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How Gender Affects Auto Insurance Rates

Maggie Overholt

Maggie Overholt

Senior Insurance Editor

5 min. read

Do men or women pay more for auto insurance? Different outlets argue both sides. For example, the Insurance Journal writes, “What? Women Pay More Than Men for Auto Insurance? Yup.” while Esurance has a page titled “Why Women Pay Less for Car Insurance.” 

We checked rates for sample drivers age 23 to 38 from the five to 10 most popular insurance companies in every state. Our study found that, on average, young men pay more for auto insurance than young women in almost every state. However, the gender rate gap starts to narrow once drivers reach their early- to mid-30s. 

These rates are a sample set meant only for general comparison. Your own premium will vary. Learn how we tested rates for men and women age 23 to 35 below.

Why Women Generally Pay Less Than Men 

Auto insurance prices are all about risk, and statistically, men are riskier drivers than women. That means they end up paying more a lot of the time, regardless of their own personal driving habits. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

  • Men are involved in more fatal collisions than women
  • Men are involved in more speeding-related collisions than women
  • Men are involved in more DUI-related collisions than women 

These disparities in driving habits tend to get smaller and smaller with age, which is part of the reason we see rates for men and women leveling out around age 30 in our study.

There’s also speculation that men tend to choose riskier cars than women, which would raise rates by default as insurers consider a vehicle’s safety rating when setting premiums. However, this applies on a case-by-case basis and rates will vary depending on your own vehicle. 

Related: Learn how a DUI affects auto insurance rates

Some States Are Banning Gender-Based Insurance Rates 

If you think this pricing system seems unfair, you aren’t alone. In recent years, some states, including Hawaii, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Montana, and California, have moved to ban gender-based rating altogether. Many of these states also prohibit practices like credit-based insurance rating in favor of a more merit-based pricing system. 

What’s interesting is that in two states without gender-based rating, Michigan and Montana, women actually pay a little more (1%) than men for auto insurance. This might corroborate fears that in states without gendered insurance rates, some people will end up paying more to even out the risk pool, as reported by CBS News. However, it’s hard to say definitively whether that’s the cause or simply a correlation. 

California was the most recent state to get rid of gender-based insurance rates, and men still pay significantly more (4%) than women on average. 

The States Where Men Pay Significantly More for Auto Insurance 

Some states showed a wider gender rate gap than others in our study. The disparity was biggest in Wyoming, Maine, Georgia, and Washington, D.C. If you find yourself paying high auto insurance premiums (regardless of gender), use these tips to get a lower rate while still keeping great coverage

Based on data for drivers age 23 to 38. Learn more about how we tested rates below.

Auto Insurance Rate Gap for Men and Women by State 

Based on data for drivers age 23 to 38. Learn more about how we tested rates below. 

Methodology

We worked with Quadrant Information Services to provide data on men’s and women’s auto insurance rates in all 50 states. Quadrant makes this information available using rate data insurers are required to file with state Departments of Insurance. Rates are based on sample profiles created by Reviews.com for comparative purposes.

Auto insurance prices shown here include drivers age 23, 27, 31, and 35, both male and female, driving a 2017 Toyota Camry with annual mileage of 15,000. All driver profiles have a credit tier of “good” and a clean driving record. We tested for six different coverage levels, including: 

  • State minimum liability coverage, with and without collision and comprehensive coverage with a $500 deductible
  • 50/100/25 liability coverage, with and without collision and comprehensive coverage with a $500 deductible
  • 100/300/50 liability coverage, with and without collision and comprehensive coverage with a $500 deductible

We checked rates for the top four to 10 insurers in every state by market share, with data from more than 34,000 ZIP codes across the U.S. These rates are a sample set meant for comparison only. Your own rates will vary.

What’s Next? 

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