Car crashes are getting more serious with an increase in fatalities in the past few years. Data from the National Safety Council indicates a 6% increase in motor-vehicle deaths in 2016, and $432 billion to cover the costs of motor-vehicle deaths, injuries, and property damage — 12% more than the previous year.
With that sobering stat in mind, it’s important to get the right car insurance coverage and to steer clear of common misconceptions about what can impact your rates. So here’s a course on what’s fact vs fiction.
#1 Fact or Fiction: Red cars cost more to insure
You’ve probably heard the rumor that a red car costs more to insure than other colors. It’s a popular myth, but your car’s color is not a factor in determining your insurance premium. In fact, your insurer most likely doesn’t even know the color of the car you’re driving.
What does drive up the price of your premium is your driving record, as well as your car’s make, model, engine, body type and safety features. So you can expect to pay more for a high-performance red sports car than a red sedan.
#2 Fact or Fiction: Your age affects your car insurance rate
If you’re going through a midlife crisis and need to roll up in that Maserati, the good news is you might get to pay less because of your age. Insurance premiums decrease once you’re 55 with a good driving record.
“Premiums go down as more mature drivers have more experience behind the wheel, resulting in the number of crashes decreasing,” says Loretta Worters of the Insurance Information Institute.
On the other hand, the highest-paying age groups are those age 16 to 20 year, then 21 to 24. And rates continue to drop until you’re 70.
#3 Fact or Fiction: Your car’s age affects your premium
With new vs. used, it depends on the type of car you’re looking to insure. A new car could cost less to insure because of its advanced safety features. But a pre-owned vehicle with a lower MSRP could be less expensive to insure because it costs less to repair. That said, if either of those cars are on the list of cars that thieves love to steal, then your premiums could still be higher. Some of the most popular cars among car thieves include Honda Accords and Civics, pickup trucks from Ford and Chevrolet, and Toyota Camrys.
#4 Fact or Fiction: Men are better drivers and pay less for car insurance
Women have long been picked on for being worse drivers than men. But the facts say otherwise. It turns out women are generally safer, less aggressive drivers than men. So while women have more minor fender benders, men have more serious accidents and get more speeding tickets — which means women pay less for car insurance.
Down the line, that could change, says Worters. “For now if you’re a woman, you’re still in luck. But there are more women drivers on the road than there were 20 or 30 years ago and these younger drivers are exhibiting behaviors conducive to accidents like texting and driving. So it’s starting to change,” says Worters.
#5 Fact or Fiction: The smaller the car, the smaller your insurance bill
Compact vehicles are riskier because they can be made with lower-quality materials and likely to take on more extensive damage in a collision. And just by sheer force and weight, smaller cars can be more heavily damaged when impacted with a larger car.
Considering a compact car that’s a top safety pick can be one way to save. Volkswagen Jettas, Toyota Corollas, Mazda3s, and Honda Civics are among some of the top picks for safety from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration.
Other ways to save on car insurance? Shop around for at least three quotes, the average cost of insurance in US is $866 a year, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Build up your credit score, and don’t be so fast and furious on the road.