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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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products, including home, life, auto, and commercial, and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, mainly in the insuranc...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers Insurance CSR 4 Years

UPDATED: Oct 18, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Vehicle type, body style and weight are all used to assign the vehicle a classification code
  • Classification codes are used to calculate the rates for physical damage and liability coverage
  • Vehicle color is not a factor that’s considered when rating a vehicle
  • Having a red car, however, can make you a bigger target for moving violations which can lead to higher rates
  • Other factors used in rating include: driving history, motor vehicle report, usage, driving habits, annual mileage, and zip code

It’s time to debunk all of the auto insurance myths that are circulating around the globe and that are believed to be truths. For years, people have been spreading rumors that buying a red car could result in increased rates. While several different risk factors go into rate calculations, choosing to buy the candy apply model over a vehicle with a white or black coat isn’t going to make any difference in the premiums that you pay. Buying a luxury car or a sports car capable of going 0 to 60 in 3.5 seconds, however, will impact rates.

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There’s a long list rating factors that can drive your rates up or down but the paint color that you choose will never be one of them. If you’d like to learn more about the most common car insurance myths and how rates are actually calculated, read on and learn everything you need to know before you start the car buying process.

Why are there rumors that red cars drive up auto insurance premiums?

A red paint job isn’t going to drive up your insurance costs. In fact, color isn’t used in the rating process at all. Even though this belief is nothing but a myth, surveys show that about 44% of the population of vehicle owners and car buyers believe it to be true.

The perception that color alone plays any role in rates is incorrect, but color could have an indirect effect that some don’t consider.

There’s no real way to pinpoint when or exactly how the red car myth came to be. There’s speculation that some people associated red cars with higher rates because they are hot ticket items and are often classified as luxury vehicles.

This is a common myth, because, in fact, many other factors are more likely to increase your premiums. Insurance companies will surely ask you for your vehicle’s year, make, model, and vehicle identification number.

When calculating your rates, insurers will want to know what kind of car you have to determine what your car is worth. If your car is expensive to repair, your car insurance rates may be higher. They also consider the mileage of your car. The more miles it has, the more likely it is to break down. Older vehicles are more likely to get into an accident which leads to higher insurance rates. Where you live can also affect how much your premium will cost. Age is another factor to consider.

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What vehicle-related factors are used to calculate rates?

Now that you know a red car won’t cost you any more money for insurance than a blue, black, white, yellow or green car, it’s time to learn what insurance underwriters are interested in as they begin to calculate rates. All of the factors that are used affect risk and indicate whether or not the household is likely to file a large claim.

The vehicle-related factors that play a role in rate calculations can either affect your liability rates or your physical damage rates. Here’s a list of what carriers will look at when the company is determining the price of your auto insurance:

  • Vehicle safety rating with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
  • Safety features and equipment installed
  • Engine size
  • Body style and gross vehicle weight
  • Cost to repair
  • Incidence of injury in crashes
  • Likelihood for theft

Can a red paint job indirectly affect the cost of your insurance?

Auto insurance companies might ask you for your vehicle’s odometer reading or your license plate number, but they don’t ask you for the color. This is proof enough that color has no bearing on your rates. Even though companies have found that a paint coating can’t affect risk, there are a few ways that choosing that fire engine red Mustang might affect you in the future.

  • Speeding tickets in red cars

The little factoid that drivers of red cars get ticketed more often than their less-flashy counterparts is a myth, but having a certain type of red car can definitely get you some unwanted attention. Studies show that the Subaru WRX, Pontiac GTO and Scion FR-S are the three most-ticketed cars of today. It just so happens that these cars come in flashy colors and red is the most popular choice among owners. In an indirect sense, having a car that attracts law enforcement’s attention can lead to more infractions and higher rates.

  • Target for theft

Not only can your rates go up because of tickets, they can also go up because of claims. If you have physical damage coverage on your car, just know that many thieves target red cars. It’s not always the color, but the fact that luxury models that are highly desired by thieves often come in red.

What other demographic factors will affect your car insurance rates?

It’s not just the vehicle type or its safety record that will affect your rates. In addition to vehicle-related rating factors, insurers will use demographic factors that are known to indicate if a household will file a claim. All of the factors are used in combination with one another to determine a personalized rate that ensures the company is collecting enough money from the named insured. Here’s a list of rating factors you may have never known existed:

  • Age and driving experience
  • Marital status
  • Garaging territory of the vehicle
  • Mileage for commute
  • Annual mileage
  • Driving activity
  • Driving record
  • Accident history

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What are some other common insurance myths?

Knowing how your insurance is priced is important. Since auto insurance coverage isn’t priced like a consumer good, you should take the time to understand rating processes. Here are some common myths all insurance buyers should know:

  • Property inside the car is covered
  • Credit doesn’t affect insurance
  • You are automatically covered in a rental
  • New cars cost more to insure
  • Full coverage covers everything
  • Filing any claim will raise your rates

If you want to price the cost of insurance for your red car, now is the time to start. You can use an online rate comparison program to get instant quotes that can easily be compared right now. As you enter your information in the quoting form, you’ll notice that it doesn’t ask you about the color of your vehicle at all. Do your quote comparison, research each carrier individually, and then you’ll be ready to choose competitive rates and quality coverage. Compare car insurance rates now by entering your zip code in our FREE tool below!