Does the color of a car affect auto insurance premiums?

Written by Ryan Lowell on March 31, 2011 & Posted in Insurance

Insurance is colorblind so drive a car in the color you desire.

Dear Ryan,

I am shopping for a new car, and really like a bright-red one. My friend told me to buy it in white, because it cost more to insure a red car. Is that true? Does one color cost more than another for insurance?

Donna W. Toledo, Ohio

Hi Donna,

The answer to your question is "yes and no."

It is an urban legend that auto insurance companies charge more for red cars than other colors because red cars get more tickets. If you get more tickets, your rates will probably go up regardless of what color your car is!

When your auto insurance company asks you what color your car is, they simply want to identify it more accurately and will not change your premiums.

Custom paint, however, is the exception to the rule. If you have your car painted a non-factory color, or painted using a special paint process, you will have to tell your insurance company. Your agent will list the special paint on the policy, and increase your premiums for comprehensive and collision coverage to reflect the increased cost of repairing your vehicle.

Spending $8000 on a custom paint job may bring you a lot of pride in your ride, but failing to document the value of the paint job with your insurance company could result in you paying the difference in cost between a standard paint job and your custom paint for any repair. In addition, insurance companies often limit their coverage on custom paint, as well as other modifications, so you may not be fully covered. Ask your agent what the coverage limits are so you won't be disappointed or surprised at the time of a loss.

As long as you are selecting between factory colors on your car, there is no effect on your insurance cost. Buy the red one!

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