Does the Color of Your Car Affect Your Insurance Rates?
Bigfoot, Loch Ness, and red cars all have something in common.
These topics are widely speculated, but are they true?
While we cannot weigh in on the validity of Loch Ness or Bigfoot, we can rely on data to dispel one popular myth: red cars increase insurance rates.
Yes, it is true.
A red car might look devilish and expensive, but in reality, insurance companies do not care what color your car is, and it holds no weight in your premium assessment.
The Origin of the Myth: Theories for Where it All Started
Now that you know the theories are nothing more than myths, the real question is to find out how this myth became so popular. You go to buy a new car, and the dealer tells you that your red beauty might cost more. Your family asks how much more you are paying for that new red truck in insurance, and despite the fact it is a falsehood, many people still believe red cars cost more.
No one knows for sure where the urban legend began, but here are our theories:
Studies Indicate a Link Between Car Color and Crashes
In 2007, one study by Australia’s Monash University examined the link between vehicle colors and crash statistics.
In the study, they identified the lower risk colors and higher risk colors. White was statistically lower risk for accidents, while cars in colors on the low visibility index including black, gray, green, silver, blue, and red, had a higher accident risk.
That same study also concluded that cars in the low visibility color index were associated with more catastrophic accidents. However, researchers also stated that it was likely the conspicuousness of the colors and their impact on safety.
Before this study, another done in 2003 by the University of Auckland in New Zealand found that brown cars were the highest risk for catastrophic accidents, and black and green closely followed. Silver cars, in their study, were the safest.
Perhaps Red is a Popular Color Choice, and There is No Link?
When you look at the big picture of cars and colors, a 2010 DuPont Automotive Systems Global Color Popularity Report says black and silver win, but red comes in at a remarkable 11 percent of vehicles compared to the 21 percent purchased in white, and 18 percent bought in black.
Red is merely a popular color, which may have fueled the myth of higher insurance rates. When you have a vast majority of drivers in red cars, it is likely that a handful of them will have factors that influence higher premiums, which only drives the myth further.
Flashy Colors Often Correlate with Equally Flashy (Expensive) Cars
When you buy an expensive car, you want the world to see it and recognize you inside of it.
Sports cars, convertibles, and coupes are typically purchased in silver, according to Kelley Blue Book. However, 6.9 percent are in bright red, and 5.5 percent are in medium red, and 2.6 percent are purchased in dark red.
However, it could be theorized that a person buys an expensive luxury car or sports car, and the color is red, which means that the type of car increases the insurance premium – not the color. After all, a convertible has more risks than your average minivan, and a sports car with high clock speeds would have a higher risk, but also higher replacement value, increasing insurance premiums.
Car Color Choices Might Correlate with Personalities
Numerous color studies have shown a direct correlation between color and personality – and how color can affect your character.
White, for example, is classic, timeless, and elegant. It is sensible and safe for a car color. A person with a white car is more likely to have a cleaner house too.
Red, on the other hand, is sensual and sexy. A person driving a red car demands attention, and the vehicle itself earns that attention. Those driving red cars most likely have an outgoing, social personality who do not mind being the center of attention.
So, would someone with a red car be more daring? Willing to speed? It may explain why people would assume red cars cost more, but in reality, it is the driver of that red car and their driving history.
Bottom Line: Your Car Color Does Not Affect Insurance Rates
In the end, the only factors influencing your car insurance premiums are the year of the vehicle, make, model, body, whether the car is new or used, how many miles you drive annually, your driving record, and your age. Also, your credit score plays a role in determining your overall risk and could increase or decrease premiums.
However, ask any insurer, and they will tell you too that your car’s color has no role in what premiums you are offered.