Red cars do not cost more to insure, contrary to popular belief. Insurance companies calculate rates based on risk factors, such as living in an area with car thieves, insuring young drivers, or the number of accidents you’ve claimed in the past. Color is not a factor in this.
When it comes to finance myths and urban legends, few are as resilient as the rumor about red cars. Most people claim that red cars cost more to insure than any other car color. It’s true that red is a flashy hue, but could it really cost you more month to month?
If you are like many people, you might have assumed that the color of your car could cause problems. Thankfully, the truth is that you may have less to worry about than you’d expect. Let’s talk about this common belief and what the truth behind it really is.
Do red cars cost more to insure?
Car insurance rates are based on many factors, but having a red vehicle is not one of them. The color of your car will not affect car insurance because, legally, it can’t. There aren’t enough statistics to prove that car coloration is a reliable measure of risk.
Why do people think insurance companies hate red cars?
The common myth behind red cars is that they cost more to insure because they are painted in a bright color. The brightness of red paint brings attention to the vehicle, which could lead to police pulling the car over. Though the car’s color did not directly result in a traffic violation, this connection between red cars and increased traffic tickets likely formed in people’s minds and perpetuated this myth.
In fact, a 2003 study found that most cars involved in crashes that cause serious injury or damage weren’t red. Rather, researchers found risks were raised in brown, black, and green cars instead.
Why does the red car myth stick seem so common?
The myth is popular because of a lot of common stereotypes. Most people assume that young drivers and flashy people tend to pick red cars from the dealership. To a point, it makes sense. Red is a very youthful color and tends to attract attention.
Incidentally, younger drivers and people who like to “flash cash” are also more likely to deal with traffic violations and reckless driving. People sometimes forget that insurers look at driving records to determine premiums and tend to assume that the color of the car had something to do with the high rates.
Should you switch auto insurance carriers?
This depends on the situation you’re in. Many insurers offer a discount for people who stay with them for several years. However, it’s always smart to see if you are paying a higher premium than you need to be.
When in doubt, it’s generally best to shop around. You can start with our tool below, which allows you to compare car insurance rates based on whether the vehicle is a rental, the different features offered, and any discounts available. None of these rates change, however, based on the color of your car alone.
Factors that influence your car insurance premiums
Want to avoid higher premiums when you buy your next vehicle? Make sure to keep an eye out for these contributing factors.
- Make and model. The type of car you have will be a huge factor in premiums. Certain types of cars are more prone to accidents, thefts, or high-cost repairs. Cars that are reliable and affordable tend to have lower premiums. For instance, a new Tesla will be more expensive to insure than a used Honda.
- Model year. Your car’s model year will make a big difference, too. Older cars tend to have fewer safety features, which tends to make them more likely to cause serious injury in an accident.
- Location. Drivers tend to face different risks on the road, depending on where they live and work. Some areas are notorious for accidents, which can also increase the price of insurance. Moreover, being in a state that allows for at-fault accidents can also change your premiums.
- Driving history. For insurance companies, the best indicator of whether you’ll be a difficult client is your driving history. Having lots of at-fault accidents or speeding tickets can increase your insurance rate.
- Marital status. Married drivers tend to pay lower premiums.
- Safety features. Certain safety features, such as antitheft devices or car cameras, can help reduce premiums.
- Annual mileage/drive times. High annual mileages will cause your quote to balloon. The same can be said of having a commute that runs during rush hour.
- Coverage. Full coverage policies will always cost more, and the same can be said for adding auto insurance add-ons like theft insurance or specialty travel insurance.
What do auto insurance companies want to see in a client?
The general thing that insurance agents want to see is that you’re a safe driver who pays their premiums on a regular basis. The best rates are saved for people who tend to have markers of financial stability, such as a lower debt-to-income ratio or additional liens on other property or vehicles.
How to get cheaper auto insurance rates
Most car insurance companies make a point of offering tons of discounts. These methods below can help you get better rates:
- Add new safety equipment. Some companies will offer to slash your monthly rates if you install a camera or tracker in your car.
- Brush up your credit. Credit scores that are higher often result in discounts. Some brands, such as State Farm, also give students a discount as long as they are A+ students.
- Bundle your insurance. If you have multiple vehicles insured under the same insurance company, you can usually get a discount on each car’s rates. This is true for almost all insurers, even USAA. Most other companies also have special bundling perks for home and auto insurance.
- Pay your insurance upfront. You can save a fair amount of money (over time) by paying for your insurance policy upfront rather than doing a monthly bill.
- Talk to your insurance agent. Every company has its own discount policies, and it makes sense to ask what options are available to you. Many insurance reviews will also detail special discounts you may qualify for, such as a veteran discount.
Does car color affect insurance rates?
Legally, car color cannot affect your auto insurance rates. There is not enough data to back up the idea that color can impact the risk level of a specific vehicle. So, you can feel free to get whatever shade you want.
Why do insurance companies ask about your car’s color?
Insurers ask about the color of your car because it is an identifying feature of your car. Your insurance company needs to know what it looks like in the event of a theft or accident where an insurance adjuster needs to look at the scene of the crime.
Does car color affect price?
If you were worried about paying extra at the dealership for the color of your new car, don’t be. A general rule of thumb is that standard colors will not impact the cost of a new car. However, it’s worth noting that your car’s color can impact resale value.
If your car was painted an unusual, custom color, then it may be more expensive because it’s above the standard paint setup. On a similar note, in-demand colors like grey and beige tend to have higher resale values because there’s more of a demand for them.
Why do some car colors cost more?
If you have a car that was given a custom paint job, then the price of your car’s color is due to high-end paint and the labor cost associated with it. If the car was painted with a limited-edition paint color and was a luxury model, then the paint color makes it more valuable to car collectors.
However, these two issues are rarely ever the case. Demand is the main reason why some colors are more expensive than others at a typical dealership.
- Red cars do not cost more to insure than other cars. The rumor that insurance rates go up due to the color of a car is just that: a rumor.
- Auto insurance tends to be calculated by risk factors like your driving record, your marital status, your educational attainment, as well as whether you have filed a claim in recent years.
- The best way to get discounts is to live a financially stable life and discuss the matter with an insurance agent.
- Every company that offers insurance will have different rates available to you, so shop around to get the best possible rates for your car.
View Article Sources
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- FAQs About Auto Insurance — North Carolina Department of Insurance
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- USAA Auto Insurance — SuperMoney