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UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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In addition to a person’s driving history, auto insurance companies assess numerous factors when determining the cost of premiums. A driver’s age, gender, credit score and marital status all affect the cost of insurance. Similarly, the type of car a person drives also plays a large role in setting the price of premiums. One common rumor among drivers is that a vehicle’s color affects the cost of insurance premiums. Fortunately, this is not true; the insurance company does not charge more for red or any other color of car.
Why Rates Vary Between Vehicles
One car on its own isn’t necessarily any more likely to be in an accident than any other car. After all, collisions are caused by drivers, not cars. Nevertheless, there is a strong statistical correlation between certain types of vehicles and certain kinds of drivers. High-risk drivers are more likely to be attracted to certain models, and some kinds of cars are statistically more likely to be involved in accidents due to this factor.
For example, high-performance sports cars cost more to insure than minivans. This is due in part to the fact that drivers buy these vehicles to show off, and may be tempted to drive them in a risky manner. They might speed, cut off other drivers or take hairpin turns. While the high-performance vehicle may be designed to handle this kind of stress, the driver may not be experienced enough to maintain control, leading to an accident.
Additionally, some cars are more expensive to repair or replace due to the cost of labor and materials. Luxury vehicles and foreign-made autos cost more to insure because they are pricier to repair. Certain cars are also more prone to being stolen than others. For example, at least one in 10 Corvettes has been stolen every year since they were first released. Cars that are attractive to thieves will cost more to insure.
Finally, vehicles with high safety ratings often cost less to insure, which is a primary reason why minivans and family-sized sedans are often cheapest to insure.
Does Color Matter to Your Insurance Company?
Although there is a popular rumor that red cars get more tickets or are involved in more accidents, there is no clear statistical link to back this up. Drivers of red Corvettes are no more likely to wreck them than black or grey Corvettes, and red cars aren’t any more likely to be stolen unless there is some temporary, specific demand for a certain color. There is also no clear evidence that red catches the attention of more police officers, although few official studies have been done in that regard.
It’s more likely that red is a color often associated with sports cars. White, grey and blue are more common colors among passenger vehicles than red is, and when people envision sports cars they often think of them in red. This is due perhaps to media influence or the general connotation of red as being a “sexy” or “dangerous” color. So while it may be true on the whole that more red cars are involved in accidents than other colors, it’s only because more red cars happen to be sports cars.
When Color Does Matter
When you purchase car insurance, the insurance company will ask about the vehicle’s year, make, model, VIN and color. Of these, only the year, make and model are actually used to determine the cost of your premiums. The others are collected as a way to identify your vehicle if it’s stolen or involved in a collision. It also differentiates between two similar vehicles on a policy so that the insurance company knows what car is involved in a claim.
The only occasion where paint color will affect the price of premiums is if you have a custom paint job on your car. If the vehicle is painted in a one-of-a-kind rare color or pattern that will be difficult for a body shop to match, the insurance company may charge more or simply refuse to cover the cost of paint.
If you do own or plan to own a custom-painted vehicle, it’s a good idea to check with your insurance company first to see if there’s anything you need to do to protect your paint job. Otherwise, you may be stuck paying the cost of repainting the car out of your pocket if you’re ever involved in an accident.
For most people, however, a vehicle’s paint color has no impact whatsoever on the cost of car insurance. You can get a car in your favorite color without having to worry about your rates increasing. If you want, you can even paint a safe, reliable minivan in sporty red to get the best of both worlds.