According to a number of studies, gay males and females score poorly when it comes to driving safety. The brains of these two groups 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 gay men are more likely to be involved in accidents that result from a lack of spatial awareness, means that gay men stand to pay even higher rates for car insurance.
Spatial Awareness Studies
Men are more skilled at some things than women, and women are more skilled 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 similiar to female brains. Studies have shown that both women and gay men 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 poor 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 gay men are more likely to cause minor fender benders than straight males.
Research supporting these claims was made by psychologists at Queen Mary, University of London on a sample size of 140 volunteers. Read more about this study at Telegraph.co.uk.
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 gay men 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, gay men do pay more for auto insurance than heterosexual men do. Not only do they pay more, they pay a significant about more ($427 more annually to be exact). But why is this? Below, let’s take a look at some of the other reasons for this.
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 do. Men tend to be more aggressive drivers than women, and that aggression 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 gay men 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 highest 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 inquire 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 many 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. With gay marriage becoming legal in America, however, gay men can start to take advantage of these marriage discounts. 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 all is taken into consideration, these demographic and personal factors help drive insurance premiums for gay men higher and higher. Insurance companies are not legally allowed to offer different rates based on sexual orientation, so gay men are often stuck with these high rates. This double-edged sword of demographic rate hikes and personal history can place an especially heavy burden on gay drivers.