12:20 24 March 2013
Three months after the directive came into force on December 21, 2012 and stopped insurers from taking your gender into account when setting car insurance premiums, things have gone exactly the way we expected. In a nutshell, women are paying more than they used to and men are paying less.
It'll be a bitter pill for female drivers to swallow, given that statistics have shown time and again that they're safer drivers. But there's plenty you can do to make sure you're not paying over the odds for cover, regardless of your sex.
No sex please, we're European
Analysis of more than 17million car insurance quotes carried out at MoneySupermarket.com showed that prices are down for almost everyone on a year-on-year basis - but men have fared better than women over the last quarter.
The average female driver aged between 17 and 19-years-old has seen premiums rise by £156 since December. However, price decreases before the directive came in mean that young women's premiums actually only went up by 9.2% (£101) in real terms, compared to the beginning of last year.
Male drivers in the same age group have cause to celebrate, though, as average premiums have fallen by £211 (12.9%) since December. Year-on-year, young men's premiums have typically fallen by a massive £404 (22%).
While the Gender Directive was meant to eliminate the gender gap on car insurance prices, there's still some disparity between the sexes. The average premium for young female drivers is now £1,200, while young male drivers pay an average of £1,429.
MoneySupermarket car insurance expert Peter Harrison said: "Female drivers now have to become accustomed to a sharp rise in prices while their male counterparts revel in a fall in premiums. However, male drivers still pay more for their premiums than their female counterparts, but the difference in pricing is closing significantly."
Regardless of whether your premiums are rising or falling, car insurance remains a significant expense for many a motorist - partly because of spurious personal injury claims facilitated by no-win, no-fee firms - but that could be about to change.
No-win, no-fee... no more?
The Ministry of Justice has announced a cut and cap on the fees solicitors can charge when dealing with road traffic accident claims. Fees for RTA claims of up to £10,000 will be capped at £500 (down from £1,200) and costs for claims worth up to £25,000 will be capped at £800.
What's more, from April 1, claims management companies will be banned from paying referral fees to insurers and breakdown recovery firms for contact details of people involved in accidents.
It's hoped that the reforms will lead to a reduction in the number of potentially dubious personal injury claims, saving the industry around £1.5billion a year and, more importantly, bringing the average premium down by £60 a year.
Meanwhile, the Transport Select Committee is investigating the rising cost of car insurance, looking specifically at the UK's disproportionately high number of claims for whiplash.
If you feel you're paying too much for cover, you can take matters into your own hands by shopping around for the best price.
Peter Harrison said: "The message is simple, if you have seen an increase in premiums from your provider, it is important not to accept the renewal quote from your existing insurer. Instead shop around and compare premiums. Prices do vary by the day so be savvy and snap up a deal you are happy with."
But it doesn't end there, as there's more you can do to keep costs down. For example, 15% of all quotes run on MoneySupermarket's car insurance channel are now for telematics or 'black box' policies, in which your premiums are calculated based on actual data about your driving.
A small, GPS-enabled telematics device is installed in your vehicle (usually plugged into its diagnostic port) and your acceleration, braking, cornering, driving routes and driving times are monitored to get a clearer picture of how much or little risk you pose as a driver.
Those who drive sensibly, on safer roads and over shorter distances should, in theory, be rewarded with cheaper premiums.
But you don't have to invite Big Brother into your car to lower your premiums either, as there are many other ways to cut costs. In fact, Kevin Pratt gives you 10 ways in his article '10 car insurance essentials when you want cheap cover'.
Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing.
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