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Column Women really ARE better drivers. Insurance should reflect this.

While women may be worse than men at parking, we are better drivers and our insurance premiums should show that, writes AA Ireland’s Miriam O’Neill.

FEMALE DRIVERS MAY face considerable increases in their car insurance premiums next year thanks to European Commission guidelines on gender discrimination.

From 21 December 2012, insurers will not be allowed to take gender into account when calculating premiums and benefits. Miriam O’Neill of AA Ireland writes:

YOUNG FEMALE DRIVERS are being treated unfairly. These new directives could see their premiums soar as much as 50 per cent.

There is a difference statistically between male and female drivers, particularly the under-30 age brackets. The Road Safety Authority Collision Fact Book shows that male drivers are three times more likely to die in a traffic crash than female car drivers. That is a huge discrepancy. Statistically women are better drivers and there is no denying that fact.

Bad parking

This is all about the question of behaviour on the road. Men are more likely to take more risks on the road, and to some extent it seems to generate excitement for them.  It’s well known that young male drivers are the highest risk.

However, we have done research into minor crashes – in the likes of car parks – and women actually fared worse in this area. Unfortunately, the age-old cliché does apply to women – we are worse on spatial relations.

But women should be rewarded for taking care. With this change, it will no longer be the case that you are rewarded for your demographic having fewer accidents. The statistics and research are there to look at; that women make more calculated decisions. It is the same with anything else insurers take into consideration when they are giving you a quote – such as if the car is in a higher risk area. All these things are taken into consideration when analysing the risk of the driver, and gender is just another one of those segments. The system we have had for the past few years is really the fairest way to analyse risk.


Equality versus fairness is what we are talking about. While this might bring in equality, it does not necessarily bring about fairness. While it does address gender discrimination, the question has to be asked: how far do we go if we are going down this route? It could become ‘discrimination’ to ask where someone lives. That would be something that would be too difficult to look at on a European level – and far more difficult to implement – so they have to draw a line in the sand at some point.

If the AA were to be entirely honest, we would be of the opinion that this is a case of EU guidelines gone mad. From our polls we have found that men tend to drive more aggressively – we asked drivers would they deliberately tail-gate another driver and 22 per cent of males said they would in comparison to 17 per cent of females. Also 20 per cent of males said they would deliberately race on a public road. These are worrying statistics.

At the end of the day, the statistics show that male and female driving behaviour is very different. The insurance price should represent that.

Miram O’Neill is a communications executive at AA Ireland.

Car insurance premiums for female drivers set to soar after December>

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