Consumers may have asked themselves: Why can car insurance be discriminatory? A recent study by the Consumer Federation of America shows that car insurance companies tend to charge more for drivers of different ethnicities. The research focused on low-income, blue-collar workers, single women, and black or Hispanic drivers. The results of the study suggest that car insurance discrimination does exist and is a growing problem. In response, lawmakers are now pursuing changes to reduce the impact of price discrimination.
There are several reasons why car insurance companies discriminate. One reason is based on demographics. While many drivers may be disadvantaged due to their racial makeup, the industry often uses demographic data to justify discriminatory pricing. Insurers say that minority neighborhoods have higher rates of auto accidents, which justifies their higher premiums. However, the findings of this study are not conclusive. To determine whether car insurance companies are discriminatory, MoneyGeek interviewed insurance experts.
Another factor may be income. Lower-income drivers tend to drive fewer miles than higher-income drivers. While it is true that car insurance companies use income proxies to set rates, this practice is not always appropriate. For example, car insurance rates of white and black families may be lower than those of low-income drivers. This widespread economic inequality places everyone at risk, and low-income drivers who can’t afford car insurance may be shut out of the community. Additionally, they risk having expensive fines and possibly being thrown into the criminal justice system.