Irish women over-paying for car insurance by €500 per year, says broker

Women paying higher premiums because they’re less likely to pass their test
Irish women over-paying for car insurance by €500 per year, says broker

Neil Briscoe

Ireland’s women drivers are paying over the odds for their car insurance to the tune of €500 per year, according to research from MissQuote, an Irish insurer which specialises in policies for young women drivers.

Women are statistically safer than men on the road; more than twice as many male drivers as female drivers died on Irish roads in 2021 with 50 men drivers dying at the wheel that year compared to 20 female drivers, according to the most recent road casualty and collision figures from the Road Safety Authority (RSA). The number of male drivers who were injured – but not killed – on Irish roads in 2021 came to 1583, compared to 1,176 women, according to the RSA.

So the higher premiums are nothing to do with actual, physical safety — it’s all to do with driving test pass rates. In 2020, 22,412 men aged 17-20 held a full driving licence compared to 14,195 women aged 17-20, according to the Central Statistics Office (CSO) and men have a higher pass rate on the driving test — 57.4 per cent of men passing their driving test in 2020 compared to 52.1 per cent of women.

Deirdre McCarthy, manager at told "Almost 200,000 more men than women hold a full driving licence in Ireland even though there are more women than men living in Ireland. The disparity is even greater for younger drivers. Almost 60 per cent more men than women aged between 17 and 20 had their full licence in 2020.

"As this age group often pay through the nose for car insurance, it’s likely that tens of thousands of young Irish women are paying at least €500 more for their car insurance than they would if they sat and passed their driving test. There is clear evidence that women have a safer track record on Irish roads, particularly if you look at the number of men with penalty points on their licences – so more needs to be done to encourage young female drivers to come forward for their driving test."

In 2016, the UK Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) had to deny accusations of sexism when an independent report found that men were significantly more likely to pass their test first time out than women.

A study called You See That Driver? I Bet That's A Woman!: A Social Psychological Approach to Understand Sexism in Traffic by Dr. Nilufer Ercan of Isik University in Turkey and Dr Ozden Melis Ulug of the University of Sussex found that "combatting sexism in traffic should be started from childhood. Children should not be prevented from playing with any kind of toys. This solution might change the association of cars with men and boys. It is also very beneficial for girls to play with cars as it helps the mental development of children.

"For adults, transforming cultural texts in a way that represent women more equally and not stereotypically will be very helpful. Dismantling ‘sex’ in traffic might prevent many men from entering into the extra risk and aggressive behaviour and it will reduce the negative experiences of women in traffic. More importantly, by eliminating sexism, this would be another milestone in achieving a society that offers equal standards for all, regardless of their gender."

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