Low mileage car insurance

Low mileage car insurance
The average annual mileage of a car in the UK in 2017 was 7,800 miles, according to the Department of Transport1 - but if you’re a driver who uses your car a lot less than that, you could be classed as a low mileage driver. That might mean your car insurance could be cheaper as a result.

With this in mind, it’s important to be accurate when you calculate yours.

When you put together a quote for car insurance, you’ll be asked to provide lots of details. Your estimated annual mileage in the vehicle being insured is one of the questions you’ll be asked. It’s important to be accurate as well as honest when you answer this, because yes - it does make a difference to the overall price of your insurance premium.

Typically, the more miles you drive every year, the more expensive your annual car insurance premium is likely to be. The more time you spend on the road, the more likely you are considered to be at risk of being involved in an accident. 

If you’re driving long distances every day your chances of risk will increase. If your annual mileage is 25,000 miles, it stands to reason that, statistically, you’re more at risk than a motorist who might only use their car occasionally and record 5,000 miles a year.

What is considered low mileage?

You might be wondering what constitutes low mileage. There’s no firm answer but generally speaking an average annual mileage might be 8-10,000 miles a year so a number below that could be seen as low.

An annual mileage of 5,000 and under is certainly on the low side, though every insurer is likely to have its own criteria and method of assessment. 

Be accurate with your mileage

With that knowledge in mind, it might seem tempting to underestimate your annual mileage when prompted to provide the information, but this isn't a great idea.

Providing a lower estimate simply to try to reduce your premium is not recommended. A minor difference probably won’t have any real effect on the price of your insurance anyway but a major difference could potentially have serious consequences. 

If you have underestimated your mileage by something like 10,000 miles, for example, you run the risk of your insurance policy being declared invalid. If you need to make a claim and your insurance provider checks the mileage, finding it to be substantially higher than expected, that could certainly invalidate your claim.

Estimating your mileage

Knowing your annual mileage is not always obvious. Until you’ve been asked to provide a calculation for the first time, you might not even have given it much thought. But estimating your annual mileage is less complicated than you might think.

A good starting point is to review your previous few MOT certificates. On every MOT certificate, the mileage of the vehicle at the time of testing will be included, so if you look back over your last three or four, you’ll have an accurate record of your driving distances. Simply work out the average to get your calculation.

Also, consider any changes to your lifestyle that might affect your mileage. If you’ve changed jobs recently, and have a longer commute to and from work, you’ll need to account for this. Give some thought to what you do in your spare time, too.

If you don’t tend to travel much at weekends, your mileage will stay relatively low, but if you’re often out and about, visiting friends and family who might live a distance away, you will need to factor that in to your final estimate.

Pay by mile car insurance for low mileage drivers

If you are a low mileage driver, typically driving less than 6,000 miles per year, you could be paying too much for your car insurance.

You may benefit from alternatives to annual policies that are more flexible and fairer for low mileage drivers.

Pay as you go car insurance and pay by mile car insurance allow you to pay for the miles you do and save when you don’t. You still need to pay a parked premium on a monthly or annual basis, but you don’t lose out if you end up driving less than you estimate.

Find out more about Pay by Mile car insurance.

NEW Pay by Mile car insurance

A new type of car insurance for lower mileage drivers. Pay when you drive and save when you don’t.

NEW Pay by Mile car insurance
NEW Pay by Mile car insurance

Black Box insurance and low mileage

If your vehicle has a black box device fitted - and you have Black Box Car Insurance in place - then your mileage and the distance you drive will be tracked and monitored.

With RAC Black Box Insurance, you can set your own mileage limit - in comparison to some other insurers, who may set that limit for you, which may then restrict your driving. Again, it’s important to accurately estimate your annual mileage so you have the freedom to drive whenever you want to.

Black Box Car Insurance

Helps young and new drivers save money by rewarding safe driving.

Black Box Car Insurance
Black Box Car Insurance

How can I lower my annual mileage?

If your annual mileage is a bit on the higher side and you want to reduce it, there are ways of doing this. Using your car less often is an obvious tactic, but if you need it to get to and from work, and you work every day, it’s easier said than done. Consider car sharing with a colleague. Taking it in turns to drive, perhaps rotating every other week, will reduce the mileage of your car and also reduce the money you spend on fuel. Of course, it also cuts down on the wear and tear of your vehicle.

If you live closer to work, could you walk a couple of days a week? Or take public transport occasionally?

Consider what you do at the weekend, too. There might be a handful of shorter journeys you make - to the gym, the shops, a friend’s house - that you could cover on foot, or by cycling, instead. 

By making a few simple adjustments to your weekly mileage, you could make quite a saving to your annual mileage - which might result in a saving on your annual car insurance.

Get a quote for RAC Car Insurance here.


1 https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/729521/national-travel-survey-2017.pdf

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