California Eliminates Gender When Setting Auto Insurance Rates

California Eliminates Gender When Setting Auto Insurance Rates

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Earlier this month, California became the newest state to ban the use of a person’s sex when setting car insurance risk factors.

Gender had been an optional criterion for insurers until the start of 2019. This change could alter rates for a vast number of drivers across the Golden State.

Departed state insurance commissioner Dave Jones said the new rules “ensure that auto insurance rates are based on factors within a driver’s control, rather than personal characteristics over which drivers have no control.”

The California Department of Insurance found some insurers rated female drivers as a higher risk while other insurers claimed it was males. The department also concluded the factoring of gender on rates varied widely by location.

The specific impact on any given driver’s rates remains uncertain and could “vary considerably,” by the insurer and by the type of coverage chosen, the state noted.

In an economic analysis of the change, the Insurance Department estimated that removing the sex of the driver could equalize rates for inexperienced drivers.

Insurers have until July to submit their gender-neutral rating plans to the state for review.

Read additional questions and answers about auto insurance premiums at nytimes.com.