The Guardian on Saturday had an interesting piece on the perils of buying your womens car insurance from a so-called “womens car insurance company”, such as Sheila’s Wheels, Diamond, Ladybird and Diva.
Despite jingly and annoying adverts promising massive savings on car insurance to members of the fairer sex, the Guardian’s research found that women might not actually save “a bunch of fivers”, by taking out insurance from the self-proclaimed specialists.
Oh no. In fact, they could end up paying a whole lot more.
When they ran a quote through a well-known insurance price comparison site the womens car insurance companies did not fare as well as expected. Sheila’s Wheels came out at £26 more than the cheapest quote (the stupidly and expensively rebranded LV=), and poor old Diva wanted a whole £94 more.
But if you’re a woman driver, there’s worse news to come, when you hear who else beat Sheila’s Wheels. Other insurance brands that came out cheaper than Sheila’s Wheels included – Halifax Car Insurance, Sainsbury’s Car Insurance and esure.
Hang on a minute! Cast your mind back to my previous post “Who owns your insurer?”
Let’s check that list again, shall we?
- Halifax Insurance – part of Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS)
- Sainsbury’s Car Insurance – run by esure (part of HBOS)
- esure – part of HBOS – calm down, dear!
Now remember, all of those came out cheaper in the Guardian’s survey than “women’s specialist” Sheila’s Wheels, who are (let’s just check their website) – oh, yes “a division of esure” and part of HBOS.
So it turns out that (for the examples the Guardian checked, anyway) esure will charge you less, as a woman, than their own specialist women’s “division”.
The Sheila’s Wheels spokeswoman (Niki Bolton) accounted for this by saying that the Sheila’s Wheels policy had bonzer extra features such as:
- Handbag cover (available elsewhere, but almost certainly included in your home insurance!)
- Female Friendly garages (remember if you’ve had an accident and claim on your insurance, it’s down to the insurance company to worry about which repairs are necessary and how much work the garage has actually done. Believe it or not, most insurance companies don’t tend to deal with garages who habitually rip them off or patronise clients and will have their own network of garages who they trust. Plus climbing onto your moral high horse over patronising attitudes is a bit rich if your parent company is responsible for those Michael Winner ads.).
- A 24-hour counselling line for drivers traumatised by an experience on the road. (They don’t say if they provide a similar service for drivers traumatised by the size of their car insurance quote)
Spokesperson, Niki Bolton, is also listed here as PR manager for esure and also speaks for First Alternative. Perhaps if the Guardian had asked her to speak on behalf of esure, she might have told you that all of the above “features” are just pointless trimming and that you should get your insurance from esure instead. And presumably, if you are traumatised on the road and ring esure in an emotional state you are put through to Michael Winner who simply tells you to calm down, dear. Sadly we’ll never know.
As the Guardian found, if you want women’s car insurance you would do well to look beyond the big spending advertisers who tell you they can save you big money, but in reality, charge you a hefty premium for a pink policy document and some flaky add-ons.