The price of car insurance has fallen dramatically over the past 12 months, new research has found.
Car insurance costs have fallen by 30.7 per cent since last summer for male young drivers aged between 17 and 20.
The average annual cost of comprehensive cover for male drivers in this age group currently stands at £2,493, compared with £3,596 in 2012.
This is according to the latest quarterly Confused.com/Towers Watson car insurance price index.
The index looked at more than 4 million quotes to see what prices drivers were getting when shopping around for cover between April and July this year.
Car cover costs down 15% across all ages
The annual cost of comprehensive cover averaged across all age groups now stands at £678 – a fall of almost 15 per cent in the past 12 months.
However, young female drivers have suffered price rises.
Women aged aged between 17 and 20 are the only group of drivers who have seen their average car insurance costs rise.
For them, the cost of a comprehensive car insurance policy has increased by 6.2 per cent to £1,995 - up from £1,878 12 months ago.
EU ruling affects UK car insurance prices
The main reason behind car insurance price rises for young women and falls for young men is the introduction last December of an EU-wide law that bans insurers from setting prices according to gender.
Men of all ages have in the past been generally charged more than women for car insurance.
The reason is that they are viewed as more likely to have accidents and make claims.
This has been especially the case for those aged under 25.
But the law change was expected to result in insurers levelling prices out between the sexes: which means bringing them down for men, while raising them for women.
Other factors behind car insurance price falls
What has in fact happened is that among the population as a whole, prices have decreased for both men and women.
But men have enjoyed the steepest falls thanks to the EU gender ruling.
Male drivers now pay a typical £690 a year for cover, down 18.4 per cent, compared with £663 for women (down 10 per cent).
This means the gap between the sexes is just £27, as opposed to £110 this time last year.
Why have prices declined overall?
Gemma Stanbury, head of car insurance at Confused.com, said there were a number of factors that had driven premiums lower in the past few months.
An ongoing Competition Commission inquiry into car insurance premiums could have resulted in insurers lowering prices, she said.
"And it is possible that telematics insurance is also bringing down the overall cost of insurance, as it rewards safer drivers with lower car insurance premiums."
Telematics insurance involves installing a device in your car to record various aspects of your driving performance, such as speed, braking and cornering.
It allows drivers who are viewed as higher risk to prove to insurers that they are a safer bet, and are entitled to lower premiums.
Car insurance price cuts welcomed
Stanbury added: "It will be welcome news that the second quarter of 2013 has brought car insurance premium reductions across the board.
"In fact we have seen a 15 per cent decrease in comprehensive insurance premiums, meaning cheaper prices all round for British drivers.
"There has always been a clear distinction between the cost of car insurance for men as opposed to women.
"But following the EU gender ruling, the gap has almost been closed with a price difference of only £27."
Stanbury said that the falls in prices meant it was even more important for motorists to shop around when they came to renew their insurance.
"The insurance market is highly competitive and can change fast. In the past three months alone, the average comprehensive car insurance premium has fallen by £58."
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