Motorists up and down the country, and across Europe, are bracing themselves for an insurance premium hike as the EU gender directive comes into force. This initiative, which has been the subject of fierce debate amongst politicians, motorists and the insurance industry for more than ten years, is to come into effect from 21 December 2012.
The controversial directive means that insurers will no longer be able to use gender when determining the level of insurance premium. Women have typically lower premiums due to the fact that men are statistically more likely to make a claim, so they are expecting an increase in their car insurance costs as a result.
According to the BBC, younger women will see the steepest increases in premiums, rising by as much as 24% in some cases. Insurers have been keen not to increase premiums ahead of the implementation of the directive and have said they will strive to keep costs as competitive as possible going forward. But there are also measures that drivers can take to reduce their premiums and save significant amounts of money. So, how can you reduce your car insurance costs?
Try different insurance types
It used to be the case that if you were looking for cheap car insurance, a third party policy was the only way to go. But that’s not always the case now, so it’s worth trying other policies to see if you can get a better deal.
Fully comprehensive car insurance policies are now often the cheapest. Insurers assume you care more about your car and so are less likely to be in an accident. This is not a consistent rule though, so explore your options to see what’s best for you.
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Be safe and careful
Car insurance, like any other type of insurance, is all about risk assessment and risk management, so anything you can do to reduce your risk will bring your premiums down. If you keep your car in a garage overnight, for example, your premiums are likely to be less than for someone who parks on the street each night, as there is less chance of theft or damage.
If you are unable to keep your car in a garage or driveway, consider adding extra security to the vehicle. Using an immobiliser is an effective way to reduce the chance of theft and therefore reduce your insurance premium.
Things like speeding and using a mobile phone, aside from being illegal, will also bump up the cost of your insurance, as insurers will view you as more likely to have a collision. Getting points on your licence can add up to 20% to the cost of your policy, while being caught using a mobile phone can double your premium.
Get extra driving qualifications
It’s younger women who are hardest hit by the EU gender directive, so anything they can do to reduce premiums will really help. For new drivers, getting an additional driving qualification once you’ve passed your test can cut insurance costs and make you a safer driver.
The PassPlus qualification is an advanced driving course run by the Driving Standards Agency, and is aimed at giving younger drivers more confidence and ability on the road. The course costs around £200, although there are discounts available, and covers things like night-time, all-weather, motorway and town driving.
Not only will it give you more confidence behind the wheel, but many insurers offer a discount for those with a PassPlus qualification. Not all insurers will do this though, so be sure to shop around to make the biggest saving.