Driving can cost a lot of money. Between car payments, maintenance, fuel costs, and insurance, driving expenses add up quickly. It pays to look for ways to save on your transportation costs however you can, especially if you happen to drive a lot — because even your insurance rates can see an impact if you happen to qualify as a high-mileage driver.
What Qualifies as High Mileage Driving?
First, let's take a quick look at why high-mileage driving could result in higher insurance rates.
Simply put, mileage influences car insurance premiums because more time spent on the road means a higher risk of accident or damage. After all, if your car spends most of the time in the garage, it's not very likely to be the source of an insurance claim. If you're making a long commute every day, your accident risks are objectively higher — thus the higher premiums.
So are you a high-mileage driver? According to statistics, the average American motorist drives around 13,000 miles per year. If you fall in the range of 10,000 to 15,000 miles yearly, your premiums are unlikely to see a hike. If you drive over 15,000 miles in a year, you may qualify as a high-mileage driver. Similarly, if you drive somewhere between 5,000 and 8,000 miles a year, you may qualify for a discount as a low-mileage driver.
How Much More Do High-mileage Drivers Pay?
How much more will you pay if it turns out you are a high-mileage driver? Let's look at some average statistics from The Zebra:
Average six-month premium, by mileage:
10,000 – 15,000 miles: $965
15,000 – 20,000 miles: $972
20,000 – 25,000 miles: $974
25,000 – 30,000 miles: $976
While this is a fairly marginal change in premiums, you should also be aware that premiums can vary by state. For example, in California, rate hikes for high-mileage drivers could go up to 30% (as compared to 1-3% for high-mileage drivers in other states).
How Can High-mileage Drivers Lower Their Insurance Car Rate?
- Find a cheaper insurer. It always pays to shop around for a better deal, regardless of how many miles you drive in a year. Online tools have made it easier than ever to compare insurance rates between companies and hopefully find a better rate than you have now.
- Maintain a clean driving record. A driving record free of accidents and traffic violations is one of the most dependable ways to keep your rates low (or at least them from getting any higher). Do your best to stay out of trouble when it comes to your driving.
- Take advantage of discounts. There are almost always more discounts available to drivers than they might guess at first glance. Insurers commonly offer discounts and other perks for a variety of criteria: student discounts, good driver discounts, discounts for bundling your insurance policies or paying ahead. Get in touch with your insurance company and find out what's available to you.
- Change your coverage. If your car is fully paid off and worth less than $4,000, consider dumping your collision and comprehensive coverage. Your liability insurance should be sufficient for your needs — the rest is unlikely to do you any good until you get a newer vehicle.
- By a cheaper used vehicle. Older cars tend to attract lower rates as their value depreciates. Now might be a good time to trade down!
- Take a defensive driving course. Some insurance companies will lower your insurance if you can prove you completed a defensive driving course, which will reduce your risk of accident on the road regardless of how much you drive. Contact your insurer and see if this is a program they offer (or shop around for an insurance provider who does).
- Try to drive less and lower your mileage. While this one might seem like a no-brainer, it might be worth looking into how you could drive less often. If public transportation or biking is an option, consider giving that a try — or see about working from home more often.
Should I Install a Telematics System?
One of the major ways car insurance companies are now offering their customers lower rates: telematics. A driving tracker installed in your car will collect usage data telling the insurer how much you drive, what time of days you drive most, and what your driving behavior is like (such as force of braking, speeding, etc.)
If the data collected shows you drive safely, you can use that data to negotiate a lower rate — and many insurers will give you a discount simply for letting them collect that data in the first place. For some, this might be a privacy concern — but if you are looking for another way to save money, this might be just the thing.