Are you wondering why you have to circle "female" or “male” when filling out an insurance application or applying for quotes? Most drivers are surprised to learn that their gender has an impact on their rates, and the initial reaction is to think that this gender profiling is sexist. After all, the women vs men as drivers debate is a touchy subject.
If you are ready to learn why insurers care about whether you are male or female, read on to find out if gender profiling in car insurance rates is based on fact or fiction. We will also show you what drivers can do to save on car insurance, regardless of gender.
Like everything else insurers look at to factor rates, it all comes down to risk. Just like insurers use data to determine which age group is riskiest (the answer is teenagers), they also use data to determine which gender is riskiest. While the common belief is that men are better drivers, the data shows otherwise.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) study on crashes and fatalities by gender, more men than women die in crashes every year. Why? The IIHS blames the higher death toll on men’s tendency to partake in risky driving behaviors, such as not wearing seatbelts, speeding, and driving while impaired.
Data also shows that from the years 1975 to 2018, annual male fatalities were consistently more than twice the number of female fatalities.
Every insurer also has their own database of past crash data, which they will look at to see which gender has the higher history of claims at the company. When you look at these facts, it is clear that insurers have a legitimate reason for gender profiling drivers.
And for those that still insist on saying females are worse drivers despite the data, check out these best feminist comebacks to sexist remarks.
Now that you know males are the riskier drivers, it should come as no surprise that females usually have cheaper car insurance rates when compared to males. However, the rate gap between genders does decrease with age.
While male teenagers buying their own policy tend to pay at least $1,000 more than female teenagers, there is little to no difference in average rates between 60-year-old males and females.
Of course, these differences are based on rate averages for males and females that have the same driving record. There are always exceptions. For example, a female with accidents on her record will pay more than a male with a clean driving record.
Still, in general, you will find that a male driver usually pays slightly more than a female driver due to gender profiling data.
States that Have Outlawed Using Gender to Determine
A few states have prohibited insurers from using a driver’s gender as a factor when calculating rates. The states that prohibit gender discrimination in car insurance are:
- North Carolina
- Parts of Michigan
If you don’t live in any of these states, then you can assume that your gender is still being used to calculate your monthly insurance rates.
If you are a female driver, congratulations! You probably already have cheaper rates than male drivers. However, car insurance can still be expensive, so it is important that even female drivers understand all of the steps that they can take to reduce their car insurance rates.
Otherwise, car insurance could be one of the ways you’re sabotaging your budget without realizing it.
The first thing female drivers should do is make sure that they are qualifying for every possible discount at their insurer. Most drivers are not always aware that in addition to the most prominent discounts, there are a number of small discounts to take advantage of.
For example, you may save one to three percent on your policy by going paperless or by signing up for automatic billing. While these discounts may not seem to save as much as popular discounts like safe driving (where the average saved is 10 to 15 percent), even little discounts can add up to save you a significant amount.
Another common step that drivers can take to reduce rates is increasing deductibles. What is a deductible? It is simply the amount a driver agrees to pay after a crash before the insurer steps in and pays the rest. However, this is where it can get tricky.
If you raise your deductible too high out of your budget, you won’t be able to pay the deductible after a crash. Until you can scrape together enough money for the deductible, your insurer won’t pay for repairs.
The best advice is to only raise your deductible if you can afford it later, as saving short-term isn’t worth it if an accident financially ruins you for a few months.
The last — and best — way to save on car insurance is to shop for free insurance quotes. Comparison sites can be a great way to do this, as drivers only need to enter information into one form to get multiple quotes from different companies in the drivers’ area.
Just like discount websites for scoring hot deals can help you save, car insurance comparison websites can save drivers hundreds. Because insurance companies are always competing with each other, it is smart to check for quotes every year or so, especially if something has changed on your driving record.
What was the cheapest insurance company for a driver a year ago may no longer be the cheapest company now.
By following all of these tips, female — and male — drivers can save hundreds of dollars on their car insurance policies. Even though insurers may use gender to determine rates, it doesn’t mean that drivers have to pay more based on their gender.
Understanding why gender is used for rates and what drivers can do to reduce rates will help every female driver save when shopping for insurance.
About The Author:
Rachel Bodine is an auto insurance expert who writes and researches for the auto insurance comparison site, 4AutoInsuranceQuote.com.
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