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« Do You Know What These Dashboard Safety Icons Mean? | Main | AskPatty Certified Female Friendly Carnival for July 2014 »

July 09, 2014

The Male Vs. Female Driver: How Does Your Sex Affect Your Auto Insurance Rates?

Woman-driver-thinkstock-169280608-6x4There are a number of factors that can play a role in the price of your insurance. One of the most hotly debated of these factors is whether you are male or female, something that can have a huge bearing on the cost of your insurance costs.

 

Conventional Wisdom versus Reality

The stereotype about the sexes and driving is that women are not as competent as their male counterparts. As with all sweeping statements, this assertion is hardly fair; what’s more, the statement is perhaps most commonly repeated by men, which could lead some to question the neutrality of the observation. The stereotype looks even less grounded in reality when you review the statistics, and yet, according to the Australian comparison web site Captain Compare, it is the statistics that interest the insurance companies the most when it comes to provide coverage.

Recent research by the University of New South Wales indicated that women are in fact safer drivers and are therefore considered more competent by insurance companies: women are, statistically, less likely to be involved in an accident than male drivers. Female drivers are also more likely to wear a seatbelt than male counterparts, so are less likely to be injured in an accident.

Conversely, the criminal offense of driving under the influence is more likely to be committed by a male driver. Also significant is that women actually tend to spend less time behind the wheel than men, which generally means there is less opportunity for them to be involved in accidents.

While young males are historically the most reckless drivers, most men regardless of age have worse driving habits than women, according to veteran driving instructor Russell White in the article at the Australian National.

"After sitting next to drivers for 22 years, experience has shown me that females are better. When you train ladies you generally find they will be much better on the brake pedal and are often far easier to teach, because you're not having to unwind a whole heap of bad habits," he said.

 

Safety_car_accident-thinkstock-175017523-6x4Equality Street

The problem with average statistics, however, is that they fail to take into account the context of the individual: while on the whole female drivers may tend to be safer than their male counterparts, there are plenty of perfectly safe male drivers out there. Similarly, there are many female drivers who are perhaps not quite as low risk as the insurance prices would indicate.

This means that the actions of some are causing an entire sex to be treated with the same heavy hand and the same high insurance premiums.

There is hope for those who want to drive out of Status Quo Avenue to arrive at Equality Street. Although your gender may play a part in your insurance premium to begin with, over time, safe drivers, whether male or female, will be rewarded.

There is even greater hope for male drivers of the future, at least those who drive safely, with black box cover allowing insurance companies the chance to assess their customers as individuals rather than statistics. Progressive Insurance offers good drivers the opportunity to use their “Snapshot” device to track driving habits and produce policy savings for safer drivers. The use of this piece of equipment is becoming more and more widespread and the device could play a pivotal role in insurance for all groups of people, not just men and women. 

 

 

Anna_Helen_JonesGuest post by Anna Helen Jones

Anna is a freelance writer with an interest in a variety of topics beyond automotive subjects, including natural health, wellbeing topics, and holistic therapies. 

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