Does car color affect car insurance? Before you visit the auto lot, let’s dig into the facts to determine whether your insurance will ding you for buying that sporty, bright-colored car.
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Car Color and Auto Insurance Rates
Your auto insurance premium depends on the vehicle you drive, among other factors. However, your auto insurer does not consider your car’s color. It’s easy to understand why some could believe otherwise. For example, many might conclude that an insurer could consider red vehicles speedy and aggressive, leading to more expensive car insurance.
Insurance companies use a car’s 17-number vehicle identification number (VIN) to get information about the car you hope to insure. Each car’s unique VIN reveals many details about a specific vehicle, including whether it’s been in accidents, subject to recalls, or stolen, along with original product details. Your VIN does not include the color. You’ll likely need to call the dealership to find your car’s exact paint color for a repair.
Overall, it’s excellent news for the 79% of people who say color is a crucial factor when deciding on a vehicle purchase, according to an Axalta Global Automotive Color Popularity Report released in 2021. You could choose between a black, grey, or white vehicle, and your rate would not differ. However, auto insurance costs could shift if those vehicles are of different makes and models.
What Factors Can Affect My Car Insurance Rates?
While car color does affect your auto insurance bill, other factors do—some more than others, depending on an insurer’s unique underwriting standards.
Vehicle make, model, body type, engine size, age, and safety features can affect auto insurance rates. In addition, the insurer may consider how much you paid and how much it costs to fix the vehicle if it’s damaged or stolen.
So, you could pay more for insurance for an expensive red sports car with a big engine. The reason is not due to color, however. The cost increase occurs because the insurance company determines the car to be one that is at a higher risk of theft. Therefore, you may need specialized insurance for some extremely high-end or luxury autos.
The insurance company also sets rates based on the risk characteristics of each driver. Your accidents, tickets, claims, and unsafe driving behaviors can quickly raise your rates. Your insurer becomes concerned your dangerous driving and risk-taking behaviors could lead to more accidents and payouts.
Rates can depend on your age, gender, and credit history. In some states, insurers can not consider your gender or credit history. In all states, insurers can not use your race or religion to determine rates.
Where you live, drive, and park your car influences insurance rates. If you live where autos are frequently stolen or damaged, you could experience increased rates—for this reason, city drivers often pay more to insure a vehicle, whether a green sedan or red truck. You might pay more for insurance if you rack up many miles on daily drives between work and home.
Insurers may offer different rates and discounts for the same driver and auto, so shop around. Your coverage and deductibles influence insurance rates. Insurance rates increase when you carry comprehensive or collision insurance to repair your car. But having bare-minimum coverage can leave you financially bad if you cause an accident. Your insurance covers expenses if you total your car or seriously injure someone, only up to the point of liability.
The Exception: When Color Does Matter
While your car color does not make your insurance more expensive as you drive it off the lot, getting a new paint job can raise your insurance rates. That’s because you may want to add what’s called “custom parts and equipment” insurance to your policy.
This coverage repairs and replaces your alterations or anything the vehicle’s manufacturer did not install. You could add a shiny new red paint job, a high-quality sound system, or custom, flashy wheels. This insurance covers repairs and replacement for any edits you’ve made to your car.
Over the years, many studies have tried to determine whether car color can impact your likelihood of an accident or a ticket—which could also raise your rates. The results produced mixed evidence.
Some researchers say that silver cars reduce crash risk compared to white cars. But another study found that light-colored vehicles are more visible in daylight in good weather, reducing risk. One study noted that red, grey, and brown cars were more likely to receive speeding tickets, while another found that “brightly colored” vehicles were more likely to get ticketed at lower speeds.
Perhaps these mixed results led to insurers deciding not to raise rates based on car color—at least for now.