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Age, Gender And Marital Status Discrimination...In Car Insurance? Not Exactly

Rebecca Sheppard

A recent Bankrate Inc (NYSE: RATE) report used the hook, "Want to save on car insurance? Get married!" According to a new InsuranceQuotes.com study, married 20-year-old individuals pay 21 percent less on their policies than their single doppelgängers.

Similarly, 20-year-old women pay approximately 22 percent less than 20-year-old men for the same policy and coverage. And, to seal the deal, younger drivers pay more across the board, with car insurance prices decreasing every year until late middle age. Between the ages of 20 and 25, individuals can see a decrease of up to 41 percent in just that small five-year window.

Before becoming enraged and shouting how unjust and discriminatory gender. marital status and age based insurance quotes are, understand the facts.

Desiree Baughman from InsuranceQuotes.com retorts, "I can hear you now. 'That sounds like discrimination!'

"However, insurance companies use hard facts to set premiums, and some of the determining factors have nothing to do with your driving skills, but whether you got wrapped in a pink blanket or a blue blanket when you made your entrance into this world," Baughman cautiously continued.

The driving factor behind these rates is statistical in nature. Baughman uses just three poignant studies to solidify that position.

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Gender Statistics

  • 71 Percent Male Deaths The Insurance Information for Highway Safety, based on 2011 crash death statistics, publicized that just 29 percent of all 2011 deaths due to automobile crashes involved women, leaving the remaining 71 percent as male.
  • Women Wear Safety Belts The same survey by IIHS also reported that women wore seatbelts 27 percent more frequently than their male counterparts.
  • Men Disregard Suspended License One final result from the 2011 IIHS report: men were found to be two times more likely to drive with suspended licenses than women.
  • Speed Demons And Offensive Driving According to a report from Quality Planning, men receive tickets for reckless driving 3.41 more frequently than women. Dr. Rah Bhat, Quality Planning president, responded, "We were not surprised to see that men have slightly more violations that result in accidents than women. And because men are also more likely to violate laws for speeding, passing, and yielding, the resulting accidents caused by men lead to more expensive claims than those caused by women."
  • 18 Million Men According to a study conducted by the Department of Transportation over 2000-2009, the data collected illustrated that 18 million more men were involved in crashes than women.

Related Link: Public Gaffes By Public Figures: Gender Discrimination Still An Issue

Age Statistics

It appears obvious that teenagers have higher premiums than other drivers. Less experience, more impulsive behaviors and not fully matured brains all can lead to more auto accidents. But what happens between 20 and 25 to justify such drastic policy cost differences? Ted Rossman, public relations director for Bankrate.com echoed the findings from InsuranceQuotes.com, "Twenty-five-year-olds pay 41 percent less than 20-year-0lds. After age 25, rates continue to drop until age 60 (at a much slower pace). They rise a little for senior citizens, but 20-somethings pay a lot more than grandma and grandpa."

The DMV explains the risks of young drivers, "While this may seem like age discrimination at first glance, the policy is based on solid evidence that these age groups, along with new drivers, are more dangerous on the roads and therefore are a higher risk for the company to take on. The result is higher car insurance rates."

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According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety,

  • Death Is 3X Higher Accident related deaths are three times higher among young drivers than for those over the age of 20.
  • Even More Evidence In 2013, there were a reported 4,131 deaths of individuals aged 20 to 24, with 3,198 reported for those aged 25 to 29. These statistics result in a difference of an 18.1 rate (rate of deaths per 100,000) for the total 20 to 24 population and a rate of 14.8 for the total 25 to 29 population.

Marital Statistics

But what about marital status? Surely that bit of personal information must be discriminatory? How could "putting a ring on it" affect driving habits enough to warrant a different rate for insurance?

Simply put, according to the DMV, "Someone who is married is less likely to be in an accident than someone who is not married."

  • 2X Risk For Singles The DMV publication continued, supporting its statement, "While this may seem like a presumption that could possibly be discriminatory, accident statistics do back up this theory. In fact, in a 2004 study of 10,525 adults, the National Institutes of Health found that drivers who have never been married had twice the risk of driver injury than drivers who were married."
  • Married Younger Can Save Even More Although that sounds straightforward enough, InsuranceQuotes complicates the situation by touting, "Getting married young can save a lot of money on car insurance; a married 20-year-old pays 21 percent less than a single 20-year-old for the same policy. At age 25, the average marriage savings is down to 7 percent, and it falls to around 2 percent at age 30 and beyond."

In other words, very young, married females save on car insurance. Statistics back it up.

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