But while regulators are pushing the industry toward formulas that have more to do with driving a car than with whom, the decision of state insurance commissioner Dave Jones, of The prohibition of gender also has a certain irony: in the name of equality, the change in insurance premiums that are cheaper for young male drivers – which are statistically more risky to insure – at the expense of younger female drivers, who are statistically less risky but will probably pay more.

Penny Gusner, consumer analyst at carinsurance.com, an online marketplace for auto insurers, said Penny Gusner, consumer analyst at carinsurance.com. Throughout the country, a teenage male will cost about $ 7,400 a year on average, compared to $ 6,900 for a teenager, she said.

"It's probably going to be in the middle, which will probably hurt the drivers and give the young drivers a break," said Gusner.

California's decision to ban gender equality, effective Jan. 1, comes as lawmakers and regulators put increasing pressure on insurers to focus more on driving behavior than on less obvious criteria for assessing risks. This decision also highlights the complex and ever-changing way in which insurers set the price of auto insurance in general.

A new report from Zebra.com on trends in auto insurance, an online search engine that allows consumers to compare auto insurance policies, reveals that the industry is reorganizing its risk analysis by adopting technologies that monitor the behavior of drivers on the road. These tools, called telematics, allow insurers to tailor their insurance policies to customers based on the number of kilometers traveled, their speed and other indicators of driver behavior.

Insurers are also making drivers harder for dangerous behaviors such as distracted driving: a driver distraction ticket has resulted in an increase in insurance premiums of $ 289, or almost 20% in 2018, against an increase of nearly 2% three years earlier.

It's still less than a speeding ticket to exceed the limit of 10 mph ($ 880) and much less than being stopped for driving under the influence (DUI), which can increase premiums by more than $ 1,000. on average. However, the analysis suggests that insurers are responding to the growing evidence that smartphones and sophisticated entertainment systems, among other distractions, could impact the increase in traffic accidents and deaths.

Early evidence shows that accident rates – and thus auto insurance premiums – have begun to rise in states that have legalized marijuana, according to researchers. Whatever the case may be, rates have risen across the country.

"This is the highest level ever recorded nationally," said Alyssa Connolly, director of market research at Zebra. "Rates are up this year for 83% of Americans – and it's erratic."

Zebra's 2019 report, based on more than 61 million rates, indicates that premiums in some states have risen by nearly 80%, while others have seen a drop of about 20%. Michigan again led with the highest average ($ 2,693) and Maine the lowest ($ 896). The average premium in the United States reached $ 1,470, an increase of 23% from the 2011 average. Data were taken from 2011 in the third quarter of 2018.

The report also examined the impact that different individual rating factors may have on insurance premiums, such as gender. In addition to California, six other states – Hawaii, Massachusetts, Montana, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and parts of the Michigan market – now ban sex as a ranking factor, according to the Consumer Federation of America.

"Gender, at the national level, does not really move the needle [for most ages], "Connolly says." This is done at a younger age, but for most people it is 1 to 3 percent. For teens, it's a bit more. In some states, it can reach 4 or 6%. "

But here's the thing: these differences almost disappear among older drivers and make women pay more, says the Consumer Federation of America. As the European Union found out years ago, it is possible that sex is only a substitute for more justifiable risk factors affecting rates and a correlation with the sex. This is one of the reasons why premiums paid by men for their auto insurance have quadrupled compared to women, after the EU banned the use of the kind in setting insurance rates in 2012.

"The persistent disparity between men and women could be linked to the fact that some predominantly male occupations may have poorer claims experience," said an analyst quoted by the Guardian. "In addition, on average, men may tend to drive larger and more expensive vehicles.The more expensive and sophisticated the vehicle, the more likely it is that the cost of repairs will be higher, and this is reflected in the premium requested. "

In addition to banning the genre, other states have decided to ban the use of educational status, marital status or credit rating. Insurance companies say credit ratings help them assess the likelihood of someone filing insurance claims, but consumer advocates say they can unfairly increase people's rates.

"I think credit scores are one of the things that attract people the most," Connolly said.

While other controversial risk factors are eliminated as unjust or irrelevant, such as consideration of marital status or credit rating, some insurers are exploring other ways to find out more. Risk assessment, including social media and driver behavior monitoring technology.

Connolly said auto insurers may be tempted to monitor people's fingerprints when they set rates because they have been shown to correlate well with other prohibited factors in places, such as: than credit scores. And it's not just what you post: it's when you're online, what type of email you use, and even if you have typing errors in your messages.

But for the moment, many companies are content to focus on telematics, which receives data from participants' smartphones or devices connected to cars. These allow insurers to control when, where and how a person drives, particularly with regard to their speed, sudden braking or acceleration too fast.

Zebra's report states that telematics programs are particularly useful for people who drive little or who usually ride safe and smooth roads. at best, they still save only about 3%. But this could change as programs become more common, as is likely.

"If carriers could choose, they would want to monitor everyone driving," Connolly said.

This article was written by Fredrick Kunkle, a Washington Post reporter.