There are a few key reasons why men generally pay more for insurance than women:
Men engage in riskier driving behavior
Studies have shown that male drivers, especially young males, engage in riskier driving practices like speeding, tailgating, street racing, not wearing seatbelts, and impaired driving. Risky driving leads to more traffic violations and accidents, which translate into higher insurance claims and premiums for men.
Men drive more miles
On average, men drive 16,550 miles per year while women drive 10,142 miles per year according to research. The more miles driven, the more exposure to potential accidents and claims. Insurance companies factor annual mileage into premium calculations, which contributes to higher rates for male drivers.
Men have more accidents
Men are involved in more accidents than women, especially severe accidents. Men account for almost twice as many drunk driving accidents as women. Insurance companies look at a driver’s accident history when pricing policies, so the riskier history of men leads to higher premiums.
Men tend to drive faster
Studies show male drivers have a tendency to exceed speed limits more often than women. Speeding tickets and excessive speed contribute to accident frequency and severity. Insurance providers may check motor vehicle records and charge higher premiums to drivers with multiple speeding violations.
Men drive more expensive cars
On average, men tend to drive more expensive cars than women which are more costly to insure and repair. Since policy premiums are partly based on the value of the car, men end up paying more for coverage compared to equally aged women driving less expensive vehicles.
Men take more driving risks
Males, especially younger ones, tend to take more driving risks like running red lights, rapidly accelerating, cutting others off, and showing off. Taking risks makes accidents more likely, costing insurance companies more in claims and translating to higher premiums.
Men get more traffic tickets
Some key statistics:
- Men received 73% of speeding tickets in the U.S. even though they were 63% of drivers according to one study.
- Men received 80% of reckless driving citations and 84% of DUI charges according to FBI statistics.
- Male drivers have a 106% higher chance of getting a traffic ticket compared to women according to insurance data.
Since men get cited for moving violations like speeding, running red lights, and DUIs more often, insurance companies perceive them as riskier drivers and charge higher premiums as a result.
Men choose higher coverage limits
According to industry surveys, male drivers tend to opt for higher liability, uninsured motorist, and collision coverage limits compared to female drivers. Higher coverage limits translate into higher insurance premiums for men.
Young single men pay the most
Demographic data shows young, single men have the highest insurance premiums on average. Young men ages 16-25 tend to have the worst driving habits and most claims which shoots their premiums up. Being single also bumps rates more for men than married men or single/married women.
Men have more lapses in coverage
One study found men are 30% more likely to have a lapse in auto insurance coverage compared to women. Gaps in coverage often lead to higher rates due to the increased risk and dropped policies.
Men have more non-moving violations
Men have higher rates of non-moving violations like driving with expired registration/license plates, lack of insurance proof, faulty equipment, illegal window tint, loud mufflers and other mechanical issues. Non-moving violations demonstrate irresponsibility and add points to increase a driver’s risk profile.
Men cause costlier accidents
While men have a lower accident frequency than women, their accidents tend to be more severe based on data. Severe accidents with extensive vehicle damage, injuries, lawsuits and fatalities cost substantially more to insurance providers. This results in higher premiums for male drivers to offset the increased claims costs.
Biological differences and behavioral characteristics between men and women may account for some of the differences in driving habits and skills. Areas like vision, spatial ability, physical coordination, and reaction times play a role in driving capabilities.
Studies show that males have better static visual acuity and dynamic vision. However, males are more likely to be colorblind and have reduced peripheral vision which can impact driving abilities.
Males have better spatial skills and ability to mentally manipulate objects. This helps with navigating space, judging distances, parking, and changing lanes.
Men have faster reaction times on average than women. Quick reaction to hazards and fast reflexes contribute to safer driving.
Aggression and Competitiveness
Male drivers exhibit more aggressive, competitive, and impulsive driving habits. Higher testosterone levels contribute to overconfidence and increased road rage. Aggression leads to more accidents and traffic offenses.
Historical gender roles and habits
Traditionally, men have been the primary drivers and vehicle owners in families. The gender gap has closed dramatically, but differences still remain:
- Men drive 30% more miles per day and have 37% longer commutes on average according to federal data.
- Even in two-vehicle households, the man is more likely to be assigned the newest, nicest car based on old gender roles.
- Men choose vehicles based on performance while women value safety and utility.
- Women are more open to alternatives to driving like carpooling or public transportation.
Historical habits contribute to higher mileage and more aggressive driving for male policyholders today.
Insurance risk classes and rating
Insurance providers classify drivers into risk pools using factors like gender, age, credit, driving history, and claims data. Statistics clearly show men have higher loss ratios across most risk categories, leading insurers to charge men higher premiums.
Here are some examples of pricing differences by risk class:
|Risk Class||Male Premium||Female Premium|
|Teen driver||$5,800 per year||$5,200 per year|
|Adult driver||$1,200 per year||$800 per year|
|Senior driver||$1,500 per year||$1,100 per year|
|High-risk driver with DUI||$4,000 per year||$3,200 per year|
Insurers price policies higher for men versus women given the statistical variation in loss ratios across standard rating classes.
Efforts to reduce gender discrimination
Using gender alone to set rates is controversial and some states have tried to restrict it. But key arguments in favor include:
- Gender factors are supported by hard loss data.
- Unisex rates are unfairly subsidized by low-risk drivers.
- Taking gender out leads to inadequate pricing and insurer losses.
- Risk levels align more closely with gender than proxies like credit rating or marital status.
Arguments against gender rating include:
- Gender is out of the driver’s control, so rates seem unfair.
- Assumptions based on gender promote discrimination.
- Ratings should be based on individual driving data, not group gender identity.
- Men with good records subsidize high-risk male drivers.
Some states have banned or limited the use of gender in insurance underwriting and rating. But actuarial data shows clear risk differences between genders. In states with gender-neutral policies, premiums for women increased substantially to help offset losses from men. But some see this as a necessary step to reduce discrimination, even if it means higher rates for women.
In summary, male drivers pay more for auto insurance premiums than women due to well-documented differences in driving habits, abilities, accident rates and other risk metrics. Insurance pricing involves grouping risks classes by characteristics like age and gender. While gender-based rating raises concerns over fairness and equality, actuarial data confirms significantly higher loss ratios for men across most rating factors. Eliminating gender factors may help address discrimination, but can lead to inadequate pricing and subsidization inequities as well. The auto insurance industry continues to weigh the merits of gender-based pricing along with the push for increased risk assessment individualization.