Do Red Cars Really Cost More to Insure?
There’s good news for those who can’t resist the allure of a fire engine red ride. Contrary to this popular insurance myth, red cars don’t cost more to insure when all other insurance variables are equal. The colour of your car doesn’t directly impact the price you pay for auto insurance. However, there is some evidence that the hue of a vehicle’s paint job may relate to other factors that raise insurance rates, like the type of car someone drives and their number of accident claims.
Flashy colours like red are typically associated with sports cars and other luxury vehicles, which are generally more expensive to insure than standard economy vehicles. However, while it’s easy to conjure up the stereotypical image of a red convertible speeding through the streets, red isn’t the most popular colour for high-end and high-performance vehicles.
PPG’s Global Automotive Color Popularity 2020 report found that in North America, 2020 model red sports cars trail behind black, white, grey and blue in popularity at 14%. Red luxury vehicles come in 6th place, after their metallic white, grey, black, blue and silver counterparts, making up just 6% of new luxury vehicles. This data suggests that red sports cars are about 6% more popular than red automobiles of any other vehicle class. Still, this difference certainly isn’t enough to charge all owners of red vehicles more for insurance.
Regardless of colour: more expensive cars are costlier to repair or replace due to rare parts, valuable materials and more complex electronic components, which require more highly skilled labour and calibration techniques. Therefore, if expensive sports cars are slightly more likely to be red, this could account for a slight correlation between insurance prices and colour, even though the colour isn’t the cause of higher auto policy premiums.
There’s some evidence that colour may have an impact on vehicle visibility and safety. Research conducted by the Monash University Accident Research Centre found that certain vehicle colours face a higher risk of collisions due to being lower on the visibility spectrum in various light conditions. These colours are:
In contrast, the study concluded that white was the vehicle colour with the highest visibility. In 2021, Kelly Blue Book reported that based on these findings: yellow, orange, and gold were also among the safest tones due to their visibility ranking and rarer colours being more likely to stand out to other drivers.
It’s possible that cars painted lower visibility colours, including red, could be involved in more collisions, resulting in higher premiums. However, the cause of the insurance rate increase would be due to accident history, not colour.
If auto insurance companies were to raise coverage prices based on vehicle colour alone, much more research would need to be conducted. Many insurers don’t even ask their clients about a vehicle’s colour during the quoting process. Even if they do, you can rest assured that make and model are the key vehicle characteristics that factor into calculating insurance premiums.
Even though colour doesn’t impact your insurance rates, your vehicle’s age, make, and model will. Some cars are associated with higher accident risks, while some vehicles are more attractive to car thieves. Older cars can be cheaper to insure if you decide to skip collision coverage. Still, newer cars with more advanced safety features and high safety ratings can help you get a discount on your auto policy.
Insurers also look at records detailing the average costs to repair specific vehicles and the amount of damage they typically inflict upon other automobiles in an accident. For more information, check out the top 10 cheapest cars to insure in Ontario and vehicles with the best safety ratings.
Besides what you drive, here are the other factors your insurance company will use to calculate how much you pay for your coverage:
- A driver’s age, gender and level of experience: While older, more experienced drivers tend to pay less for insurance, younger male drivers are statistically more likely to make mistakes on the road or engage in risky driving behaviours.
- While experience is important, experience with a poor driving record won’t help lower those auto insurance premiums. A driving history free of past claims for at-fault accidents, criminal driving convictions and traffic violations will go a long way towards saving you money on insurance.
- Whether you have secondary drivers named on your policy and their calculated level of risk, for example, adding your partner with a long, safe driving record, will cost less than adding your newly-licensed teenager.
- How frequently and how far you drive, including commuting distance: The more time you spend on the road, the greater your vehicle’s wear and the higher the risk of an accident.
- Your address: The region, city, and even neighbourhood you live in can impact your vehicle’s risk of being damaged or stolen. If you live in an area with busy streets, high crime rates, or a history of frequent claims, your rates will be higher than if you lived in a neighbourhood without these risk factors.
Finally, the insurance policy and provider you choose will impact how much you pay for auto insurance as well. Insurers offer different discounts that you may be able to take advantage of, for example, loyalty incentives or special rates when you bundle your home and auto insurance policies.
In conclusion, when it comes to protecting your ride, the safety of your vehicle, its cost to replace, and a proven track record of safe driving are the most critical factors determining the affordability of your insurance. While it’s loosely correlated with certain types of vehicles and visibility, the shade you choose is primarily an aesthetic decision that won’t impact your insurance rates.
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