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Car Insurance For Women

What are the pros and cons to the specialist insurance companies that concentrate on providing insurance for female drivers?

Sheila's Wheels

Recently British TV has played host to a new advertising campaign by a company called Sheila’s Wheels. Unless you switch off the Telly every time commercials come on you will undoubtedly have noticed the brash loud and, we have to admit, funny adverts. Sheila’s Wheels purports to be an insurance company offering low car insurance just for women.

How can it do that we hear you ask? Well, as we know, women are statistically less likely to damage their vehicles than men, so they should present less of a risk to insure.

Sheila’s Wheels offers such things as hand bag insurance, which is nice, and offers to provide its services to suit the needs of its female customer base by being aware of school run times and of ensuring cars that have been in for repair can be collected before it gets dark. Hmmm, considerate, but is it just us, or is that also a bit patronising?!

What does a customer using Sheila’s Wheel’s get that they won’t get anywhere else? The above special facilities, except perhaps the handbag insurance, (which could be covered by a customer’s household contents insurance), could be arranged with any insurer if the customer just asked. As far as insurance premiums are concerned, every insurer will take into account the fact that the applicant is a woman.

Riddle me this

When is one pot of live yoghurt different to another pot of live yoghurt? Answer: when it’s a different brand. No big deal, obvious. It may turn out that Sheila’s Wheels is little more than a clever piece of marketing and branding. As a company it’s owned by HSBOS who also own The Halifax, Bank of Scotland and E-sure.

Marketing these days is all about targeting specific threads of demographic (potential customers) and styling a product to meet that target’s lifestyle. Sheila’s Wheels advertising is all about making car insurance fun and appealing for the independent modern young lady. They’re great ads and although we don’t have the figures, we suspect the campaigns have proved highly successful.

So well done to the advertising agency, but where does that leave you as a lady consumer? By all means get a quote from Sheila’s Wheels, but also get a quote from somewhere else and check to see which one will actually provide you with the best cover at the best price.

Headline grabbing

The cheapest headline figure of the quotes you get may not be the best rate overall. You will need to look at the rates of excess on offer and whether you get a complimentary car while yours is in for repair or even whether you get (fully comprehensive) insurance cover while abroad. All these things can add up and not be included in the headline rate.

Fairer sex

For the record, Churchill Insurance have done some research which indicates that while women drivers do actually cost insurance companies less because the accidents they have tend to be at slower speeds and consequently cause less damage, over the course of a driver’s life women actually have more accidents than men! The same research also indicates that in their more mature years the fairer sex become a bit more of a liability. Women in their 70’s are more likely to be involved in fatal car accidents than men, however, that may be a reflection of the fact there are more women in their seventies still alive!

Bottom line

Diamond, part of the Admiral group of companies has been reported as saying that dedicated services for women are part of a wider social change and that female-friendly insurance is indeed about independence rather than what they describe as “handbag appeal”.

Where that leaves Sheila’s Wheels and others like them is, we guess, on a much coveted and profitable bandwagon.

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