Statistically, insurance companies can show that men and women have different levels of risk when it comes to driving cars. Those different levels meant – at one time – different prices for car insurance, even when all other factors are the same. While that’s still the case in many places, there is some non-discriminatory trends in auto insurance emerging.
Why women pay less for insurance
In Canada, men traditionally pay about 5 percent more for car insurance than women do. A 2012 Toronto Star article points out the differences in several insurance types. Among currently insured drivers, infractions such as speeding, failing to follow traffic signals, seat belt infractions, and failure to carry proof of insurance are most frequently reported. In each case, men are more likely to be the offenders. Men not only have more car accidents, their accident death rate was almost three times that of women in some years.
In most cases, women see the benefits from these statistics in the form of lower car insurance premiums. Young men take a double hit, as their age and gender both create statistical blips that increase insurance costs. Younger women pay more than older women – to about the mid-20s, usually – but the higher rates aren’t as extreme.
Curiously, men can save significantly on car insurance by doing just one thing – get married. One man can pay two different car insurance premiums, up to 20 percent in some cases, simply by being hitched. Statistically, men take more responsibility once they’re married, at least where car insurance is concerned.
Use of gender in auto insurance
While statistics clearly show men have elevated risk, some industry observers point out that the statistics quoted by insurers aren’t sufficiently detailed to make clear-cut distinctions between men and women.
For example, factors such as kilometers driven aren’t included, so there’s no gender-based accidents per 10,000 km statistic, which may close the perceived gaps between male and female drivers. To demonstrate the argument another way, consider the trucking industry, dominated by male drivers. Looking at trucking accidents over a given period shows that more accidents involve men, simply because most drivers are men.
In 2004, a study investigated points such as these in Nova Scotia. The provincial insurance review board recommended the elimination of gender bias at that time. In November of that year, the province prohibited the use of age and marital status as risk classification factors. This decision seems partially based on the public auto insurance provinces of British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, where, through the government-run auto insurance programs, age, gender and marital status aren’t used for risk determination. Alberta, with a privately supplied auto insurance program, joined this group in 2004 by dropping these demographics from risk assessment.
Though the scene has been quiet for a decade, reducing discriminatory practices may point the way forward. Nova Scotia has one of the most inexpensive auto insurance levels in the country, and Alberta one of the most affordable, when comparing insurance costs to disposable income.
Whether male or female, there’s a good chance that an insurer on the private market favours your auto insurance situation. Check for lower rates using Quote Finder’s car insurance calculator, available at the top of the page.