New York, NY – 4AutoInsuranceQuote.com recently released a study that shows that African Americans illegally pay more for auto insurance. The NY-based website, which helps its clients get the best rates on auto insurance, set out to find out if insurance for black people is truly more expensive, or if it is just a myth.
As it is explained in the study, 4AutoInsuranceQuote.com interviewed hundreds of people on the streets of New York City about their insurance rates. In order to keep the data as basic as possible, the company only spoke with men who owned one vehicle, and who were the only ones listed on their policies.
The sample size was made up of 600 residents of Manhattan. Two hundred people from three ethnic groups were interviewed: African American, Asian (which included Indians and South Asians), and Caucasians.
The results were startling. While the Asian drivers reported paying an average of $1,945 and the Caucasians around $2,193 a year for auto insurance, the African American male drivers reported that their annual premiums cost about $2,910. The highest annual expense for the entire group was reported by a black man, who said he pays a whopping $4,800 a year to insure his classic Cadillac.
But why is this the case? Why do black people end up paying so much more money to insure their vehicles? According to James Shaffer, CEO of 4AutoInsuranceQuote.com, as with everything else, insurance companies must use cold hard facts to determine risk. Further research uncovered some reasons that may explain why African Americans often pay so much more for their premiums.
“Auto insurance companies take a look at how dangerous the area you live in is when determining your auto insurance rates,” Shaffer noted, adding that the more dangerous a neighborhood is, the more money its residents will generally have to pay on auto insurance.
“This is because dangerous neighborhoods have a strong correlation with car theft, vandalism, auto insurance fraud. Unfortunately for black people, neighborhoods with high African-American population also tend to have high crime rates.”
Another key reason that African Americans pay more for their car insurance relates to their credit scores. These are often used to determine how much people should pay for their insurance rates. Studies indicate that blacks tend to have much lower credit scores than many Asians and Caucasians.
Specifically, Shaffer said that 84% of black households carry credit card debt, compared to 54% of white households. In addition, he said that 51% of blacks admit that they do not pay their bills on time, as opposed to 26% for the rest of Americans. These two factors can negatively impact a credit score.
Another main reason that may explain why blacks often end up paying more for their car insurance is that African Americans were found to be much less likely to get and stay married. Married drivers will pay less than single people, Shaffer noted.
At the end of the study, 4AutoInsuranceQuote.com concluded that while insurance companies have been scrutinized for racial discrimination—for example, in 2006, GEICO was sued for allegedly charging blacks higher rates for car insurance because they use education and employment status to determine rates—in general, insurance companies do not use race itself as a factor for determining cost.