February 8, 2018
- HB0657 Written Testimony | Support
- House Bill 0657 – Motor Vehicle Insurance – Discrimination in Underwriting and Rating – Use of Marital Status or Gender
- Economic Matters Committee
- Thank you for this opportunity to submit written testimony concerning an important priority of the Woman’s Democratic Club of Montgomery County (WDC) for the 2018 legislative session. WDC is one of the largest and most active Democratic Clubs in our County with more than 600 politically active women and men, including many elected officials.
WDC urges the passage of HB0657. This bill prohibits an insurer of a private passenger motor vehicle from increasing premiums or refusing to provide insurance based on the marital status or gender of the insured or insurance applicant.
The current unfair insurance practice of charging women drivers more, regardless of safe driving records, costs women drivers hundreds of dollars each year. An affordable vehicle is critical to enabling most working families to access quality jobs, childcare, after-school programs and educational opportunities.
Yet automobile insurance is increasingly expensive in Maryland and prohibitively expensive for low-income households, many of which are headed by women. A 2015 survey found that 45 percent of low-income individuals enrolled in a program for low-cost cars had financially burdensome insurance premiums.
In 2016, Maryland had the ninth most expensive auto insurance rates in the country. A primary reason for this is the use of non-driving related factors, of which gender is the most heavily weighted factor, on average. A recent study by the Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition found that the largest disparity in private vehicle insurance pricing was found in the combined impact of marital status and gender. The average increase in pricing for a single woman was 24 percent and the average increase for a widowed woman was 27 percent.
It is time to take the high road and end this discriminatory practice that unfairly penalizes women.
We ask for your support for HB0657 and strongly urge a favorable Committee report.