Insurance companies place individuals into groups they think are more likely or less likely to make claims. One of the most common groupings is for males and females. Depending on the type of policy, men and women have different rates. Some policies rate women lower and some rate men lower. The rate discrepancy is based on the frequency and severity of claims each group makes.
Despite what some might think about men and women drivers, women typically pay less for auto insurance than men, meaning they also have fewer tickets and accidents than men. Men on average have more tickets, more accidents and are involved in more fatal crashes than women. The difference in rates is the greatest below the age of 30. After 30, many insurance companies start putting men and women in the same rating category, but some still split them apart and some start taking it into account again as you get older.
Women typically pay between 10 to 60 percent more for health insurance than men. This is due to the fact that women go to the doctor's office more frequently than men. Maternity benefits also cause health insurance to be more expensive for women than men, but even policies that do not contain maternity benefits typically are more expensive for women.
Life insurance rates are based on mortality tables, which predict how long people will live. Women have a longer life expectancy than men, and so they pay less for life insurance. The longer you are expected to live, the less likely you are to die during the term of the life insurance policy. Also, insurance companies invest the premiums you pay, and so the longer you live, the more time they have to make money from investing, and so they lower your payments to account for those increased earnings. The difference in rates is typically lower at younger ages and greater as you get older.
Some believe that the difference in rates based on gender amounts to sexual discrimination. However, insurance companies use actuaries to find mathematical proof to justify charging different groups different rates for insurance. Actuaries base their calculations on how likely people are to make claims and how expensive those claims are likely to be.
How to Lower Rates
Even though there are differences in the rates men and women pay for insurance, there are still ways to reduce your insurance costs. For auto insurance, driving safely and avoiding tickets and accidents can reduce your rates. Also, taking safe driver classes might give you a discount on your auto insurance. A male driver with a good driving record will likely pay less for insurance than a female with a bad driving record. For health insurance and life insurance, you can save money by not smoking and keeping your weight at a healthy level.
Based out of Kansas City, Mo., James McMillian has been writing business- and insurance-related articles since 2004. His articles have appeared in eHow and Answerbag. McMillian holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.