It’s an oft-repeated claim that men pay more for car insurance than women, because men are statistically more likely to get in a car accident and file a claim than women. While this may be true for some cases — within specific age ranges, for example — it’s not a rule by any means.
Your car insurance premium is determined by a number of factors: your age, ZIP code, driving history and the make and model of car you drive. Depending on where you live, gender may also be a factor in your insurance rates — but even then, it isn’t as simple as saying that women either always pay more or less than men for car insurance.
Insurance companies also all use slightly different methods to calculate insurance rates, so it’s hard to predict exactly how different factors will affect the price of your car insurance. If you’re a woman shopping for car insurance and you’re wondering how your gender will affect your rates, here’s what you need to know.
Do women pay less for car insurance?
If you’re shopping for car insurance, you may come across the statistic that men, in general, pay more for car insurance. Or, conversely, you may have seen that women pay more for car insurance. The truth is that car insurance rates vary widely depending on a range of factors. When you apply for car insurance, the information that will go into calculating your rates includes:
Your driving history, or MVR
Your driving habits, including how much you drive
Your insurance history, including claims you filed in the past and recent at-fault accidents
Your credit score
In some states, your gender is also one of these factors, but that’s not true everywhere. California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Pennsylvania all forbid insurance companies from using gender as a metric in setting insurance rates.
In states where insurance companies are permitted to consider gender, it’s unclear how, exactly, it affects your car insurance costs. The answer will depend both on the insurance company and the other factors in your profile, like your driving record and the coverage limits you choose.
How much women and men pay for car insurance
One way to help figure out how much men and women with the same profile will pay for car insurance is to compare actual car insurance quotes. We ran quotes with one of the largest auto insurers in the country to get a sense of how changing the age and gender of our sample driver would affect their rates.
Let’s start with our first example, a 30-year-old single woman living in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her quote for full coverage insurance was $1,136 for the year.
The rate actually fell slightly for an average male driver with the same profile, and fell even more when the driver was older, married and retired. When we pulled quotes for 18-year-old men and women, the rates skyrocketed, as is often the case for teen drivers.
Check the table below to see how car insurance premiums changed when we adjusted the profile of the drivers by age, gender and marital status. (Other details, like driving record, driving habits and make and model of the car stayed the same):
Annual cost of a 1-year policy
Female, age 18, unmarried renter
Male, age 18, unmarried renter
Female, age 30, unmarried homeowner
Male, age 30, unmarried homeowner
Female, age 70, married homeowner
Male, age 70, married homeowner
Finding cheap car insurance for women
No matter your gender, the tips for finding affordable car insurance are the same for most drivers. Tips for lowering your car insurance premiums include:
Shop around. The best way to save on insurance is by shopping around and comparing quotes from multiple car insurance companies. You can do a quote comparison on your own by applying for quotes with multiple carriers, or you can work with an independent agent who will help you compare coverage options and pick the policy that’s right for you.
Bundle your home and auto insurance. You can usually earn significant savings by bundling your car insurance with your homeowners or condo insurance through the same provider. Even if you’re not a homeowner, you can still save by bundling your car insurance with renters insurance, motorcycle insurance, boat insurance or any other property insurance you’re already paying for.
Maintain a clean driving record. Having accidents or traffic violations on your driving record will raise your premiums significantly. The best way to avoid these extra costs are to drive safely, obey traffic laws and keep your car in working order. But accidents happen, and if you have one on your record, don’t panic — most car insurance companies only look at the past 3 to 5 years of your driving history. As long as you don’t have any additional accidents, old ones will eventually fall off your record and your rates will drop again.
Take advantage of available discounts. See if your current car insurance company offers any discounts you could be getting. It may be worth it to take a defensive driving course if that’s something that could earn you a discount on car insurance. Your car insurance company may also offer discounts for driving fewer miles every year, or affiliation discounts for belonging to certain organizations or groups.