You might expect car insurance for women to be a bargain. Studies show male drivers tend to take more risks behind the wheel and get in more crashes. But in many cases, women pay higher car insurance rates anyway.
In 2019, car insurance rates for a 40-year-old woman were $31 to $81 a year more than for a comparable male driver, on average, a NerdWallet analysis found.
But rates vary widely, by state and by company. For instance, about half the insurers in our analysis showed equal rates for both genders in many cases, and some showed lower rates for women than men.
By shopping around, you can benefit from the price differences. Here’s a look at the car insurance rates we found for women drivers and the ways you might save on your premium.
» COMPARE: Car insurance rates
How much women pay for car insurance
Men traditionally have paid more than women for car insurance, particularly when they’re young. It costs hundreds of dollars a year more to add a teenage son than a teenage daughter to the parents’ policy.
But the balance changes as men and women get older. By age 40, NerdWallet’s analysis shows, a woman with a clean driving record would pay an average of $47 more a year — about $4 more a month — than a comparable man for a full coverage policy.
The gap is larger for women who have poor credit or who’ve caused a crash, compared with men with the same issues, our analysis of rates nationwide shows.
Cost of car insurance for women
Average annual rate for 40-year-old woman
Cost above 40-year-old man’s policy
Good driver with good credit
Driver with a recent at-fault accident
Good driver with poor credit
Minimum required coverage
Good driver with good credit
A separate NerdWallet analysis of rates in 10 states found that a 40-year-old woman with a recent DUI would pay $35 a year more than a male driver in the same situation, on average, for minimum required coverage.
Why companies have different rates
Car insurance companies don’t all agree on who should pay more. Each company sets rates in each state it serves after studying the risks of insuring various types of drivers. Since the insurers use different data in their analyses, they can reach different conclusions — from other companies and from state to state. Then they justify their rates to state regulators.
While some insurers end up charging women more overall, they may not do so in all cases. For example, Geico’s rates for a 40-year-old good driver with good credit are higher for women on average — but higher for men in 13 states in our analysis.
That’s why it’s important to shop around and compare rates to find the cheapest policy for you.
Companies with higher rates for women
Five of the 10 largest car insurance companies had higher car insurance rates for a 40-year-old woman than a 40-year-old man, on average, our analysis found:
All except Farmers returned lower rates for women in at least some states in our analysis, however.
Allstate, Farmers and Progressive had higher average rates for women in all six circumstances we considered:
Good drivers with good credit buying full coverage.
Good drivers with poor credit buying full coverage.
Drivers with a recent at-fault accident, buying full coverage.
Low-mileage drivers buying full coverage.
Good drivers buying minimum required coverage.
Drivers with a recent DUI buying minimum required coverage.
Geico had higher average rates for women in five of the six circumstances. The exception: Geico’s rates for men with poor credit were virtually the same as for women in the same situation — just $2 a year more, on average.
We didn’t have Travelers’ rates for drivers with a recent DUI, but Travelers showed higher average rates for women in all five of the other situations.
Eight smaller insurers, including Esurance, also consistently showed higher average rates for women than men. Note that some smaller insurers may be available in only a handful of states.
Companies with equal rates
State Farm, the biggest car insurance company in the nation, had identical rates for 40-year-old women and men. So did about half the 65 companies in our analysis, including many smaller insurers like Amica, Auto-Owners and Shelter.
» MORE: Best car insurance companies
States where gender doesn’t affect rates
Depending on where you live, gender may not be a factor in your car insurance rates. Gender can’t be used in setting prices in these states:
Almost everywhere else, average car insurance rates were higher for 40-year-old women than for equivalent men. In 39 states that allow the use of gender in setting prices, car insurance rates for women were higher in at least four of the six situations we examined.
Only three states — Maine, Tennessee and Wyoming — showed higher average rates for 40-year-old men in at least four of the six circumstances.
Finding the cheapest car insurance for women
Getting the best car insurance at the lowest price isn’t as simple as picking a company and signing on the dotted line. Rates depend on where you live, whether you pay your bills on time and a host of other factors. To find cheap car insurance for women, here’s what you can do.
Compare rates from multiple companies
Shopping around is the most important thing you can do to find low car insurance rates for women. No one company will have the best deal for everyone.
It’s a good idea to get car insurance quotes from small, regional insurers along with the big guys. More than a dozen smaller and regional insurers, like Erie, returned lower average rates for women, our analysis found.
Remember that gender isn’t a big factor
Finding the cheapest insurer overall can do vastly more to lower your rates than finding one with lower rates for women. Here’s an example.
A 40-year-old woman in New Jersey might pay $3,465, on average, with Liberty Mutual, and feel great that she’s paying $96 a year less than a man buying the same policy.
But with Travelers, she might pay $1,313, on average, for the same coverage. Sure, Travelers’ rate for a man might be $76 a year less than hers. But by finding the cheapest insurer in the state, she’s putting an extra $2,152 a year — $179 a month — in her pocket.
Other factors like your driving record and credit history, in most states, can also influence car insurance rates more than gender does.
Make choices that lower your rates
Women and men alike can lower their car insurance costs by making smart choices. A few tips:
Ask about discounts. Insurance companies offer dozens of ways to qualify for price breaks.
Opt for a higher deductible. You’ll get a cheaper rate by agreeing to pay slightly more toward the cost of fixing or replacing your car if it’s wrecked or stolen.
Choose a car that costs less to insure. Among top-selling models, the Subaru Outback, Jeep Wrangler and Honda CR-V are cheapest to insure on average, a NerdWallet analysis found.
To compare full coverage insurance:
NerdWallet averaged rates for 40-year-old men and women for 20 ZIP codes in each state and Washington, D.C., from the largest insurers, up to 12 in each state. “Good drivers” had no moving violations on record and credit in the “good” tier as reported to each insurer. For the other driver profiles, we changed the credit tier to “poor” or added one at-fault accident, keeping everything else the same. For the low-mileage driver profile, we changed the vehicle from daily commuting use to pleasure use and lowered the annual miles driven from 12,000 to 5,000, keeping everything else the same. Sample drivers had the following coverage limits:
$100,000 bodily injury liability coverage per person.
$300,000 bodily injury liability coverage per crash.
$50,000 property damage liability coverage per crash.
$100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage per person.
$300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage per crash.
Collision coverage with $1,000 deductible.
Comprehensive coverage with $1,000 deductible.
In states where required, minimum additional coverages were added. We used a 2015 Toyota Camry in this analysis. These are sample rates generated through Quadrant Information Services. Your own rates will be different.
To compare minimum coverage for good drivers:
NerdWallet averaged rates for 40-year-old men and women with no incidents on record and credit in the “good” tier for 20 ZIP codes in each state and Washington, D.C., from the largest insurers, up to 12 in each state. Rates are for the minimum insurance coverage required by law in each state.
We used a 2015 Toyota Camry in this analysis. These are sample rates generated through Quadrant Information Services. Your own rates will be different.
To compare rates for minimum coverage for drivers with a DUI:
NerdWallet averaged rates for 40-year-old men and women with a DUI within the past six months from up to eight of the largest insurers in 10 states: California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas. Rates were averaged for all ZIP codes in those 10 states, which contain more than 50% of the U.S. population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s latest estimates.
The policy includes the minimum coverage required by law in the state.
We used a 2016 Toyota Camry LE in this analysis. Rates are generated through Quadrant Information Services. Your own rates will be different.