Car Insurance: A Crash Course

It’s a fact that car insurance rates are higher for males under the age of 25 than they are for females of a comparable age. For example, the average insurance for a 20 year old male is $500 dollars more than for a 20 year old female. Insurance also decreases by almost $1,000 in the five years it takes to go from 20 to 25.

In the state of Oregon, average yearly insurance is likely to drop nearly $6,000 between your 16th birthday and your 25th, bringing the insurance rate from $7,769 to $1,712.

Why is this?

According to the National Center for Statistics and Analysis, between the ages of 16 and 20, males are nearly twice as likely to be in a fatal accident than a female driver. Between 20 and 25, this number spikes to a ratio of three to one.

In 2017, 71 percent of all vehicle crash deaths were male. Between 1976 and 2017, the per capita rates have ranged from 1.8 to 2.6 times more for males than to females. The death rate in 2017 for a 16-19 year old male was 13.5 percent, which skyrocketed to 17.7 percent between the ages of 20 and 24. The death rate consistently decreases from there.

27 percent of male crash deaths involve speeding, and a whopping 32 percent involve alcohol.

The reality of teen accidents is changing, as all fifty states have adopted a Graduated Drivers License (GDL) program. While insurance companies still view teenagers as more reckless than older population, there is increased safety on the roads with more gradual allowances for new drivers.

For example, if you are under 18 at the time you receive your license in the state of Oregon, you must have held an Oregon Drivers’ permit for at least 6 months prior. New drivers are expected to complete at least 50 hours of supervised driving while with the permit alongside a drivers’ education course, or an additional fifty hours. After receiving a license, underage drivers cannot carry anyone under the age of 20 in their car who is not immediate family for six months. Following this six months is another six months where there is a 3 person limit. After this year, the restrictions loosen.

So why do insurance companies charge the way they do?

Insurance is intended to protect you in case something goes wrong. Drivers pay into insurance in case there’s ever an accident and your car needs repairs, or a car that you hit needs repairs. There’s usually some sort of deductible based off of the insurance company and monthly insurance rate. Normatively, the more expensive the cost for monthly payments, the lower the deductible, which means in case of an accident you will pay less.

Now, consider the statistics of teen driving. Teenagers are statistically more likely to text and drive, to speed, to drive impaired, and to just all around not have as much experience as older drivers. For example, it wouldn’t necessarily be a 17 year old driver’s fault if they slid on ice during the Portland weather anomaly if they’d never driven in snow and ice before; however, they would still have to shell out the money for the accident they caused. Insurance companies are trying to create a cushion for themselves. This is also why taking drivers’ ed courses will decrease insurance. With some companies, having a high GPA will decrease insurance rates. Being responsible and going into driving with the most preparedness possible decreases the likelihood of crashing, which insurance companies see and “reward” drivers for. In the same way, some companies cut breaks for drivers that have gone however long without an accident, or who allow dash cams in their car.

Essentially, everyone has to hedge their bets. Insurance companies have to decide how to write their premiums, and the numbers don’t lie. It’s the same way that medical insurance companies ask policyholders to disclose if anyone on their policy smokes, due to the amount of health risks involved. Insurance companies are doing it for themselves, but it’s still smart to have car insurance, and required by Oregon state law.

Which would you rather do: pay a hundred dollars a month and $200 when you crash, or pay $4000 all at once?

Chang, Dow. “Comparison of Crash Fatalities by Sex and Age Group.” CrashStats, crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/.

“Alcohol-Impaired Drivers Involved in Fatal Crashes, by Gender and State, 2007-2008.” CrashStats, Aug. 2009, crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/.

“General Statistics.” IIHS, www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/general-statistics/fatalityfacts/gender.

“Office of Safety.” Mitigation Strategies For Design Exceptions – Safety | Federal Highway Administration, safety.fhwa.dot.gov/.

CarInsurance.com. “Average Car Insurance Rates by Age.” Carinsurance.com, http://www.carinsurance.com/average-rates-by-age.aspx.

“US Department of Transportation.” US Department of Transportation, United States Department of Transportation, www.transportation.gov/.

“Who Causes More Car Accidents? The Data May Surprise You » Traffic Safety Resource Center.” Traffic Safety Resource Center, 11 Aug. 2017, www.trafficsafetystore.com/blog/who-causes-accidents/.

Texas Graduated Driver Licensing | Tx Drivers Ed, http://www.graduateddriverlicensing.com/states/oregon.php.