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Michelle Megna
Contributing Researcher
Michelle is a writer, editor and expert on car insurance and personal finance. She's a former CarInsurance.com editorial director. Prior to joining CarInsurance.com, she reported and edited articles on technology, lifestyle, education and government for magazines, websites and major newspapers, including the New York Daily News.

Low-mileage discountsThe number of miles you drive directly affects the risk you pose to your insurance company. The more miles, the higher the risk — and the more expensive your rates.

For example, here’s what a 40-year-old male commuting to work in a 2013 Subaru BRZ Premium in Oakland, Calif., would pay for full coverage at various mileage levels:

  • 7,000 miles: $2,060
  • 12,000 miles: $2,161
  • 15,000 miles: $2,275
  • 25,000 miles: $2,589

Your car insurance might reflect some kind of discount off standard rates below 10,000 miles, and if you drive less than 7,000, you should expect a fairly substantial break.

More than 84 percent of drivers who submitted car insurance quote requests through our online comparison tool over an 18-month period reported annual mileage of 12,000 miles a year or less. About 18 percent reported annual mileage of 7,000 miles or less.

How everyone else drives

Based on more than 345,000 recent insurance quote requests, our data show that annual mileage hits its peak among younger drivers and declines steadily. Annual mileage by age range:

  • 16 to 24: 11,800
  • 25 to 34: 11,526
  • 35 to 44: 11,462
  • 45 to 54: 11,091
  • 55 to 64: 10,606
  • 65 and over: 9,575

Women reported higher annual mileage than men did, 11,448 versus 11,110. That holds true for every age bracket but is especially pronounced among the ages most likely to have small children at home.

Age Range Women Men
16 to 2411,85111,754
25 to 3411,71011,362
35 to 4411,63611,306
45 to 5411,19911,005
55 to 6410,79210,484
65 and over9,6289,549

For the four most recent model years, 2010 through 2013, Mini and Smart owners reported the lowest annual average mileage at 10,682 and 10,721, respectively. Buick and Cadillac owners reported the highest at 13,260 and 12,769.

As cars get older, they tend to be driven less. Here is the average reported mileage by model year going back to 1990:

Year Miles
199010,328
199110,297
199210,646
199310,602
199410,477
199510,547
199610,555
199710,502
199810,796
199910,815
200010,842
200110,886
200211,009
200311,054
200411,342
200511,466
200611,635
200711,820
200811,910
200911,917
201011,851
201111,660
201211,597
201311,959

It’s not just the miles; it’s how the miles are racked up. Certain types of use mean a vehicle is on the road more often or at more dangerous times, which is why your insurance company asks how you intend to use it. This is what average mileage looks like by usage classification.

  • Artisan: 13,455
  • Business calls: 13,563
  • Clergyman: 13,435
  • Delivery: 15,199
  • Farm or ranch: 10,066
  • Government: 16,355
  • Pleasure: 9,290
  • School: 10,931
  • To/from work: 11,977

How to get a low-mileage discount

Any discount you get for low mileage depends largely on your insurance company, says CarInsurance.com consumer analyst Penny Gusner.

“The discount is typically 5 to 15 percent, and at some companies the discounts start at 10,000 miles, and others at 7,500 miles,” she says, noting that the discounts usually apply to collision and liability coverages. “You may not see a line item on your policy that says ‘low mileage discount’ because many companies adjust your base rates, so you may  have to ask your agent or company to make sure your premium reflects any change.”

Some companies may require verification of your mileage. That could come from several sources: a form that you fill out; a photo you take and mail in; or service and emissions records.

If you drive an exceptionally small number of miles — safely — pay-as-you-drive insurance might save you even more. Insurers such as Progressive send you a device that plugs into your car and reports odometer readings and driving habits, then calculate a discount that can reach 40 or 50 percent in some rare cases.

And, if you’re driving that little, you likely qualify for a host of other discounts as well, Gusner says. Check out CarInsurance.com’s discounts page.

Laura Longero

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Laura Longero

Executive Editor

Laura is an award-winning editor with experience in content and communications covering auto insurance and personal finance. She has written for several media outlets, including the USA Today Network. She most recently worked in the public sector for the Nevada Department of Transportation.

John McCormick

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John McCormick

Editorial Director

John is the editorial director for CarInsurance.com, Insurance.com and Insure.com. Before joining QuinStreet, John was a deputy editor at The Wall Street Journal and had been an editor and reporter at a number of other media outlets where he covered insurance, personal finance, and technology.

Leslie Kasperowicz

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Leslie Kasperowicz

Managing Editor

Leslie Kasperowicz is an insurance educator and content creation professional with nearly two decades of experience first directly in the insurance industry at Farmers Insurance and then as a writer, researcher, and educator for insurance shoppers writing for sites like ExpertInsuranceReviews.com and InsuranceHotline.com and managing content, now at CarInsurance.com.

Nupur Gambhir

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Nupur Gambhir

Managing Editor

Nupur Gambhir is a content editor and licensed life, health, and disability insurance expert. She has extensive experience bringing brands to life and has built award-nominated campaigns for travel and tech. Her insurance expertise has been featured in Bloomberg News, Forbes Advisor, CNET, Fortune, Slate, Real Simple, Lifehacker, The Financial Gym, and the end-of-life planning service.

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Michelle Megna
Contributing Researcher

Michelle is a writer, editor and expert on car insurance and personal finance. She's a former CarInsurance.com editorial director. Prior to joining CarInsurance.com, she reported and edited articles on technology, lifestyle, education and government for magazines, websites and major newspapers, including the New York Daily News.