Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer

UPDATED: Jul 14, 2021

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In a nutshell...

  • The number of miles driven each year could potentially affect the rates on an insurance policy
  • Low-mileage and usage-based discounts could offset insurance costs
  • Drivers do need to look at the various different discounts offered by insurance companies

Vehicle owners know there are certain unavoidable expenses associated with maintaining a car. Regular maintenance cannot be avoided, nor can the occasional trip to the garage for major repairs.

Purchasing auto insurance is an unavoidable requirement unless the driver lives in Virginia or New Hampshire. Buying auto insurance is, however, money well spent since a good policy delivers significant financial protections.

Still, frugal drivers do want to save money on their car insurance.

Many enroll in a defensive driving course for this very reason. Others follow the tried and true approach of avoiding bad behaviors known for driving rates up. Careful driving means less of a chance of being cited for a traffic violation.

What if all that careful driving is adding tons of miles to a vehicle every year? People who must use their car frequently cannot avoid clocking high mileage.

And then there are those who do not drive much at all. Do they need to pay the same rates as someone who puts 20,000 miles or more on a vehicle per year?

Enter your zip code into our free comparison tool above to find the best rates for your coverage needs.

No Penalty for High Mileage

When underwriting a policy, how many miles someone chooses to drive per year may be asked. This answer is going to figure into the rates. All answers presented to an insurance company’s sales representative figure into the arrival of a rate price.

When the time comes to renew an annual policy, the insurance company does not usually ask for proof of mileage to reassess premiums costs. The insurance company may, however, periodically request an update on how many miles the vehicle has been driven.

Do not automatically fear that adding on the miles also means adding on a lot of costs.

Someone who is driving a lot of miles per year may be at additional risk for an accident but, if the driver has not been involved in an accident, then a policy is doubtfully going to become more expensive.

The same logic is true for those who avoid receiving traffic citations for moving violations. No citations mean no compelling reason to drive up premium costs.

Ironically, a high-mileage vehicle’s owner may end up receiving a “good driver” discount.

Those who are not giving the insurance company major reasons to up their rates can enjoy stable premium prices. Additionally, a driver could also take advantage of other discounts beyond defensive driving and good driver reductions.

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Discounts Based on Mileage

Low-mileage discounts are frequently made possibly by auto insurers. The way these types of discounts work is very simple.

The insurance company sets an annual threshold amount of miles per year. Anyone who fails to reach or exceed the threshold may end up with a nice discount on a policy.

Be sure to ask the insurance company about how to go about proving the number of miles driven per year. Receipts from oil changes and other services usually log the number of miles on a car’s odometer.

These receipts can be used as proof of the low amount of miles driven by the policyholder.

Keeping tabs on annual mileage would be prudent as well. Here are some things to remember:

  • Taking the car out for unnecessary drives adds to the annual mileage count. Reducing driving not only helps cut insurance costs but also reduces wear and tear and the need to buy more fuel
  • Reducing driving not only helps cut insurance costs but also reduces wear and tear and the need to buy more fuel
  • Being off the road cuts down on the chance of an insurance premium increasing accident

Usage-Based Tracking

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One of the unique ways of tracking how a vehicle is used when it is driven is through usage-based tracking technology.

An approved device is installed in a car. Just as a vehicle’s computer keeps track of engine and other errors, a usage device tracks driving habits.

Just because someone did not receive a ticket for speeding does not mean he or she never speeds. The lack of a ticket could mean someone was just never caught.

With the usage technology, accurate stats about solid and responsible driving behavior are logged. Good drivers can then reap more than a few positive financial benefits from their equally good behavior.

Whether one has a usage-based monitor in a vehicle or not should be a factor regarding how safely someone chooses to drive a vehicle. In addition to keeping insurance rates down, safe driving prevents accidents and injuries.

Even though auto liability could cover upwards of $500,000 in bodily injury, no one wants to be responsible for harming others. Driving safely cuts down on the chances of that.

A Stationary Discount

Informing an insurance company of driving habits can also be accompanied by detailing the non-driving habits as well.

If the vehicle is stored in a garage the bulk of the time, then the insurance company may offer a slight discount since the garage protects the vehicle from various types of claims for the following:

  • Liability
  • Collision
  • Comprehensive

It is difficult, although not impossible, for a car to suffer mishaps when safely locked in a secure garage.

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Discounts and Rules Vary

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Insurance companies all have their own rules and policies. For this reason alone, engaging in comparison shopping is very important. Looking for the best deal on collision or comprehensive insurance makes sense from a fiscal perspective.

Getting 15 percent off of auto insurance thanks to various discounts is probably going to be preferred to just 10 percent. Granted, the quality of the coverage is going to be more important to many than the bulk of the discounts.

One insurance provider may offer a discount at 10,000 miles while another might issue the same discount at 15,000. Knowing how “generous” an insurance company is willing to be with discounts does help the cause of selecting the right provider.

Online Comparing Makes It Easier

Several years back, a would-be auto insurance buyer needed to fill out and mail in a questionnaire or spend a lot of time on the phone with a sales representative in order to receive a single insurance quote.

That process needed to be duplicated with several other insurance companies. And it was possible for the potential buyer to miss a company or two.

All that has changed thanks to the internet’s ability to easily deliver several quotes. Upon requesting a variety of quotes from insurance providers in a particular coverage area, a review of prices, exclusions, and, yes, mileage discounts can be conducted.

From this, a more informed and cost-saving decision can be made. Use our free rate comparison tool today!