“Could you drive, darling? You’re statistically proven to be a safer driver than me, after all,” said no man. Ever!
The battle of the sexes has long since extended into motoring, with tired old stereotypes about women’s inability to park and men’s craving for speed and risk. But what does the data say and do insurers treat men and women differently?
Women have better driving skills
When it comes to driving tests, men are more likely than women to pass the practical test (50.6% of men pass compared to 43.8% of women) while women outperform men on the theory test (51% of women pass compared to 47.7% of men).
However, a recent study of 50 drivers in London found that women drivers notched up 23.6 points out of 30, while men scored 19.8.Only 55% of men approached hazards at an appropriate speed compared to 75% of women, while 44% of men stopped safely at amber lights compared to 85% of female drivers. Some 27% of male drivers drove too close to the car in front, as opposed to 4% of women.
Men are more likely to be involved in crashes
These findings are borne out by accident statistics that show men are more likely than women to be involved in a road accident; 57% of men have been in a crash compared to 44% of women. Research also shows men find it harder to adjust a stereo or use a mobile phone behind the wheel and that men are 12% more likely to break the speeding limit.
Despite this, the popular perception persists that men make safer drivers. When polled by the AA, 28% of women drivers said their partner was a better driver than them, but only 8% of men said the same.
Charging men and women differently for motor insurance is illegal
Until 2012, insurers were able to charge men and women different prices for insurance products based on the different in risk between the sexes. An important EU ruling banned the practice and now insurance companies have to apply the same pricing to men and women.
The move cut premiums for men, especially younger men who were judged to be high risk. Women’s insurance costs rose following the ruling. However, profession can still be taken into account by insurers and many male-dominated professions such as building attract higher premiums than female-dominated professions such as nursing.
Cars are also marketed to men and women differently, with women often opting for compact and economical models while men choose faster and more powerful vehicles. This can also be reflected in the premiums paid.
The bottom line: responsible driving pays off
Whether you are male or female, one of the fastest ways to push up your insurance premium is to be involved in a road collision. A crash will increase your insurance costs substantially and could reduce the range of insurers prepared to offer you a policy. Careful driving is the most important secret to keeping down your insurance premiums.
Are you paying too much for your car insurance? Contact Computerquote to get a quote for car insurance.