How Gender Impacts Car Insurance Rates

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Differences in gender also mean differences in the amount you'll pay for auto insurance

Boys and girls. Women and men. While the difference in sexes is obvious to each of us, the impact our gender has on car insurance premiums apparently is not. According to a recent telephone survey conducted by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), more than a third of adults – a full 36% of all respondents – didn’t realize that gender of a rated driver can have a direct effect on the policy premium they will quoted.

The same survey also revealed that even more American consumers – 38 percent of all respondents – didn’t know that marital status is also a consideration when a car insurance company quotes a new policy. We believe the complexities of underwriting a policy, not to mention that most consumers don’t understand exactly how insurers quote policies, are largely to blame for these results. We’re not surprised by these results, because in addition to the complexities, myths concerning auto insurance are prevalent in popular culture.

In general, males are charged more for car insurance in most parts of the country. Exceptions to this rule include the states of Michigan, Montana, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and North Carolina. In those states, insurers are barred from charging different amounts based on gender, as lawmakers deemed that it is not an acceptable rating factor.

On average, males will pay a rate that ranges up to 30 percent more than females, dependent upon their age, all other considerations being equal. So why are males charged more than females? Statistical data has demonstrated time and again that males are involved in car crashes at a significantly higher rate than females. Not only are males deemed a higher risk by car insurance companies, but their age also factors into those risk calculations. According to crash-related data collected by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, in 2008 alone, males were involved in all types of crashes – fatal, injury and property damage only – at a rate that was 37 percent higher than the rate of women involved in such crashes.

If you’re male, all is not lost. Insurers offer a slew of potential discounts, some of which are applied automatically while you’ll have to ask about others. Being a safe driver is your best bet for obtaining the lowest insurance cost, regardless of your gender, however. This means avoiding filing at-fault claims, as well as not being cited for moving violations or other driving offenses.

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