The EU gender directive – what it means for your insurance premiums

While we will all be busy celebrating the festive season, the end of December also marks a fundamental shake-up to the way insurers calculate their premiums. From 21 December, a European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling will ban insurers from taking a person’s gender into account when working out premiums for products such as car insurance, annuities and life insurance on the grounds of sexual discrimination.

It’ll be mixed news for consumers, as premiums at present have often been dictated by gender-related risks. Women typically pay lower car insurance premiums because of lower accident rates, while men tend to receive higher annuity rates because of their shorter life expectancy. Market experts estimate the ruling could increase some female premiums by up to 25 per cent, while male premiums are likely to drop, although it is predicted to level out in the coming years as the rule settles into place.

If you are due to renew an insurance product in the next month, it may be worth taking advantage of lower rates before insurers convert to the new gender-neutral policies. It may also be worth checking with insurers about their guaranteed quote period; some insurers for instance may offer a ‘pre-gender neutral’ quote for a certain time frame which could be cut off by the 21 December deadline.