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myth: red cars cost more to insure

Whether you drive a candy-apple red roadster or a blue minivan, you've probably heard from someone (who also heard it from someone) that red cars cost more to insure. We're here to tell you that isn't true.

While the color of your car can reflect your personal taste, it will not have a direct impact on your car insurance rate. Here's why.

The origin of the myth

It's hard to pinpoint how this urban legend came into being. Some argue that red cars are more likely to be ticketed because of their arresting, bright color. After all, police officers are more likely to notice a vermillion hotrod cruising down the highway than a sedate white sedan. Others point out that because red cars have historically been associated with sports cars, Speed Racers, and higher accident rates, car insurers now penalize all red-car lovers everywhere due to statistical "facts."

The truth about car color

Color psychologists and chromotherapists would argue that color has an effect on mood, behavior, and health. And some point out that certain car colors are more conspicuous than others, making them more noticeable and therefore safer in low-light situations.

However, because very few scientific studies have focused on the relationship between car color and crash risk, conjectures about car color remain just that: conjectures. To date, no conclusive study has been done in the U.S. to prove or disprove any suppositions about car color and its effect on safety.

In 2007, Monash University in Australia investigated the relationship between car color and crash risk (PDF). They found that, statistically, white cars had the lowest crash risk while cars with colors low on the visibility index, such as black, blue, gray, green, red, and silver, were associated with a higher accident risk. They also concluded that cars with lower-visibility colors were associated with higher risks of more severe accidents.

This study suggests that car color has an impact on safety due to conspicuousness. However, it only suggests the association rather than proves it. In actuality, the study deduced that light conditions and vehicle type had more of a direct impact on crash risk than car color.

Factors car insurance companies consider when determining rates

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Car insurance companies do not determine premiums based on car color. Rather, insurers look at your driving history, your claims history, your credit history (in some states), and the make, model, and year of your car to assign rates.

So if you're thinking of buying that hot new convertible in ruby or a maroon minivan, rest assured, your car insurance rate will not affected by your aesthetic choice. To qualify for the best car insurance rates, be a safer driver, own a safe, reliable vehicle, and look for car insurance discounts.

Myth busted. If you're a knowledge seeker, visit our big library of debunked car insurance myths.

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