Is the EU gender directive that was intended to promote equality between the sexes, in fact, doing the opposite? It appears that may be the case when it comes down to car insurance, with the gap between men and women’s premiums increasing. But why is this the case? We tell you everything you need to know about the EU gender directive and the impact it has on car insurance policies for men and women.

What is the EU Gender Directive?

In December 2012, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) gender directive ruling came into effect. Prior to this ruling, companies were able to take into consideration gender when it came to deciding on premiums, the ECJ ruled that different prices based upon gender were incompatible with EU equality legislation.  Up until this point, men were often being charged far more than women for insurance, however as a result of this directive, premiums based are now illegal.

Whilst this all seems positive, it hasn’t necessarily been the case since it has been implemented, and it has had a notable impact on the car insurance industry.


Has the gender directive impacted other insurance areas?

The gender directive has predominantly affected car insurance and other types of motor insurance. However, there has also been an effect on life insurance and health insurance as well as pensions.


Why has the gender directive ruling been so significant?

It has been particularly significant for young drivers. Prior to the EU gender directive, insurers were able to base premiums on evidence that showed young male drivers are more prone to car accidents than young female drivers.


Has the gender directive ruling addressed imbalances?

According to recent research by price comparison site, the ruling has apparently done little to readdress the balance between genders on car insurance. Men are paying around £170 more than women for car insurance, despite the EU gender directive.

In fact, it is said that prices for car premiums have widened. In a study conducted by, men paid on average £101 more for a car insurance policy than a women, compared to around £30 in 2012 before the new law was implemented.

Why has this happened?

Rather than focusing on gender, it appears that car insurances may be looking at other sources of data to decide on the price of premiums. These include:

  • Occupation
  • How much you drive
  • Whether there are any modifications to the car you drive
  • How regularly you drive
  • Number of miles
  • The type of car
  • Driving record
  • Claims experience

When looking at this sort of information, the disparity can be as a result of the fact many of these factors are separated by gender.

For example, a report by revealed that seven out of ten of the worst occupations for drink and drug driving rates where in the building  and construction related sectors. The fact is, is that gender diversity in the construction industry still remains extremely low and very male-dominated. Women in 2015 make up just 11% of the construction sector,and this number is reduced to just 1% when it comes to building sites.

Conversely, industries known as being female-dominated, such as midwifery  (less than 12% registered nurses in the UK were male according to the Nursing and Midwifery Council) where in the top 5 for the lowest amount of offences recorded for drink driving.

Whilst premiums cannot be purely attributed to the occupation one has, there could nevertheless be link to some male-dominated occupations known for having a poorer claims experience.

Furthermore, noted in its report that statistically, more men than women drive business and commercial vehicles, as well as men more likely having accidents in the first place. What this means is that this will affect the car insurances rates men and women pay regardless, and this is the reason why premiums have not changed that much as a result of the directive.

How to save on car insurance

Rising repair bills, as well as increase to the Insurance Premium Tax means that car insurance are already fairly costly. However there are things you can do to make savings with your car insurance policy.

  • Researching through various price comparison sites can be an excellent way to check if you are getting the best deal. You could save up to £100.
  • You could ask your current insurer if they can beat the best deal that you have found. Nothing ventured, nothing gained after all! What is there to lose?
  • Try to be more vigilant so you do not end up having to make an unnecessary claim. What we mean by this is doing things such as leaving keys in the car whilst going to a cash point, or filling up at petrol stations.
  • Adding additional security to your car can also reduce premiums such as a tracker, alarm or a mobiliser.
  • Multi-car discount can end up being less expensive, companies such as Direct Line and Privilege provide discounts.
  • Paying upfront can also be another way to save money on your premiums. Insurances companies may charge more for monthly instalments, so if you can pay upfront you could make savings.
  • Add a second driver, as this can reduce costs.
  • Avoid adding alloy wheels, spoilers or boosting the engine size. These types of modifications are known for making car insurance policies pricier.
  • Increase the excess on your car. However, make sure you can afford the excess still, otherwise you won’t be saving money at all and you could end up in financial difficulty.
  • Buy a dashcam, however, be warned that some insurers only insure specific models so check before you buy!
  • Spend less on car hire insurance.