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How the colour of your car makes a difference

Thursday, October 08, 2020

Colours. Everyone’s got a favourite. When it comes to cars in South Africa, the majority of people prefer white. So much so that in 2019, white cars counted for more than the second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth most popular car colour sales combined. Personally, we prefer orange and blue, but that’s just us.

Does the colour of your car really make a difference? Are red cars more expensive to insure? Do black cars make you look cooler? Does having a yellow car mean you have a sunny personality? Join us as we answer these and other questions.

How colour affects your car insurance

There’s a lot of confusion around whether your car’s colour affects your car insurance in South Africa. We’re here to tell you – it does.

There are two aspects to colour that we look at when we give a car insurance quote. The first is how expensive it would be to respray should the vehicle be involved in an accident, and the second is what its visibility is like on the road.

You might mistakenly believe red is the most expensive colour to cover. It’s actually any colour which is uncommon or has an unusual effect in it, like pearlescent champagne or metallic blue. These colours require a greater degree of expertise to mix and match correctly, which leads to a higher cost to repaint. This in turn leads to higher premiums. So, while that sleek, matte green car turns heads, it will turn your wallet on its head if you scratch it.

Conversely, the cheapest colour to insure is white, which could explain why South Africans love the colour so much. This is because it’s the easiest colour to match when doing repairs.

Some colours go one step further. In addition to giving a car some personality, they are engineered to offer features such as being scratch resistant and dirt resistant. These fancy-coloured cars will cost you more to insure.

Some colour cars are also easier to see than others. Those with less visibility (dark colours like grey and silver) are more likely to cause an accident than those with high visibility (white and bright colours like orange). So, it seems white is the winner on all fronts when it comes to choosing a car colour that’s good for your insurance premiums.

How colour affects the temperature

The exterior colour of your car has a major effect on how hot or cold the car will be inside. This is because of two reasons.

The first is thermodynamics. We’re not going to get too technical here. We’ll just say that certain colours absorb light and certain colours reflect it. Black absorbs all parts of the visible spectrum, while white and silver reflect light. The light that the colour black absorbs is then converted into heat, making the inside of the car hotter. Conversely, white and silver cars reflect light and therefore don’t generate as much heat.

The second is that the chassis of the car is made of metal, which is an excellent conductor of heat. So if your car is black, it’s going to be doubly hot in the summertime.

The colour inside your car is also important. The same principle applies – dark colours will make the interior hotter while light colours will help to cool it down. Of course, even more, important is the material used inside the car – leather conducts heat much better than cloth – but that’s a discussion for another day.

How colour affects how others see you

Now it’s time to have a little fun. There are theories out there that the colour of your car says a lot about you. Whether or not you believe these, it’s still fun to imagine that this is how strangers see you in the traffic because of the colour of your car. Here’s the meaning behind your choice of car colour:


Purity and freshness – that’s the look most South Africans are going for apparently. White cars are for the young and young at heart, as well as people who take pride in their vehicles and the way they look. White suits every make and model available, so getting a white car guarantees you’ll have a car that looks great.

Of course, your white car could also mean you live in a hot climate and you prefer your insurance premiums to be lower.


Black cars are about showing the world your status and power. They are the ultimate classy colour and look particularly good on sedans and high-end vehicles. Having said that, it tells people you’re sophisticated without trying too hard.

Or did you maybe just buy a black car because you live in a colder part of the country?


The same colour as most appliances and the precious metal, silver cars say that an owner is in-tune with modern styling and upscale taste. The colour is also often associated with futuristic tech, which means a person who drives a silver car probably loves their gadgets.

It’s also great at hiding dirt, so if you own a silver vehicle, it could show you’re a person who doesn’t like the hassle of cleaning their car.


A practical colour, grey says you’re serious, mature, and dignified. It’s not a showy colour. For people who own grey cars, colours are just that – nothing more, nothing less. What the car looks like on the outside is less important than what’s under the hood and how reliable it is.

It’s also highly possible that you bought a grey car because that’s all that was available at the time, but what do we know?


There are many different shades of yellow, but they all tell the world you’re a joyful person. The brighter the colour, the happier you are. The darker the colour (and the more into gold territory you get), the more you imply you know your own self-worth. Gold is one of the world’s most precious metals, and if you’re driving around in a car of the same colour, it says a lot about what you think of yourself.

It’s either that, or your yellow/gold car is actually just a really dirty, unwashed white.


If you’re driving around in a green car it means you don’t care what anyone thinks of you. Green cars aren’t even in the top 10 most sold colour car in the country, which means you like to go against the trends and just do your thing.

It might also mean you’re totally oblivious to the idea of trends and what’s hot, unaware of what the cool kids are driving, and settling for a car that’s in your favourite colour.


Red is one of the most instantly noticeable colours, so there’s little doubt that if you drive a red car, you’re looking for attention. There’s nothing wrong with that – if you have a beautiful racy looking car, why not show it off?

Or perhaps you just like to pretend you’re driving that Ferrari you’ve dreamed of – just until the day comes when you actually get it.


There’s blue and then there’s blue. Your run-of-the-mill blue tells people you’re calm and dependable, and your optimistic character can brighten anyone’s day, much like the colour of the sky.

Then there’s electric blue, which tells the world you have an alter-ego who likes excitement and danger. Which are you?


Good old dependable brown. You’re more into having a car that will last you a long time than one that’s flashy but temporary. Your car takes the fun out of functional. You use it to get to and from work and the shops, and that’s about it. Brown is never going to be the hottest colour of the summer but it’s going to be the colour you know for the next 10 summers.


Like we mentioned, we love orange, but we might be biased. Either way, this colour vehicle says you set the trends; you don’t follow them. The colour is associated with saving money (again, a perfect description of us). We wonder if that’s because it’s impossible to miss on the road, thus potentially saving you money on car repairs.

If your car is orange, is it possible it means you love Dialdirect? If it’s got any blue trim, then we’re definitely going with ‘yes’.


No matter what colour car you drive, you can do your thing and get an insurance quote from Dialdirect. Make sure you use our Dialdirect Insurance App while you’re driving to automatically track your trips. That way, how safe your car is on the road will have less to do with its colour and more to do with driving right.



Sources: Business Tech; AA; Stone Mountain VW; Nerd Wallet;

The information in this article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial, legal, or medical advice.