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Does buying a red car put you at a disadvantage?

You may have heard that red cars are ticketed more often and that owners of red cars are charged higher insurance rates. Different colors can have different effects on human behavior and elicit different emotional responses. Blue is sometimes considered a calming color while green may be thought of as refreshing and is easy on the eyes. Red is the most emotionally intense color. It can evoke passion, strength, speed, and even rage. Note that different colors have different meanings to different cultures, so these descriptions may not hold true globally.

(An aside: you may have seen matadors waving their red capes at a charging bull. A bull can not distinguish red from green, so, the red color may be more for the benefit of the spectators. The bull likely charges because of the motion).

Common wisdom has said that, because of differing reactions to color, police are more prone to notice and ticket red cars. Also, insurance companies charge higher rates for red cars- perhaps because they might think that a person who would choose red is one that would be more aggressive driver.

According to, both these claims are false. They cite a small study showing that red cars did not receive a disproportionate share of attention from the police. This same study did find that the police seemed to cite white cars less than would be expected. According to insurance companies, the rate you pay depends on your driving record, location, and type of car you have. Red is a favorite color for sports cars though, and sports cars generally do cost more to insure.

So, whatever color you choose, I hope your car is not a lemon.

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