Most drivers don’t know it, but men and women pay different rates for car insurance in most states.
It’s a long-standing practice that’s gaining new attention now that California, as of January 2019, has banned the use of gender in car insurance pricing. It joins Hawaii, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Montana among states that don’t allow it.
Gender-based pricing has generally been accepted by government regulators because insurers have been able to show, for example, that male teen drivers are statistically far more likely to crash and file claims than female teens, so they should have to pay more for insurance.
But California’s insurance regulator questioned this rationale last year after finding that the price differences between men and women varied widely from location to location and insurer to insurer. Some insurance companies found men more likely to file claims — thus charging them more — while other companies found the opposite. “Gender’s relationship to risk of loss no longer appears to be substantial, and the logical justification … has become suspect,” the California Department of Insurance said in its announcement of the change.
An analysis of national rates by The Zebra finds that cost differences between men and women also vary widely across the country.