Can car color affect insurance?

Car color affecting car insurance rates is just an urban legend. While some colors may stand out to local police more increasing your risk of being pulled over, your auto insurance rates don't factor in car color. Your rates are affected by many factors, including your credit score and driving record.

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A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Sep 13, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Car color affecting car insurance premiums is an urban legend
  • Another myth about car insurance is that your state-required minimum insurance will give you enough coverage
  • While many people believe the urban legend that new cars get stolen more than older cars, when in reality, the opposite is the truth

No, the color of your car does not affect your car insurance rates. This is one of those urban legends that, for some reason, has stayed within the minds of the public over the years.

To be clear, red cars, neon-yellow cars, zebra-striped cars, and cars with skulls and lightning bolts adorned on their hoods cost no more than a conservative grey or tan colored vehicle.

There are many urban legends or myths out about car insurance and what one should be truly looking at when he is about to purchase a new or used vehicle. Some are relatively harmless. Generally, it won’t hurt you if you don’t get a car in your favorite color. If you want to get the lowest rates on your auto insurance rate, any misinformation takes up space and could prevent you from saving money on your annual premiums.

In terms of color, insurance typically won’t cover a custom paint job if you get in an accident. They’ll paint it back to the original color, and you’d have to pay for any custom work to be redone. If you want insurance coverage for things like custom paint jobs, parts, etc., you should talk to your insurance agent now.

Online car insurance quotes are just a click away – enter your ZIP code right now!

Car insurance is a challenging task in and of itself (especially if you don’t use our helpful comparison tools on this site), but let’s dispel some rumors and mistruths you may have heard.

Am I fully covered with minimum state coverage?

Minimum state coverages aren’t meant to cover your car. Some states require drivers to carry a small amount of personal injury protection to cover medical bills. Generally, it’s focused on liability coverage to protect anybody who might be injured or lose property due to your negligence while driving.

All licensed drivers should carry liability coverage. Keep in mind, if you cause more damage than you have coverage for, you could be held personally liable for the remainder. So it’s best to talk to an insurance agent about the right amount of liability coverage to keep you safe on the road.

If you want full coverage, you would need to look into collision and comprehensive coverage. Some states also prefer drivers to have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage for damages caused by hit and runs, uninsured drivers, and those with minimal liability coverage in a larger accident. Below is a list of some state’s minimum car insurance policy requirements:

  • California 15/30/5
  • Colorado 25/50/15
  • Illinois 20/40/15
  • Indiana 25/50/10
  • Maryland 20/40/10
  • Massachusetts 20/40/5
  • Michigan 20/40/10
  • Missouri 25/50/10
  • New York 25/50/10
  • North Carolina 30/60/25
  • North Dakota 25/50/25
  • Ohio 12.5/25/7.5
  • Pennsylvania 15/30/5
  • Rhode Island 25/50/25
  • South Carolina 25/50/25

As you can see the requirements are all over the map. To understand what these numbers mean let’s take California’s minimum car insurance standards of 15/30/5.

What 15/30/5 means is if you are in a car wreck caused by your driving or lack of attention, each person who was injured in this unfortunate vehicular incident would be able to get up to $15,000 with the amount of $30,000 put aside for the entire accident.

What this means is if 3 individuals require $10,000 in medical treatment each, using this example, your policy would cover them all.

But if their injuries were more severe and required more medical attention where now each of the 3 injured accident victims requires $20,000 in hospital costs, the person who filed his/her car insurance claim first would be able to get first crack at the $30,000. As you can imagine, this coverage doesn’t go very far. Even an economic Corolla could cost more than $15,000 to replace if it was a total loss.

This type of situation will put your personal finances through the ringer. Now that your coverage is not enough for the other victims of the accident, they have the right to sue you directly for the remaining amount of their medical bills.

If you take into account that an average three-day hospital stay in the US costs about $30,000, you can easily see how, in this example, using California’s minimum car insurance requirement, coverage would be used up pretty quickly in serious accidents involving lengthy hospital stays.

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What does no-fault mean for car insurance?

No fault coverage is based in state law in states like Utah. Essentially, after an accident, insurance companies are expected to pay their insured based on the coverage they carry. If you were not at fault, you might pay your deductible up front, but you wouldn’t be waiting on someone else’s insurance unless you had liability-only coverage.

No fault insurance does not relinquish you from blame if you were at fault in an accident; it simply allows you to seek medical attention and get your car fixed without having to wait for the insurance company to determine who was truly at fault for the car accident. Insurance companies are expected to settle the differences between themselves. If you were not at fault, your insurance company would return your deductible after the fact.

If you are found to be at fault for a car accident, most likely your premiums will go up. The full impact would depend on your driving habits, driving history, and other factors. Typically, the first accident on record has the biggest impact on your insurance costs. But if you have multiple accidents, your insurance costs will keep rising.

Do used cars get stolen less?

If you have a huge concern on what to buy – a new or used car – in regards to what has a better chance of getting stolen, you may be surprised with these results: In 2015, The National Insurance Crime Bureau released its top 10 stolen vehicles of 2014:

  1. 1996 Honda Accord
  2. 1998 Honda Civic
  3. 1999 Chevrolet Pickup (full-size)
  4. 2006 Ford Pickup (full-size)
  5. 1991 Toyota Camry
  6. 2004 Dodge Pickup (full-size)
  7. 2000 Dodge Caravan
  8. 2000 Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee
  9. 2004 Toyota Corolla
  10. 1997 Nissan Altima

You can see that no cars on that list were new vehicles. Why would this be the case? Well, for many thieves it is not necessarily the car on the whole they want, but the ability to sell parts of the car to shops.

When stealing a new car the demand for parts won’t be as great because there are not as many of those vehicles on the road because they are being purchased as the year goes on.

Some newer cars also have more anti-theft features built in to protect them. For many would be car thieves, it’s just not worth the hassle.

To get a better understanding of what car insurance truly covers, you need to compare the car insurance rates of top companies in your area by typing in your ZIP code at the bottom of the page!

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