How Does Your Vehicle Affect Your Car Insurance?

how your vehicle affects your car insurance rate

Car insurance can feel complicated sometimes, from what it covers to why we end up paying what we do. That’s why we’re here to break down at least one of these great car insurance unknowns: does the car you drive affect what you pay for car insurance. Keep reading to see what details about your car are considered by auto insurance companies.

How fancy is your car?

Many people already know that the make and model of their car affect their insurance rate. For instance, if you drive a fancy Italian sports car, your rate will likely be higher than your sedan-owning neighbor. Why? Your two-door sports car most likely will need special parts and replacements if it’s ever in need of repairs. They’ll likely be more difficult to acquire and fewer auto shops can perform the repairs you may need, since your car might need help from a specialty mechanic experienced with your car’s make. Cars like your neighbor’s sedan are usually easier to repair and their parts are much more readily available, which means they’ll be paying less for their plan.

Your car’s birthday is important.

The older your vehicle is, the harder it will likely be to find replacement parts. And when we say old, we don’t necessarily mean ten years (although that can be the case sometimes), but rather very old — think cars twenty-five years or older, or vintage cars. On the flip side, the cost of replacing a newer car is higher than replacing an older one that has lost value — simply because newer cars cost more money. This will make the Comprehensive and Collision Coverages for a newer car higher.

How safe is your car?

Your car’s safety rating can factor into how much you’ll pay for car insurance (depending on your provider). Most insurance carriers only rate on basic safety features like airbags and seatbelts. Extra safety features like collision warning systems, backup cameras, and hands-free calling systems can help keep you and other drivers safer on the road, but  most carriers don’t take these features into account.

At Elephant, we use Carfax reports to evaluate your car’s safety (and to make our ratings even more accurate). How does it work? Carfax uses your VIN (vehicle identification number) to pull all kinds of information about your car. Believe it or not, every single digit in a VIN means something about your car. If you know how to read it correctly, you can find out information like which plant your car was manufactured in, all the way to what number it was in the assembly line the day it was made.

Bigger is (sometimes) better.

While we’re on the subject of safety, did you know that larger vehicles are typically considered safer? It may seem counterintuitive, but if you have a large car with a decent safety rating, your premium will likely be lower than if you had a smaller car with the same (or similar) safety rating. But again, there’s a catch: the size of your car’s engine could also affect your rate. Why? Larger engines are more expensive and cost more to replace or repair—which makes them more expensive to insure. For example, a car with a V8 engine will likely cost more to insure than a small car with a V4 engine.

What color is your car?

Now before you start thinking to yourself “Oh yeah, I know red cars are way pricier to insure because they get pulled over more,” let’s pump the brakes. The color of your car has no bearing on your insurance premium. On its own, it’s not a factor that your insurance provider will use when determining how much your policy will cost.

The color of your car can have an indirect effect on your insurance premium, though. One way it can make a difference is supply and demand. Take a look at the most popular car colors in North America from a 2019 study by Axalta:

  • White 29%
  • Black 19%
  • Gray 17%
  • Silver 11%
  • Blue 10%
  • Red 9%
  • Brown/Beige 2%
  • Green 1%
  • Yellow/Gold 1%
  • Others 1%

So, if the majority of car drivers wants a white car, that raises the demand for them and thereby raises the value of them — i.e. they may become slightly more expensive than the same models in a different color. And whenever your car is a little more expensive, it also often means it’s a little more expensive to insure.

So, what color holds the number one spot for being pulled over most often? You probably guessed it — white cars. It’s simply because there are so many more white cars on the road! That’s really all there is to it. And, of course, if you are pulled over and ticketed, that will have direct effect on your premium cost.

Tastes change over the years, of course, so white probably won’t stay on top forever. It has, however, been the most popular color for nine consecutive years without indication that it’ll change any time soon. So, hang in there white car owners, your dream of being less popular may not come for a bit.

Another way car color will affect your premium is if you’ve sprung for a custom paint job. If the paint on your car was particularly expensive to have done, or the type of paint itself was more expensive, your premium rate will likely go up if you want that paint job covered by your insurance.

Lots of things can affect how much you pay for car insurance, but what type of vehicle you drive is one of the bigger ones. When in doubt, affordable cars with good safety ratings will almost always mean a better rate for your insurance. Quote with us to see how you can save when insuring your vehicles—whatever color they are!

This article is intended for informational purposes only. It does not replace or modify the information contained in your insurance policy, and may not reflect the official policies of Elephant Insurance or current developments.

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