“Charging Women a Penalty Just for Being Women”: Louisianian Women Pay Higher Car Insurance Than Men

Drivers License -Teen driver” by State Farm is licensed under CC BY 2.0

A study conducted by The Zebra, the nation’s leading insurance comparison site, determined that on average across the country, women pay up to $118 more than men for car insurance, even if they have a perfect record. 

One of the states with the worst gender discrimination when it comes to car insurance rates is Louisiana. In Louisiana, the average annual premium for women is $2,372 while for men it’s $2,304, which means women pay $68 or 2.86% more than men. 

The rationale for why women pay more is completely unclear. 

Women get into fewer and less serious accidents than men, so they should pay less for insurance across the board. While men and women get tickets and warnings at nearly identical rates, men have much riskier driving behavior, accounting for 68-70% of driver crash involvements. 

Men are also much more likely to be in fatal accidents. 70.5% of all driver deaths are men, 79% of drunk drivers involved in fatal crashes are men, and 79% of drivers in speeding-related fatalities are also men. 

Women, on the other hand, are much more likely to be seriously injured when they are involved in a crash. This likelihood is impacted by women often being in the vehicle that is struck during crashes, and women preferring to drive lighter cars. 

Women being more likely to be injured doesn’t explain why they have higher insurance since medical or personal injury claims only increase insurance rates by 0.63% on average, while speeding, drunk driving, and accidents where individuals are at fault can raise rates by much more. 

These statistics and realities are reflected in women having lower rates than men for insurance when they are between the ages of 16-29. After all, younger men statistically get into more serious accidents much more frequently than younger women. 

However, women from 30-59 pay more than men, despite the fact that being middle-aged doesn’t make them any more likely to get into an accident. In Louisiana, a woman in her fifties pays $118 or 5.6% more than a man her age. 

Insurance companies take into account characteristics like age, gender, credit, and driving history to determine how likely it is that a driver will get into an accident so they can price policies accordingly. Many people believe that gender should not be included in the characteristics taken into account. 

7 states, California, Michigan, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Montana, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania have all banned gender as an insurance rating factor. 

Louisiana may be in that number soon. 

Louisiana Senator Jay Luneau filed Senate Bill 55 to prohibit insurance companies from using gender and other non-driving-related factors like credit scores from impacting insurance rates. 

“One lady that talked to us about it told us she had driven just about every day taking her husband back and forth to the hospital and doctors and things of that nature and that she rarely drove except to go to the grocery store after her husband died and they still increased her rates,” Luneau commented. “We had testimony last year that clearly showed that a male and a female with the same job, same credit history, same everything except the male had a DWI and the female didn’t; the female still paid more.”

Real Reform Louisiana, a nonprofit organization working on lowering insurance costs for Louisianans supports Luneau’s efforts to stop insurance company’s gender discrimination. 

However, the Executive Director of Real Reform Louisiana Eric Holl commented that he didn’t think Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon will support the bill because “He actually went before the legislature last year and told them that he thinks that gender discrimination and rate setting is fair discrimination. That is a direct quote from him.” 

“Louisiana has some of the highest insurance rates in the country because the insurance commissioner and corporate lobbyists have rigged the system in favor of the big insurance companies,” explained Eric Holl. “To lower rates, we need real reform that makes insurance companies play by the rules and ends abusive practices like the use of gender, occupation, and credit score in rate-setting. Insurance rates should be based on your driving.”

When it comes down to it, Holl said that the rationale for insurance companies charging female drivers more in Louisiana is nonexistent. “Their justification is purely that insurance companies can make a little bit more money by charging women a penalty just for being women.”

Help Keep Big Easy Magazine Alive

Hey guys!

Covid-19 is challenging the way we conduct business. As small businesses suffer economic losses, they aren’t able to spend money advertising.

Please donate today to help us sustain local independent journalism and allow us to continue to offer subscription-free coverage of progressive issues.

Thank you,
Scott Ploof
Big Easy Magazine

Share this Article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *