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It’s clear: Women really are ‘better’ drivers than men, research reveals

Latest car insurance price index reveals women pay £92 less than men on average – and this interactive animation reveals why 

Posted on 28 Aug 2018

The Gender Gap in 100 Drivers animation reveals why women are ‘better’ drivers – from analysing data on court proceedings for speeding and drink-driving offences, to insurance claims.
Men have paid £3,327 more than women for car insurance over the past decade(2), despite the EU gender directive banning insurers from rating on a driver’s sex(3).
Women are often stereotypically branded as the worst drivers, but animation reveals men are almost FOUR TIMES more likely to commit a motoring offence(4).
Some men brag about being better drivers, but have made almost TWICE as many insurance claims as women, on average(5).

Are men or women better drivers? The age-old debate has raged across the dashboard since driving licenses were introduced in 1903 – and the confusion has finally been cleared up.

Confused.com research has been compiled into an interactive animation – The Gender Gap in 100 Drivers – and reveals women win in this battle of the sexes, having been wrongly accused of being ‘bad drivers’ for many years. And this – perhaps controversially – has led to them having cheaper car insurance premiums.

The latest Q2 car insurance price index from Confused.com reveals women are paying £92 less for their car insurance than men, with the average premium for at £701. While men are paying £793 in comparison(1)

But the microsite, created by Confused.com, pits men against women and proves that it is female drivers who should own the bragging rights when it comes to driving. Visualising the UK driving population as 100 dots, the animation weighs up just how many men and women in England and Wales have committed a motoring offence, from speeding to drink-driving, to driving with no tax or insurance, with men proving to be the bigger lawbreakers. Not only this, but it also proves that male drivers are more likely to make a claim on their insurance than female drivers.

And the riskier driving behaviour displayed by men has cost them dearly over the years. According to Confused.com’s Q2 car insurance price index, men have paid £3,327 more than women for car insurance over the past decade, on average(2).

Insurers base the cost of a driver’s car insurance on the risk of them making a claim using historical claims information available to them. However, a growing concern about men being charged more for their car insurance than women resulted in the EU Gender Directive coming into force in 2012, prohibiting insurers from rating solely on a driver’s sex(3). Prior to this, men were paying up to £121 more for their car insurance (Q4 2011)(1). This has had a positive impact on the industry as insurers have had to become cleverer about how they analyse the risk of a driver making a claim, rather than relying on gender as a default.

However, even though insurers no longer take a driver’s gender into account when calculating the cost of their car insurance, when you look at the difference in the average premium between men and women, male drivers are still paying more.

And The Gender Gap in 100 Drivers illustrates why this might be. In fact, it proves men are almost four times more likely to commit a motoring offence than women. In total, more than 585,000 drivers in England and Wales were taken to court for breaking the law on the road in 2017(4), of which the majority (79%) were men – outnumbering women almost 4:1. In particular, almost one in four (23%) of these offences were men with a heavy foot slapped with a speeding ticket. While almost one in 15 (7%) were women who committed the same offence. Men also outweigh women 5:1 when it came to drink-driving offences, and 2:1 for driving without tax or insurance.

And it seems male drivers have cost insurers more money when it comes to claims pay-outs, suggesting they have been in more accidents than women. In 2017, two out of three (65%) insurance claims were made by men, of which 17% were fault claims(5). In comparison, more than one in three (35%) claims last year came from women – 9% of which were at fault.  And not only do men make more claims, they also tend to be a little more expensive too. Data held by Confused.com suggests that men claimed on average £3,271 per pay out, while women’s were slightly cheaper at £3,121(5). This could be down to the fact that men often own more expensive cars. In fact, further research by Confused.com found that men own cars with an average value of £8,654. While women are driving around in cars with a lower value of £7,090 – a whopping £1,563 difference. And this alone will reduce the price of car insurance.

Not only this, but men are more likely to have bad driving habits. For example, almost one in four (23%) male motorists admit to not indicating when switching lanes, compared to more than one in six (17%) women. And men are more likely to tailgate another driver (12%), compared to women (7%). However, there are some bad habits which are more common among women, including eating while driving (48% vs. 47%), and driving in bare feet (12% vs. 6%).

While the research clearly shows women are ‘better’ drivers, this could be down to the fact that they had more practice, as it took them longer to receive their licence. The Gender Gap in 100 Drivers animation reveals more women took their driving test than men in 2017, although, fewer passed(6). Of all the learner drivers who took their test last year, 23% of those who passed were female, compared to 24% of men. And it seems female drivers struggled to get their licence first time around, with just one in 10 (10%) passing first time (compared to 11% men). 

Men will be relieved to know the gap has slowly been closing between what they pay for car insurance compared to women. One year ago (July 2017) the gap reached a whopping £120(1) – the biggest difference since before the EU Gender Directive was announce in March 2012 (£121 in December 2011). However, as male drivers remain to be the worst offenders on the road, it’s unlikely we’ll see the gap close completely for years to come.

Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com, says:  “As a female racing driver, I know women can hold their own when it comes to driving, and data suggests that they are in fact safer on the roads. And this is reflected in the fact that they are paying almost £100 less for their premiums(1). And this could be down to the fact that more men committed more motoring offences in comparison to women. Not only this, but they also often own more expensive cars, which means claims are likely to be more expensive. 

“For those who still don’t quite believe it, we’ve created an interactive animation that outlines why this is.

“Regardless of whether men or women are paying more for car insurance, it’s an unavoidable cost which is making motoring less and less affordable. Drivers should cut through the clutter of car insurance chaos by shopping around and comparing the best deals using a site like Confused.com, where they could save up to £291(7).”

-Ends- 

Notes to editors

Unless otherwise stated, all figures taken from omnibus research carried out by One Poll on behalf of Confused.com. This was an online poll of 2,000 UK adults who drive (nationally representative sample) and are employed. The research was conducted between 24th July and 26th July 2018.

1. Data based on Confused.com Q2 2018 car insurance price index, based on more than 6 million quotes per quarter - https://www.confused.com/car-insurance/price-index  
2. Data based on Confused.com’s car insurance price index since July 2008 – calculated using the gap between the average premium for men and women per quarter.
3. https://www.confused.com/eu-gender-directive//azcdubvermedia.azureedge.net/media/docs/eu-gender-directive-factsheet.pdf
4. Court proceedings for motoring offences in England and Wales - https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/707663/motoring-tool-2017.xlsx - 2017 data broken down by gender
5. Based on Confused.com 2017 claims data.
6. https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/driving-test-statistics-drt#car-driving-test-pass-rates-drt02 
7. Based on online independent research by Consumer Intelligence (June '18). 50% of car insurance customers could save £291.98


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About Confused.com

Launched in 2002, Confused.com was the UK's first price comparison site for car insurance and is one of the UK’s biggest and most popular price comparison services, generating over one million quotes per month. It has expanded its range of comparison products over the last couple of years to include small van insurance, motorcycle insurance, car buying and selling, and car finance, as well as a number of tools designed to save drivers money on motoring.

Confused.com is not a supplier, insurance company or broker. It provides an objective and unbiased comparison service. By using cutting-edge technology, it has developed a series of intelligent web-based solutions that evaluate a number of risk factors to help customers with their decision-making, subsequently finding them great deals on a wide-range of insurance products, financial services, utilities and more. Confused.com’s service is based on the most up-to-date information provided by UK suppliers and industry regulators.

Confused.com is owned by the Admiral Group plc. Admiral listed on the London Stock Exchange in September 2004. Confused.com is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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Confused.com PR Team

For more information, please contact our press team.

Email: pressoffice@confused.com

If your enquiry is time-critical, please write "URGENT" in your email subject line. If you would like a ring-back, please include your telephone number. 

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