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What color car has the highest insurance?

What color car has the highest insurance?

When purchasing a new vehicle, one of the main factors that consumers consider is the cost of insuring that vehicle. Auto insurance rates can vary widely depending on many factors, and the color of the car is one aspect that may affect insurance premiums.

How Color Affects Auto Insurance Rates

Insurers often associate certain colors of vehicles with higher risks on the road. For example, red cars are sometimes considered to be associated with aggressive driving and a higher likelihood of being pulled over for speeding. White or other light colored cars may be at greater risk for theft or vandalism. On the other hand, auto insurers may view silver, gray, black or navy vehicles as lower risk options.

In addition to assumptions about driving habits, the color of the car may correlate with other factors that impact insurance rates. Newer model luxury cars tend to be offered in black, so insurers may associate that color with a higher-risk vehicle. Younger drivers often prefer brighter, flashier colors like red or yellow, so age could be a confounding variable related to color choices. Any correlations are based on general statistical associations rather than an assessment of the individual driver and vehicle.

Most and Least Expensive Colors for Auto Insurance

While the effect of color on auto insurance rates may be modest, industry studies have found some notable trends. An analysis by Insurify looked at over 1.6 million car insurance quotes across the United States to determine which colors had the highest and lowest average insurance rates.

Most Expensive Colors Least Expensive Colors
Orange Green
Red Gold
Gray Blue
Yellow Silver
Black White

On average, orange cars had the most expensive insurance rates, with average annual premiums about $274 higher than the baseline vehicle. Green cars were associated with the lowest average premiums, at around $154 cheaper than baseline vehicles. While not the absolute cheapest or priciest color choices, red, yellow and black were on the more expensive side while blue, silver and white were among the more affordable options.

A study by Nationwide Insurance also found higher premiums for orange vehicles as well as yellow cars. Their analysis indicated the lowest rates for green and blue vehicles. Data from The Zebra, an insurance comparison site, similarly found orange and red to have the highest insurance costs and green and blue to have the lowest.

Why Are Red and Orange Cars More Expensive to Insure?

The consistency with which red vehicles are associated with higher insurance rates across various studies and datasets is notable. So why are red cars often the most expensive to insure?

First, as mentioned previously, insurers may associate the color red with aggressive driving tendencies and a higher incidence of speeding tickets and accidents. Red is an emotionally intense color that reflects excitement. Drivers of red cars may subconsciously feel compelled to drive faster or exhibit more road rage. And police officers may be more likely to notice potential speeders in bright red vehicles.

Secondly, sporty car models are often offered in bold colors like red or orange as accent colors. Sports cars that can reach high speeds are inherently linked to more risky driving behaviors. So red and orange may correlate with expensive vehicles that cost more to insure and repair.

Finally, red is a popular color choice for many drivers. But younger drivers in particular may be more inclined to pick showy red vehicles. Since young drivers represent higher risks due to lack of experience behind the wheel, insurers associate red cars with new drivers.

Do Car Color Statistics Matter for Individual Policies?

It is important for consumers to understand that general statistical correlations between car color and average insurance rates may not directly apply on an individual level. Insurance companies consider many personal and vehicle-specific factors when calculating premiums for a driver and car.

While insurers may apply small discounts or penalties based on vehicle color as one risk factor, other considerations like a person’s age, driving history, credit score, location, mileage, make/model of car and selected coverage levels will have a much greater impact on the final policy rate. The color of the vehicle itself likely accounts for no more than a few percentage points difference in insurance premium costs from baseline.

For example, a teenage male with past tickets driving a red sports car is likely to pay higher rates than a middle-aged woman with a clean driving record in the same red sports car because insurers will assess their risk levels very differently based on the total profile. One consumer claiming that insurers discriminate purely based on owning a red car would fail to account for the many other attributes that feed into the insurance calculation.

So color alone provides limited predictive value for any individual driver’s risk profile. The associations noted in industry rate studies are broad generalizations across huge sample pools of policies. Insurance will still be priced primarily based on the driver. Color may be a relevant variable, but not necessarily a deciding factor. Personal rating factors greatly outweigh any minor correlation between car color and average loss ratios across thousands of policies.

How Insurers Apply Color Factors in Rate Calculations

Insurers rely on immense datasets of policyholder information to develop predictive models of risk factors and pricing. Correlations between car color and average loss ratios emerge from statistical analysis of huge samples of historical claims. Actuaries then determine the relative weights to apply to each rating factor when calculating premiums.

Associations between color and risk likely represent a minor factor accounting for only a small portion of the total premium cost. But when pricing coverage for millions of policyholders, even modest adjustments of a few percent can produce significant profits from a slightly more refined risk model. This explains why auto insurers may pay attention to seemingly small details like vehicle color in their rating methodologies.

Some insurers may apply more sophisticated pricing models that go beyond basic color buckets. For example, they may assess specific shades and hues within a color family as representing higher or lower risk levels based on historical claims data tied to those precise color codes. A bright fire engine red may be rated differently than a darker maroon even if both are considered “red” vehicles.

The vehicle color factor may also interact with other attributes in complex actuarial models. The additional risk associated with a red car may be higher for certain driver categories like youthful males than more experienced policyholders. This can lead to amplifying rate effects for high-risk demographics driving colors statistically associated with greater losses.

How Drivers Can Minimize Color Impact on Rates

Drivers should not choose a car solely based on trying to lower insurance premiums a few dollars each month. Personal preferences for colors and styles should take priority for such a major purchase. But accounting for insurance implications can help tip close color decisions one way or another.

If aiming to minimize rates, lighter neutral colors like white and silver generally represent safe options. More vibrant shades like red or orange may cost slightly more. However, the total difference in insurance premiums between most color options likely amounts to less than $100 annually.

More significant savings can be achieved by:

  • Asking about discounts for low mileage, good students, anti-theft devices, etc.
  • Raising deductibles on comprehensive and collision coverage
  • Comparing quotes across multiple insurers to shop for the best rate

Policyholders may also inquire with agents as to whether the specific shade is classified as a standard or non-standard color by the insurer’s rating plan. Find out if a slightly different variant of the desired color would fall into a lower risk tier. Individual insurers may classify certain hues in distinct ways.

While vehicle color plays only a minor role in insurance pricing, being aware of these general trends can inform purchase selections. But the insurance impact should not override personal color preferences since other factors make a much bigger difference in determining premium costs.

The Bottom Line

Statistical studies have found some correlations between vehicle color and insurance rates. In aggregate data, red and orange cars tend to have slightly higher average premiums, while green and blue have lower costs. But rates ultimately depend on a consumer’s total risk profile more than just the color of the car.

Policy shopping, maintaining a clean driving history and choosing prudent coverage levels and deductibles will make a much greater impact on insurance costs for any particular driver than picking a lower-risk color. While color may be a factor in insurers’ actuarial models, its effect is minor compared to other rating variables. Drivers should choose a color they love rather than a color they think will offer modest potential savings.