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Women Drivers vs. Men Drivers

Arguments have been waged for many years over who is the more capable sex – male or female. Well, at least when it comes to driving, there is definitely one gender that is safer than the other. A larger proportion of men have been driving for many years than women, but increasing numbers of women are logging just as much driving time as men these days. However, men and women tend to approach many things differently, and driving is no exception. Have cautious driving habits been paying off for women?

Men and Women Drivers

In a study performed by Quality Planning, an analytics company, women drivers seem to be better drivers overall than men. Despite jokes and funny videos depicting women driving badly that run rampant on the Internet, men were found to have a higher ratio of traffic violations than women in several categories. Not surprisingly, men were 3.41 times more likely to be cited for reckless driving than women. Men also had about 5% more traffic violations that resulted in an accident.

Times may be changing, however. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, women’s fatality rates increased 14% from 1975 to 2003, compared with a decline in fatalities of 11% for men. Women are becoming more aggressive drivers, and the gap is closing. For the time being, though, women drivers are still statistically safer than men drivers.

Auto Accident Statistics

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Anne McCartt, Senior Vice President of Research, says that male drivers take more risks than women drivers, which makes them more likely to be involved in a serious accident. Women tend to be involved in nearly as many accidents as men, but they usually involve minor fender-bender types of damage. When men have auto accidents, they typically have a larger degree of damage, which costs insurance companies more money. According to traffic statistics compiled by Carnegie Mellon University, men have a much larger chance of being killed in an auto accident than women drivers, and when the number of miles driven is factored in, men have a 77% higher chance of dying in a crash.

What Cars do Women Buy?

Women tend to buy cars based on safety characteristics while many men choose cars based on their need for speed. According to a J.D. Power study, Volvo dominated the list of top 10 autos purchased by women, holding three spots including the Volvo S40 in first place, on the women’s luxury car list. The BMW 3 series tops best-selling lists each year, but did not make the women’s luxury car top 10 list at all. Women buy about 37% of all new cars each year. J.D. Power surveys show the Volkswagen New Beetle was purchased by 58.3% of all women buyers, with Suzuki winning the top spot for women-purchased vehicles in all categories.

What Cars do Men Buy?

One of the most defining characteristics of male car buyers is their willingness to spend large amounts of money on a car. While women tend to buy safer cars at the low end of the cost spectrum, nine cars on the men’s top 10 list cost over $69,000 with the Porsche 911 coupe coming in at number one. The Porsche not only tops the list in terms of car brands with a disproportionate number of male buyers, it tops the price list as well with the high-end coupe costing just under $200,000. The list also includes models from the Ford GT to the BMW 6 Series coupe and Maserati Spyder.

Do Women Have Cheaper Car Insurance Rates?

Based on accident statistics, women do not have as many accidents or accident-related fatalities as men. This causes insurance companies to place male drivers in a higher risk category than women. Men also tend to display more outward aggression while driving than women do, and male drivers are more prone to breaking traffic laws and taking risks than female drivers. Insurance companies factor this information into risk profiles to measure the likelihood of a driver having an accident and causing the insurance company to pay out large sums.

Other Insurance Factors

Gender is not the only thing that affects insurance rates. Whether male or female, driving history also has a large effect on insurance premiums. One point from a traffic violation will cause rates to increase. Multiple points, a DUI, or an accident will most likely result in expensive premiums. The state a person lives in, the type of car he drives and his age group also plays a part in the calculation of insurance premiums, and very recently, insurance companies have also started looking at a driver’s credit history before quoting premiums. Each insurance company formulates its own algorithm to determine insurance premiums based on a consumer’s unique situation, placing different weight on various factors. This means one person can receive rate quotes that vary quite a bit from one insurance company to the next, so doing a lot of comparison shopping is one of the best ways to find the cheapest rates for insurance.

Finding the Best Car Insurance for Women Drivers

Men and women both need affordable, quality auto insurance. Many regional insurance firms exist, and several larger, high-quality auto insurers are also licensed to do business in every state in the nation. Finding the best insurance consists of first understanding what needs are most important. Does a policy need to cover teen drivers? Does the driver have a few points on his record? Does the driver require more coverage than the basic state-required liability insurance? These questions should be answered before shopping for insurance, since the answers will help determine which insurance companies to get quotes from, and what types of coverage to include in the policy. Because of the complex nature of analyzing risks, many insurance companies specialize in insuring a specific type of driver. While some companies will only accept drivers with a pristine driving history, many insurers provide affordable coverage specifically geared towards high-risk drivers.

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