"I was quoted €21k to insure my car"

DRIVERS are being charged massively different rates of insurance, depending on their gender and location, an Irish Daily Mail survey can reveal – Laura Colgan and Kevin Keane

The survey-which gathered 100 quotes for people of all ages, driving experience, genders and addresses illustrates the stark differences in car insurance costs.

In one instance, the difference between quotes from two firms for identical cover fort hesame person on the same car amounted to €4,530. And one young man on a full licence was told he would have to pay €20,981.

According to the Mail survey, young drivers were simply unable to obtain insurance from three out of the five leading insurers. The highest price quoted for the comprehensive insurance on a 2010 Dublin-registered 1.4 litre diesel Ford Focus - the car used for all the quotes obtained - was €5,910. That was the quote offered to a 21-year-old female office administrator with three years' driving experience and living in Dublin.

But many drivers contacted the Mail with much higher quotes, such as Matthew Coburn, who has a full licence and was quoted €19,595.76 by 123.ie when he sought to insure the 1.9-litre Vauxhall Vectra he uses to get to and from work each day.

The 19-year-old from Carlingford, Co. Louth, could hardly believe the price and inputted his information a number of times in disbelief.

€20,981 quoted to a 21-year-old for comprehensive insurance

Ian Fitzpatrick, 21, who also has a full licence, was quoted an astonishing €20,981 for comprehensive insurance from 123.ie last May. Like Mr Coburn, he assumed it was an error in the system.

"I did it again, maybe 20 minutes later, and it was the same so I gave up”, said Mr Fitzpatrick.

The survey showed surprising anomalies between men and women. With 123.ie often charging more for female drivers compared to males. It also offers massive discounts to rural drivers – in contrast to AXA which appears to give young urban drivers lower prices than rural drivers.

We also discovered 123.ie charged young female and male drivers in Dublin city €1,800 more than if the lived in the country. A 21-year-old male city worker with a licence for three years, insured on his parents' policy, is quoted €5,904.83 compared to €4,070.64 for the same driver with a rural address.

Similarly, a 21-year-old Dublin woman with a three-year licence is quoted €5,910-26 compared to €4038.45 if she lives in the country.

Even with older drivers there were anomalies. For example, a 65-year old Woman living in Tipperary was able to obtain comprehensive insurance for €331 compared to €507 for the same person living in Dublin.

According to Simon Moynihan of price comparison website Bonkers.ie, the prices provided to young drivers are “non-quotes”.

“Certain insurance companies don't want under-30 drivers. It's not a stated policy but they quote in such a way to discourage anyone from taking a policy out with them,” he said.

Mr Moynihan said: “The single most important thing when you are looking for a quote is the number of years you have driving experience.

“That’s whether you are 19 or 39. If you've less than one year’s driving experience, you will be hugely loaded. “Someone with driving experience would start with a particular amount of money at the top of their insurance quote and they'll discount off 20% for driving experience and another 40% for no claims. That can go as far up to 75% off the original quote. If you have a claim, your premium goes through the window."

He said the number two loading factor is engine size. And where you live is also a big factor, the price-comparison expert said. All insurance companies maintain a database of historical behaviour in that area," said Mr Moynihan. “What that means is how many claims come out of the neighbourhood... If it's a high-claim area, that will load the insurance quote as well."

Another factor, he said, was a person's occupation. He said the details of this are something the industry are tight-lipped about".

Mr Moynihan said young drivers were best off approaching a broker for insurance, as they knew how to frame an insurance request.

This is what Matthew Coburn resorted to for his car. Through a local broker, he found insurance for €4,000- almost €17,000 less than the quote from 123.ie.

Liberty Insurance, AXA and Allianz all said they did not differentiate between genders when calculating their prices. A Liberty Insurance spokesman said gender is removed as a factor in the calculation of risk" after the EU Gender Directive came into effect in December 2012.

An Allianz spokesman said: "There is no differential in rates for males and females. Our prices depend on a number of factors, not only those mentioned (in the survey)."

A spokeswoman for Aviva said: “Our acceptance criteria are various and can relate to age of vehicle, engine size, type of licence, claims history, penalty points, no claims bonus, etc. Both 123.ie and RSA Ireland, which underwrites 123.ie's insurance policies, declined to comment.


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