You may have heard that women drivers enjoy lower insurance rates than men. It is true – up to a point. Women are statistically less likely to speed, have accidents,and cause expensive damage than men, so by default women’s insurance rates are lower.

However, there are several important exceptions to this rule. It pays to be aware of the difference in men’s and women’s prices for car insurance, but it also pays to be aware of the other factors that contribute to your insurance cost. You cannot change your gender, but you can change the other factors over which you have control that may be leading you to higher insurance prices.

Men vs Women – Provided All Things Equal

Given a male and female of the same age, driving record, and make of car living in the same location, the woman’s car insurance rates will probably be somewhat lower. In some cases, depending on the statistical analysis of the drivers in question, the woman’s rate may be as much as 10 percent lower than the man’s. However, comparing a male with a good driving record and a female with several tickets or accidents shows that the male’s rate is lower.

This is because car insurance rates are always based on a statistical assessment of risk. If a large, random group of males and females of the same age are examined, it is likely that the males will have more accidents and traffic violations overall than the females. While it is true that there may be more male drivers in the United States, a statistical analysis accounts for this. Men still statistically have more accidents and speeding tickets than women.

This may be due to the fact that men are generally encouraged to be more aggressive, while women are encouraged to be more docile. Although this dynamic is changing as both men and women strive for equality in society, it may be some time before the dynamic changes enough to account for the statistical anomaly of men having more insurance claims or issues. Besides having more accidents, men also tend to have more severe accidents than women.

Obviously, we can never make this assumption about an individual male or female driver

Statistics used by actuaries to create insurance pricing always look at groups rather than individuals. By the statisticians’ calculations, a 16-year-old male is the most risky person to insure, while a 45-year-old female is probably the least risky. This does not mean that there are not 16-year-old males who are good drivers, nor does it mean that there are not 45-year-old women who are bad drivers. These “facts” are simply based on statistical models.

If you are a male, are you doomed to higher insurance prices?

Not necessarily, because car insurance cost comes not only from your group risk factor but also from your individual characteristics. Where you live, your marital status, and most importantly your driving record all have an impact on how your car insurance is priced.

You can keep your auto insurance costs low by taking several pro-active steps. First, keep your driving record clean. This is probably the single most important thing you can do to lower your own insurance costs. Even one speeding ticket can mean higher premiums, and too many traffic violations or claims may lead to cancellation of your policy, which is a sure way to raise your premiums when you shop for insurance with another company.

Another way to keep your car insurance rates manageable is to take advantage of all available discounts. If you are married, put all your insurance policies together with one company. Take defensive driving courses or other classes offered in your area. Ask for discounts based on your work or civic affiliations. By assessing your discounts, you may be able to save as much as 40 percent on the cost of your insurance.

Finally, consider the car you drive. If you purchase a brand-new vehicle, your insurance costs are going to be much higher than if you buy a year-old model. Certain cars are even “red flags” for auto insurance companies due to performance levels that encourage speeding, faulty construction that provides little protection in an accident, or excessive purchase cost that leads to high-dollar claims. If you choose a more moderate vehicle in terms of price, performance, or repair cost, you will probably enjoy lower insurance bills as well.

The key to finding the most affordable car insurance rates (whether you are a man or woman) is to shop around. Only a car insurance comparison search between multiple providers will help you find the best auto insurance rates. This might not be as sexy as shopping for shoes but the savings will last a whole lot longer!