Contrary to urban legend, the color of your car won’t raise your insurance rates – but there are many other things that will.
- Car color has no direct effect on insurance rates
- The driver’s age, history, and credit score determine the rate
- There are many ways to lower your auto insurance rate
There are many factors that have an effect on your car’s insurance rate. One that comes up in conversation quite often is color. “If I buy a red car, will my rate go up?” “If I buy a white car, is that a safer bet?” Analysts have looked at this issue over the years and the answer they have come to is – generally, no.
There are, however, many other factors that can have a significant impact on your car’s insurance rate, and it’s worth keeping them in mind when buying or repairing your automobile.
Color is still important
Color isn’t the top priority for insurers when they look at your vehicle. For many, it’s not even a question on the application. But it can play an indirect role in setting your rate. Here are a few of the color-related factors insurers may consider.
- High demand. If your car’s color is very popular that year, the car may cost more, which can raise your rates.
- Potential for theft. While there are varying reports of which car color (silver, black, white…) is most likely to be victimized by theft, bright colors like red are actually less likely to be stolen, as flashy paint tints are far more noticeable to law enforcement. A bland white or beige car will more easily blend into the crowd, which makes it a safer target for thieves.
- Resale value. On the other side of the color coin, bright colors tend to hold their value better than their more bland counterparts. In 2022, the top three performers that had the least depreciation over three years were yellow, orange, and purple. And, again, the more valuable your can, generally the higher your insurance rates.
- Custom paint jobs. A custom paint job is more expensive to repair or replace. Be sure to let any potential insurers know if you have one as that will definitely affect your rates.
All that being said, color is pretty low on the list of reasons your insurance rates may increase. Here are some other issues to keep in mind.
If your teenager is beyond excited to get their license, you might want to wait a while to tell them what they’ll end up paying for insurance. The youngest and oldest drivers have much higher rates than those in the middle. Teenagers can pay as much as three times more compared to drivers in their mid-30s and four times more than motorists in their mid-50s.
As drivers age, their rates begin to dip. At 25, they typically pay 33% less than when they started. After that, every birthday should bring lower rates, with the best rates coming in their 50s. Once drivers hit 60, however, rates start climbing again and will eventually settle where they were in their 40s.
A clean driving record is key to having a low insurance rate. You may think that a speeding ticket or other moving infraction doesn’t matter once you’ve paid the fine, but your insurance company would disagree. The more traffic infractions on your record, the more likely insurers will classify you as a high-risk driver.
Your first speeding ticket can increase your rate by an average of 15% over three years. Tickets stay on your record for 3-5 years depending on your state. Whenever you break a traffic law, your license accrues points. The more points, the higher your insurance rate.
Make and model
Insurance companies set their rates in part based on how often your car’s make and model shows up in liability insurance claims. If you happen to own a type of car whose drivers frequently file claims, insurance companies will see it as a greater risk and charge more to cover it.
That said, not all cars of the same model have the same valuation. Body style and trim level also play a part.
- Body style is a detailed description of the car’s shape and size, number of doors, and the particulars of its transmission, engine, and drivetrain. The 2020 Honda Civic, for instance, has coupe, sedan, and hatchback body styles, and all three would be insured at different rates.
- Trim levels are variations of equipment and styling on the car. Trim levels are commonly broken down into standard, sport, and luxury. Each model has its own names for types of trim within those levels. That same 2020 Honda Civic has LX, EX, EX-L, Sport, Touring, and Sport Touring trims. And, you guessed it, they may be insured at different rates.
Insurers also look at a model’s safety features. Any additional bells and whistles, such as backup cameras, collision warning, or driver-assisted safety measures, will typically lower your rates.
The more you drive, the more likely you are statistically to get into an accident. Therefore, the higher your annual mileage, the greater risk you are to insurance companies, and the higher your rates could go. Every insurer has a different scale for calculating risk based on mileage, but driving fewer than 5,000 miles per year usually gets you lower rates, while 15,000 miles or above tends to get you higher rates.
It’s worth noting that most insurance companies don’t consider mileage a huge factor in their calculations. Due to the pandemic, Americans drove 14% less in 2020 than the year before and still they only saved about 6.2% on their rates.
Your credit score
Unlike mileage, your credit score can have a significant impact on your auto insurance rate. In fact, poor credit can make your rates skyrocket by as much as 72%. The exact effect on your rate varies by state and insurance company. Depending on the details, your credit score can as much as double or drop by a quarter.
But it’s not a one-to-one ratio of score to rate. Insurers filter your credit report through an algorithm that gives them your “insurance score,” which calculates your level of risk. It also depends on where you live. California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Washington don’t allow insurance companies to use credit reports when they set rates. On the other hand, in Arizona, Texas, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Minnesota, and New York, a bad credit report can more than double your rate.
There are ways to lower your rate
Even though there are many factors that have the potential to raise your auto insurance rates, there are also ways to keep them down. If you drive safely, buy pre-owned vehicles, make an effort to raise your credit score, and shop around for insurance quotes, you can save money on car insurance.
Another piece of good news – you don’t have to do it alone. The team at NICRIS Insurance will help you find the best rate available. Get in touch today for a free, personalized review of your options.