Can a teenage male identify as a female for car insurance rates?

In most states car insurance companies are free to discriminate on the basis of age and gender (dmv.org). If “Starting from the time they begin driving, women generally pay less than men do for car insurance,” and gender ID is not necessarily a function of biology, wouldn’t it make sense to check the “female” box and obtain lower rates?

Why, in a transgender age, is anyone checking the “please charge me more due to an arbitrary and temporary distinction” box?

26 Comments »

  1. toucan sam

    January 13, 2018 @ 1:12 pm

    1

    Because the average person does not want to lie/commit fraud for such an inconsequential thing.

  2. Neal

    January 13, 2018 @ 1:58 pm

    2

    Young men who think you are smart like Philip: This is a very bad idea. Do not do this. Insurance companies have lawyers and investigators. The insurance company may investigate in the event of a claim. If they do, it will not be difficult for them to prove fraud, void your coverage, and possibly refer you for prosecution.

  3. philg

    January 13, 2018 @ 2:02 pm

    3

    toucan: I’m glad that you’re rich enough to consider $1,000 per year extra “inconsequential”! But, given that gender can be fluid, why wouldn’t it make sense for a teenager to get in touch with “their” feminine side while driving?

    Neal: You’re saying that there is some objective externally applied test for gender ID? What is it?

  4. Neal

    January 13, 2018 @ 2:16 pm

    4

    philg: An “objective externally applied test for gender ID” is not required to prove fraud.

  5. toucan sam

    January 13, 2018 @ 2:25 pm

    5

    All the kid has to do is be asked under oath do you identify as a male or female. They may not want to lie. I don’t think the difference is 1000. I have 3 cars, live in California and pay the same as my female friends if not a little less. Maybe for teenagers the difference is greater but it’s not 1000 dollars!

  6. philg

    January 13, 2018 @ 2:32 pm

    6

    toucan: Simply asking the question “do you identify as a male or female” is hostile and, one hopes, soon to be illegal (since it suggests that gender is binary). Separately, why wouldn’t the answer to that question always and correctly be “it depends”?

    “Discrimination or prejudice against non-binary people, people who do not identify as exclusively masculine or feminine, is a form of sexism, as well as a specific type of transphobia” (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discrimination_against_non-binary_gender_persons )

  7. M

    January 13, 2018 @ 3:06 pm

    7

    This is a very risky idea in this dangerous age of Trump. What if the dotard tries to grab them by the pussy? And, more importantly, what if his lawyer fails to offer a $130K payout afterwards?

  8. George A.

    January 13, 2018 @ 5:53 pm

    8

    There used to be a time when religious affiliation or ethnicity was a requirement. Those days, you do NOT have to answer to those questions. So Philg’s question about gender isn’t that far out. Beside, what if someone is bisexual, why would that person must be forced to be identified as “male” or “female”?

    Back to Philg’s main point: car insurance companies using gender to set rates is, simply put, discrimination. But did you also know that car insurance companies use your address as a factor for how much your rate will be regardless how much you drive or to where you drive?

  9. toucan sam

    January 13, 2018 @ 6:18 pm

    9

    I think you have gone too far Phil! I imagine if you lied and crashed your car the insurance company could get out of covering you. If you identify as a female for real maybe you have a point. I don’t think you can just lie and say I Identify as a female for car insurance. In my own career as an aspiring airline captain I have chosen to identify as a female for purposes of skipping the regional airlines.

  10. Isaac

    January 13, 2018 @ 11:59 pm

    10

    Phil –

    It’s an interesting thought question, but i think the reality is that if insurers started seeing any sort of significant demographic shift indicative of men identifying as women, they have an easy fix: change the question from “gender” to “sex”. Sex is actually provable, and also potentially has more relevance on insurance rates (different levels of hormones and probability aggressive tendencies). Voluntarily undergoing sex reassignment to save a few bucks on car insurance isn’t going to be a major concern.

  11. Steve

    January 14, 2018 @ 1:01 am

    11

    Phil makes a good point.

    If health insurance companies are prohibited from discriminating based on gender, why are auto insurance companies still allowed to do the same?

  12. Francisco

    January 14, 2018 @ 4:20 am

    12

    What I think is a more interesting question is whether you’d actually be able to correlate the rate of accidents not with gender, but with gender identification.

    The reason men pay more is that their hormones make them do more stupid things. I remember being told by a park ranger at the Grand Canyon that the riskiest demographic group was young fit male adults – they think they can survive and put themselves in riskier situations.

    We don’t have this data, but it would be interesting to know whether in effect it would be fairer to separate “by hormone levels” than by actual sex (transgenders, however are a minuscule proportion of society).

  13. ScarletNumber

    January 14, 2018 @ 12:40 pm

    13

    @Neal

    As it stands, this is a major loophole. I just went on my insurance company’s website and they specifically use the word “gender” rather than “sex”. It is an easy enough fix going forward, but for now anyone can choose “female”.

  14. Neal

    January 14, 2018 @ 2:05 pm

    14

    Young men who think they are smart like ScarletNumber: There is no loophole. Cis-gendered men who identify as men are lying if they choose “female”. Lying to an insurance company on an insurance application is fraud. Defrauding an insurance company is a bad idea because it can void your coverage and they have more lawyers than you do.This particular fraud is fairly easy for an insurance company to detect and prove. If you doubt that consider whether anyone would mistake Philip as MTF even if he dressed up like one on Halloween.

  15. philg

    January 14, 2018 @ 3:11 pm

    15

    Neal: I think that you’re guilty of binary gender normative prejudice. If we agree that gender is a continuum then a person with XY chromosomes who is at a Broadway performance of Wicked is very likely sliding quite far towards the female end of the continuum for those hours. Are you saying that you feel equally “male” at all times? You wake up every morning and, despite the probability of this event being zero, find yourself at exactly the same point on the continuum of gender ID as you did the morning before?

  16. Neal

    January 14, 2018 @ 5:06 pm

    16

    “I think that you’re guilty of binary gender normative prejudice”

    I don’t think so; I have not made any assumptions about any particular person’s gender identification. Clearly, however, an insurance application question of the form [Gender: male/female] *IS* binary gender normative prejudiced. This prejudice could be problematic for someone whose gender identity genuinely doesn’t fit neatly into one of those two categories. If this prejudice bothers you perhaps we should discuss it. I doubt that much of my previous comments in this thread would pertain since they were made in the context of a very different question:

    “Why, in a transgender age, is anyone (filling out a binary gender normative form) checking the “please charge me more due to an arbitrary and temporary distinction” box?”

    As (I thought) I said previously, the answer to this question is that just because gender is an “arbitrary and temporary distinction” for *SOME* people does not mean it is an “arbitrary and temporary distinction” for *EVERYONE*. For people who genuinely identify as men (I’m sure I can find at least one, so that counts as “anyone”), checking the “female” box to get a a lower insurance rate is fraud of a type which would be relatively easy for an insurance company to detect and prove. Not committing easily detectable insurance fraud seems to me to be a good reason to check the “please charge me more due to an arbitrary and temporary distinction” box?”. Claiming that it is relatively easy to spot someone who is lying about identifying as a women does not imply any kind of prejudice against people (of any sex) who actually identify as women or whose gender identity doesn’t fit neatly into either the “male” or “female” categories.

  17. Neal

    January 14, 2018 @ 5:16 pm

    17

    “You wake up every morning and, despite the probability of this event being zero, find yourself at exactly the same point on the continuum of gender ID as you did the morning before?”

    It does not matter exactly where in the continuum of gender ID one is, if at that point the honest answer to the question is “male”, and you check “female”, you have committed fraud.

  18. The Practical Conservative

    January 14, 2018 @ 7:42 pm

    18

    But what if they feel female the moment they check the box? Legally speaking, IIRCBIANAL the precedent is that it is not fraud because the person did feel female when they checked the box.

    There have been articles about male-bodied people in women’s locker rooms who were allowed to use them without any need to do anything other than state that they felt female. There was no other requirement and this is the case with many state and local gender identification laws and regulations. There is not some kind of obvious argument under current gender expression laws and regulations that it’s fraud for a male-bodied person to check the “female” box because their gender identification was female that day.

  19. philg

    January 14, 2018 @ 7:49 pm

    19

    I’m offended and hurt when Neal says that I would not be a convincing female. I hope that he is not setting up to appearance-shame me.

  20. Cliff

    January 14, 2018 @ 8:38 pm

    20

    Because there’s a difference between the real world (with money on the line) and Tumblr.

  21. Neal

    January 15, 2018 @ 2:20 am

    21

    “There is not some kind of obvious argument under current gender expression laws and regulations that it’s fraud for a male-bodied person to check the “female” box because their gender identification was female that day.”

    It isn’t fraud if it is the truth and is fraud if it is not the truth. So the question becomes, can the insurance company convince a judge or jury that the male-bodied person was not being truthful when they claimed their gender identification was female that day. Do you feel lucky?

  22. Neal

    January 15, 2018 @ 2:57 pm

    22

    Expecting society to accept an individual’s *GOOD FAITH* gender self identification does not imply that society must accept a gender self identification made in *BAD FAITH* as philg seems to suggest in this thread. Bad faith gender self identification doesn’t seem to be a big problem currently; I have never even seen such a case reported in the media. Perhaps this is because in today’s society transgender people don’t inhabit a nirvana of lower car insurance rates, they face intense social stigma which most people would avoid if possible.

    Is there some insurmountable difficulty in differentiating between a good faith and bad faith gender self identification. I doubt it; it seems much easier than many other similar problems (e.g. determining if an individual who stepped in front of a slowly moving vehicle did so accidentally or in order to make money by filing an insurance claim).

    Could this become more of a problem as society reduces the stigma associated with transgender people? On the one hand, gender is pretty fundamental to most people’s identity so maybe not. On the other hand, transgender people make up a small fraction of society so even if a small fraction non-transgender people start making bad faith gender self identifications these bad faith claims could make up a significant fraction of all the claims. Should the second case occur this strikes me a second order problem which society would then need to address.

  23. The Practical Conservative

    January 15, 2018 @ 8:34 pm

    23

    I would post links, but I think it would spam-trap my comment, as there’d be quite a few. Even if I limited myself to groups that collect such articles, there’s a lot of those because it’s actually reported in many local news outlets even if the reports are ignored by national outlets.

    I have, myself, never seen this supposed intense social stigma. They get extremely favorable media representation, merely being thought to be “transphobic” can result in unemployment and social ostracism and even physical attacks, and they receive a disproportionate share of health care dollars and medical concessions.

    If I would caveat, I would caveat that all this refers to the subset of transgender people who identify as female, which is 70-80% of the group “transgender people”.

  24. George A.

    January 15, 2018 @ 10:10 pm

    24

    @Neal, you keep saying it is a “fraud” for a male to check the “female” box, but yet you do not address the discrimination policy that the insurance company is apply. And like I said in comment #8, they don’t just stop with gender to set prices — your insurance cost is higher if your address is in a city or poor neighborhood.

  25. Neal

    January 15, 2018 @ 11:54 pm

    25

    “you keep saying it is a “fraud” for a male to check the “female” box”

    That’s not what I’ve said. I’ve said it is fraud for a male bodied person to claim they identify as female only for the purposes of obtaining a lower insurance rate.

    “but yet you do not address the discrimination policy that the insurance company is apply”

    That’s because I don’t see how it is relevant to the points I’ve made in this thread.

  26. The Practical Conservative

    January 16, 2018 @ 12:36 am

    26

    But how would you know they were doing it for that reason? It would be very difficult to prove in the current legal environment around gender expression.

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