The Red Car Myth--Why Car Color Does Not Hurt Your Auto Insurance Rates
If you own a car, you may have heard of the red car myth. This myth states that red cars cause your auto insurance rates to increase. There are a number of factors that insurance companies consider when deciding auto insurance rates. None of these are the color of the car. That’s right, owning a red car instead of a white car won’t increase your auto insurance rates, despite what some may say. Today, we’ll look into where this strange myth came from. We’ll also take a look at studies regarding how red affects a car’s risk of collision.
There is no clear origin of the red car myth but it seems to stem from a few misconceptions about red cars. Red cars have earned a reputation of being more likely to get ticketed than other cars. This is because the color red is often associated with flashy sports cars. It’s also because the color red catches your eye much easier than the color white. Thus, the red car myth was born. But, it is simply that–a myth. In fact, owning a red car won’t have any effect on your auto insurance rates. Instead, things such as where you live, your age, and other factors will cause your auto insurance rates to either go up or down.
Monash University–2007 Study Results
Now that we’ve established insurance companies don’t take your car color into consideration when determining your rates, we’ll shift focus. Our focus will now go to a study on how car colors affect collisions. In 2007, Australia’s Monash University conducted a thorough study. The study discusses how things such as car color and time of day affect the risk of collision. The reason this study is key to the red car myth is simple. It concludes that car color does alter the risk of collision.
However, red was far from the only color said to be more likely to be in a crash than a white car. For instance: “Of the statistically significant results for daylight hours, black, grey and silver vehicles were estimated to have the highest crash risks relative to white of 12%, 11% and 10% higher respectively”.
The study also makes this important note about the study results: “One key limitation in interpreting the results of this study relates to the definition and interpretation of the vehicle color classifications. Obviously, vehicle colors cover an almost infinite spectrum of hues and saturations. Due to pragmatic requirements, vehicle registers are forced to record these into a fixed number of discrete classifications. Consequently, there will be significant variation in the tomes of color classified within each of the 17 color groupings used for this study.
For example, blue can range from a shade close to black up to almost silver. The visibility index across this range and hence possibly the associated crash risk could vary significantly within the one color classification. To be borne in mind when interpreting the results is that they represent the average risk across all color variations within the defined category of vehicle color.”
What It Means
Colors have many different shades so these conclusions cover a broad spectrum. It’s not as simple as “white cars good, red cars bad”. In other words, don’t take this study as specifically meaning that drivers behind the wheel of a brightly colored car are guaranteed more likely to be in a car crash as opposed to those in a white car.
This point was even more strongly reinforced by this quote from the study: “The colors that tend to be associated with higher crash risk are generally those lower on the visibility index such as black, blue, grey, green, red, and silver. Although black, grey, and silver appear to have the highest relative crash risk compared to white, statistically it is not possible to give a firm ranking of risk due to the level of statistical uncertainty in the estimated risks”.
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