If you’ve ever shopped for car insurance, you know how vastly insurance rates can differ between providers and how difficult it can be to find cheap car insurance. This is because insurance providers use a series of parameters to determine the rate that each individual will pay.
Which parameters are used – and the weight each one carries – depends on the company, but they generally include driving history, credit score and demographic information such as location, age and gender.
Misconceptions about car insurance and gender
It’s a common misconception that car insurance is cheaper for women. While it’s true that teenage males pay some of the highest insurance rates, this trend usually stops once the driver turns 25. In fact, in most states, car insurance for women is more expensive than it is for men.
The data behind the claim
Several studies have found that women pay more for car insurance in most states – up to several hundred dollars each year.
Our own research found that the difference in insurance rates for women and men is negligible once you get past the 25-year-old cutoff where male drivers are seen as particularly high-risk. When we studied average auto insurance rates broken down by age and gender, we found that 40-year-old women did pay more than men of the same age but only by a small amount.
Across the board, prices across genders leveled out after age 25. Even when women were paying less, it usually wasn’t by a significant margin — they were usually only saving somewhere between $20 and $50.
Ultimately, studies show that the belief that it is easier to find cheap car insurance for women than men doesn’t hold water. Other factors like your location, driving history and annual mileage play a much bigger role in how much you will pay.
This will become increasingly true as states move away from gender-based insurance rates. In fact, in California, insurance providers can no longer use gender as a rating factor at all.
Still, when we show you a state-by-state breakdown, you’ll see that many women do pay more than men.
Many experts point out that men are statistically riskier than women when it comes to driving behaviors. Because car insurance companies charge more to insure drivers who carry higher risk, it seems counterintuitive that women’s car insurance would end up coming with the higher rate.
A 2017 IIHS study found that male drivers were more likely to be involved in many different types of fatal crashes in the United States. However, even with data that shows that men are riskier drivers, women are still paying more than men in many states.
The best and worst states for car insurance rates for women
Even with the growing trend of more expensive car insurance for women, they don’t pay more than men for car insurance in every state. There are some states in which men are charged more by their insurance company, plus a handful of states have laws in place to prevent insurers from pricing coverage based on gender at all.
Concerned about whether you’re paying more for car insurance just because you checked the box marked “F” on your application? We’ll run you through the best and worst states for car insurance rates for women.
Here is a quick look at the top five best and worst states for women to buy car insurance.
Best states for car insurance for women
If you’re looking for cheap car insurance for women in any of these states, you’re in luck. Women may see savings — albeit fairly slight ones — in these states:
- Wyoming: Women pay $134 less, on average
- Connecticut: Women pay $35 less
- Washington: Women pay $35 less
- Maryland: Women pay $32 less
- Virginia: Women pay $16 less
Worst states for car insurance for women
In these states, women’s car insurance costs a fair chunk more than men.
- Michigan: Women pay $177 more, on average
- Alaska: Women pay $173 more
- Nevada: Women pay $161 more
- Vermont: Women pay $144 more
- California: Women pay $136 more
How to save money on car insurance
Despite the data on women’s car insurance rates showing that women pay more in many states, gender has an overall minimal impact on most car insurance rates. Fortunately, there are some other options for you to lower your monthly premium. Here are a few ways to save money on car insurance, whether you’re male or female:
Practice safe driving habits
You will pay significantly less for insurance if you practice safe driving habits. Accidents and tickets can raise your insurance rates.
The best rates are almost always found by shopping around with multiple insurance providers. Go with the most competitive rate you can find for the right amount of coverage you want.
Ask about discounts
Your insurance provider should have a list of discounts available to policyholders. Ask which discounts apply to you, and see if there are any additional discounts you could qualify for. For example, you might save money by installing a safe driving app on your smartphone, or by switching to a low-mileage insurance plan.
Opt for a car that costs less to insure
Some cars are cheaper to insure than others. Generally, used cars cost less to insure than new cars. However, the make and model of the car you drive will also have a significant impact. The Subaru Outback and Honda CR-V are two of the least expensive cars to insure according to Bankrate’s guide to the cheapest cars to insure in 2021.
Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2021 rates for all ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Quoted rates are based on a 40-year-old male and female driver with a clean driving record, good credit and the following full coverage limits:
- $100,000 bodily injury liability per person
- $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident
- $50,000 property damage liability per accident
- $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per person
- $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per accident
- $500 collision deductible
- $500 comprehensive deductible
To determine minimum coverage limits, Bankrate used minimum coverages that meet each state’s requirements. Our base profile drivers own a 2019 Toyota Camry, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually.
The following states do not use gender as a determining factor in calculating premiums: California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
These are sample rates and should only be used for comparative purposes.