How does annual mileage affect auto insurance?

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Key takeaways...
  • How many miles a car is driven increases the likelihood that the car will be involved in an accident
  • Auto insurance rates are always dependent on risk and those who are exposed to more risk pay more for coverage
  • You must provide your annual mileage estimates when you’re first initiating coverage with a new carrier
  • Most insurance companies offer three different mileage rating bands for average, high, and low-mileage drivers
  • When you drive 5000 miles or less every year, you could qualify for a special low-mileage discount

The more miles you put on your vehicle, the more you’ll have to pay to maintain it. As you put miles on any vehicle, certain mechanical components under the hood of your car will systems will start to deteriorate.

The only way to ensure that your car doesn’t breakdown is to invest money in frequent repairs and tuneups. The true cost to own any car is higher than just the cost of the following:

  • gas
  • registration
  • auto loans

Maintenance and repair bills can add up when you drive your car thousands of miles each year. Your auto insurance bill can also rise because of how much you’re driving.

One of the many different factors fused by any standard personal auto insurer is mileage.

Find and compare auto insurance rates for your situation by entering your zip code into our free rate tool above.

How much does the average person drive?

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The average person drives 13,476 miles each year. This number factors in how much drivers in different age groups drive and then averages the numbers out.

With most insurance companies, anyone who drives 10,000 to 15,000 fall into a standard rating bracket. Driving more or less than the average will change your rate.

If you were to look at the annual mileage averages for each age group, you’d see that they vary significantly from one bracket to the next.

Out of the five age groups that have been studied by the Federal Highway Administration, drivers between 35 and 54 drive more than any other segment with an average of 15,291.

Drivers between 16 and 19 and drivers 65 and older all drive close to the same amount of miles with an average of 7,646.

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Why do some age groups drive more than others?

You might wonder what age and mileage have to do with one another. While you don’t think the two are closely interrelated but they are.

  • Eighteen and younger – Younger drivers typically don’t put more than 10,000 miles on their cars because they are in school all day and have short commutes to and from their local high school campus. Most of the time, they have restrictions as to how much they can drive.
  • Twenty to fifty-four – Average mileage bands go up for drivers between 20 and 54 because they will start to commute. They may drive to and from a college campus and then to work. Once they graduate, it’s not uncommon for someone to live in the suburbs and commute to the city. This commute is a huge reason why mileage has gone up.
  • Fifty-five to sixty-four – Drivers who hit 55 start to consider what life would be like in retirement. They may work fewer hours as they start to get retirement ready. From 55 to 64, drivers cut down on their annual mileage.
  • Sixty-five and older – The biggest drop is 65 when the average person retires and starts to enjoy life without sitting behind the wheel of a car all day.

How do auto insurance companies charge for annual mileage?

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Insurance carriers can’t send people to come and check your odometer every month or so to see how many miles you’re actually putting on your car.

It’s standard practice for insurance carriers to ask applicants to estimate how much they drive to and from work. They will then ask approximately how much you drive total each year.

Once you estimate your mileage, the insurer will rate you for that estimate. If you’ll fall into a low-cost bracket, you may have to show proof of your odometer reading at the time.

The insurer will then ask you for your new reading at your renewal to see if you still qualify for the savings. You won’t be charged for the higher mileage if you exceeded your estimate but the future rate will go up.

Will insurers every monitor your annual mileage?

There are new types of pay-as-you-go insurance plans that you can purchase in many states. The difference between these plans and traditional plans is that you are rated for how much you drive each month.

Your premiums can change when you put more miles on your car or when you’re driving recklessly. The insurer monitors you by installing a telematics system to the computer of your car.

How much does annual mileage affect your insurance?

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Annual mileage is a definite rating factor that’s going to be used to assess your risk. Many drivers don’t know that some of the rating factors that are used carry less weight than others.

Because your mileage has to do with how much you’re exposed to risk on the roadway, it’s an important factor that does carry some weight.

Your mileage isn’t going to be as important as your claims history or your driving record, but it can drive up your third-party liability rates and your collision premiums if you have full coverage.

You will notice a difference in your rates if you’re getting a discount or even if you start a new job with a longer commute.

When do you qualify for a low-mileage discount?

Every insurance company has its own mileage rating bands. Some insurance companies consider drivers who drive less than 5,000 miles per year as low-mileage drivers. Others won’t give a discount until you drive less than 3,000.

Make sure to ask about the discount if you think you might be eligible for a sizable discount.

Sit down and really calculate how much you drive each month. After you do this, you can multiply the number by 12 to get a good estimate for your insurer. Purposely underestimating your mileage could land you in hot water when you file a claim.

To avoid having claims issues, put your mileage down right and solicit auto insurance quotes. Use our online comparison tool to compare premiums for different mileage estimates.

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