Does the Color of My Car Affect My Insurance Rates?

Written by April Weismann on 01/02/2020 05:16 PM in Car Insurance,. Personal Insurance.

Red car

Insurance companies look at many different factors when setting premiums for car insurance.  However, the color of your car isn’t usually a factor. Here’s a look at what actually influences New Hampshire drivers’ premiums.

Are My Car Insurance Rates Affected by the Color of My Car?

Though every insurance company uses different data points when calculating car insurance rates, it would be very surprising if a company weighed such detail with any significance because prices are set using probability and statistics.  There’s generally no conclusive evidence that the color of one's vehicle corresponds with a car’s or driver’s risk.

The color most often associated with risk is red, of course, but the evidence is inconclusive:

  • An Australian study found that red cars were less likely than cars of other colors to get into accidents

  • A French study found that drivers of red cars were more likely to be victims of aggression than be aggressors themselves

  • Traffic ticket statistics show that red cars are ticketed more often, but this may be because a red car or truck is more visible

Given the inconclusive nature of such evidence, insurance companies would typically refrain from factoring color into the rates. In many cases, the company may not even know the color of a car when underwritten for insurance.

Custom Paint Jobs Might Increase Premium

While color usually doesn’t affect premiums, a custom paint job might.

As a custom paint job would increase the fair market value of your car, and the cost to repair the vehicle, then the insurance policy’s comprehensive and collision premiums would be higher. This isn’t because the paint job makes the car more likely to be in an accident, but rather because the custom job has changed the car’s value. 

Be aware however, that coverage for a custom paint job, or any other vehicle customization is not automatic. You have to inform your insurance agent that your vehicle is customization, as well as its cost, to ensure you had the coverage needed after a claim.  This is known as custom parts and equipment coverage. If you don't inform the company, then you would only be entitled to the color and/or parts as manufactured.  

Insurers Consider Your Car’s Value and Safety

With regard to your car itself, the major factors that insurance companies look at are the cost of the vehicle and its safety and theft data. Safety data may include a list of onboard features, crash test results and real-world statistics, among other items.

Theft statistics can come into play because some vehicles are more likely to be stolen than others, with the Honda Civic and Accord coming in at #1 and #2 on the top 10 most frequently stolen vehicles in 2018 according to the Insurance Information Institute.

Though NH is among the states with the lowest number of cars stolen, there were still 869 car thefts in 2018.  

Safety data mostly applies to medical payments, uninsured and under-insured coverage, and liability coverage as a vehicle's safety features can impact the extent of injuries or death that might occur during an accident.

Coincidentally, the many features today that are keeping drivers and passengers safer are also more expensive to repair or replace.  If you consider the rear of a vehicle twenty year-ago, it consisted of a bumper and tail lights.  Today even a minor fender-bender can run into the thousands due to sensors and cameras in addition to the bumper and tail lights.

Insurers Factor in Other Items

In addition to the mentioned factors, other considerations company use when setting premiums may include:

  • Where a vehicle is garaged

  • How a car is used (pleasure, commute, business)

  • Age of driver

  • Driving record and accident history

  • Credit history

Get Car Insurance Quotes in New Hampshire

In sum, color is not one of the many factors insurers look at when setting premiums. Many other things do influence rates, which is why it’s essential to get various insurance quotes when shopping for a car policy. Only with multiple quotes can you see how different insurers assess your vehicle and situation. 

For help getting multiple quotes quickly, contact the independent insurance agents at HPM Insurance. Our agents are well-versed in the nuances of car insurance, and they can help you compare policies from many different insurers in New Hampshire.

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