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Because young men are more likely to get in car accidents, they pay higher insurance rates, on average, than women of the same age.Pattanaphong Khuankaew/iStockPhoto / Getty Images

I’ve read that male drivers under 25 pay more for insurance. Will that stop when I get older? Do you know why it’s more expensive? – Adam, Toronto

Insurance companies don’t like risks, and young males are more likely to get in crashes. So, if you’re a man driving in Toronto, you’ll pay more, generally, than a woman driving in Toronto until you’re 40.

After that, drivers of both genders pay about the same, assuming they have similar driving records. That’s according to a report by LowestRates.ca, a rate-comparison site, which looked at the difference between insurance quotes for male and female drivers in Calgary, Toronto and Montreal.

In Calgary and Montreal, while the gender difference is highest for younger drivers, men still pay more than women after the age of 40.

Rates go down by age

Insurance rules vary by province. Alberta, Quebec and Ontario, for instance, all allow insurance companies to look at your age and gender when setting insurance rates.

There are other things they look at, including where you live, your driving record and how much you drive. In Quebec, companies can set rates based on your credit rating. While insurance generally gets cheaper for both genders as they get older, men typically pay more than women the same age.

The LowestRates study looked at average quotes for fictional drivers under 60 with a clean driving record who drove 30,000 kilometres a year in a 2018 Mazda CX-5.

In Toronto, the gender difference was the greatest for 17- to 19-year-old drivers, at about 27 per cent.

The average premium for a male driver was $7,245, but for a female driver, it was $5,727.

For drivers between the ages of 20 and 24, the average premium was $3,492 for men and $3,151 for women – a difference of 11 per cent.

By the time drivers were in their thirties, men paid about 5 per cent more, or about $75 a year. After 40, both genders paid $1,830 a year, on average.

Differences by city

In Montreal, among drivers between the ages of 17 and 19, men paid 16 per cent more a year. From 20-24, that difference dropped to 14 per cent. The difference was actually the highest – 19 per cent – for drivers aged 20-25. Among those drivers, men paid $2,365 a year, while women paid $1,983.

For drivers in their thirties, men paid 14 per cent more. For drivers in their forties and fifties, men paid 11-per-cent more.

Among Montreal drivers between 50 and 60, for instance, men paid $1,351, and women paid $1,222.

In Calgary, the difference between the genders was greatest – about 12 per cent – for teen drivers and then dropped for other age groups.

So for Calgary drivers between the ages of 17 and 19, men paid $8,215 and women paid $7,346.

But that difference dropped to 2 per cent ($5,529 vs. $5,424) for drivers aged 20-24.

It increased slightly until drivers hit 50, where the difference was 5 per cent.

Male drivers more likely to crash

The three provinces with government insurance – British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba – don’t use age or gender to set rates. For instance, Manitoba Public Insurance looks at the vehicle you drive, how often you drive it, your driving record and where you live. The longer you’ve had a clean driving record, the more you save on insurance.

Some other provinces with private insurance, including New Brunswick and Newfoundland, don’t allow companies to look at age or gender. But in every province, you’ll pay more for insurance if you have had at-fault collisions.

According to various statistics, men are more likely to get into accidents pretty much everywhere. In the United States in 2017, the number of fatal crashes per 100 million miles (161 million kilometres) driven was 62-per-cent higher for males, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

In Ontario in 2016, the most recent year with a detailed report, 4.3 per cent of male drivers – 219,188 out of nearly 5.1 million – got into crashes. For female drivers, that accident rate was 2.7 per cent – 132,745 out of nearly 4.8 million.

In Europe, where insurance companies were banned in 2011 from using gender to set rates, men still ended up paying more for insurance, on average, because they got into more accidents.

Have a driving question? Send it to globedrive@globeandmail.com. Canada’s a big place, so let us know where you are so we can find the answer for your city and province.

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