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why women pay less for car insurance

When it comes to scoring the best car insurance rates, the battle of the sexes plays a role. We'll explain why the average gal, all else being equal, can expect to pay less than the average guy for car insurance.

Gender and driving stats

Gender is one of many factors your insurer takes into account when calculating your premium. But why is it a factor? In addition to the fact that women drive less than men, accident and DUI statistics consistently reflect that male drivers, on the whole, take more driving risks than their female counterparts. And insurance companies price policies, in part, by predicting risk.

There are 3 main categories that suggest women are safer drivers than men: accidents, speeding, and DUI convictions.

Accident frequency

car accident

Women are less likely than men to get into a car accident, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, which means insurers are less likely to have to pay claims for their female customers. And because men are about 10 percent less likely to wear a seat belt, they arguably face a greater risk of serious injury that results in higher medical expenses.

Since driving records are a major pricing factor, a safe-driving history typically translates into lower rates (for both genders).

Speeding tickets by gender

Speeding tickets indicate risky driving and a higher possibility of causing accidents, so having several on your driving record can lead to higher premiums. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has reported that in fatal accidents, speeding was more likely to be a factor for men (24 percent) than for women (15 percent).

DUIs by gender

DUIs and other impaired driving convictions strongly affect your insurance premiums.

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The FBI reported that 743,029 men were arrested for DUIs compared to 244,195 women in 2012. California's Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs estimated that premiums can increase by as much as $2,700 after a DUI conviction.

Car preference

car

The type of car you drive also affects your car insurance rate, and men may be more likely to choose models that are pricier to insure. Insurers consider the safety ratings and claim history of the makes and models you drive, so the safer the car has been historically, the less you can expect to pay to insure it.

Men, take heart: gender isn't a primary rating factor

If you're a guy, all this really means is that a female clone of yourself would likely pay less for car insurance. Your personal driving record and claims history play a much bigger role, which means a safe-driving gentleman can expect to pay less than an accident-prone gentlewoman.

Related links

Marriage and car insurance
Getting married can affect more than just your personal life. Get information to help you decide whether you should buy a joint policy or stay separate when it comes to your car insurance.

How car insurance rates are determined
Learn more about the many factors (including gender) that affect your premium.

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