Are Men Better Drivers?

Are men better drivers than women? Are women better drivers than men? The answer could depend on whom you are talking to! However, in the world of insurance, statistics do the talking.

Here's the bad news (or good news, depending on your gender): you'll find it very difficult to find any documented proof that men are better drivers than women. Further, your gender does play a role in how much you pay for your insurance. Generally, the biggest impact is on younger drivers, but if you are a male driver between 18 and 25, you will pay more.

Why would young males pay more? Well, many auto insurance experts would agree with the theory that males, especially young men, tend to drive more aggressively than women. In addition, men will tend to display their aggression in a direct manner, rather than indirectly, which can lead to more road rage incidents. Finally, again in general, male drivers are more likely than women to break the law, with males being greater risk takers. The weight in pricing varies from company to company and by claims experience over time, but, with all other factors being equal, a female between the ages of 18 and 25 would pay less than her male counterpart because as a rule younger women drivers have fewer accidents and moving violations than males in the same age group.

Unfortunately, these statistics seal the fate of a young male driver and his high premium. Figures compiled by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) show that more men than women die each year in motor vehicle crashes. Individual insurers will not just use outside statistics for their underwriting purposes, but will also use their in-house statistics, which often show more driving infractions of all kinds in a higher percentage among younger male drivers.

However, young female drivers should not be sighing in relief about their rates just yet. More recent statistics show some disturbing trends. The number of female deaths in car crashes has increased over the 28 year period from 1975 to 2003, while male deaths have declined in the same period. Women are starting to drive more aggressively, perhaps picking up bad habit's from their male counterparts.

If such trends continue, the insurance cost gap for younger drivers could close. Don't expect any changes in the next few years. But if the trend to more aggressive driving among females does continue, the gap will close; unfortunately, it will be for the wrong reasons.

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