As with any type of insurance, auto policies are tailored for each individual customer. In Ontario, auto insurers consider many factors when determining insurance rates. Though there are tactics you can employ in which you, the driver, are able to lower your rate, there’s one factor you have no control over: your gender.

How might gender impact your auto insurance rate? Well, if you’re a male you are probably paying more. If you’re wondering why this may be, here are four reasons why rates for men are higher.

  1. Men’s bad driving habits

In general, men tend to pick up driving habits that can cause accidents. These include:

  • Rolling stops, or not stopping at all at a stop sign
  • Speeding
  • Driving under the influence.

In fact, men receive reckless driving tickets 3.41 times more than women, and DUI’s are given to men 3.09 times more often than women.One bad driver, or in this case many bad drivers, have made insurance more expensive for an entire gender. Insurance rate algorithms are risk predictors, and statistically men pose a higher risk overall.

  1. Women drive safer

On the flip side, women’s rates are often lower because they tend to drive safer. A study on crashes found that men were involved in 18 million more accidents than their female counterparts. Women are also more likely to wear their seatbelt, about 10% more likely. This results in less deaths and reduced injuries in crashes involving women compared to men.

The accidents caused by women are more often minor, such as a fender bender, when compared to male drivers. These cost less for insurers to cover, where accidents caused by men tend to cost a lot more. In the end, payouts for women are cheaper.

  1. Car preference

Another factor in determining insurance rates, outside of demographic, is the make and model of the driver’s car. A high-end luxury vehicle will often be more expensive to insure, even though they tend to be harder to steal or have extra safety features. This is because it will be more expensive to repair if needed. The target market for these luxury vehicles, and the ones often behind the wheel of high-end cars, are predominately men.

  1. Science

There are also biological reasons influencing the reason men tend to be high-risk drivers. If you think back to eighth grade science, you’ll remember your eyes use rods and cones in order to see. Biologically, men have more cones than women. Your cones are what lead to better central focus, vision, and depth perception. In a way, men scientifically have ‘tunnel vision’, and it allows them to feel like they can take any curve in the road. This is why men might take their turns without hesitation, and perhaps a little more carelessly, leading to more accidents.  

On the other hand, women have more rods. These help strengthen peripheral vision and improve the ability to see in the dark. This would make women better night-time drivers than men.


What would happen if we removed gender from the equation?

Whether or not considering gender in insurance policies became a debated subject in the European Union in 2011. The question went before the European Court of Justice and it was ruled that it discriminated against men and went against “fundamental rights.” So how did this change insurance rates for the men of Europe?

Five years later, men were still paying more than women for car insurance. In fact, the gap had widened ever further. Even without the gender variable, insurer’s algorithms continued to find men riskier to insure.

Though provinces such as B.C., Saskatchewan, and Manitoba don’t consider gender in determining auto insurance rates, it’s unlikely that Ontario will change its process any time soon. If they did, it would unlikely make a significant difference to your rates.