People get married for many different reasons, but we will bet that not one of them is to save money on car insurance. Even so, it would be a valid reason — auto insurers do charge single people more than married couples for their policies.
InsuranceQuotes.com commissioned a recent study on auto insurance rates and the impact of three factors: gender, age, and marital status. Conducted by Quadrant Information Services, the study assessed insurance charges across the nation using data from enough insurance carriers to represent around 60–70% of the American auto insurance market.
The group assessed quotes using a standard set of assumptions for a test case — an employed, educated driver (bachelor’s degree) with outstanding credit and spotless driving and insurance coverage/payment records. The car was assumed to be an average sedan from 2012. In essence, there were no red flags to confound the survey results.
Quotes were then received with varying marital status as well as age and gender. The results are not terribly surprising — young people, single people, and men generally pay more for their auto insurance. If you are a young single man, you probably already know this. However, the magnitude of the change can be striking. According to the survey results, a married 20-year-old individual on average pays more than 20% less than a single 20-year-old for a policy with the same coverage.
When combined with age and gender, one statistic stands out. Age is the trump card, or more precisely, lack of it. Looking at 20-year-old drivers by gender, single men pay almost 25% more than married men for the same policies, but surprisingly, the difference is even larger with women. The difference in the rates of 20-year-old single vs. married women is over 27.5%.
The differences drop rapidly with age. At age 25, the differential in rates becomes 9.28% for men and 6.03% for women; at age 30, the changes are 3.28% and 3.89% respectively. The differential rate slowly changes and bottoms out around 2% from ages 50–60, then begins to climb back up slightly (presumably as driving skills deteriorate on average).
Why do single people pay more? The same reason that younger and male drivers pay more — statistical risk. Married people are statistically less likely to engage in irresponsible behavior — insert your own joke here, if you like — and are more likely to have other areas of insured responsibility. In other words, they are prime consumers of home and life insurance as well.
Keep in mind that insurance is state-regulated, so while the general conclusions are valid, the difference in rates may not be the same where you live. For example, Hawaii is the only state that does not allow insurance companies to use marital status, age, or gender in determining premiums. That is just another reason why Hawaii is the place to go if you are a young single male — older married women there are in essence paying a part of your risk premium as the rates are flattened out across all demographics.
If you find yourself on the wrong side of this statistic, there are several things that you can do to lower your rates. Check with your insurer for any discounts that are available and shop around for the best deals. Drive carefully and save your claims for the truly major issues, not minor repairs to keep your rates from rising. Of course, you can still get married — but have better reasons than just saving on car insurance. You can always move to Hawaii.
Photo ©iStock.com/Ugurhan Betin