Is it Really True That Men Pay More for Auto Insurance?

There are lots of myths about auto insurance.  One of the more famous is that men pay more on average than women.  But is that really true?  And if so, what facts do insurance companies base their rates on?  Our Oklahoma car accident lawyers take a look at the crash statistics behind the cost gap. 

Is Auto Insurance More Expensive for Male Drivers?

Do male drivers pay more for insurance coverage?  This is a common question for first-time insurance buyers, so let us take this opportunity to set the record straight: insurance companies can and often do charge male policyholders more for similar coverage.  That comes directly from the Oklahoma Insurance Department (OID), which states the following:

“Companies maintain loss statistics that continue to show that more dollars are paid due to losses involving male youthful drivers when compared to female youthful drivers.  Rating factors will be higher to reflect these figures.”

Put simply, insurance companies tend to charge male drivers higher rates because statistics indicate that male drivers are more likely to get into an accident.  Because there’s a greater financial risk for the insurer, the insurer tries to compensate by charging a higher amount.

However, that doesn’t mean female drivers are off the hook, either: a driver’s gender just one of many variables insurers consider when assessing risk.  As you may have noticed, the OID specified not just males, but youthful males.  That’s because insurance companies also weigh factors like your age, your marital status, your credit score, and even the type of community you live in, a subject we covered in our article on factors that can increase your auto insurance premium.

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Fatal Crash Statistics by Gender: 1975-2014

As the OID points out, crash statistics weigh against male drivers when it comes to a car accident claim in Oklahoma.  Gender-based national accident trends have been studied by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), among other agencies.

IIHS data shows that male drivers have consistently had higher numbers of fatal crashes dating all the way back to 1975, the year the data begins.  However, there are noticeable differences in fatal accident trends by gender.

Annual numbers of female fatal accidents have remained fairly consistent over time, ranging from a peak of 14,232 in 1989 to a low of 9,438 in 2014, a difference of 4,794 accidents.  By comparison, male numbers have been more erratic, ranging from 37,588 fatal accidents in 1979 to 22,937 in 2011, a difference of more than 14,650 crashes.

When both genders were at their peak, male fatal accidents outnumbered female fatal accidents by more than 23,350 crashes.  Even when male drivers had their best year in 2011, the male low still outnumbered the female high of 1989 by 8,705 accidents.

Hit By a Drunk Driver? Call Our Oklahoma City Car Accident Lawyers

Fatal accidents aren’t the only area where male drivers have a greater statistical risk.  Driving while intoxicated is also more common among male drivers, which inevitably leads to greater numbers of DUI accidents.  As the CDC notes, “Men consistently have higher rates of alcohol-related deaths and hospitalizations than women.”  Additionally, men are nearly twice as likely to binge drink, defined by the CDC as drinking enough to reach a blood alcohol content of 0.o8% (Oklahoma’s DUI threshold).

NHTSA data from 2014 also supports the CDC’s facts.  Among fatal DUI crashes where the driver had a BAC of 0.08% or higher, 23% were males while 15% were females.  “In 2014,” the NHTSA report noted, “there were 4.5 male alcohol-impaired drivers for every female alcohol-impaired driver (7,574 versus 1,671).”

Of course, gender isn’t the only human factor that impacts the risk of a crash occurring.  The driver’s age can also skew the odds.  For instance, the same NHTSA report found that most drivers involved in fatal DUI crashes — nearly 60% — came from the 21- to 34-year-old age group, regardless of gender.  This helps explain the OID’s emphasis on “youthful” drivers.

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Moreover, some accident factors simply have nothing to do with the person driving the vehicle.  For example, as we found in our article on the most dangerous time of day for car accidents, most Oklahoma crashes in 2014 took place on a Friday — no matter who was behind the wheel.

Ultimately, it’s impossible to definitively predict who will (or won’t) cause an accident.  But one fact is certain: if you were injured by a drunk driver in Oklahoma, or a driver who made other errors like texting or ignoring traffic laws, you should speak to an attorney about the possibility of getting compensated.

Let the experienced Oklahoma City personal injury attorneys of Hasbrook & Hasbrook handle your car accident claim while you rest and recover from your injuries.  To set up a free legal consultation, call our law offices at (405) 698-3040.  We’re always here for you, including nights and weekends.