegal to take gender into account when calculating premiums on 21 December.

“Average premiums are falling but they mask considerable extremes for individual groups,” said Simon Douglas, director of AA insurance, who warned that insurers are struggling to find new ways of identifying risky drivers.

“They have gone back to square one in calculating risk. The gender directive doesn’t mean that young male drivers are any less likely to suffer collisions. Young men represent just eight per cent of all drivers, yet still account for 23 per cent of all those killed or seriously injured on Britain’s roads.”

The AA index suggests that the average premium increase for women aged 17-22 was 4.7 per cent over the period while men in the same age group have seen an average reduction of 1.9 per cent.

Greater London saw the smallest fall, with the average cost of comprehensive car insurance dropping by 0.7 per cent.

It could take several years for the full effect of the European Court of Justice’s gender ruling to become apparent, as premiums come up for renewal and insurers fine-tune their pricing structures using other risk measures.

Meanwhile the average price of a combined buildings and contents household insurance policy rose 1.3 per cent to £304 per year over the same period.