Yes, the colour of your car affects your insurance premium

Less visible cars have a higher chance of being in an accident, says insurance company

19 April 2021 - 16:17 By TimesLIVE
Apart from white, gold and yellow are the safest car colours due to their visibility.
Apart from white, gold and yellow are the safest car colours due to their visibility.
Image: Denis Droppa

“Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants, so long as it is black.”

Times have certainly changed since Henry Ford made his famous statement back in 1909, and today the most popular car colour on SA’s roads is - you guessed it - white. About 45% of the cars financed in SA are white, with silver coming in second at nearly 25%.

But while brighter colours, like pink and gold, may affect your ability to resell the car, does the colour of your car affect your insurance premium?

According to King Price Insurance’s Wynand van Vuuren, colour does affect your premium – but not for the reason you think.

“You don’t get charged extra for driving a candy-apple-green car, or for how common the colour is. It’s all about how visible your car is on the road, and how that affects your chances of being in an accident,” says Van Vuuren.

In other words, navy, black and darker vehicles are slightly more expensive to insure, because they’re harder to see on the road, and therefore have a statistically higher chance of being in an accident.

“Our claims history has shown that ‘less visible’ cars have a higher chance of being in an accident. A charcoal or black vehicle will have a higher chance of being written off, and that gets priced into your premium,” says Van Vuuren.

By the same token, white and light-coloured cars attract lower premiums, as they have the best visibility. Your premium may be affected by up to 10%, depending on the colour of your car. Metallic paints can also attract an extra premium, as they are more expensive to repair in the case of an accident.

Van Vuuren’s advice is backed up by a 2007 study by Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) in Australia, which found that white is considered the safest car colour, while black is the most dangerous.

The study assessed the relationship between vehicle colour and crash risk through the analysis of real crash outcomes described in mass crash data reported to police in two Australian states.

The research concluded that the darker the vehicle, the less visible it is when compared to the background, and the more dangerous it is. In addition to white, gold and yellow were also safe car colours.

The factors that insurers look at when calculating your premium include: the make and model of the car you drive, where you park your car during the day and at night, your driving experience and claims history, and the visibility of the car on the roads.

Good news for owners of darker cars is that the colour of your car isn’t a factor when it comes to theft and hijackings. Here, it’s purely the make and model the thieves are after, says Van Vuuren.


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