What? Men Pay More Than Women for Auto Insurance!

auto insurance
This can Happen to the Best of Us!

What? Men Pay More Than Women for Auto Insurance!

In preparation to write this story, I did an Internet search for “men or women” and the auto-complete feature suggested “better drivers” as the top choice. Apparently, I am far from the only person who seeks answers to the age-old question of who makes better drivers — men or women? As my headline suggests, the news isn't good: Men have poorer driving records than women and, therefore, we pay more for auto insurance.

Men vs Women: Driving

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), men drive more miles and are more likely to engage in risky behavior such as speeding, not wearing seat belts and driving under the influence. I know I'm being a real downer, and here's one more stat you won't like: Accidents that involve men drivers tend to be more severe. In 2010, motor vehicle deaths with male drivers behind the wheel were over 22,902 in the U.S.; while deaths involving women drivers were much lower at 9,979.

That's just a fact, and where you live greatly affects how much men may pay in premiums.  (For instance living in Baltimore city vs Baltimore county is a huge difference!) That doesn't mean men can't find coverage that is inexpensive  it just means they have to do a little bit more homework. Many auto insurance companies lower rates for safe-driving records.  Keep a clean-driving record or move to a city or state where it's cheaper to drive with insurance to help decrease premiums.  Driving eco-friendly hybrid or electric vehicles can also result in lower auto insurance rates.  Along with many auto insurance providers, Kemper is full of great online resources to help you find a better deal.

Shop Online Insurance Providers

Some online sources offer monthly payments significantly lower than traditional providers. Of course, there's an app for that: Apps that find and price insurance on your smart phone simplify the process, as they can run the numbers and provide comparisons from wherever you are.  As with so many things nowadays, there are apps for this.  The Cheap Car Insurance Finder helps find you insurance quotes and lead you to the right coverage.  If you want another app be sure to read user reviews to find the best app for you.

You Have to Shop Around

Don't grab at the first policy that looks good on paper. Some insurance companies may not charge you up-front for your policy but might get you on the backside through the deductible. Read the fine print. Know what your deductible is, what your payments will be, how often you have to make those payments and what is actually covered in the event of an accident. Don't get caught holding your pants up with rope because your policy doesn't cover medical bills or damage to the other driver's vehicle.

Look for Discounts

If you are a homeowner, combine homeowners' policies with auto insurance and bundle premiums. Your age, your career, whether you have a clean-driving record, who else will be driving your car, and a host of other factors affect how much you pay and and the total amount of your discounts. Young male drivers are more expensive that young teenage women drivers, so letting your son drive your vehicle will cost you more.

The good news is in the last five years, the number of fatal automobile accidents involving both men and women drivers has decreased about 75 percent, according to the IIHS. Unfortunately, that's not reflected in our premiums. The Insurance Research Council looked at claim payouts in Michigan, which has the highest premiums in the country, and reported that while the number of accidents has decreased, the payouts have increased. Twenty-two percent of 2011 payouts were more than $250,000; in 2002, only 5 percent of payouts exceeded $250,000.