Friday 23 June 2017

Men still paying more than women for car insurance

Premiums across the board have shot up by 16pc in the past year
Premiums across the board have shot up by 16pc in the past year
Louise McBride

Louise McBride

Men are still often paying more for car insurance than women - almost two-and-a-half years after gender equality laws kicked in.

This is not because insurers are flouting the EU rules which ban gender discrimination - rather it is because they usually charge more to cover those in male-dominated jobs than female-dominated ones. In some cases, an individual in a male-dominated job could pay 30pc more for car insurance.

A plasterer or scaffolder for example could easily pay about a tenth more for his car insurance than a nurse or teacher, according to research conducted by this paper in conjunction with the insurance brokers, coverinaclick.ie.

A 38-year-old plasterer from Newbridge, Co Kildare who drives a one-year-old Lexus IS Series 250 (5-door) would pay €594 a year for comprehensive car insurance with AIG, according to quotes obtained by coverinaclick.ie. A scaffolder of the same age and profile would also pay €594. However, a 38-year-old teacher or nurse driving the same car - and with the same profile - would pay €535. A property developer would pay €562 while a bank official (a more gender-neutral and sedentary profession) would pay €516.

"Where an occupation, or group of occupations, has a poorer claims experience, this is reflected in the premium charged," said a spokesman for AIG.

Posing as a consumer, this paper checked some car insurance quotes using the same profiles in each case - apart from occupation. We found that Allianz quoted a 38-year-old Dublin driver of a 2008 Nissan €565 for third-party, fire and theft cover while a nurse was quoted €500. A farmer was quoted €520. The more gender-neutral and sedentary profession of economist was quoted €500.

A plasterer could pay 30pc more for car insurance with Liberty Insurance than a florist would. When contacted by this paper, Liberty said it would charge a 35-year-old Dublin florist €532 for comprehensive car insurance - assuming the florist has a full driving licence and no-claims discount, and drives a 2009 1.4-litre Ford Focus worth about €9,500. Liberty said it would charge a plasterer €686 for the same cover.

"Occupation is one of the many factors we, and other insurers, use in rating car insurance premiums," said a spokesman for Liberty Insurance. "Rates vary depending on individual occupations relative to one another and are based on our claims and statistical analysis."

Most insurers, apart from Aviva, said that occupation is one of the things taken into account when deciding how much to charge an individual for car insurance.

"Some insurers charge more for manual jobs - but it's down to the usage of the car rather than the individual being a male," said Jonathan Hehir, managing director of coverinaclick.ie. "You'll typically pay less for car insurance if you have a sedentary job because the car is being used less."

Many of those in manual jobs, like plasterers, are considered to be a higher risk because they tend to be on the road more - hence, the higher premiums.

Many men will therefore pay more for car insurance than women because of the higher proportion of males in manual jobs.

About 98pc of those working as plasterers are men, according to a recent study by Stephen McDonald, an economist from Newcastle University in Britain.

In Ireland, nine out of 10 of those working in skilled trades - which includes occupations such as plasterers, bricklayers, builders, roofers and farmers - are men while only one in 10 are women, according to the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO). The same figures show that about 85pc of those working as 'process, plant or machine operatives' - which includes scaffolders, riggers and quarry workers - are men, while only 15pc are women. However, about four out of five of those working in 'caring and leisure jobs' - which includes nurses and teaching assistants - are women while only one in five are men. Teaching is another female-dominated profession - about 85pc of primary school teachers and 68pc of secondary school teachers are women, according to the CSO's Women and Men in Ireland Report 2013.

Out of work

The unemployed can also get a raw deal when it comes to car insurance - some insurers charge unemployed people up to 50pc more than employed people.

"Some insurers won't quote for unemployed people - or if they do, the car insurance rate will be loaded because they may be going around in the car more," said one broker who did not wish to be named. "If you put yourself down as a house husband when looking for car insurance instead of an unemployed person, you'll usually get more insurers to cover you - as well as a better quote."

Liberty Insurance quoted €862 for comprehensive car insurance for a 38-year-old dentist from Newbridge, Co Kildare who drives a one-year-old Lexus IS Series 250 (5 door). The insurer quoted €1,328.55 - 54pc more - for an unemployed individual with the same profile who was driving the same car.

Although a spokeswoman for Aviva said it does not charge the unemployed more than employed people, most insurers do.

Furthermore, car insurance for an unemployed person is likely to be higher if the individual has no employment history than it would be for someone who has recently lost their job.

For example, a 28-year-old unemployed bank official from Tallaght who drives a two-year-old Ford Fiesta would pay €463 for comprehensive cover with Zurich, according to quotes obtained by coverinaclick.ie. However, an individual with the same profile but who has no employment history would pay €583 - about 26pc more.

Insurance for not being able to work

Those in male-dominated jobs often pay more for income protection insurance, which pays a portion of your salary should illness or disability prevent you from working.

A builder could pay almost 60pc more for income protection than a hairdresser for example.

A 30-year-old builder would pay Friends First €127.57 a month for income protection of €30,000 a year until the age of 65, assuming the builder doesn't smoke and his cover would start to pay out 13 weeks after he was unable to work, according to the online brokers, LAbrokers.ie. A 30-year-old hairdresser or creche worker with the same profile would pay €81 a month for the same cover, while a 30-year-old nurse would pay €103 a month. People in certain occupations, such as fishermen, dairy farmers, and bus drivers, could also struggle to get income protection insurance, according to John Geraghty, managing director of LABrokers.ie.

Before the gender equality laws were introduced in December 2012, insurers could and did charge men more for insurance - simply because they were men. Although insurers have been banned from doing so since, many men are still getting a raw deal with insurance - because of their job.

Have the equality laws gone far enough?

 

Straying off beaten track can push up cost of insurance

Working in a male-dominated job is not the only thing which can cost you when it comes to insurance - so too can your age, hobbies, and a propensity to head off the beaten track. This is particularly the case with travel and life insurance.

Anyone over the age of 65 could pay twice the price for travel insurance as a younger person would. Expect to pay even more for your cover if you are over the age of 75 - and to have to arrange it through a specialist insurer.

Your travel destination could also push up the cost of travel cover - or make you struggle to get it.

"Insurers will usually refuse to cover clients travelling to areas where the Department of Foreign Affairs have advised against travel to," said Ciaran Mulligan, managing director of Blue Insurances.

So if you're currently planning to visit Syria, the Congo, Liberia, Afghanistan, or Nepal (which was last week devastated by an earthquake), you're unlikely to get a travel insurer to cover you. "You normally won't get cover for countries where there is conflict or war," added Mr Mulligan.

Even if the country you are visiting is safe to travel in, the further it is away from home, the more expensive your travel cover could be. Expect to pay more for an annual travel insurance policy if you're travelling to the United States or Canada for example than if you are simply travelling around Europe.

What you plan to get up to while abroad could also push up the cost of your travel cover - particularly if you're planning to do a tandem skydive, go rock climbing, or trek for more than 2,000km, according to Mr Mulligan.

Hazardous sports could see you pay more for life insurance - because of the high risk of accidental death. Expect to pay more for life cover if you're into boxing, diving, mountaineering, parachuting, hang-gliding or potholing.

Working at heights greater than 30 feet can also cost you with life cover - so expect to pay more if you're a window cleaner, roof tiler, satellite disc installer or painter.

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