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Car owners with low mileage could qualify for lower insurance rates. When determining insurance rates, companies consider driving records as well as driving habits and routines.
“In most states, driving fewer miles allows you to pay less for car insurance because it reduces your risk,” says financial spokesperson and author Laura Adams. “For example, if you work from home or only use your vehicle for short pleasure trips, you might qualify for a low-mileage discount.”
On average, people who drive fewer than 5,000 miles per year save around $30 per year. California drivers save a bit more — up to $81 per year on average — because of the state’s consumer protection laws.
Companies that reward low mileage allow drivers to pay less for their insurance premiums. Low-mileage drivers typically include people who drive fewer than 7,000 miles per year. Insurance companies may consider your daily commuting miles — how far you commute to and from work each day — and average monthly miles driven. Driving more miles can increase your rate. For example, some insurance providers charge more if you drive more than 20 miles each way to work.
In addition to discounts for low-mileage drivers, some insurance companies offer pay-per-mile or usage-based programs.
Low-mileage discounts reduce insurance rates for drivers who travel fewer than 40 miles per day. An insurer will typically offer a discount of a certain percentage based on mileage, though the actual discount will vary by insurer. Some companies don’t offer discounts for low mileage but do charge more for customers who drive above a set mileage threshold.
To secure a low-mileage discount, you’ll report to the insurance company the average number of miles you commute each day, week, or year. In most cases, companies don’t check against your vehicle mileage. However, if you’re involved in an accident or need to file a claim, they may look at your vehicle information, so it’s best to be as accurate as possible. The average discount ranges between 1.6% and 8.7%, according to a study by the Consumer Federation of America.
Pay-per-mile auto insurance
As a specialty insurance product, pay-per-mile insurance allows drivers to pay a base rate, plus a per-mile fee, instead of a fixed monthly rate. This product works best for drivers who drive fewer than 6,000 miles annually. The base rate varies depending on the provider. For example, Nationwide charges a $60 base rate for its SmartMiles Plan and $0.07 per mile, up to 50 miles per month. Metromile starts at $29 per month for a base rate, and its per-mile fees start at $0.06 per mile.
Using Nationwide as an example, a driver would pay $60 per month as a flat rate. And if they drive 50 miles per month, they’ll pay an additional $35 for miles. Most pay-per-mile programs offer a range of per-mile options.
Usage-based car insurance
“Some insurers even price coverage by the mile or track your mileage and other metrics using telematics,” Adams says. “If you’re willing to share your driving data with an insurer, being identified as a safe, low-mileage driver can help you save money on car insurance premiums.”
Usage-based or telematics auto insurance uses technology to track driving habits, including frequency of vehicle use, distance traveled, and factors like speed, braking, and other safe driving behaviors. Insurers collect the data from telematics devices installed in the vehicle or from mobile apps on the driver’s phone. The insurance company then analyzes the data collected to determine whether it should offer lower premiums or other rewards. This insurance type works well for drivers who work from home or people in the city who rely on public transportation because drivers can pay based on how well and how often they drive.
Rates vary by company and your driving habits, but some companies offer enrolled safe drivers discounts as large as 30% to 40%.
Who is considered a low-mileage driver?
Most insurance companies consider drivers who drive fewer than 7,000 miles per year to be low-mileage drivers, according to Kelley Blue Book. Other drivers commonly considered low-mileage drivers include people who carpool, public transportation users, and remote workers.
The data below shows the cheapest liability-only coverage offered to low-mileage drivers. Liability coverage is cheaper than full-coverage insurance. Rates will fluctuate based on your credit history, driving record, age, type of vehicle you insure, location, and more. Additionally, this table focuses on liability-only policies. Full-coverage policies could be more expensive.
Disclaimer: Table data sourced from real-time quotes from Insurify's 50-plus partner insurance providers and quote estimates from Quadrant Information Services. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer's unique driver profile.
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Best low-mileage car insurance companies
When looking for a quality car insurance company, you must consider your location. A Consumer Federation of America study found that discounts for low-mileage drivers vary across the country, and drivers in some cities and states get steeper discounts. Comparing rates from multiple insurers also helps you determine the best rate from an auto insurer meeting your insurance needs.
Best companies for low-mileage discounts
American Family: Customers who drive fewer than 7,500 miles per year qualify for a discount. You can also save an extra 10% by signing up for the Pay-How-You-Drive Safe Driving Program.
PEMCO: Drivers who travel fewer than 8,000 miles annually qualify for a discount. Policyholders may alsoqualify for defensive drivingand educator discounts.
USAA: Drivers can save money with USAA by taking photos of their mileage and only paying for the miles they drive. Drivers who travel fewer than 8,000 miles per year qualify for a discount.
Best companies for pay-per-mile car insurance
Allstate: Allstate’s Milewise program charges a daily rate of around $1.50, plus a minimum of $0.06 per mile. Low-mileage drivers could pay as little as $2.22 per day for auto insurance.
Metromile: The company’s base rate starts at $29, with an additional per-mile fee of at least $0.06. Drivers who qualify for the lowest premium pay around $41 per month if they drive up to 200 miles.
Nationwide: The Nationwide SmartMiles program charges base rates starting at $60 per month and $0.07 per mile. Drivers could pay as little as $95 per month for insurance.
Best companies for usage-based programs
Liberty Mutual: With the company’s RightTrack program, drivers save up to 30% off the cost of their policy for the life of their policy.
Nationwide: The SmartRide program from Nationwide provides a 15% discount up front when drivers sign up. Safe drivers can save up to 40%.
Progressive: The average user saves $47 at signup and $156 when a policy is auto-renewed after the initial six months with the Progressive Snapshot program.
How to get low-mileage car insurance
Finding low-mileage car insurance simply requires the right fit for your coverage needs. An online quote-comparison tool can help connect you with auto insurers offering your needed services. You’ll need to enter some personal information, such as your ZIP code; year, make, and model of your vehicle; how you use the vehicle; driver names; and current insurance provider. Once you add your information, you’ll receive a list of potential insurer matches with quotes.
You can select and purchase a policy directly from the website, so you don’t have to worry about fielding a dozen phone calls.
Other ways to save on car insurance as a low-mileage driver
You can minimize the cost of your auto insurance by taking a few extra steps. Here are four reliable ways to lower the cost of your insurance premium:
Look for new rates regularly. While some companies offer loyalty discounts, you may find a better deal by regularly looking at rates from different insurers. You may want to consider checking for lower rates when you purchase a new vehicle, add a new driver, or move to a new place.
Improve your credit score. In most states, insurance companies can use yourcredit scoreas a factor when determining your insurance rate. You may qualify for lower rates with a higher score. Lower your debt and pay your bills on time to improve your credit score faster.
Look for other discounts. Ask your employer if it has discount programs with any particular company. If you’re a student, you may qualify for discounts as well. Additionally, older drivers may qualify for discounts through the AARP or other organizations.
Low-mileage car insurance FAQs
Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about low-mileage car insurance.
Why don’t most insurers offer insurance for low-mileage drivers?
Drivers who put very few miles on their car may find it more difficult to find a traditional policy because insurers want to gauge a driver’s risk before offering coverage. It’s more challenging to determine risky driver behavior when there’s less data available, like miles driven per year.
What’s the difference between pay-per-mile and usage-based insurance?
Pay-per-mile programs allow drivers to pay a base rate and a fixed per-mile fee. Usage-based insurance uses telematics technology to consider factors like mileage, speed, turning, and other safe driving behaviors to offer discounts for good driving practices.
Is auto insurance cheaper with lower mileage?
Sometimes it is. With a traditional policy, you may not see a significant difference in the rate you receive, though some companies in larger metropolitan areas may offer more significant discounts. Drivers who use their vehicles infrequently benefit the most from a pay-per-mile program.
Where can low-mileage drivers find the best car insurance?
Since insurance rates fluctuate so widely between company and location, drivers will have the best luck finding a good company when they compare rates. Using a comparison tool from a reputable platform offers a simple way to gauge the best rates from companies in your area.
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Insurify data scientists analyzed more than 90 million quotes served to car insurance applicants in Insurify’s proprietary database to calculate the premium averages displayed on this page. These premiums are real quotes that come directly from Insurify’s 50+ partner insurance companies in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Quote averages represent the median price for a quote across the given coverage level, driver subset, and geographic area.
Unless otherwise specified, quoted rates reflect the average cost for drivers between 20 and 70 years old with a clean driving record and average or better credit (a credit score of 600 or higher).
Liability-only premium averages correspond to policies with the following coverage limits:
Bodily injury limits between state-minimum rates and $50,000 per person, $100,000 per accident
Property damage limits between $10,000 and $50,000
No additional coverage
Full-coverage premium averages correspond to the same bodily injury and property damage limits in addition to:
Comprehensive coverage with a $1,000 deductible
Collision coverage with a $1,000 deductible
Quotes for Allstate, Farmers, GEICO, State Farm, and USAA are estimates based on Quadrant Information Services’ database of auto insurance rates.
Angela Brown is a freelance writer with 17 years of professional writing and editing experience. She specializes in finance, real estate, and insurance content. Angela uses her experience to create easy-to-understand content that helps consumers understand tough topics better. When she’s not working, she enjoys spending time with her family and planning vacations.