While no man would likely admit to being a worse driver than his wife or girlfriend, the fact of the matter is many men, especially those under 25, pay more for car insurance than women of the same age. This seems like discrimination, but insurance companies have for decades relied on statistics from sources such as the International Institute of Highway Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Association that seem to show higher insurance rates might be necessary to cover costs associated with insuring male drivers.
Based on annual statistics, it seems that men are involved in more accidents than women. However, annual reporting does not take into account the fact that men drive more miles than women, on average, and are therefore “exposed” to traffic situations more often. In fact, when the statistics are reevaluated on an accident per mile basis, adult men and women come out nearly even! If that’s the case, why do insurance companies often charge men more money for the same coverage?
The answer is twofold. First, the risks associated with male teen driving are among the highest of any group. The insurance companies’ bias against teen drivers may continue unfairly into adulthood. After age 25 a marked decrease in men’s accidents begins. But not all insurance companies recognize this, especially if other factors in the driver’s record (previous accidents, ownership of a sports car) show a consistent pattern of poor driving. Regardless of whether a man’s risks go down when he hits that magic number 25, the fact still remains that he and his former teen peers were a group that has been proven more reckless, fast, and oblivious to the law than the average driver. Interestingly, female teen accidents have been on the rise. This is partially because of earlier licensing for girls (traditionally they would wait until they were married or got a job after high school) , but it is also possible that increased cell phone use, especially texting, has lead to a higher incidence of fatal crashes for young women. Because of these trends, male and female teens may soon be paying equal rates.
The second factor in men’s higher insurance rates is a persistently high incidence of fatal or otherwise catastrophic accidents. As mentioned above, men and women over 25 have nearly the same accident rate. But they do not get involved in the same types of accidents! Men of any age group are far more likely to be driving while intoxicated, to speed, to drive recklessly, and to flout the law. They also tend to drive cars that give them the psychological boost to commit these violations more often, perhaps, than if they were piloting the family station wagon around town. Moreover, the men of the house are not usually hauling precious cargo – the children – as often as women. All these factors mean that while women, bad drivers as some of us think they are, have a high incidence of fender benders in traffic, parking lot dings and other minor accidents, men are far more likely to be involved in an accident that kills a person, or causes major damage to property. This might not happen to every man, but the expense of covering such accidents must be recouped in the form of higher premiums for all men. In fact, women’s “accidents” are sometimes so small they go unreported, which skews the statistics; but they are also not costing the insurance company a dime. Men’s accidents more often result in some kind of claim against their insurance, raising their rates even higher.
It is unfortunate that men have to bear the burden of higher insurance rates, but each individual situation is unique. A man over 25 with a clean driving record (and no hot cars in the garage!) really can get a good deal on insurance. As more and more women hit the road, take up careers that require long commutes, and share the responsibility of shuttling kids with their husbands, accident rates will continue to even out, as will miles driven. Someday men and women may pay an even rate across the board. But until the DUI reports and crash photos of Camaros wrapped around trees stop pouring in, men will have to bear their gender’s burden of higher insurance rates.
This information brought to you courtesy of Accurate Auto Insurance, where Chicago auto insurance is available at the lowest rates for all drivers, regardless of gender!