Before insurance companies can give you a quote, you will be asked to fill out a form providing them with personal information such as your date of birth, your gender and whether or not you are a smoker. The cost of your premium will totally depend on the information that you provide, since the insurer will match this against statistical data to determine how likely you are to make a claim.
One of the major factors for insurance products such motor insurance and private medical insurance is your gender. To ensure that this is all above board, sex discrimination regulations were put into place in April 2008 stipulating that insurers are only allowed to base gender-related price decisions on accurate statistical data, and the rules also state that this data must be regularly updated and published. Looking at these statistics would not necessarily help you to predict the exact cost of your premium, however they do throw some light on the differences between the sexes where it comes to insurance claims.
It is an oft-published fact that women have fewer motor accidents than men and make fewer claims. Many insurers have women-specific motor insurance products, and some go so far as to base their entire product range around women, on the basis that women make safer drivers. Data published by the Association of British Insurers shows that between the ages of 17-35, the cost of a female policy claim cost as little as 47% of a male claim. However, the premium costs do start to balance out above this age, showing that it is specifically younger male drivers that are seen as a risk by the insurers.
A study by the social issues research centre* shows that the psychology of male and female drivers can differ greatly, and that levels of aggression and risk-taking behaviour when driving can contribute to the gender bias when it comes to premiums. However in reality, motor insurance premiums are based on a number of 'risk rating' factors, of which sex is just one. These include age, postcode, mileage driven, the type of vehicle and whether you have built up a no-claims discount. Therefore, all the male drivers out there will be pleased to hear that as long as you save the Formula One driving for the Xbox, the gender gap shouldn't cost you more on your premiums.
Private Medical Insurance
According to a recent survey by life and pensions company Friends Provident shows that men are less concerned about their health than women. This manifests itself as an unwillingness to visit the doctor to get symptoms checked out, a lack of knowledge about checking lumps and moles for cancerous signs and a lack of concern about addressing hereditary conditions. Mark Jones, head of protection at Friends Provident said "A significant majority (61%) of men acknowledge that they take more risks with their health than women. Despite this men don't seem to be taking the relevant actions to improve their health and we are urging them to do so."
The survey also found that 87% of men have no private medical insurance, at a time when private medical insurance policies have never been more readily available. Interestingly, the average cost of a private medical insurance claim for a woman is statistically much higher than a male claim (according to the association of British Insurers) meaning that private medical insurance is often cheaper for young and middle-aged men than it is for woman of the same age.
Of course many factors are taken into consideration when insurers are working out your 'risk rating' before offering you a quote. Where in the country you live, whether you smoke and how healthy your lifestyle is could all affect the cost of private medical insurance, and if you are generally in good physical shape, you will reap the benefits regardless of your gender. Nonetheless, the cost of private medical insurance for men may be cheaper than you would expect, so it may pay to take a bit more interest in your health and get a quote today.