Low mileage car insurance

Low annual mileage can mean cheaper car insurance. Find out how to accurately estimate your mileage and choose which insurance would suit you best.

Eve Powell
Eve Powell
Updated 3 December 2021  | 3 mins read

What is low mileage car insurance?

Low mileage car insurance is designed for people who don’t drive their cars very often, or who only travel short distances.

If you spend a lot of time on the road there's a greater chance of being involved in an accident.

So people who spend less time driving are considered a lower risk by insurers, which means low mileage insurance is usually cheaper.

Key points

  • If you don’t use your car often you could benefit from low mileage car insurance
  • A high annual mileage is usually seen as a greater risk so you’ll often pay more
  • Estimate your mileage as accurately as possible to avoid invalidating your insurance
  • To calculate your premiums insurers take into account other factors as well as your annual mileage

What do insurers consider to be low mileage?

According to the Department of Transport, the average annual car mileage in 2020 was 6,800 miles.

Your insurer may view driving fewer miles than this annually to be low mileage, but it will vary between providers and they’re likely to set their own limits.

Types of low mileage car insurance

There are several different insurance options that are designed to be fairer and more flexible for low mileage drivers, these include:

Black box or telematics insurance

With this insurance your car is fitted with a special device known as a black box or telematics technology to track your driving habits. This helps insurers to calculate your premium. It’s worth noting that telematics insurance also tracks how safe you are as a driver when setting your premium price. 

Some insurers will set a mileage limit, which you can usually pay to increase if you need to, and some policies will give discounts for keeping under that limit.

Pay as you go

Also known as pay per mile insurance, this is another that uses a telematics device or smartphone app to measure how far you drive.

You’re typically given a basic premium rate that covers your car while it’s parked and the remaining cost is added each month based on how many miles you travel.

Short-term car insurance

This can be a useful option if you’ll only be using your car occasionally or for a single trip. You can typically get cover from one hour up to 28 days.

It’s a good idea to compare this with an annual policy to see which level of cover and price might suit you best.

Classic car insurance

This cover is designed for drivers of classic and vintage cars who’ll be driving them less often than regular cars.

The cost of the insurance considers your car’s value and will often cap the mileage limit, so you can’t go over this without invalidating your policy.

How does mileage affect the cost of car insurance?

Because the cost of car insurance is based on the risk of being involved in a collision or an accident, some insurers will offer lower premiums if you’re less likely to be on the road.

In contrast, a high annual mileage means you’re more likely to need to make a claim - so your insurance will typically cost more.

But the distance you drive each year isn’t the only factor taken into account - insurance providers will also consider your age, where you live and your driving history.

All in all, it means a low mileage won’t guarantee you lower premiums.

How can I calculate my annual mileage?

Accurately estimating your mileage is important to get the right level of cover, but it’s also more straightforward to do than you might think.

Two ways you can calculate your annual mileage are:

  • Look back over your last three or four MOT certificates. The car’s mileage when it was tested will be included, so you can work out what your average is across recent years
  • Record how far you travel in a week and multiply this by 52 to roughly estimate the yearly figure

Remember to also factor in any changes in your lifestyle that may affect this year’s mileage.

What happens if I provide my insurer with an inaccurate mileage figure?

Insurance companies can check your MOT to see if your estimated mileage matches.

Intentionally or unknowingly underestimating might invalidate your insurance, which means your insurer won’t pay out if you need to make a claim.

They may even cancel your policy and you could find it harder and more expensive to get cover in the future.

Overestimating your mileage can mean paying more than you need to, which is why it’s important to be as accurate as possible.

What should I do if I’m going to go over my mileage limit?

If you realise you’ll be going over your estimated mileage before your policy ends, contact your insurer. They may increase the price but it’ll mean you're still covered.

You can also let your insurer know if you’re driving a lot less than you expected to. They may offer you a refund.

How can I reduce my annual mileage?

Not only will it reduce wear and tear on your car, but driving less can also be better for the environment and help to reduce your insurance costs.

To help reduce the time you spend driving try:

  • Walking or riding a bike when possible
  • Using bike-share programs if your city or town has one
  • Going on public transport
  • Joining a carpool
  • Ordering goods online to avoid driving to buy them
  • Working from home
  • Planning ahead to combine trips
  • Using map apps to help shorten your route