More states should eliminate gender as risk factor for car insurance


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On Jan. 18, the New York Times reported that California car insurance companies no longer consider gender when looking into possible risk factors. They are joining only a small number of U.S. states to make the move to a more equal system of required coverage.

California will now base insurance rates on a driver’s safety records and their years of experience. The move was meant to make sure that “auto insurance rates are based on factors within a driver’s control, rather than personal characteristics over which drivers have no control.”

This is certainly a step forward for Californians, but our state and a huge majority of our country have a long way to go before barbaric ways of predicting a person’s behavior are done away with and we recognize people as individuals, not merely statistical dots.

Along with California is Hawaii, Massachusetts, Montana, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. Kentucky is one state that still recognizes gender as a risk factor. According to State Farm, a popular car insurance provider, “Crash rates are higher for all drivers under age 25, especially single males. Insurance prices in most states reflect these differences.”

This policy, on the surface, seems to only discriminate against men, but it is in fact sexist and stereotypical on several levels. It assumes the stereotypical of men: that they are reckless, daredevils, eager to impress. At the same time, it asserts by nature that women are calm, reserved and homebodies.

In addition to its clear sexist undertones, it is an ageist policy that places human beings in a statistic curve rather than letting their own behavior dictate their rates. It assumes that young people are more immature than older people, which is certainly a generalization. Though the stereotype may be true at times, it should still be left to the individual to prove it right or wrong.

Every state in the country, starting with Kentucky, should join in and let drivers’ personal behavior dictate their rates. This is the only way we can ensure proper equality when getting car insurance.