Women and gay men have a lot of things in common, and their similarities don’t end in the bedroom. According to a number of studies, these groups are among the worst drivers in the world. The brains of women and gay men seem to be wired similarly in some aspects as both groups score poorly on navigation tests and other tasks that require spatial awareness (see below).
Despite these findings, when determining rates, insurance companies aren’t allowed to ask if their customers are gay. Discrimination based on sexual orientation is illegal in the United States. This means that gay men are subject to the same insurance rate hikes that straight men pay. This, compounded by findings that gays are more likely to be involved in accidents that result from a lack of spatial awareness, means that gay men stand to pay higher rates for car insurance.
Spatial Awareness Studies
Men are better at some things than women, and women are better at some things than men. That isn’t a sexist statement, it’s a fact that’s supported by years of research and studies. Male and female brains are wired differently. Gay male brains, on the other hand, seem to be a mixture of the two.
In the cases of spatial awareness and navigation, gay male brains seem to be wired like female brains. Studies have shown that both women and gays score poorly on tasks that require navigation or spatial awareness. Both groups rely heavily on local landmarks to navigate, which means they tend to become lost easier than heterosexual men.
Women and gay men also have similarly bad senses of spatial awareness, which is a key factor in safe driving. These groups are more likely to cause minor accidents than straight males, because they experience difficulty visualizing the space around themselves. This flaw comes into play during tasks like parallel parking, as gays are much more likely to cause minor fender benders than straight males.
Gay Men And Auto Insurance Rates
Insurance companies use a number of factors to determine insurance rates. Most of the factors reflect the amount of risk that a customer poses. Younger people are more likely to cause accidents than older people, so they pay higher rates. Men are also more likely to cause accidents than women, so they pay higher rates.
Insurance companies aren’t allowed to ask about sexual orientation when determining rates; however, a customer’s own driving record plays a role in setting his monthly premiums. If a customer causes a lot of accidents, his premium will go up. This is one of the many reasons why gay men often times tend to pay more for insurance than straight men do.
But how much more do gays pay for auto insurance? 4AutoInsuranceQuote.com surveyed New York City residents to get the answer to that question. To keep the study simple, we only surveyed male single-car owners who were the only ones on their policy and who happened to know how much they were paying for insurance. Our sample size was 500 people and included 300 straight men and 200 gay men.
Here are our results (annual expenses, rounded to the nearest dollar):
- Straight Men – $2154
- Gay Men – $2571
As expected, homosexuals do pay more for auto insurance than heterosexuals do. Not only do they pay more, they pay much more ($427 more annually to be exact)! But why is this? We’ll take a look at some of the other reasons for this as the article continues.
Men Are More Dangerous Behind the Wheel Than Women
Years of research and studies have also shown that men get into far more high-speed accidents than women. Men tend to be more highly skilled at driving than women, and that skill often pushes them to take unnecessary risks. According to numerous studies, men are more than twice as likely to die in car crashes than their female counterparts.
Car insurance companies typically bump up insurance premiums after an accident, however they are obviously unable to extract higher rates when an accident is fatal. What this means is that men everywhere bear the financial burden for the mistakes of their fallen brethren. Even though gays may be less likely to cause fatal accidents, they too are subject to these higher rates simply because they are men.
Young men, not surprisingly, pay some of the highest insurance rates around because they pose the largest risk to insurance companies. Even if a young man has never been in an accident, he will still pay higher rates than a young woman. Since insurance companies aren’t allowed to ask about sexual orientation, young gay men also pay those same rates.
The Marriage Problem
One of the many things a man can do to reduce his monthly insurance premium is to get married. Married men pay lower rates because statistics show that married people are safer drivers than unwed individuals. This is true for all ages, which means that marriage typically results in reduced car insurance premiums for both young and old people. (According to insurance company AllState, these lower rates for married couples are based on a combination of statistics and the general social perception of married couples being more responsible.)
Since marriage isn’t always an option for most gay men in the United States, they tend to pay higher rates than straight men. Even if a gay man is in a committed long-term relationship, he will tend to pay a higher insurance rate than a similar straight man who is married. This factor doesn’t come into play in areas that allow gay marriage, but those places are still in the minority (In fact, insurance companies are required by law to acknowledge same-sex marriages and to offer benefits to spouses in same-sex marriages).
Driving the Premiums
When added together, all of these demographic and personal factors help drive gay insurance premiums through the roof. It might not seem fair, but there isn’t any outright discrimination involved. Gay men tend to be the worst drivers out there because they share characteristics of both male and female drivers (among other reasons). They pay higher rates because they are men, and insurance companies can’t differentiate between gay and straight. They also pay higher rates because a lack of spatial awareness results in more low-speed accidents. This double-edged sword of demographic rate hikes and personal history can place an especially heavy burden on gay drivers.