Bruce Jenner, the former Olympic gold medalist, made headlines in 2015 when he decided to leave behind his manhood, literally. Mr. Jenner became one of 700,000+ individuals in the United States (roughly 0.2-0.3%) who identify as being transgender. Once we learned of his transition from male to female, we thought about what effect this change might have on his auto insurance rates.
Auto Insurance Rates By Gender
There is no such thing as gender equality when it comes to auto insurance premiums. As we’ve discussed before, female drivers pay less for car insurance than their male counterparts. While this might be welcome news for those of us planning to make the switch from male to female, many of us are stuck paying higher rates only because of our gender. The reasons for these lowered rates include:
- Men tend to be involved in more deadly accidents in which they are at fault. Many more men than women die in motor vehicle accidents every year in the United States. Men typically drive more hours and more miles than women and unfortunately take part in much more risky behavior behind the wheel. This resulted in 23,127 males killed in motor accidents in 2013, compared with just 9,579 females.
- Men tend to drive under the influence at a higher rate than women do. In 2010, men were responsible for 4 out of every 5 drunk driving violations. The worst violators of this group were young men, between ages 21 and 34, which accounted for 32% of all drunk driving violations in the USA.
- Men get cited for more traffic violations than women do. Men are 3.4 times more likely to get cited for reckless driving, 5% more likely to have violations that resulted in accidents, and in general, are more likely to get ticketed during traffic stops.
- Women are more likely to wear their seat-belts. According to the IIHS, seatbelt use was observed in 88% of female front seat occupants and only in 84% of male front seat occupants.
Because of these reasons (among others), female car insurance rates are typically lower than rates for men. Car insurance companies specialize in determining risk. Because men receive more traffic violations, are involved in more deadly accidents, and take part in more risky behavior, their car insurance rates are naturally higher.
Transgender Auto Insurance Rates
Because premiums differ between males and females, if you change your gender your insurance rates most likely will be affected. Take a look at this transgendered female, for example. Her car insurance rates (for the same policy) dropped more than $50 after her sex change.
While the decrease in auto insurance premiums does not quite justify changing genders, the newfound “discount” certainly is a perk for those who decide to go through with it. Unfortunately, taking advantage of this rate drop is a bit more complicated than just telling your insurance company that you are a now a female and expecting them to comply.
While Bruce Jenner may be lucky enough to get the “car insurance benefit” after switching genders, other transgendered individuals might not be so lucky. The reason for this is that some states might not even legally recognize the sex change. In the United States, there is no single “legal gender” at the federal level, so insurance companies usually go by what gender is printed on your state’s driver’s license.
Driver’s license genders are determined at the state level by rules set forth by the local DMV/MVC. Some states make the process difficult while other states make the process quite simple. Some states require proof of sex-change surgery while other states require written documentation from your doctor that you have undergone therapy/treatment for gender transition. Other states do not allow driver’s license gender changes at all.
This means that even if you change your gender from male to female (or vice-versa), you still might not be able to take advantage of your new gender’s auto insurance rates. As with all other changes to your insurance policy, it’s best to check with your auto insurance provider to see if your gender change will be recognized.
Lowering Rates Regardless Of Your Gender
Car insurance rates can be lowered by anyone at any time, regardless of your gender, so do not fret if your car insurance company does not switch your rates after you’ve switched your sex. Males, females, and transgenders alike can all lower their premiums by employing some of these tried-yet-true tactics:
- Compare quotes from multiple insurance companies before you commit to one.
- Consider switching vehicles to something that is cheaper to insure. Your car make and model can play a huge role in determining your rates.
- Raise your deductibles.
- Cut back on collision coverage and/or comprehensive coverage. Consider insuring with just the legally minimum required insurance.
- Improve your credit score.
- See if you qualify for low mileage discounts.
- See if you quality for group discounts (i.e. students, teachers, veterans, doctors, etc.)
- Avoid lapses in your insurance coverage. Always pay your bill on time.
- Ask your insurance agent/provider if you might qualify for other discounts.
- Always pay your insurance bill in full and never in installments.
For more ideas on how you can cut back on your insurance costs, check out our article – The Top 15 Ways To Save On Your Car Insurance.