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Does Car Color Affect My Insurance Rates?

Auto insurers don't consider the color of a car when determining an auto insurance rate. During the underwriting process, your auto insurer will consider insurance rating factors such as your vehicle's retail price, engine size, the average price of repairs as well as information about you, such as your age, credit rating, years of driving experience and driving record.

There are rare instances when your automobile's color may have a nominal effect on your rates. For instance, your vehicle's value may increase due to a custom paint job that increases its value.

Does Car Color Affect Insurance?

Your automobile's color doesn't directly affect your car insurance rates, whether your auto is red, black, silver, or any other color. Car insurance companies don't even include a question about your vehicle's color on your auto insurance application.

Auto insurers ask about your car's vehicle identification number to complete the underwriting process. The VIN doesn't include data about your vehicle's color; this ID only tells insurers information about your car's manufacturer, trim and warranty details.

There are rare instances when your automobile's color may have a nominal effect on your rates.

Auto insurers use other rating variables to set car insurance premiums instead of your vehicle's color. These factors include your car's retail price, engine size, average repair costs, safety record and chance of being stolen. So will you need to find a discounted car insurance policy based on your car's color? It's highly unlikely.

Do Red Cars Cost More to Insure?

Nearly half of all drivers believe that red cars are more expensive to insure than others, but this isn't true. Car insurance rates for red vehicles are comparable to automobiles of other colors.

Some people believe that bright, flashy vehicles, like red and yellow, are more likely to be pulled over by police, but there is no statistical data to back this claim.

According to a 2021 Global Automotive Popularity Report, the three most popular colors are:

Top Car Colors

  • White (35%); 21% Solid White/14% Peal White

  • Black (19%); 3% Solid Black /16% Effect Black

  • Gray (19%)

As you can see from the most popular colors listed above, most people want to be understated in the colors they choose for their rides. So it makes sense that silver and blue are the next two most popular colors of choice for cars. Many factors play into why someone picks a certain car color. While certain trends and even gender are correlated with certain colors of cars today, the overall majority of drivers want a color that doesn't pop! However, if you think back to the 1950s, both men and women drove candy-color cars, so preferences change over time.

Should I Avoid Any Specific Car Color?

Although your car's color doesn't directly impact your auto insurance premiums, Monash University conducted a research study that found certain vehicle colors had a better safety track record than other cars.

Nearly half of all drivers believe that red cars are more expensive to insure than others, but this isn't true.

For instance, white cars are 12% less likely to get into an accident than black vehicles, regardless of the time of day.

What Factors Can Affect My Car Insurance Rates?

  • Location – Your car insurance company uses your parking address to set your auto premiums. You may pay higher rates if you live in a high-population area, because accidents and car-theft claims may be more likely. Living in a metropolitan area will also increase your car insurance rates compared to rural places, where there are fewer car accidents.

  • Age – Younger and elderly drivers pay the highest rates. Auto insurers charge younger people higher rates because statistics show they are likely to be inexperienced and get into auto accidents. Auto rates drop by 20% when these drivers turn 25 years old. Drivers ages 30 to 69 are less likely to get into crashes, so auto insurance rates don't fluctuate much until drivers become senior citizens. Three states prohibit car insurance companies from using a driver's age to set rates: California, Hawaii and Massachusetts.

  • Gender – Many states allow car insurance companies to use gender as a rating factor, because crash statistics differ between male and female drivers, especially in the earliest years. The IIHS shows men drive more miles than women and engage in riskier behaviors. When men and women enter their 30s, auto insurance rates even out, and men even pay slightly lower rates. As men and women age, car insurance premiums for men rise again. Several states prohibit car insurers from using gender to set auto insurance rates: California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

  • Marital status – Married couples are safer drivers than their single counterparts (including those who are divorced or widowed). A National Institute of Health study showed that single drivers are more likely to be in crashes than their single counterparts. Auto insurers charge 5 to 15% lower car insurance rates to married couples because they are less active and safer drivers. Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan and Montana don't allow insurers to use marital status to set rates.

  • Driving experience – Auto insurers see inexperienced, novice drivers as a higher risk. Teenagers, the largest category of inexperienced drivers are teenagers, also pay the highest rates. Drivers pay lower rates and receive car insurance discounts when they have driving experience and a clean driving record.

  • Driving record – Another thing auto insurers analyze when setting your rates is your driving record. Individuals who have a clean driving record are eligible for better rates and a safe driver's discount. Drivers who have traffic infractions, like a speeding ticket, on their record may experience rates hikes as high as 20 to 40%.

  • Claims – Car insurers also research how many auto insurance claims you've made in recent years. For example, an at-fault claim can result in a rate increase, while a comprehensive claim may not cause a spike. The number of claims that drivers file also matters. For instance, your rates may increase if you have had three or more claims within a short period. When this occurs, your auto insurer may decide to not renew your policy.

  • Credit score – Your credit rating may also affect your auto insurance premiums since statistics show people with lower credit scores (under 600) are more likely to file claims, file inflated claims or commit insurance fraud. Individuals with poor credit scores also have a higher chance of missing payments. Four states prohibit the use of credit scores to set auto insurance premiums: California, Hawaii, Massachusetts and Michigan.

  • Previous insurance coverage – Car insurance companies have learned that people who don't have lapses in their auto insurance coverage are less likely to get into accidents and file claims.

  • Vehicle type – Your vehicle's type can affect your rates. Auto insurers track accident, claims, repair costs and theft data by vehicle type. Your auto insurer will also consider your vehicle's ticket price.

  • Vehicle use – Auto insurers consider how much you drive your car and the reasons you drive your vehicle. Your car insurer will charge lower rates if you only use your vehicle for personal use, instead of school or work comments, since accidents increase during daylight hours.

  • Annual Mileage – The fewer miles you drive, the less likely you'll be involved in an accident. Your car insurer will charge you lower premium rates if you drive fewer miles.

  • Coverages and deductibles – Your car insurance coverage can also affect your premiums. For instance, you'll pay less for a liability-only policy versus full coverage car insurance. Your auto insurance rates will also decrease if you have a higher deductible versus a lower one.

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Car Color and Insurance FAQs

When does car color matter when it comes to insurance?

Customizing your car paint can lead to increased auto insurance rates because it adds to the value of the car but it will only be a nominal amount.

Do red cars cost more to insure?

Nearly half of all drivers believe that red cars are more expensive to insure than others, but this isn't true. Car insurance rates for red vehicles are comparable to automobiles of other colors. Similarly, there is no statistical data proving that bright, flashy vehicles, like red and yellow, are more likely to be pulled over by police.

Do certain car colors get pulled over more than others?

White, gray and silver cars get pulled over the most. If you're wondering why, it may simply be that there are more white and gray cars around than most other colors. Silver comes in a close third. However, there are just as many black cars on the road as there are gray ones, so the data leaves us wondering if black cars avoid getting pulled over more than other cars!

Get Affordable Car Insurance for Your Vehicle

Your vehicle's color doesn't directly affect your auto insurance premium. During the underwriting process, your auto insurer considers other insurance rating factors such as your vehicle's retail price, engine size, and the average price of repairs. Additional factors include your age, gender, annual mileage rates, vehicle use, coverages and deductibles.

Car insurance doesn't have to be expensive. If you're unhappy with your current carrier, SmartFinancial can help you find better coverage at more affordable rates. Enter your zip below and answer a few questions to get free car insurance quotes from auto insurers in your area.

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