By on December 21, 2012

Two things happen today, December 21: The world is coming to an end. And in Europe, insurance companies are no longer allowed to vary premiums according to a policyholder’s sex. The first thought that flashed through my caveman mind was: “Those accident-prone women drivers will get great deals, and us guys will pay for it.” Wrong on both counts.

There will be a high price to pay for gender equality.  It turns out that female drivers, especially young ones, were a much better insurance risk, and therefore received better rates. That’s over.  “Some female drivers will pay 40 percent more for car insurance,” reports the Guardian from the UK. According to the report, premiums for young female drivers are expected to increase by between 15 percent and 38 percent. But will guys get a break then? Their rates dropped only 5 percent.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

68 Comments on “The High Cost Of Gender Equality...”


  • avatar
    Yeah_right

    The government hard at work, making things worse for the very people I assume they were trying to help.

  • avatar
    stryker1

    Sounds about right. When I added my wife as a second driver on my car, my premiums dropped by nearly 30 dollars a month… Dropped because of the possibility that sometimes she would be driving the car INSTEAD OF ME.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    This doesn’t add up. Assuming an equal percentage of drivers by gender would mean that a 30% increase in a female drivers age group insurance policy should be balanced by a 30% decrease in the aggregate male drivers policy of the same age group. Unless, the insurance company is keeping some of the increase instead of redistributing it.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      “Unless, the insurance company is keeping some of the increase instead of redistributing it.”

      …ya think?

    • 0 avatar
      ellomdian

      Insurance companies keeping the difference on a new policy change? We will be damned lucky if they don’t outright increase the percentages for having to go through the effort to implement this change.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      I think your assumption of equal number of drivers is not correct.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      When high risk/cost drivers get to shift some of that cost onto third parties, they will have less incentive to minimize the riskiness/costliness of their behavior. Hence, guys will buy riskier rides, and be less concerned about “getting points” on their license.

      It’s just like finance workers. A long as taxpayers will predictably pick up each and every penny they lose, they have no incentive to be careful.

      Just more standard issue progressive government. Aka, the straight and narrow road directly to hell.

    • 0 avatar
      Detroit-Iron

      On average, men have 10 sexual partners whereas women have 3…

    • 0 avatar
      toxicroach

      Not necessarily.

      If women pay 30 a month, then their new rate is 40 if it goes up 33%. If the guys premium is 200 a month, his 5% reduction would balance her increase.

      So the math isn’t quite as simple as you mentioned. I would hardly be shocked if the readjustment had a bit of extra padding.

      If any case, the key to cheap car insurance is to be a married homeowner. You can get some insane insurance for nearly nothing if you can stack the discounts.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        Rates may still be different, so long as sex is not one of the factors. If men own more expensive cars, drive farther, etc., then they may pay for that, but they don’t pay for having a male brain that perceives risk/reward differently.

      • 0 avatar
        toxicroach

        Differently? Worse, apparently. And that’s fine as far it goes. But reality is reality, and it’s hardly fair to penalize people who are statistically less dangerous.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Women crash less. It’s not very complicated.

    Men may have more style and enthusiasm when they crash, but from a public policy standpoint, avoiding crashes is the greater virtue. You may want to remember that the next time that you think about trying out that awesome passing maneuver.

    • 0 avatar
      BrianL

      I am not sure that women crash less, but their crashes are more likely to be at slower speeds with less damage and loss of life.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      “Women crash less. It’s not very complicated.”

      Yeah, no doubt. But then you said this.

      “Men may have more style and enthusiasm when they crash, but from a public policy standpoint, avoiding crashes is the greater virtue. You may want to remember that the next time that you think about trying out that awesome passing maneuver.”

      Women are generally less aggressive behind the wheel, but the truth is, women are generally horrible at driving, especially the very young or very old. They just don’t drive anywhere near the miles men do.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “women are generally horrible at driving”

        When measured by your criteria, that’s true.

        When measured by criteria that is relevant to public policy, it’s false.

        This goes back to your inability to understand the failures of driver education. You really have no any idea what good driving is from a societal standpoint.

        The goal of public policy is to reduce crash risk and severity. Fancy footwork, nifty burnouts, jackrabbit starts, high speeds and aggressive passing run counter to those goals. The very things that the yahoos believe are indicative of good driving are the things that cause crashes.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        No, women are better risks only because they drive much, much less, and not because they avoid jack rabbit starts, high speed or whatever.

        There’s no indication that men’s aggressive antics behind the wheel are what causes most accidents. Or that men drive that way for most of their commute. Obviously they, we don’t. Aggressive drivers are hyper aware of their surroundings though. OTOH, not fully focusing or paying attention to the task of driving is more likely what causes most (avoidable/preventable) accidents and that’s hardly gender specific.

        The one thing about having stunt driver abilities behind the wheel is you’re much more likely to a avoid a collision, regardless of who or what (object or force of nature) created that scenario. Collision avoidance is, in itself, a stunt. When properly or successfully executed, no one is there to mark that down in some stats book.

        I’ve avoided colliding with some of these incompetent women drivers, barely and only because of my racing background.

        You still cannot provide any evidence or links that prove your ridiculous notion that driver’s training/education does more harm than good.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Another thing women rarely do is take driving jobs/careers that put them (or their driving record) in harm’s way. When your electricity goes out from downed lines or power poles during an ice storm, who shows up in big service trucks? Taking personal day when the weather is horrible is not an option for service providers or everyday truckers.

        Notice all the trucks laying on their side from high winds? It happens, big deal right? I don’t think they get a ‘pass’ on their driving record. Food and textiles still have to arrive on time, which I’m sure you appreciate.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        “The one thing about having stunt driver abilities behind the wheel is you’re much more likely to a avoid a collision”

        You may wish, with all your heart that it were true. But, it’s not.

        People with advanced (stunt) driver training get into more accidents, not fewer.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        You’re wasting your time, JMO. Don’t even bother.

        (Ironically, Mike proves the point about driver education failing to eliminate drivers’ inclinations to do what they want to do, instead of what they should do. This guy obviously can’t be taught anything.)

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        “You may wish, with all your heart that it were true. But, it’s not.”

        It’s not a wish. When you avoid physical contact with errant drivers, you avoid any legal contact too. There’s no stats to collect, just person satisfaction. I’ve never even got a thank you from these bad drivers I almost got to know on the road, most of them women.

        “People with advanced (stunt) driver training get into more accidents, not fewer.”

        Where’s your links? You’re full of hot air like PCH. Surely you can find crash records of known racers like Mario or Dario or whoever.
        I mean on the street…

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        “Where’s your links? Your full of hot air like PCH.”

        PCH has exhaustively documented and provided links to his claims on TTAC in the past. The facts are the facts.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I provided Mike with links to two studies, which not only provided their own research but that also summarized the existing research.

        Mike’s responses made it clear that he didn’t understand the studies. He is trying to turn his inability to read into my problem.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        BS!!! PCH never has yet to provide any link that proves his or your crazy notions. Oh, the one link he did provide (it was like pulling teeth!!) after much hemming and hawwing, actually proved he was/is wrong!!

        His link even admitted it was, in itself FLAWED!!!

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        @JMO – You can tell PCH is all out of intellectual argument when he starts with the personal insults. Ask PCH to PM you his one and only (weak) link that he clings on to and you’ll see I’m right. He won’t post it on TTAC (again).

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        ……..No, women are better risks only because they drive much, much less, and not because they avoid jack rabbit starts, high speed or whatever……

        The first part of your statement has a lot of merit. Mileage is basically exposure, and the more time in a position of potential risk means higher rates. That is why a Prius is often in the high-risk category…they basically log way more miles that the average car, and that is more than enough to make up for the conservative drivers. So if women drive notably less, that alone will account for some of the difference.

        What about driving habits? Well, men tend to be more into driving and take more pride in their cars, but the reality is that men take more risks than women do. They also drink and drive more. All the factors mean that there is more risk to cover with the guys. One thing I never understood is the “good grades” discount. Every braniac I ever knew tried to make up for their nerdiness behind the wheel by driving like a jerk…

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        “The first part of your statement has a lot of merit. Mileage is basically exposure, and the more time…”

        I’m just saying if women racked up the same miles and held the same driving jobs/positions an men that paid by the mile AND pushed for timely deliver AND put them in harm’s way, the crash data would look a whole lot different… The tables would be completely turned!

        Never mind that it’s not us men riding shotgun (as a couple) and possibly distracting/nagging.

        I’m also saying that there’s not that much relevant and actual crash data directly tied to aggressive/stupid driving of men. Yes, it exists, but would be GREATLY overshadowed if women drove the same miles and under the same conditions and circumstances as men.

        Why even bring up male aggressive/stupid driving when the genders will NEVER be equal in ANY respect whatsoever especially when it comes to (total) driving.

      • 0 avatar
        toxicroach

        Ah, perpetual hardcore/softcore issue. Like the truck guys who gauge trucks by their ability to tow a Caterpillar up Pike’s Peak, their opinions don’t have much to do with what most people want or need.

        Maybe we should have two categories— sports driving and driving. It’s like cycling; someone who is entirely competent to use a bike to run errands to go to work would be terrible at mountain biking. Women are apparently substantially superior to men at driving. As a rule they don’t seem to have much interest in sports driving, but like riding a berm track, sports driving is more for the adrenal gland than it is transportation.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        “Women are apparently substantially superior to men at driving.”

        Apparently, yes.

        Apparently, women are also substantially superior at racing up Pikes Peak because men crash on the course at a substantially higher rate…

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        “You can tell PCH is all out of intellectual argument when he starts with the personal insults. Ask PCH to PM you his one and only (weak) link that he clings on to and you’ll see I’m right. He won’t post it on TTAC (again).”

        And here I was thinking that TTAC banned posters for personal insults. Silly me.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      Rarely, if ever; do you hear a woman say: “Hey! Watch this shit!”

  • avatar
    MeaCulpa

    I don’t think a 40% increase is near enough when we’re talking high performance bikes and first time drivers. But this is a car site, so it doesn’t matter here.

  • avatar
    thx_zetec

    “This doesn’t add up. Assuming an equal percentage of drivers by gender would mean that a 30% increase in a female drivers age group insurance policy should be balanced by a 30% decrease in the aggregate male drivers policy of the same age group.”

    Percentages don’t have to agree.

    Assume men pay 1.5 bucks a day and women pay 1 dollar a day, and assume two young men drivers for each young female driver. Now assume equal amounts are mandated, and same collection as before, this makes all pay 1.33 per day. The men get a 17 cent cut, or 11%, but the women get a 33% increase.

    Without knowing number of drivers and current disparity, hard to tell. Or as they say “people who don’t understand percentages should get a 50% pay cut then a 50% pay raise.

    BTW I don’t work for insurance industry in any way, but my observation is that every industry seems pretty competitive once you are working in it.

    Finally this cuts both ways. Women would pay more for medical insurance and also more for life insurance (the last one simply because the reaper discriminates against them, not a bad thing that).

  • avatar
    PlentyofCars

    When there is both a male and female in the car; my impression is that a male will be the one who drives most of the time. Someone should try to determine crashes adjusted by time behind the wheel.

    From my personal observations, women have more crashes, but they are mostly minor stuff. Guys have fewer but more spectacular crashes.

    My wife has done minor damaged her car many times (no other vehicle involved), but has paid out of pocket to fix it, so it never shows up on the insurance. She is also lucky. Once someone hit her in a spot she had unfixed damage she made; and also hit a deer in a place with unfixed personal damage. So the other persons insurance fixed over the first damage; and the comprehensive coverage paid for the deer damage that also fixed the other older damage.

    • 0 avatar
      CrapBox

      Insurance is more expensive for young males because they have a tendency to kill and maim people when they drive aggressively.

      So young men pay extra for liability coverage. The PD, Collision and Comp coverage is (relatively) incidental.

      • 0 avatar
        Skink

        Usually the same factor for gender is applied to premiums for liability and for physical damage coverages. Actually, have never seen it not applied for a run of the mill personal auto policy. Premiums for physical damage coverage become incidental once a vehicle ages to a point where once may as well drop the coverage and self-insure for the physical damage risks.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      “When there is both a male and female in the car; my impression is that a male will be the one who drives most of the time.”

      I love it when my wife carts my old, lazy butt around on weekends, because I drive 500 miles Monday through Friday commuting!

      • 0 avatar
        BigMeats

        Damn right. I love being a passenger for a change, and my wife loves that I keep my mouth shut.

      • 0 avatar
        nrcote

        I do keep my mouth shut when she’s driving, but she doesn’t like the sound I make with my teeth.

        It’s been like this ever since she crushed my paper box when backing out of my driveway.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        My mother has never been a very good driver, and now she’s getting to that age where her skills really are eroding. There is nothing I can say/do now that can get her to change her habits, and I am truly worried about getting ‘that’ call.

    • 0 avatar
      56BelAire

      @ plentyofcars,
      A good/sharp insurance adjuster would/should be able to discern the old damage from the new damage and deny at least a portion maybe 50% of the claim or more. You rooked the insurance company, just one of the reasons rates are so high.

      In my early career I was an insurance adjuster who was paid to look for “old damage”.

  • avatar
    Xeranar

    From what I’ve seen in statistics is that men tend to have higher dollar amount crashes. But insurance is a slippery game where they’re always trying to game the numbers to reward themselves.

    If anything insurance should be gender neutral on this matter as it creates an unfair system where male good drivers pay worse rates. But then again I believe auto insurance should be based upon time behind the wheel and number of accidents.

    • 0 avatar
      toxicroach

      Whereas charging women some multiple of the amount needed to insure them is fair right?

      By that logic 80 year olds should get the same term life insurance rates as a 20 year old.

  • avatar
    CarShark

    This is too stupid for words. It’s just as stupid as when people were bleating about women paying more for health care, when they use health care facilities more often and more likely to use prescription drugs. Math isn’t good enough anymore. It’s all about faaaaairness and feeeeelings now.

    • 0 avatar
      BigMeats

      Men tend to “suck it up” and not use health care until incapacitated.
      Then we have to undergo extremely expensive procedures and end up on a first-name basis with everyone at the pharmacy. We enter our 50’s thinking we’re made of iron and exit them knowing we’re made of rust.

      • 0 avatar
        Skink

        Overall, the cost of health care for men is actually less than it is for women.

        The cost of auto insurance losses for females, all other rating variables aside, is less than for males. Age and many other factors apply as well, and can mitigate the difference.

    • 0 avatar
      ihatetrees

      It’s more about being politically connected. Age and gender are factors (along with others) that governments generally ALLOW companies to factor in for auto insurance rates.
      What’s interesting is that many (mostly progressive types) consider similar age/gender discrimination in health insurance to be morally unacceptable.
      For market libertarians, most government regulation of insurances markets is clownish theater.

  • avatar
    CrapBox

    It’s been said that the modern nation state is nothing more than a grand insurance scheme. Citizens pay their taxes in the hope that the state will protect them from external threats and indemnify them in the event of catastrophic loss.

    A private insurance scheme is similar but, in order to offer value to its customers, it discriminates between policyholders based on their sex, age and lifestyle. Where insurance companies are allowed to discriminate freely, coverage is cheap for good risks (middle aged, married women) and expensive for bad risks (your son).

    When the public and private schemes are melded together, costs rise.

    • 0 avatar
      rodface

      I’d love to hear more, do you have any links to articles written from this perspective?

    • 0 avatar
      stuart

      …except when voters perceive unfairness.

      Years ago in California, car insurance rates were perceived to be wildly arbitrary. It turned out that insurers computed (most of) your risk from your zip code. That’s not crazy; it kinda makes sense that a driver living in Nowheresville might be a lower risk than one living in a gang-infested urban ghetto. When your car is parked, it’s riskier to park in BigUglyNastyCity than rural Nowheresville. And there might be more bad drivers in living with you in the city, yaddayadda…

      Regardless, this was perceived as unfair, as a good driver living in a risky zip code was paying more than a bad driver living in safe, rural Nowheresville. CA passed Proposition 103, and a few years (10!) later, the CA insurance commissioner finally outlawed zip-based “redlining.”

      http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/success-story/protecting-california%E2%80%99s-ban-zip-code-based-auto-insurance

      stuart

  • avatar
    wmba

    The age-old position of actuary will gradually disappear, as all reasonable means of differentiating risks will become unlawful. Not to worry, they can become Eurocrats themselves, and help the EU enforce the selling of straight bananas and eggs by weight.

    On the latter subject, I have it on good authority that the EC bureaucrats have sent out cluck-o-grams to all hens, advising them that they will not be allowed to lay non-standard eggs. Every egg must be a uniform size and weight.

    Finally, a new bureau has been formed – The Department of Uncommon Sense. Poorly paid and underutilized French and Italian bureaucrats are reportedly in a frenzy applying for the new positions, where they will dream up bizarre programs for the EC citizenry to follow with no excuses allowed.

  • avatar
    wstarvingteacher

    Well it sounds like equal rights is finally here. Hope gloria steinham is happy.

    Too old to worry about this anymore. Feel sorry for you guys that are all caught up in it. I really am puzzled whether to dismiss the thought of any cognitive activity here as ERA or Social Justice. Probably not much difference. Coming to us soon I guess.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    News that insurance rates are going down for men in Europe, and every commenter – 90-odd percent of whom are men – can only criticize and whine.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    For most of mere mortals both adults in the family drive. It’s just all sorts of crazy for some people to comprehend that dual income couples take two different cars to work. The fairer sex having a daily commute or GASP those elusive creatures called soccer moms actually driving every day. What’s next? That fancy but still dangerous ee-lec-tricity Edison is trying to sell or indoor plumbing with both hot and cold water? Kinda like guys in the military bitching that it would be hard for a woman to change a tire on a two and half ton truck by herself. Hell, I don’t want to change a tire on a deuce and half by myself. there’s a reason young men pay higher insurance. They do dumbass things. I’m too tired and ready for a few pints to look up actuarial tables on a Friday night.

  • avatar
    JK43123

    In my house:

    Tickets: my wife 2, me zero
    Hit garage door with car: my wife 2, me zero
    At-fault accidents: my wife 1, me zero

    Enough said.

    John

  • avatar
    piffpaff

    It is interesting that when discussing a topic based on statistics and probabilities and what is relevant criteria for assessing risk, quite a few of us are happy to base our arguments on a sample-size of one (my wife, my colleague, etc.). As my actuarial friend said: “the plural of ‘anecdote’ is not ‘data’ “.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    Based solely on my years of driving and observing other drivers, I tend to see that women pay less attention to details, whereas men definitely do drive more aggressively as a whole.

    You might get more 5MPH fender-benders from women because they were too busy with the eyeliner to notice the light hadn’t turned green yet, but it’s the guy who floors it trying to squeeze trough the red light at the last millisecond that’s more likely to kill somebody.

    Based on talking and watching women I’ve dated, they are really bad about paying attention to signs. However, that is offset by the fact that showing cleavage to get out of a ticket is NOT a TV myth.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributing Writers

  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Cameron Aubernon, United States
  • J Emerson, United States