Different coloured parked cars

Car Colour – It matters more than you may think

by Andrew Segal 15th August 2016

Black or white? Red or blue? When it comes to choosing the colour of your car, it’s only your personal preference that matters, right? Not necessarily. Picking the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ colour could potentially affect the sell-on value and your individual safety.

Although it’s not a key factor when car shopping, at least in comparison to engine size and fuel type, we all prefer to be driving around in a car whose colour reflects our personality. But if you knew more about the impact your colour choice may have, would that persuade you to change your mind?

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Sell-on value

When the time comes to sell your car, the amount you get for it could either increase or decrease depending on the colour. Philip Nothard, CEO of the Black Book which looks at car resale prices, says that the ‘wrong’ colour on the ‘wrong’ car can affect its potential sell-on value. He gives the example of a £20K BMW, where a positive or negative swing of £500 in what you may get for it is affected by colour choice. Popular colours such as black or silver are likely to keep the price higher than if you opt for more pastel colours. This may be different when selling a car such as a VW Beetle or Mini, where brighter colours are viewed more favourably (and for Ferraris and Lamborghinis if you’re fortunate enough to have one to sell!).

Safety

The other difference colour may have is on the likelihood of you being in an accident. Various studies over the years have looked at the correlation between car colour and accident rates. And I’m afraid it’s bad news if you own a black car as they almost always come out on top of the crash index. In fact, one particular study concluded that you’re nearly 50% more likely to be involved in an accident if you drive a black car. In contrast, white, gold and yellow are deemed to be the safest.
Now this is not an exact science, but research using police data of over 850,000 accidents covering a 20-year period suggests that some shades are more visible on the road than others. This explains why black vehicles top the crash list as they’re harder to spot and don’t always stand out against the road or background scenery.

In comparison to white cars for example, black cars were up to 12% more likely to be involved in an accident during daylight hours, with this number increasing dramatically to 47% at dawn and dusk. The visibility of grey, silver, red and blue cars can also be poor.

Insurance Costs

Taking all of the above into account, you may be slightly concerned that your insurance premiums could increase should you decide to buy a more ‘accident-prone’ car colour. However, whilst factors such as age of driver and car engine size are integral for insurance companies when setting premiums, car colour isn’t one of them as the statistics aren’t reliable enough as things currently stand. However, it’s not outside the realms of possibility that car colour will become an underwriting consideration in years to come, so watch this space!