The answer you give when filling out the gender question on your application for a driver’s license will affect your wallet. That’s because insurance companies have crunched their accident numbers, and men, especially young men, are a bigger risk – which translates to higher insurance rates.
If you are a 16- to 24-year-old male in Virginia who drives responsibly and has never had a ticket or wreck, you usually still will pay about $300 more a year for insurance than you would if you were a woman – and there is no way to fight it. All you can do is age out of the risky category and keep your driving record clean.
Car Insurance Rates Are Driven by Data
Car accident statistics help sustain the gender gap on auto insurance rates for 16- to 24-year-olds:
- A large majority of fatal accidents involve male drivers.
- Male drivers are about 50 percent more likely to die in a crash than women.
- Men are much more likely to be involved in an alcohol-related fatal crash.
- Men usually lag slightly behind women when it comes to using seat belts.
- Men are more likely than women to commit a moving violation, and they are more likely to be speeding at the time of a fatal accident.
- Young men are more likely to engage in risky behavior, including having too many passengers.
So if a couple in their early 20s argue about who is the worst driver, the woman has data on her side to show she is less likely to have an accident, less likely to get a ticket, less likely to buy a car that is expensive to insure, and more likely to drive fewer miles, all of which make her less risky to insure.
If the couple remain together into their 30s or beyond, the man can point to the often persistent but diminishing difference in their insurance rates and blame the foolish behavior of his male peers when they were 16 to 24 years old – unless his driving helped produce the damaging statistics.
The website DMV.org notes that 16- to 24-year-olds inflict a lifetime of pain on men’s wallets: “The difference in the risk assessment between men and women in this age group is so big that it accounts for most of the lifetime difference in insurance costs between men and women.”
There’s a Transgender Issue, Too
A transgender person who identifies on their insurance application as female could be billed at a higher rate based on the sex listed on their driver’s license, and laws on sexual identification on a driver’s license vary from state to state. Verification requirements range from having a psychologist or doctor sign off on your sexual identity to requiring proof of gender reassignment surgery.
On a map labeled “Ease of Changing Gender on a Driver’s License,” the National Center for Transgender Equality grades the states:
- Thirteen states, including Virginia, get an A-plus (easy to understand forms; gender certification accepted from range of professionals; no surgery required).
- Eight states get A’s (easy to understand forms; certification accepted from limited range of providers; no surgery required).
- Nine states get B-pluses (no easy to follow form, but no surgery required).
- Two states get B’s (no form, but burdensome process; no surgery required).
- Four states get D’s (unclear policy).
- And 14 states get F’s (surgery required; court order or amended birth certificate required).
One thing applies in all 50 states. There are two gender choices on all driver’s license applications, male or female.
There Are Ways to Keep Insurance Costs Down
The most simple and beneficial way to control auto insurance costs is to keep your driving record pristine. Another simple step is to choose your deductibles wisely. Maximizing liability and collision deductibles can mean much lower premiums. The annual savings often can more than make up for the higher deductibles.
There are a lot of other factors that contribute to the bottom line on your insurance bill:
- What you drive can drive up costs. Sports cars and sport utility vehicles – especially if you already are in a high-risk category.
- A little education goes a long way. Driver education courses, including that high school driver’s ed class, can get you a discounted insurance rate. Courses often are available through law enforcement agencies and groups such as AARP and AAA.
- Good grades can make a difference. Is your child on the honor roll? Check with your insurer to see whether discounts are available for good students.
- Are you bundling your coverage? Carriers often have special rates for customers who have multiple policies with them. A single insurer can handle your home, auto, and even life insurance, and you can get discounted rates.
- Hold off on putting your child behind the wheel. Waiting until your child is 18 or 19 can cut your premiums.
- Minimize your mileage. The less you drive, the less you’ll pay for insurance. Public transportation is an option that can be used occasionally to cut mileage and lower insurance rates.
- Try to keep your credit rating in the green. Insurers do use credit histories as a metric for rates. A lousy credit history can mean a lousy insurance rate.
If You Are in an Accident, the Parrish Law Firm Can Help
If you are dealing with insurance companies because of another driver’s negligence, you need to speak with the experienced car accident attorneys the Parrish Law Firm. Jim Parrish and his team know how to handle insurers that are trying to get tough with you. That’s because Parrish spent years working for insurers – experience he now can bring to bear for you.
Contact us today for a free evaluation of your case.