Common Car Insurance Myths Debunked

Factors like the color of your car and the number of parking tickets you get won’t affect your car insurance rates. Read these car insurance myths and facts to learn what's actually true.
Written by Jacoba Bood
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Contrary to popular belief, factors like the color of your car and the number of parking tickets you get won’t affect your car insurance rates.
It’s important to know how to separate fact from fiction when you’re shopping for car insurance. Different states have different rules and regulations around
car insurance
, which can also muddy the waters.
Knowing what affects your car insurance rates—and what doesn’t—will help you find the policy that is the best fit for you. To help you along,
licensed broker
and app
is debunking five of the top car insurance myths.
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Car insurance myths and facts

Car insurance myths might seem harmless, but they could negatively impact your ability to get the most out of your car insurance policy. Since car insurance is such a popular discussion topic, it’s easy for misinformation to spread.
Here are the five most common car insurance myths and facts.

1. The color of your car affects your insurance rate

Not true! Insurance companies do not take the color of your car into account when determining your insurance rates.
There is a common assumption that
red cars are more expenisve to insure
and get pulled over more often. Likewise, people often assume that purchasing a vehicle in a flashy color might hurt their insurance rates.
The truth is that insurance companies will take the make and model of your car into accountnot the paint color.
Insurance companies typically use the vehicle identification number (VIN) to get information like the make, manufacturing year, and engine type of your car. The VIN does not provide information on the color of the car, so your insurer may not even know what color your car is.
There is a notable exception here: You might pay higher insurance rates if your car is custom painted. Custom paint will often add value to a vehicle—and will cost more to replace. For this reason, insurance companies might charge more to cover it.
Key Takeaway The color of your car doesn’t affect your insurance rates unless you get a custom paint job that increases the car’s value.

2. Car insurance covers rental cars

Let's be clear about this one: if you're renting a car, your regular auto insurance policy will likely extend to you while you're driving the rental car. That means you can often skip the collision damage waiver offered by the rental company when you pick up the car (but check our guide to
rental car insurance
for some caveats!).
But if your car goes in for repairs after a claim, your car insurance won’t cover the cost of a rental vehicle unless you have rental reimbursement insurance.
Even if you have full
comprehensive insurance
collision insurance
, car insurance companies won’t pony up to pay for the cost unless you have specific coverage for it.
Many car insurance providers offer
rental reimbursement coverage
to help cover rental car costs, but you’ll have to purchase it as a separate policy add-on.
This coverage provides limited compensation for rental cars—and maybe other forms of alternate transportation—while your vehicle is in the shop. It only applies when you make an insurance claim, so you can’t use it if you take your car in for standard repairs.
Key Takeaway If you want coverage for a rental vehicle while your car is being repaired after a claim, you’ll need to purchase rental reimbursement coverage.

3. Parking tickets will make my insurance rate go up

Not true! Most minor violations will increase your insurance rates, but parking tickets are not one of them.
Generally speaking, insurance companies factor in traffic tickets when calculating your rates—but they only count moving violations like speeding,
distracted driving
, or a
. Parking tickets are parking violations, so insurance companies don’t take them into account.

4. You should opt for minimum coverage

This one is entirely up to you and depends on how much coverage you want. Every state sets its own minimum insurance requirements—but the mandatory coverage will always be limited. Any costs beyond your limits will be yours to bear out of pocket.
This is why it’s important to understand your state minimums before you buy. If your state requires you to carry $15,000 in
property damage liability
, but there was $30,000 of property damage in an accident, you could end up paying the other $15,000 out of pocket.
Purchasing comprehensive and collision insurance is the only way to protect your car—and both are optional upgrades. The minimum
liability insurance
that most states require only covers the cost of damages for the other party. Liability insurance won’t cover your own damages if you cause an accident.
A few states may require you to carry additional coverage like
personal injury protection (PIP)
that will help cover any medical expenses—but not property damage.
Key Takeaway Minimum insurance leaves gaping holes in your coverage, such as damage to your car and property damage.

5. Car insurance premiums are negotiable

Insurance rates aren’t negotiable, but they may be adjustable. Different providers use different formulas to calculate your rates, which means your insurance quotes could vary significantly from company to company.
While insurance companies won’t adjust your rates to match the competition, you might be able to alter your premiums by adding applicable discounts to your coverage.
The most foolproof way to get a reasonable price on your insurance is to shop around for the best rates. If you start with a good base rate, you’ll get even more out of any discounts that apply. Unfortunately, anyone who has ever filled out forms to get
car insurance quotes online
knows just how tedious the comparison shopping process can be—and this is where Jerry comes in.
Once you download
, you’ll answer a handful of questions that will take you roughly 45 seconds to complete and you’ll immediately get car insurance quotes for coverage similar to your current plan. Jerry customers save an average of $800+ a year!
Key Takeaway Insurance rates aren’t negotiable. Shopping around is the best way to get a good rate, and you might qualify for discounts to help bring your premium down further.
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What will actually affect my insurance rate?

Your insurance rates depend on both the regulations in your state and the specific formula used by your provider. But there are some common variables that most insurance companies take into account when calculating your premium.
Here are some factors that are likely to affect your rates.

Your location

Insurance companies take factors like regional weather, crime rates, and the quality of the roads into account when calculating your premiums—and some locations are considered riskier than others.
If you live in a rural area with poorly maintained road access, you could end up paying more for your insurance. The same goes for urban dwellers who live in traffic-heavy locales where accidents are more likely to happen.

Your age

Generally speaking, younger drivers pay more for their insurance than mature drivers. Drivers under 25 are more likely to be involved in an accident, and therefore insurance companies consider them higher risk.
As you get older, you can expect your insurance rates to decrease until at least middle age, when they might begin to rise again (depending on your provider).

Your driving record

The less spotless your driving record, the more likely you are to be considered a risky driver—and pay a higher price for your insurance premiums.
Many providers offer first-time
accident forgiveness
programs, but you’ll have to wait for several years to pass before violations are overlooked. Some major violations, like DUIs, come with sharp insurance increases. Minor moving violations like speeding tickets won’t affect your rates as dramatically.

How often you drive

Spending time behind the wheel increases your risk of getting in an accident, and many insurance companies will take this into account.
Pay-per-mile providers like
determine your rates based primarily on how much you drive. Standard insurance companies won’t put as much weight on how frequently your car is used but will still factor it into your rates.

Your vehicle

The year, model, and make of the car you drive can affect the cost of your premiums, and some vehicles are cheaper to insure than others.
There are plenty of variables that come into play here, but the safety rating of your car is usually an important consideration. Sportier, high-performance models are also likely to come with higher insurance rates because they are considered more likely to attract risky driving.

Your credit rating

In many states, insurance companies charge you more for your premiums if you have a low credit score. Notable exceptions include California, Hawaii, and Massachusetts, where insurance companies are not allowed to take your credit score into account.

How to find cheap insurance

car insurance
myths aside, your insurance rates can vary significantly from provider to provider.
is the trusted insurance shopping app that will help you find the best rates fast. When you use Jerry to shop for insurance, you can easily compare your rates across providers without having to fill out endless online forms.
It’s this simple: Download the Jerry app and answer a few questions that will take you less than 45 seconds. Jerry collects your information from your existing insurer and presents you with competitive quotes drawn from as many as 55 top-rated insurance companies. Choose the one you like and let Jerry take care of the rest—securing your new policy, canceling your old one.
This level of service is why Jerry earned a 4.7/5 rating on the App Store and made it the top insurance app in the country.
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