Car insurance still costs more if you're male, despite an EU ruling which aimed to stop price discrimination by gender.

The EU directive, which came into effect five years ago, was intended to stop insurers from giving big discounts to female drivers – often amounting to hundreds of pounds.

The phenomenon of discounting car insurance for women sparked a whole industry, typified by firms like Sheila’s Wheels, which only supplied motor cover to females.

However, new research by suggests men are still paying substantially more than women, even after gender-specific pricing is taken out of the equation. This is because the data used by insurers to evaluate a driver still rates men as more likely to be involved in a crash.

According to some research, the price gap between men and woman has actually increased since the gender discrimination ban of 2012.

Premiums for men averaged £821 between June and August of this year, while women paid £649. This means men are paying about 27 per cent more than women.

Industry commentators have suggested a number of reasons why men are still paying more. Chief among these is the fact that males are statistically more likely to have an accident while behind the wheel of a business or commercial vehicle – which are in themselves higher risk propositions.

While default discounts to women are prohibited, the risk and statistics models used by insurance firms are very similar to how they were before the ban.

The research also found that the difference between the highest and lowest premiums offered was about £50 higher for male drivers, pointing to the wisdom of shopping around before settling on a provider.

Malcolm Tarling, of the Association of British Insurers, said other factors influenced how much men pay for premiums.

"For motor insurance, factors such as the type of car, number of miles driven, driving record and claims experience will all impact on the cost of cover," he said. "Men and women are likely to drive different types of vehicle, do different mileage, and these variations, not gender pricing, will reflect in premiums.            

"Also, across the board, average motor insurance premiums continue to rise - up 11pc over last year - due to increasing costs, including higher Insurance Premium Tax and rising vehicle repair bills."

Concerns over how much one gender pays compared another are perhaps tempered by the fact that all drivers are paying more for their cover than ever before. Average premiums stood at £740 this quarter, leaping $42 on last year's average.