There are certain stigmas that surround the driving skills of men and women. For the most part it's believed that men are superior drivers while women enjoy the reputation for putting dents in the door. However, these stigmas don't mean anything for insurance companies, because hard facts are all that matter at the end of the day. So, this begs the question, who gets better auto insurance rates? Men or women?
Women Get Better Auto Insurance Rates
It's not a state secret that women get better rates, even though men find it hard to fathom this concept. It has been established by the Insurance Information Network that men spend an average of about $1500 on auto insurance on a yearly basis, and women will roughly spend in the region just below $1400. Provided, this isn't a big difference, but it's a difference nonetheless. In a modern society this can come off as discriminating, not to mention illogical. If men are supposedly more capable behind the wheel of a car then why should they pay more?
Just as any other profit based business, auto insurance companies work on the same principles. One of these principles is to know the customer. Even though there are many factors that will go into a quotation, such as income and the area in which a person lives, gender also plays a part. In this case the auto insurance providers go to great lengths in order to minimize risk by knowing the habits of their customers. According to various studies and research, which are discussed in the paragraphs below, men simply present a greater risk. They base this risk assessment on two main factors, namely statistics and psychology.
To get an idea of why men are typically quoted with higher rates for the last couple of decades, it's essential to see it from an insurance point of view. For example, the Department of Transportation found that between 2000 and 2009 men were involved in 18 million more accidents than women. This is quite a substantial difference. The IIHS (Insurance Information for Highway Safety) reported that crash deaths in 2011 were mostly male, the specific percentage being 71%. They also reported that women are more prone to wear their seatbelts and are less likely to drive with a suspended license. To make matters even worse for the male gender, a study by Quality Planning revealed that men usually receive reckless driving tickets to the ratio of 3 - 1 compared to women. In other words, men present an obvious higher risk.
It should also be said that the stigma of men being better drivers does hold some truth. A study by the University of Michigan concluded that men are better at navigating major traffic junctions while women have a better chance of taking a hit when making a turn. However, the statistics still work against the confident males.
The psychology behind male drivers only enforces the before mentioned statistics and this is based on different elements. Several studies suggest that something as primitive as hormones can be the root for on-road aggression. Due to the high levels of testosterone in men it automatically makes them more vulnerable to lose their temper. As for women, the estrogen hormone makes them more compassionate drivers.
More in-depth studies by Temple University suggest that men possibly see their cars as extensions of their personalities and the road becomes a space where their territory needs to be protected. This gives them more confidence to take more risks, in addition to sparking aggressive behavior. It goes further with a popular book series by a married couple entitled "Why Men Don't Listen and Why Women Don't Read Maps". The couple has done extensive research regarding the differences between genders and they share studies that show women are more likely to have children in the car. This means they will pay attention to smaller details and hear sounds men probably won't.
The Bottom Line
It seems as men get older the rates will start to equalize more, but as it stands they will continue to pay higher rates. Unfortunately the men who follow all the rules and manage to keep their tempers under control are going to get caught in the crossfire, because auto insurance companies have no way of making a true distinction. For the moment women are going to receive better deals when insuring their cars.