Car insurance can be cheaper for low-mileage drivers - compare prices and find a limited mileage policy for you.
When it comes to filling out a car insurance quote, one of the many questions you’ll be asked is your estimated annual mileage.
You’re probably wondering why this really matters - what difference does it make if you do 1,000 or 10,000 miles?
Well, generally speaking, the more miles you cover the more expensive your annual insurance premium will be.
This is because if you spend more time on the road, the higher the chance you could have an accident.
It might be tempting to fudge your mileage - putting down a lower figure for the sake of a lower quote - but it could ultimately end up costing you more in the long run.
If you radically underestimate your mileage and your insurer finds out, they could declare your policy invalid and refuse to pay out if you make a claim.
Also, don’t assume that fewer miles on the clock means you will automatically pay less.
The rule of thumb therefore is always to be as honest as you can be.
Don’t panic if you can’t calculate your mileage exactly, as most insurers will give you a bit of leeway and accept that it’s impossible for you to know to the letter how much you’ll cover in next 12 months.
To make sure you don’t end up paying too much for your insurance, spend time figuring out what your average annual mileage will be.
If you think it'll be roughly the same as last year and you have the same vehicle, check your MOT certificate or service record, both of which will have a note of your mileage.
If you have a new vehicle, or you think your driving habits have changed since last year - for example, if you’ve got a new job which requires a longer commute to and from work - then the easiest thing to do is roughly calculate your weekly mileage and multiply it by 52.
This will give you your average for the year.
According to the RAC Foundation, 2016, the average mileage for a household car is 7,800 miles, but some drivers might find that they use their car much less and that their mileage is well below average.
This might be the case if you live in a two-car household, where one vehicle is likely to do fewer miles in a year than the other; or if you own a classic car and only use it a handful of times per year.
Student car owners may clock a low number of miles if they only drive outside of term time.
Likewise, pensioners, who may find they’re covering fewer miles in retirement, if they no longer have a daily commute.
If you reckon your annual mileage is less than 7,500 miles, it’s worth contacting your insurer to see if you can get a low mileage discount.
Alternatively, some insurers specialise specifically in low mileage car insurance.
This usually involves having your car fitted with a black box (also known as telematics technology) - a GPS tracking system that sends details of your driving habits back to your insurer.
This helps them to keep track of how many miles you’re doing, as well as how sensibly you’re driving.
If you stick within your agreed mileage limit they will normally offer you a discount or ‘free’ additional miles to use each month or quarter.
Young and low mileage drivers who have not had a chance to build up any no claims discount (NCD), may benefit from unconventional car insurance.
Check your MOT certificate or service record, both of which will have a note of your mileage.
“Black box insurance,” otherwise known as telematics car insurance “provides an important ‘lifeline’ for young people who are vulnerable to rising motoring costs, such as the increases in insurance premium tax,” explains Simon Rewell, road safety manager at Insure The Box.
“By installing telematics technology in your car, like a black box, your insurance company can keep track of your driving habits."
Another option is to opt for pay-as-you-go insurance.
As the name suggests, this is where you pay for the miles you use – just like you would with a pay-as-you-go mobile phone contract.
Usually, the insurance company ask you to pay a flat fee each month and then you pay extra for each journey you take or are charged on an hourly basis.
Again, with pay-as-you-go insurance, your mileage is monitored by having a black box fitted to your car, or via a dedicated smartphone app.
This could be a good option for you if, for example, you live in a city, commute to work by public transport, and only use your car at the weekends.
It’s worth noting that with both low mileage and pay-as-you-go insurance policies you’ll only save money if you really are doing a restricted number of miles.
This is because with these types of policies you can be penalised or fined if you go over your allocated mileage allowance.
If you’re a classic car owner and only use your vehicle a few times a year, it’s worth looking into specialist classic car insurance, which as well as taking into account the true value of your restored car, will often offer a reduction in price for low mileage.