How Does Mileage Affect Car Insurance?

Why You Can Trust trust shield

At, it’s our mission to find simple ways to help our customers save money on the things they need. While we partner with some of the companies and brands we talk about in our articles, all of our content is written and reviewed by our independent editorial team and never influenced by our partnerships. Learn about how we make money, review our editorial standards, and reference our data methodology to learn more about why you can trust

Does mileage affect car insurance: car dashboard

When you shop for car insurance, you’re always asked two questions:

  • How many miles do you drive a year?
  • Have you had any tickets or accidents in the past three to five years?

Not surprisingly, how you answer questions can affect your car insurance rates. Car insurance companies use many factors to compute your rate, and annual mileage and driving behavior are two driving (get it?) forces behind the calculation. Fortunately, these are two things you can control, which may allow you to save money on your rates.

How does mileage affect car insurance? We’ll explain below. Discover how driving fewer miles and practicing safe, defensive driving habits may lead to lower insurance quotes and discounts.

Get Low- or High-Mileage Insurance Quotes

How Does Mileage Affect Car Insurance?

If you’re wondering, “How does mileage affect car insurance?” the answer is relatively straightforward. The fewer miles you drive, the less likely you will be involved in an accident or file a claim. Some auto insurance companies see this as a diminished risk, and they reflect this in the form of lower rates.

The opposite is also true. The more you drive, the higher the probability you will get into a car accident or file an insurance claim — at least in theory. Insurance providers see more mileage as high-risk and raise your rates accordingly.

Unfortunately, how much you drive has little bearing on how good of a driver you are. Even if you’re a safe driver with a clean driving record, the more miles you put on the odometer, the greater your car insurance costs.

What’s Considered High or Low Mileage?

Every auto insurance provider has their own answer to the question, “How does mileage affect car insurance?” They also have their own mileage brackets to determine what’s considered low or high mileage. To get a basic idea of how much you drive in comparison to others, you can look at stats from the Federal Highway Administration.

In 2022, the average driver was on the road for 13,476 miles. Motorists between the ages of 20 and 54 tended to drive a bit more — around 15,000 miles each year — while younger drivers and older drivers were between 7,600 and 11,000 miles per year.

As mentioned, every insurer has their own specifications of what dictates high or low mileage. But in general, you’ll fall into one of these three categories:

  • Low-mileage driver: Less than 7,500 annual miles
  • Average-mileage driver: 7,501 miles to 15,000 annual miles
  • High-mileage driver: More than 15,000 annual miles

Depending on your insurer and how much you drive, you may see a higher or lower car insurance premium based on these figures.

Ways to Reduce Your Annual Mileage

Woman happily riding her bike

Sometimes, the number of miles you drive is outside of your control. For example, low mileage isn’t always in the cards if you use your car for work or have a lengthy commute. But there are ways to lower mileage outside of your work commitments.

Walking or biking, when possible, are always options. You can get some exercise while also spending less. It only takes a willingness and a slight lifestyle change. If you’re going somewhere that’s less than a mile or two away, hit the pavement. Or if public transit is an option where you live, it’s a reliable, eco-friendly, and affordable way to get to your destination.

You may feel cornered if you have to drive to do your job. However, you can join a company carpool or ask to work from home a few days a week. Either option should lower the base rate for your auto insurance policy and translate to savings.

See If Your Car Insurance Rates Are Going the Distance

Mileage Discounts You Should Consider

Whether you’re on the low or high end of the mileage spectrum, it could put more money in your pocket — but only if you do some research and contact your insurance agent. Many insurers will give you a better rate with usage-based insurance programs. Here are some of the most common:

  • Low-mileage car insurance: If you drive less than 7,500 miles per year, you may be eligible for a lower rate on your car insurance. The mileage may vary by insurer, but it’s worth inquiring about a low-mileage discount if you’re in this range.
  • Pay-per-mile car insurance: As the name implies, pay-per-mile car insurance bases your car insurance policy rate on the amount you drive. The only downside is a mileage limit — if you exceed this limit, expect to pay a sizable premium or penalty.
  • Telematics-based car insurance: If you drive over 15,000 miles, you may get cheaper rates through a telematics program. Insurers track how you drive using either a phone app or a plug-in device. If your driving habits meet their standards for a lower car insurance rate, they may offer you one.

How Does Driving Behavior Impact Car Insurance?

Woman frustrated at the car driving in front of her

Does mileage affect car insurance? In more ways than it may seem. 

Driving more miles means you’ll inevitably be behind the wheel more often. More time on the road makes you more susceptible to moving violations, other tickets, and accidents. Predictably, these citations and incidents hurt your driving — making cheap car insurance much harder to find.

Your car insurance rates will likely increase if you’re issued a ticket for any violation. It’s not a foregone conclusion — some insurers may not increase your rate. However, data from Quadrant Information Services shows that liability-only and full-coverage car insurance rates can as much as double due to serious infractions such as a DUI. Minor traffic violations can also increase your auto insurance rates, although not as significant.

Methods to Improve Your Driving Behavior

Even if you have a clean record, improving your driving behavior can help you avoid accidents and tickets in the future. Learning safe driving techniques can help lower your rates if your record isn’t sparkling. Some ways to improve your driving behavior include:

  • Taking an accredited defensive driving course
  • Using rideshare programs like Uber or Lyft when you go out
  • Limiting distractions while you drive
  • Avoiding aggressive driving
  • Obeying traffic laws and speed limits
  • Pulling over to rest if you’re tired
  • Controlling your emotions to avoid road rage
  • Increasing your following distance to allow more reaction time
  • Adjusting your mirrors and looking in them frequently — about every seven seconds
  • Anticipating the moves of other motorists
  • Planning your route to avoid traffic jams or high-traffic areas

Keep the Mileage off Your Wallet

Does mileage affect car insurance? Absolutely. But that doesn’t mean you can’t circumnavigate expensive insurance coverage in other ways. Aside from insurance discounts, shopping for affordable car insurance quotes with’s rate comparison tool is a shrewd start to saving money.

Whether you want to switch insurance companies or just check auto insurance quotes from reputable providers like Allstate, State Farm, or Nationwide, this comparison tool will keep the mileage off your wallet. The only thing you have to worry about is how to spend your savings.

Find the Best Rate for How Much You Drive

Methodology: All of the data referenced in this article has been gathered in collaboration with Quadrant Information Services. We analyzed more than 2.5 million rows of carrier-reported data to calculate the average rates referenced above. All rates are based on an insurance profile of a single-vehicle policy for a driver that owns a Honda Accord. For more information on how we calculate rates, please reference our data methodology.

Compare Car Insurance Quotes

About’s #1 goal is to save you money. We publish resources that are based on hard-hitting data and years of industry experience to help you make more informed decisions with your wallet.

  • All of’s content is written and reviewed for accuracy by a team of experienced writers and editors who are experts on the topics they cover.
  • None of’s content is ever influenced by the companies and brands we partner with.
  •’s editorial team operates independently of any of the company’s partnership or business development interests. We publish unbiased information strictly for the benefit of our readers.
  • All of the content you see on is based on comprehensive analysis and all data is gathered and vetted from trustworthy sources.

Learn more about us, our team, and what makes us tick.