Nashville insurance insight: why auto insurance rates differ for men and women



The list of factors that can figure into your auto insurance rates is a lengthy one — your car, your location, your commute, your age, your credit… and, at least to some extent, even your gender.

Surprised by that? From the outside, I can see it feeling a little bizarre. But the way it figures in isn’t quite as basic as that might seem — more, your rates might get affected by driving data related to all the subgroups you’re a part of, whether that means “teenagers” or “men.”

What gender-based driving data looks like:

Insurance companies pore through all kinds of data, from research studies and tracking from government organizations and beyond. All of that filters in to how they assign risk — they’re trying to make sense of trends, and to make informed predictions based on that data.

Here’s some of the data that insurance companies see:

— Men are found at fault for 6.1 million accidents a year; women, 4.4 million, according to the National Highway Safety Administration

— A 2016 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study showed that 71 percent of all crash deaths were men.

— For more than four decades, far more men were found with blood alcohol concentrations at or above 0.08 percent in fatal accidents than women (in 2016, there was a 12 percent difference).

— Same discrepancy in speeding rates. A study of fatal accidents showed 23 percent of male drivers speeding, and 14 percent of female drivers.

— Men are three times more likely to engage in aggressive driving than women.

Those are a small cross-section of driver stats, but they paint a clear picture of why insurance companies can view men as more “risky,” at least rates-wise.

How that shakes out in car insurance rates


When these numbers get crunched, as with all things, greater “risk” translates to higher rates. So studies are showing women, overall, paying less for car insurance than men.

In some states, the difference can be considerable — an Insweb study noted that in Wyoming, women can pay 20 percent less than men. In South Dakota and Washington, D.C., it’s nearly that much too — about 16 percent less.

Across the country, on average, women were paying about 9 percent less than men, according to that study. Which is no small factor, when you add it up over years of insuring your cars.

One report cited by CBS News noted that men can pay as much as $15,000 more for car insurance over their lifetime, compared to female counterparts.

The data isn’t saying that men are inherently bad drivers

I know that reading facts and figures like those can make some of us jump to finger-wagging, but there are some subtleties in here too.

Part of the reason studies find men ending up in more accidents: men drive considerably more.

According to the Federal Highway Administration, men drive about 16,550 miles a year, while women drive about 10,142. That’s roughly a 30 percent difference.

From that perspective, a higher number of accidents makes sense — more time on the road means more potential for problems.

Still, just by looking at the numbers and the trends, it does show that we all have work to do in terms of fighting off road rage, keeping the lead foot at bay and calling a Lyft when we’ve had a few.

Being male doesn’t necessarily mean you’re just going to have to pay extra for car insurance — there are lots of ways to save, and I tend to be pretty good at finding ones my clients haven’t thought of.

Need to find better coverage at a better rate in Nashville? I’d be honored to help. Call or email Tucker Coverage, or if you’d prefer, fill out this quick form for an online car insurance quote.