News From The Coalition Protecting Auto No-Fault (CPAN)
Lansing, MI (September 6, 2017) – Female drivers in Michigan — including widows — are being charged higher rates by certain auto insurance companies, even if they have perfect driving records, according to a study conducted by CPAN.
The CPAN survey showed that some insurers operating in Michigan charge female drivers significantly more than men for basic auto insurance. This includes young men who are often considered at a higher risk for being in a Michigan car accident.
According to CPAN, the extra charges being imposed on female drivers appear to violate Michigan law, which states that “an insurer shall not establish or maintain rates or rating classifications for automobile insurance based on sex or marital status.”
It’s Illegal To Charge Female Drivers Higher Insurance Rates
CPAN’s survey of on-line premium quotes from several large Michigan auto insurers found that Progressive and Esurance alter rates for drivers based on their gender and marital status, and that Liberty Mutual charges unmarried drivers higher premiums.
The survey also found:
- Compared to married women, Progressive, Esurance and Liberty Mutual raise premiums for widows and other single female drivers by 5-10%.
- Progressive charges women with perfect driving records as much as 38% more than men with the same driving record, same vehicle and same address.
- Esurance charges women with perfect driving records as much as 33% more than men with the same record, same vehicle and same address.
Other auto insurers that were surveyed, including Allstate and AAA, appear to comply with Michigan law and do not vary rates based on gender or marital status.
“It is both unseemly and improper to increase prices for someone when her spouse dies,” said Douglas Heller, an independent insurance expert who conducted the research for CPAN. “Michigan law is supposed to prevent insurance companies from charging more to women or unmarried drivers, but some insurers seem to be ignoring the law and charging hundreds of dollars more to drivers simply because they are female, single, divorced or widowed.”
Using insurance companies’ websites, Heller compared nearly 100 premium quotes provided to male and female drivers of different marital statuses and ages. He also looked at whether the patterns changed based on geography, and examined rates in both Detroit and Brighton. Throughout the testing, other factors such as address, type of car and annual miles were held constant. In all instances, the drivers tested had perfect records with no auto accidents, tickets or claims.
“This study reveals yet another unfair factor that insurance companies use to make extra profits at the expense of Michiganders,” said Rep. Donna Lasinski. “Discriminating in rates based on sex or marital status is illegal, but also fundamentally wrong. We need to make sure that good drivers have good rates, period.”
The study further showed that Liberty Mutual, Progressive and Esurance charged female drivers who are widows higher premiums than if their spouse was alive. Notably, the testing found that married male drivers actually saw premiums from Progressive and Esurance drop after they became widowers, while Liberty Mutual consistently applied a 5% surcharge on all drivers who lose a spouse, regardless of their gender.
“Women already struggle for equal pay, and here we have insurance companies piling on by charging women drivers more for auto insurance. It is a blatant violation of the law and must be stopped,” said Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo, who chairs the Detroit Caucus and also serves on the House Insurance Committee.
Meanwhile, several auto insurers charged divorced and single women more than married women. Progressive and Esurance lowered rates for 35-year-old divorced men, while hiking premiums for female drivers who were divorced. Liberty Mutual charged more to divorced drivers, whether male or female.
“Under state law, every driver must purchase auto insurance, whether they are male or female, married or not, and good drivers should get the best prices, regardless of their sex or marital status,” said Heller. “When insurance companies are allowed to slice, dice and price Michiganders according to personal characteristics that have nothing to do with their driving, many good drivers end up paying more than they should or driving uninsured, and it’s one of the reasons premiums are so high in Michigan.”
Have you been injured in a Michigan car accident? The Sinas Dramis legal team is available to answer questions about your no-fault insurance benefits or a possible auto negligence claim. Contact our Lansing auto accident lawyers and Grand Rapids car accident attorneys today for a free initial consultation.