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Which Gender Pays More for Car Insurance?

Which gender pays more for car insurance - featured. Close up of hand pointing to photo of a car in the insurance documents spread across a table. Car keys on top of papers

Do men or women pay more for car insurance? The answer isn’t as straightforward as you might think

Most people know which gender pays more for car insurance – at least, most people think they do. But in actuality it’s not a question with a simple answer, as gender isn’t the only thing that insurers take into consideration.

Other factors include a person’s age, location, driving record and even the make and model of their car. In this guide, we’ll look at how gender affects how much you pay for car insurance, and explain why that’s not the only factor taken into consideration.

Who pays more for car insurance?

It’s widely believed that men pay more for car insurance than women – and it is true that, over the course of their lifetimes, most men will pay slightly more than a woman would.

However, the difference isn’t huge. Younger male drivers pay around 7% more for car insurance than their female counterparts, but as drivers get older their rates fall and the gap becomes much narrower. The difference is only around 1% between drivers of different genders in their 30s.

After that, rates continue to go down; unexpectedly, there’s a brief period around the age of 40 where women will, on average, pay 0.4% more than men for insurance. Insurance companies are cagey about the reason for this price difference. By the age of 65 male drivers are once again paying more than women, though only by 3%.

Let’s look at those differences in more detail:

AgeWomen (average ins. price)Men (average ins. price)Change
17$4,618$4,946-7%
24$2,159$2,277-5%
32$1,831$1,846-1%
40$1,614$1,607+0.4%
65$1,364$1,401-3%

Why do men generally pay more for car insurance?

The short answer is that insurers consider men a greater risk on the roads. Although this could be seen as discriminatory, it’s supported by data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Young men in particular are more likely than women to speed or take risks behind the wheel. And, unfortunately, men are more likely to be involved in fatal crashes where speed or alcohol are contributing factors.

States that have banned using gender to determine car insurance

The insurance gap doesn’t apply everywhere. Some states consider gender-based pricing to be discriminatory, and have banned insurers from adjusting their rates on this basis – namely:

  • California
  • Hawaii
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Montana
  • North Carolina
  • Pennsylvania

Other factors that impact car insurance

Even if you live in a state where gender-based pricing is illegal, there are plenty of other reasons why two people might pay quite different premiums. Here are the other main factors:

1. Age and experience

As our table above makes clear, one of the biggest factors when it comes to the price of car insurance is your age. We’ve mentioned that young men are seen as a particular risk, but women under 25 also pay more than older drivers, as insurers factor in the lack of experience this age group has on the road. Drivers under 20 are considered an even higher risk, with 16- to 19-year-olds three times as likely to be in a fatal crash as 20-year-old and older drivers.

Which gender pays more for car insurance. Older man gives teenage boy driving lessons inside red car

Why are younger drivers considered such a risk? One reason is simple inexperience: teens lack familiarity with the roads, and are less likely than older drivers to recognize dangerous situations.

Data from the NHTSA suggests that other risk factors include:

  • Nighttime and weekend driving: Teens frequently drive at the times when the risk of accidents is greatest. More than 40% of car crashes involving teen drivers and passengers take place between 9pm and 6am, and more than half (52%) of fatal car crashes amongst teens happened on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday.
  • Distracted driving: As many as one in three teens have admitted to texting while driving.
  • Alcohol: In 2019, 24% of drivers aged 15-20 who died in car crashes had a blood alcohol concentration of .01 or higher, with 82% of those having a reading of .08 or higher.
  • Speeding: 27% of fatal car crashes in 2019 involving teens were down to speeding.
  • Not using seat belts: Shockingly, around half of teen drivers (45%) who died in car crashes in 2019 weren’t wearing seat belts.

It’s not just young drivers that are seen as a risk. Once you pass the age of 65, insurance prices rise again. This is because older drivers can be affected by age-related changes to their vision, physical fitness, attention and reaction times – and may not be willing to adjust their driving practises accordingly.

An insurance company will also take into account how long you’ve had your driving license. While younger drivers are typically considered a risk due to inexperience, so too will older drivers who passed their test later in life and have only been driving on the roads for a few years.

2. Driving record

If you’ve ever been unlucky enough to have been involved in a car crash – particularly one where you were deemed at fault – you’ll no doubt have noticed that your insurance premiums have increased the next time you come to renew. The assumption is that someone who’s been involved in an incident once is more likely to experience one again.

Conversely, if you have a clean driving record you’ll get lower average rates than those with a history of speeding tickets, reckless driving, driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) convictions and the aforementioned at-fault accidents.

3. Location

Car insurance isn’t just for accidents that happen while you’re driving: it also covers the risk of your car being vandalized, broken into, or otherwise intentionally damaged by someone. This means that you’re likely to pay more for your insurance if you live in an urban area with comparatively high crime rates, as opposed to a rural area.

4. Marital status

It may seem odd, but married couples often get cheaper insurance rates than individuals. For whatever reason, married drivers make measurably fewer claims than singles, which makes them more attractive to an insurer. Insurers might also offer multi-car or multi-policy discounts that single drivers aren’t eligible for. Of course, the flip side of this is that if your partner has a poor driving record with a history of making claims, your insurance premiums could go up.

5. Vehicle make and model

If you drive a car with high safety ratings, you’ll pay less to insure it, partly because you’re less likely to incur large medical bills as the result of an accident.

Car insurance is also cheaper for a small hatchback than an exotic sports car, as repairs and replacements will be less costly. And you’ll generally pay less to insure a newer car than an older one, because there’s a reduced risk of it breaking down, or getting into an accident owing to a mechanical failure.

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