Low-mileage car insurance is for people who don’t drive much. Specifically, low-mileage car insurance is for people who drive less than the U.S. average of about 12,000 miles per year.
The question is: how do people who don’t drive much get low-mileage auto insurance? And, just as importantly, how do they get cheap low-mileage auto insurance coverage?
You will find answers to both questions in this article, which covers:
- What is considered low mileage for car insurance?
- What are the best car insurance companies for low-mileage drivers?
- How can I get a low-mileage discount?
- Who should consider low-mileage car insurance discounts?
What is low-mileage auto insurance?
Low-mileage auto insurance is car insurance for people who drive less than a certain amount of miles per year. For some insurance companies, this amount is anything below the national average of 12,000 miles or so. For other insurers, this amount is far lower.
Companies sometimes give you a lower car insurance rate or offer you a discount if you don’t drive much. Why? It lowers your risk of getting into an accident and costing them money by filing a claim.
Not all companies offer low-mileage car insurance discounts, though. Also, some insurers offer low-mileage discounts, but only in certain states. Because of this, it’s important to shop around and compare quotes from several providers if you want to save money for driving less.
What is considered low mileage?
Car insurance companies consider people who drive less than 7,500 miles per year to be low-mileage drivers, generally speaking.
Don’t take this as gospel, though. Some companies consider anything under 12,000 miles per year to be low mileage. Others consider anything under 10,000 miles to be low mileage. And yet others will only consider you a low-mileage driver — and reward you for it with better rates or a discount — if you drive less than 5,000 miles per year.
The only way to know for sure if an auto insurance provider will lower your rates or give you a discount for low mileage is to contact them and find out.
What are the best low-mileage car insurance companies?
Although some car insurance companies take your word that you drive less than 7,500 miles per year and give you a lower rate or a discount as a reward, many require proof that you’re a low-mileage driver.
One way insurance companies can prove you’re a low-mileage driver or not is to use telematics devices to monitor your driving behavior and habits. They usually do this through usage-based or pay-as-you-go insurance programs. Regardless, some of these telematics devices plug into your car, while others come in the form of an app you download on your phone.
Here are some of the best car insurance companies for low-mileage drivers. Their pay-as-you-go or usage-based discount programs may help low-mileage drivers save money.
|Insurance company||Low-mileage program||Discount|
|Liberty Mutual||ByMile||25% discount, on average|
|Nationwide||SmartMiles||Up to a 10% discount for safe driving after the first renewal|
|Progressive||Snapshot||$145 annual discount, on average|
|Safeco||RightTrack||Savings between 5% and 30%|
With Liberty Mutual’s ByMile program, you only pay for the auto insurance you need. A telematics device tracks the number of miles you drive and then bases your rate on how many miles you drove the previous month.
Although this means your bill may change each month, you will never be charged for more than 150 miles per day.
According to Liberty Mutual, ByMile users save an average of 25% compared to a traditional auto policy.
Nationwide’s SmartMiles is a pay-per-mile program that bases your monthly insurance premium on your mileage. The less you drive, the less you pay for auto coverage.
Additionally, you can save up to 10% by earning a safe driving behavior discount that is based on data collected during the first term of your participation in the SmartMiles program.
Progressive’s Snapshot is a usage-based car insurance program that tracks your driving habits through either a plug-in device or a mobile app.
Snapshot focuses on a few key factors — specifically, how you drive, how much you drive and when you drive.
On average, Snapshot users save $145 a year. That said, two out of 10 users see a rate increase because of high-risk driving tracked through the program.
Safeco's RightTrack program tracks your mileage, driving time, braking and acceleration rate through a mobile app. Depending on your driving behaviors during the program’s 90-day review period, you could receive a discount of up to 30%. You can keep this discount for the life of your policy, too.
Allstate’s Milewise is another pay-per-mile car insurance program to consider if you don’t drive much and you want to save money on coverage as a result.
How much can you save using Milewise? It’s hard to say, unfortunately, as you pay a daily rate plus a per-mile rate with this program, and Allstate adjusts both at renewal using your previous six months of driving information. It captures your driving information via a device you plug into your vehicle.
How can I get low-mileage car insurance?
To get low-mileage car insurance, you often need to either tell your insurer how many miles you drive a year or let your insurer monitor how many miles you drive a year.
DIY mileage estimate
Telling your insurance provider how many miles you drive per year is one way to get a low-mileage discount. To do this, you usually estimate your annual mileage for your insurer when you sign up for a policy.
Just be aware that if you give them an estimate that’s far below the average, they may ask you for regular proof of how much you drive.
Also be aware that the size of your low-mileage discount may vary from state to state. For example, people in Hawaii tend to drive less, so low-mileage discounts there may be next to nothing. In places like California, where state law mandates that mileage be used as a rating factor, your low-mileage savings might be as much as 20% or more.
Another way to get low-mileage auto insurance is to allow your coverage provider to monitor or track how much you drive per year. Sometimes this is done using a telematics device that plugs into your vehicle; at other times, it’s done using an app downloaded to your phone. In both cases, your insurer uses the device or app to track your driving behavior and habits.
You may receive your low-mileage rebate or discount via an insurance company’s pay-per-mile program or a usage-based program. Although the goals of these programs tend to differ, the result is the same — especially for your and your auto insurance rates.
Not all companies have usage-based or pay-per-mile programs, though. And those that have them usually don’t offer them in all states. So, you may need to shop around a bit to find low-mileage car insurance like this.
Low mileage isn’t everything
Although you'll usually pay less for car insurance if you drive less, that isn't always true. This is because the number of miles you drive a year is only one factor companies consider when calculating your rate. Other car insurance rate factors include:
- Your age.
- Your gender.
- Your vehicle.
- Where you live.
Who should consider low-mileage car insurance?
You should consider low-mileage car insurance if you are in any of the following situations, as it could make your policy more affordable.
If you’re retired or you’re going to retire soon, chances are you do little to no commuting. Especially if you are on a fixed income, the money you save through a low-mileage car insurance discount might make a big difference in your life.
You work from home
Are you commuting less, or maybe not at all, because you now work from home part or full time? It could make you eligible for a low-mileage discount, and that could have a big impact on your car insurance costs.
Carpooling may lead to lower car insurance rates, too. The reason: it usually means you drive less, and this should help you qualify for a low-mileage discount.
You use public transportation
If you regularly use public transportation to get around, you may not drive your car much. In that case, see if your current insurance company will reduce your policy premium to match your reduced time on the road.
If they won’t, shop around and see which other insurers offer low-mileage discounts or rebates. You might save money due to your legwork.
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