Does Car Insurance Cost More For Women or Men?


WRITTEN BY: Julia Matseikovich

UPDATED: JULY 25, 2022 | 1 MIN READ

How often have you heard that car insurance costs more men than women? It’s well-spread that insurance companies view women as safer drivers and give them a break when it comes to car insurance rates.

A 2017 survey carried out for the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) found that 48 percent of Americans think auto insurers charge men more for coverage than women. Only 23 percent of Americans think women are charged more, while 17% think they’re charged the same.

So, who’s right? Does car insurance cost more for women or men?

Which gender’s average car insurance costs are higher?

It’s difficult to say whether men or women pay more for car insurance because it varies widely depending on your location. In some states, men still pay more than women, on average, whereas in others, it’s women who pay higher rates. 

In 2016, men paid more for car insurance than women in 33 states, and women paid more than men in 12 states. By 2018, men paid more than women in 21 states, and women paid more than men in 25 states. 

Nationally, in 2016 men paid a dollar more than women. Now, women pay $10 more than men, on average. Depending on your state, you may find yourself paying more or less than the average.

Why is gender even a factor in auto rates?

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), men typically drive more miles than women. They are likelier to engage in risky driving practices, including not using safety belts, driving while impaired by alcohol, and speeding. 

If this were the data on which insurance rates were based, we would likely see men being charged higher premiums across the nation.

As it is, teenage males have higher rates than teenage females. The gap appears to decrease by the age of 25. By then, males and females have roughly the same premiums. By 35, though, the genders have swapped positions, with the typical 35-year-old single woman paying more on average than her male counterpart.

However, a recent report by the Insurance Commissioner’s office in Delaware found that the substantial differences in premiums between insurers indicate that gender is not a reliable factor in risk-based pricing, as insurers do not agree on gender-based risk of loss.

However, when California’s Department of Insurance was banning gender discrimination in auto insurance rating, they determined that:

  • Some insurance providers typically find females to be a higher risk, while other providers determine males in the same situations to be a higher risk
  • Companies often combine gender with other, more predictive factors like the number of years of driving experience
  • The effect that gender has on insurance rates varies dramatically by location

This demonstrates that gender alone is not an appropriate metric for deciding car insurance costs.

Who charges women more for auto insurance?

The Delaware report showed that females were typically charged higher rates by most car insurance providers, as demonstrated in the table below.

Average Auto Insurance Premiums in Delaware For Men and Women By Insurer

Auto InsurerAverage Premium for 35-Year-Old Single MaleAverage Premium for 35-Year-Old Single FemaleAverage Premium Percentage Increase from Male to Female
Allstate$1,650.00$1,802.009%
Berkshire Hathaway (GEICO)$984.00$1,191.0021%
California Casualty$952.00$952.000%
Donegal$1,667.00$1,537.00-8%
Nationwide$1,250.00$1,282.003%
Progressive$1,239.00$1,492.0020%
Sentry$2,662.00$3,070.0015%
State Farm$1,218.00$1,218.000%
Travelers$848.00$923.009%
USAA$669.00$700.005%

Which states have the biggest disparity?

As previously mentioned, women pay an average of $10 a year more than men for car insurance premiums. While that may not seem like a lot, it is a national average. This means the difference between car insurance costs for men and women is higher in some places. 

In 2018, the third-highest disparity (with women footing the extra) was in Oregon, at $71 per year. Michigan took second place with a $79 difference, and in the lead, with a whopping $121 per year difference, was Nevada.

Some states don’t allow insurance providers to consider gender

Certain states don’t let insurance companies use gender to determine premium prices. 

These include:

  • California
  • Hawaii
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Montana
  • North Carolina
  • Pennsylvania

FAQs

Why do insurance providers ask for your gender?

Insurance companies ask for your gender because it’s one of the many things the company’s computer algorithms used to calculate the risk of insuring you. Some states don’t allow rates to be calculated solely on your gender, but that doesn’t mean the insurance company won’t ask. You can decline to answer if you live in a state where gender isn’t used for rate calculation purposes.

Which gender pays more for car insurance?

This depends on the state, but there are currently 25 states where women pay more for car insurance than men. This number doubled between 2016 and 2018. Comparatively, men paid more than women for car insurance in only 21 states, with the remaining states not allowing rates based on gender.

What about people who identify as nonbinary?

Many states now allow people to have their gender identity on their driver’s license, rather than limiting them to the gender assigned at birth. This poses a problem for insurance companies when figuring out what rates to assign. There is little data available regarding rates given to nonbinary people and little data upon which insurers can base their decisions.

What age group pays most for car insurance?

Typically, teenagers pay more for car insurance than any other age bracket (excluding those over 85 years old). This is likely because they are usually less experienced drivers than those older. Additionally, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, people aged 16 to 19 are three times more likely to be in a car accident.

What gender causes more accidents?

While there are statistically more female drivers on the road, the Consumer Federation of America data shows that men are involved in more accidents.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that men were nearly twice as likely as female drivers to be involved in a fatal crash from 1975 to 2019.

The Bottom Line

Whether or not car insurance costs more for women or men will vary depending on where you live. If you’re worried you’re paying too much for your car insurance, compare rates today to see if you should switch to a different company.