Right up there with all the other urban myths are these two: cops give a disproportionate amount of speeding tickets to red cars; and car insurance companies charge more for red cars. While there might be a bit of logic leading to these conclusions, neither is correct.
It’s true that our brains are hard-wired to notice bright colors like red, so you might be tempted to conclude that your red car is a cop magnet. There was one study that examined the relationship between car color and speeding tickets that found red, brown and gray cars were ticketed for frequently for speeding – but gray and brown can hardly be called “hey, officer, look at me” colors. And in case you’re wondering if there are just a whole lot more red cars out there, there aren’t. White is the most popular car color in North America for three years running, according to DuPont Vehicle Paints (as reported in Road & Track, August 2010). And police across the country in survey after survey deny targeting red cars. The reality is that most speeders are nabbed because a color-blind radar or laser gun or speed camera flagged them.
So, one urban myth down, one to go. Car insurance companies use a number of factors to determine your rate (we’ll get to those in a second), but the color of your vehicle isn’t one of them. In fact, unless you volunteer the info or they ask, your car insurance company doesn’t have a clue what color your vehicle is when they’re giving you a car insurance quote. And no, the color of your vehicle cannot be tracked via your VIN; that isn’t a data point VINs collect. This misperception might be credited to the fact that lots of sports cars are red and sports cars typically command a higher insurance premium. Or maybe it’s because young men tend to favor red cars, and young men also pay a higher insurance premium on average (partly because of their statistical propensity toward lead feet).
If you want a red car, go ahead and get a red car. They do tend to have a higher resale value according to some sources. But if you want cheap car insurance quotes, be aware that these are the factors that come into play when insurance companies assign rates:
- Demographic info including your age, gender, marital status and occupation
- Your driving record including moving violations and accident claims
- The type of vehicle you’re insuring
- Your credit rating
- How long you’ve been driving (experience counts)
- Whether or not you use your car for business
- How many miles you drive in a year and whether or not your commute to work
- Whether or not you have a car insurance policy and how long you’ve had it
- Your eligibility for car insurance discounts like multi-policy, multi-vehicle, multi-drive, anti-theft devices, etc.