Having recently found myself purchasing a car, the need to insure it is highly apparent. Since we can’t predict the future, insurance seems to be a very useful service. One may find themselves financially ruined should they become liable for costly repair bills.
However, I take issue with how the insurers calculate the premiums that they charge. For example, let’s look at the online calculator from Trade Me Insurance*: If I put in my details (23 year old male), it would cost me $532.77 per year to insure my car under full cover. By specifying that the main driver is female, the premium would reduce to $473.49. By changing my age to 25 years old, the premium reduces to $495.73.
Unlike NZ, The EU has sensibly forbidden such disparities (by gender at least). However as, the Telegraph reported **, insurance companies have dodged this regulation by using one’s occupation to set premiums. And occupations in which males are over-represented attracted higher premiums.
Now, an insurance company might say that they have “statistics” indicating that young drivers and male drivers are more likely to make claims. But I reject this. I’ve currently got insurance with another company (for more than Trade Me Insurance has quoted) who have known that I’ve existed for about 8 years. And in those 8 years, I’ve never made a claim on my insurance, or that of my parents. Despite my immaculate record, I’m still treated as an irresponsible young man who is a danger to society and should therefore pay through the nose to be insured. Yet, I’ve had my previous car damaged by people twice my age who would get to pay lower premiums by virtue of who they are.
This is unfair. There is no other way of putting it. Drivers should be either be treated as individuals or as homogeneous entities, not as demographics using lazy stereotypes. Yet, there is nothing I can do about it. The fear of things going wrong without insurance means that I still buy into this crooked system that I’ve railed against for the past ~350 words. I deserve better than this. And you probably do too.
*I should point out that I would expect this behaviour from all companies, not just Trade Me Insurance. Since it has the best online calculator, I have used it as an example for this piece.
**An article by the Eurosceptic Torygraph that portrays the EU as a voice of reason. Now that’s a pleasant surprise!