What Women Need to Know About Car Insurance

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If you’re a woman, you’ve likely been teased at one point or another by the unfair (not to mention sexist) stereotype that women are terrible drivers–which is totally bogus. Obviously, a person’s driving skill has nothing to do with their gender.

Or does it? Car insurance companies would argue “yes.”

When it comes to finding the best (which, for most people, also means the cheapest) car insurance plan, it’s important to understand all the factors that come into play when determining a customer’s rates. Insurance companies calculate plan premiums based on the predicted risk(s) the driver poses–meaning how much you could end up costing them via claims.

As most people already know, these determining factors include the type of car you drive, your driving record, credit score and history, age, marital status, and even your geographical location.

But did you know that another factor that holds significant weight in determining the rates of your car insurance is your gender? And if you think this is where I will tell you that men, once again, have it easier than women by getting less expensive car insurance rates–think again.

In fact, if you are a woman, you are able to get cheaper car insurance than men. This may seem unfair, but there are actually statistics to back up the reasoning behind this bias.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), in 2008, the number of male drivers who died in fatal car accidents was 50% higher than it was for women, and in 2012, 71% of all car accident-related deaths were male drivers. Statistically speaking, male drivers are more likely to speed, not wear their seat belts, and engage in risky driving behavior such as drinking and driving. In addition, men also tend to buy more expensive cars and drive more often than females.

This is why, on average, women pay as much as 12% less than men, which can equate to men paying as much as $15,000 more than women on car insurance throughout their driving lifetime.

While women may pay less than men for car insurance, there is still a significant difference women experience in premiums based on their age. Again, since insurance companies look for low-risk customers, and young drivers are more likely to drive carelessly and get into accidents, regardless of your gender, you’re likely to get lower insurance rates if you are over the age of 25. This is why most car companies make it much more expensive, sometimes even impossible, to rent a car until you’re 25.

Cheap Car Insurance Tips for Women Under 25
As a woman, the highest car insurance premium you will have is when you are between the ages of 16 and 24 (for males, even at this age, it is still much higher). Once you turn 25, car insurance rates tend to significantly drop in price, provided the driver has maintained a relatively decent driving record.

But, even if you are below the age of 25, there are still ways you can lower your car insurance rates.

  • Get good grades. Some companies offer discounts for young drivers who maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher. It also helps to take an advanced course in driver’s education training.
  • Join a pay-as-you-drive program. Many major auto insurance companies offer discount programs that can save you as much as 25% and are based on your driving record.
  • Avoid making small claims. Don’t use auto insurance to cover minor repair claims, as research has found that one claim for approximately 2,000 can increase your rate, on average, as much as 41%. Filing a lot of small claims over a few years quickly add up, and can cause your insurance carrier to not only raise your premium, but even cancel your policy altogether. This is especially important to take into consideration when it comes to the type of car you have.
  • Consider the type of car you have. Having a car that has things such as side impact airbags, electronic stability control, automatic transmissions, theft resistant devices, and anti-lock brakes can all help save you money on insurance. If you have an older car that you have already paid off, you may want to forgo the collision coverage for a comprehensive plan instead. Also, make sure your premium is no more than 10% of that value of your car. If you’re still shopping for a car, it’s highly recommended you pick a vehicle from “insurance group 1”–meaning a car with a small engine.
  • Shop and compare rates at least once a year. Even if you already have an insurance plan, you mind find after shopping around that there are other insurance carriers who are willing to offer you a better deal. There are plenty of free websites out there, such as USInsuranceAgents.com that allow you to compare quotes, plans, prices and read customer reviews.
  • Get married. Just kidding… kind of. According to a study conducted by insuranceQuotes.com, an unmarried woman will pay 39% more for car insurance at age 20 than they will at age 25–and a married 20 year old can pay as much as 21% less than a single 20 year old would.
  • Know which discounts you quality for. There are many different types of discounts insurance companies offer to both women and younger age groups, which include:
    • Working in an occupation such as medicine, engineering or education
    • Serving in the military
    • You continuously renew your policy with the same insurance carrier
    • You have more than one vehicle that is insured with the same car insurance company
    • You take a defensive driver course
    • You maintain a driving record for three to five years, which includes no claims, accidents, or tickets
  • When it comes to getting the best and/or cheapest car insurance plan, it is important to do your research and, before anything else, determine what kind of coverage you will need before committing.

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