It is a fact that women are offered lower car insurance premiums than men. You can be sure that an insurance company does not want to alienate a large percentage of customers through trivial rate differences. Car insurance companies can point to solid research regarding the accident statistics and how they differ between men and women drivers to back up their practice of charging men more. Men, to put it plainly, are more expensive to ensure than women.
There are several reasons that male drivers are charged a higher rate than female drivers. One simple cause for the difference is men make more insurance claims. In addition, men tend to drive more often than women. Men also tend to be more aggressive by nature, which can translate to aggressive behavior behind the wheel. It has also been found that men like to drive more expensive cars that cost more to repair. The traditional roles for men and women have been equalizing in the past decade or two, but the general trend of insurance expenses has not been impacted a great deal.
Why Men are Viewed as Riskier Drivers
From their early teenage driving years, males experience higher insurance rates than females. This rate difference is not based on idle stereotypical ideas by insurance companies. Males have been shown to behave in more ways that can cause accidents. They have a higher tendency to drive faster and make quick direction changes in traffic. In general, women tend to be more deliberate about lane changes and turns. More men than women have been cited by police across the nation for running red or yellow lights, as well, which can lead to more accidents.
Insurance companies must protect themselves from the potential costs of claims regardless of individual behavior. Even if a man can show that he has a stellar driving record, he will still be charged more for his insurance than a woman who has a good driving record. Each man is charged more based on the overall tendency for males across the country to make more insurance claims than women. It may seem unfair, but the difference in rates can be justified when the averages are compared between the genders. When you consider that insurance companies cover a large number of male drivers who range from careful to risky, it becomes more obvious why male rates are more expensive across the board.
Research Indicates that Men are Involved in More Accidents
There is good research to back up the insurance companies. A 2008 study showed that males exhibited a wide range of risky behaviors behind the wheel. More than 70% of the reported vehicle deaths in the United States were male drivers. Seventy percent of the automobile accidents that caused pedestrian deaths involved male drivers. The percentage goes up to 87% when the pedestrian who was killed was on a bicycle. Over 90% of the motorcycle deaths reported in the United States involved male drivers.
These numbers show that far more than half of the most severe accidents involved male drivers. Insurance companies use these numbers to compute their premiums so each customer will be appropriately covered if anything should happen. When statistics are so clearly one-sided, it is easy for the insurance companies to justify charging men more than women for car insurance. Each insurance premium is based on potential risk. Men have been documented as higher risk drivers than women across the country through accident statistics that are reported by objective third parties such as highway patrol and city police departments.
The Amount of Accident Damage Tends to Differ
The aggressiveness of male drivers also leads to more severe accidents. Men have been shown to drive faster and less predictably, which means the accidents they are involved in are at higher rates of speed. When an accident happens at a higher speed, the damage caused is much more expensive for an insurance company to cover. The general driving styles of males create collisions that lead to higher levels of automobile damage, as well as a higher tendency for injuries to drivers and passengers. Insurance companies must factor in the severity of male car accidents when they are determining insurance rates.
There is research that shows that men tend to behave in risky behavior that can cause more injuries during less severe car accidents, as well. Men tend to drive without a seatbelt more often than women. This can lead to more severe injuries for a male driver who is involved in an accident. Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol has also been shown to be more prevalent in male drivers. Impaired driving is one of the leading causes of deadly automobile accidents across the country.
Cultural Causes for the Gender Difference
Risky driving by males is not the only factor that causes insurance rates to be less expensive for women. There are also cultural reasons that men are more expensive to insure. In most families, the man of the house drives a considerable amount more than the women in the house. Men are still expected to be the majority breadwinners for most households, regardless of the rise in women workers. Men are commuting to and from work more often than women, which makes them more susceptible to accidents simply because they are on the road.
Even if a married couple both work and commute the same distance daily, there is still an increased possibility that the man will be behind the wheel when they are involved in a car accident. Many of the worst accidents happen late at night or on weekends, when the man would traditionally be driving and the woman sitting in the passenger seat.
Research shows that men also have a tendency to prefer more expensive and more powerful cars, which can cause insurance claims to be much higher when they are involved in a car accident. A soccer mom driving a minivan will not need as much reimbursement as a single man driving a small sports car.