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Young women 'face soaring premiums'

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Car insurance costs for young women could jump by nearly £1,000 a year if the European Court of Justice decides to end the calculation of premiums based on gender, experts have warned.

Women, who are deemed safer drivers, generally pay less premium than men, and the court is set to rule next month on whether or not such discrimination is legal.

The current average annual insurance for women drivers between 17 and 22 is around £1,682, compared with £2,750 for men in the same age group.

Figures show that when compared with young women, male motorists in this age bracket are 10 times more likely to be involved in a car accident.

They also have a 25 times higher chance of committing a traffic offence within their first three years of driving.

Malcolm Tarling, a spokesman for the Association of British Insurers, said a decision to end the practice could be "extremely detrimental to UK consumers"

He said: "If insurers aren't able to take into account risk factors, it will have widespread implications.

"Insurers may look to other risk factors that give an indication of gender, for example occupation or vehicle type, but if this is considered indirect discrimination it is unlikely to be permitted."

© Press Association 2011