Renew life insurance swiftly, women urged

Women are being urged to act swiftly to renew their life insurance policies ahead of new European rules which will ban insurers from taking gender into account from next month.

A ruling by the European Court of Justice means that from December 21 insurers can no longer consider a customer’s gender when calculating, for example, how much they should pay for their car or life insurance or what their retirement income should be.

Women have had lower car insurance premiums owing to their lower accident rates, for example. Men have tended to receive higher annuity rates because of their lower average life expectancy, while life insurance has been cheaper for women.

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Kevin Pratt, of price comparison website MoneySupermarket, said: “Life insurance has always been cheaper for women as women tend to live for longer and any claim is further away in time.

“Insurers won’t be able to work on that basis. We haven’t got a clear indication of the price increases, but if you want the rates that are around at the moment, you need to apply now as the process can take weeks.”

The website said it is yet to see any huge price hikes across the car insurance market, and the cost of cover for female motorists is around a third cheaper than for male drivers.

However, Mr Pratt warned against trying to cancel a car insurance policy at this stage to try to lock into a deal before the new rules come in. He does not expect men to see the cost of their car insurance plummet after the changes.