PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Experts say almost every study shows that men are more likely to get into a car crash than women, but a new report says that even if they have a perfect driving record, women are charged much more for car insurance than men.
Having it is the law, but how much you pay for auto insurance could depend on your gender even if you are the better driver, says the Consumer Federation of America.
“These days insurance companies are charging women more for auto insurance than they charge men,” says Doug Heller, an insurance analyst with CFA. “Not all the time, but much more than we expected.”
But studies substantiate that women are safer drivers.
“Women in general tend to take less risks than males do,” says Emily Hess.
“Guys are more reckless when they drive, especially younger guys like my friends,” adds Soraya Kronawetter.
“It used to be that men paid more for insurance than women because there was a lot of data showing men caused more and more expensive accidents, but suddenly there’s been a switch,” says CFA’s Heller.
Heller compared quotes for both genders from major insurance companies, and he found it often cost women at least $100 more.
“We even found six instances around the country in which a perfectly good driver who was female would pay $500 or more a year for no reason except that she was a woman,” Heller told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Friday.
Obviously, it depends on the insurance company with some favoring men more than others.
It’s not just gender that some insurance companies use to raise or lower insurance premiums.
How about a credit score?
Some companies actually check out credit scores in determining your insurance rate.
“We find that auto insurance rates can go up dramatically if your credit score has gone down,” notes Heller.
And it has nothing to do with accidents, says Margot Gilman of Consumer Reports.
“It’s important, the insurers say, because they are predictive of whether you are going to file a claim, not whether you are going to have an accident,” explains Gilman.
Many drivers say it’s your driving record, not your credit score or gender, that should count.
“If you’ve been careful driving, haven’t made any mistakes or accidents, minimum payments,” says Joe Krzyzanowksi.
The Consumer Federation has asked state insurance commissioners, which regulate auto insurances state by state, to demand an explanation for why they do this.
In the meantime, it won’t hurt to shop around for auto insurance.
You can find the full results of the study here: consumerfed.org/press_release