Statistics collected about the habits of drivers are important to car insurance companies because they are used to determine car insurance rates. Car insurance companies feel that statistics are the best way to judge the probability of a driver making a claim, so they'll look at every statistic they can legally consider when determining a premium. These include the driver's age, location, background and even the driver's sex. This last category is somewhat controversial, but insurers see it as a great determinant of the number of car insurance claims that a driver might make. Statistically speaking, there's certainly a gender gap when it comes to filing claims. Contrary to popular jokes and cultural stereotypes, it seems that men make more claims on their insurance policies than women.
Across the board, in every conceivable area of accidents, men generally make more claims. A report issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2004 showed that men made 2 million more claims than women that year. Insurance companies have access to these statistics, and they use them. Therefore, a male driver will usually receive a higher car insurance quote than a female driver from the same age group and location (if their driving records are the same, of course). Different companies interpret the statistics in different ways, but all seem to carry a bias against men, and that bias is enforced by statistics.
The gender of a driver is, of course, not the only determinant used by insurers when trying to decide on an insurance rate. The history of the driver is the most important factor. If a driver has been involved in several accidents, insurance companies reason that another claim is likely, and these drivers will also get higher-than-average insurance rates. A female driver with several claims or traffic citations will have a higher rate than a male driver with a clean record. If a driver has several incidents on his or her record, the raised price of their insurance can often be offset with defensive driving classes, court supervision and other beneficial moves on the driver's part. Even installing a car alarm can significantly lower insurance rates for some drivers.
Drivers of both genders can also benefit greatly from auto insurance cost comparison websites, which let drivers shop between several car insurance companies to find the best rate. Even "high risk" drivers will find better car insurance rates using these websites.
Statistically, men may be worse drivers than women, but ultimately it comes down to each individual driver to determine how safe on the road he or she is - and how high his or her car insurance rate becomes.