12/21/2011 7:04 PM ET|
Are car insurers unfair to men?
Statistics show that men crash, speed and receive tickets more often than women. To insurers, it's obvious that men should pay higher rates.
Have you ever wondered which sex dominates behind the wheel? Race car driver Jimmie Johnson might be the king of driving on closed tracks, but car insurance rates prove that women rule on the open road.
At least they do in the eyes of car insurance companies.
A distinct gender gap in car insurance rates has women paying significantly less for car insurance than men do. An individual's amount still depends on the same factors: credit history, age, traffic tickets and so on. But if a man and a woman living in the same city with the same profile shop for car insurance, the woman would likely receive a lower auto insurance quote.
Why the disparity?
Statistics show that women drive more cautiously and less aggressively than men do. They also receive fewer traffic tickets and use vehicle-safety systems like seat belts more often than men do.
That's why car insurance companies charge men more than they charge women. Since men are a higher risk, insurers figure they are more likely to pay a claim on a man's policy.
Risk and car insurance
Just how reckless are men behind the wheel?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 70% of the people involved in fatal car crashes in 2009 were men.
Despite the fact that men crash, speed and receive tickets more often than women do, Russ Rader of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that traffic infractions involving women are on the rise. "It's not like women don't ever get into accidents or take chances behind the wheel," he says.
In fact, the number of fatal accidents involving female drivers has risen by about 10% in the past 35 years, "while the number of male drivers involved in fatal crashes has dropped by 32%," says Rader.
"Women are getting into more crashes than they used to, but research shows that's only because they're driving more miles. Statistically, men are still more likely to get into crashes, and drive aggressively like speeding and running red lights. They're also more likely to drink and drive," he says.
Breaking down the numbers
Based on numbers crunched by the IIHS, it's not surprising that men pay more.
The IIHS says:
- There are more men on the road than women. About 93% of all men age 16 and older drive versus 85% of all women age 16 and older.
- Men are behind the wheel of fatal crashes about 2.5 times more often than women are.
- Men crash 12% more on weekends than women do.
- Men are behind the wheel in 24% more fatal nighttime crashes than women do.
- Men are involved in rear-end accidents 30% more often than women are.
- Men who do not have a valid license are involved in fatal crashes 50% more often than women.
- Women wear seatbelts 27% more often than men.
- DUIs issued to men outnumber those issued to women by a ratio of more than 2-to-1.
- 25% of men involved in a fatal crash had been previously issued a speeding ticket, while only 17% of women in fatal crashes had been stopped for speeding.
- Men are twice as likely to drive with a suspended license as women are.
According to a study by Quality Planning, a San Francisco company that validates policyholder information for auto insurers, male drivers are also cited for reckless driving 3.4 times more than women are.
But despite all the numbers, is it fair to lump all men into one category? It doesn't matter -- car insurance companies set rates based on the averages.
What's a guy to do?
If men want to get the same car insurance rates as women, they'll have to change their driving.
Scott Marshall, a driving instructor and the director of training at Young Drivers of Canada, says men should stop tailgating and speeding. These "are some of the easiest things to change, and ways to be safer on the road."
Marshall says guys should also follow women's lead and buckle their seat belts.
"Not only will that reduce the chance of a fatality, in many states, it's a law which, if broken, could result in a ticket." Tickets blemish your driving record and can keep you from being eligible for "preferred" or good-driver discounts.
There is one bright spot for men. As we age, the gender rate gap starts to shrink. IIHS statistics show that at ages 55 to 64, men and women are involved in the same number of fatal crashes. In fact, Rader says after age 65, women are behind the wheel of fatal auto incidents about 20% more than men are.
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I would tend to agree with your first sentence Anonymous435, So far it has been everyone else's fault for the accidents I have been in over several years except one, but the way the law is written there are so many grey area's that it was my fault. Insurance companies are always ready to lay blame on us males, we don't stand a chance. Truth of the matter, if there is a male and a woman driver and no-body is to blame they just automatically assume it was the guys fault. It doesn't matter if it was dark and the female did not have her headlights on.
The problem with society, they are biased toward younger males, it is proven that the recorded accidents involving young males were at fault, this leads back to my first paragraph. I once was backing up in a parking lot when I was still in high school and a female came around the corner and stopped right behind me, while my backup lights were on and I had previously looked and was continuously looking back but she just snuck in there behind me and bang. It was my fault.
This is a good example of negligence on the insurance companies in America, being biased.
From the article:
"Despite the fact that men crash, speed and receive tickets more often than women do, Russ Rader of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that traffic infractions involving women are on the rise. "It's not like women don't ever get into accidents or take chances behind the wheel," he says."
After all of the speeding, and accidents one should be evaluated on a case by case basis, now that person has a valuable driving skill learned from experience, this person should receive a discount, for being an expert on what not to do, not gigged causing an insurance hike. Our government has made it possible for insurance companies to be bigots. Just as the employment laws state - not based upon religion, sex, marital status,and so on. The costs associated with insurance should be the same for everyone until they mess up, Males under 40 still have no protection laws, sounds unethical to me, what does everyone else think about the ethical situation of the charges that insurance companies charge?
Getrright also brings up a good point: men drive more often. When I'm going somewhere with a female (friend, gf, or relative), they almost always prefer that *I* drive. I have only two female friends that like to drive. From 16 years old, men just drive more and are expected to drive more, and men are even far more likely to have jobs that require driving (trucks, cabs, limos, etc). The article accepts the statistics that "men are more likely to cause an accident" at face value without questioning how these figures are calculated. Are men more likely to be involved in an accident per mile driven? Or just in their lifetimes? If it's the latter, then the statistics are skewed and unfair.
I expect some women out there to refuse to accept any of what we're saying.
Without more information on exactly what the insurance companies looked at it's tough to argue - however, using my family's driving habits as a basis for comparison - I'm inclined to think the statistics are a bit skewed.
I'm a male who drives 3x the miles each year that my wife drives. I'm the family driver who's behind the wheel in inclement weather (my wife begs me to drive her to work when it snows) - and being the nice guy that I am - I do when it's possible. I'm the family driver who does the driving whenever we're facing heavy traffic. Driving in unfamiliar territory - I'm the guy behind the wheel. Need to drive at night - I'm in the driver's seat.
My wife however will argue to anybody who will listen that because I've picked up two tickets in the 20+ years we've been married - to her 1 ticket - she's "proven" that she is the superior driver in our family.
I'm of the opinion that unless you factor in the disparity in miles driven, and the relative riskiness of the type of driving being compared - we men DO get the short end of the stick in many of these insurance company claims about men being so much more "risky" than women.
College town, young 25-28- ish woman with child in Volvo station wagon AND the orange sign on both rear door windows with "Baby On Board". I'm sure she is rated as an angelically low risk by the insurance company. What they don't know is that this woman pulls out of a shopping mall in front of oncoming traffic that has to screech the brakes to avoid her. Down goes the Volvo window and out comes the single finger greeting. But I'll bet that same woman would try to sue if she got hit and God forbid, injure here and or the child. That is the reality I see over and over again driving in town.
But i bet the insurance co's never ever would link Volvo's, orange warning signs and middle-upper class young mothers as raving maniacs who'd post their live car cargo in lieu of defensive driving.
Oh no, all us other drivers have to watch out for HER. And if we don't, us guy will get somehow dinged by the insurance statistics. Just wait and see how the same affects Obummer care.
Wife and I were married 4 years ago. I was 22 she was 21. Right after marrying her rates when really low and mine changed just a fraction and it listed her on the rates as 25 and married. I was still 22 and married. I asked the agent and a female just gets classified as 25 when married. That is crap. When I turned 25 my rates finally did drop. I have yet to this day have a claim against me. I lost my good student/good driver discount when a ticket for 2 mph over in ND went on my file. At lease with having two kids that are females I won't have to pay through my nose when they turn driving age.
The responses here from men are pretty much what I would expect. I especially love Asterix4 who says he's a "far better driver than most of the women in (his) life." I haven't met a man yet who didn't think that. There are some really bad drivers of both sexes, and women do pretty annoying things - drive slow in the left lane, etc. And many women will ask the man in their life to drive them in conditions when they are not confident. The funny thing is- HE's confident. The average man doesn't question HIS driving abilities. He assumes they are better than everybody else's. My 80 year old father will drive 75 mph on a county road and take his hand off the steering wheel to "prove" to me he's an excellent driver. I can't even count the accidents he's caused in his driving career. Yet, ironically, he is rarely injured - or, more to the point, charged with any responsibility. I've seen police officers give him only a warning time after time. The last 2 accidents, he was drunk. One was a hit-and-run, the other put 2 people in the hospital. Many of the things mentioned in these comments are valid points, but the inescapable truth is - males are more aggressive and dangerous drivers. THAT is why the insurance rates are more for men. It's not illegal, and it's not discrimination. It's the insurance companies making bets on who they will have to pay out more money for.
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