How Car Color Affects Insurance Rates

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Is your red car really going to cost you?

Like most people, you’ve probably heard before that insuring a red car is more expensive than if it were another color. This is stated as fact with the explanation that police officers perceive red cars speeding and breaking other rules of the road more often, resulting in more tickets. But is that really the case?

According to many insurance companies, including Allstate, Progressive, and Farmers Insurance red cars don’t cost more to insure. They point out that when you register a vehicle for coverage, you simply provide the VIN. From that, the insurance carrier determines the make, model, and trim for the vehicle, not the color of the paint.

Back in the day, you had to take your new car to your insurance agent for a visual inspection. Perhaps back then insurance providers did charge more if you had a flashy paint job, for example red or yellow. But today the claim across the industry is that isn’t so.

Calculating your insurance rate is a complex process and most providers don’t like to tell you exactly how they do it, so for most people it’s mysterious. Factors we know affect the rate include how powerful your car is, how expensive collision repairs for your vehicle are, safety equipment included on your ride, the age of your car, your driving history, your demographic information, your credit history, where you live, and how much you drive your car. The formulas the different insurance providers use vary, which is why you can get quotes from several and they’re substantially different.

Here’s the rub: even though we just said having a red car won’t increase your car insurance rate, some paint choices might. If you’ve ever bought a new car or even used an online configuration tool, you know some premium colors add to the cost of a vehicle. If the car is in a crash, the insurance provider will have to pay out more for damage to the paint. If the insurance company does determine your vehicle has special paint, it could increase your monthly rate slightly.

This is especially true when insuring a collectible vehicle. Certain colors like Plumb Crazy for Mopars are highly sought-after. While most insurance carriers might not care about paint color, the fact you paid a premium for your ride because of the rare color could in turn make your new ride more expensive to insure based simply on its value. This could happen with a classic or a modern ride. Admittedly, it’s not a common situation but since we deal with enthusiasts and collectors who go out of their way to acquire rare vehicles, you might find yourself paying more for insurance because of the color of your car.

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