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Compare low-mileage car insurance policies

Low-mileage car insurance

published: 11 May 2021
Read time: 5 minutes

Many drivers use their car fairly infrequently, or just for short distances. If you’re one of them, you may be able to find cheaper car insurance with a low-mileage policy

What is low-mileage car insurance?

Low-mileage car insurance is car cover designed for motorists who only drive a short distance each year. If you cover fewer than 6,500 miles per year, a low-mileage policy could help you save on your car insurance costs.

Research from By Miles, a specialist low-mileage insurer, found that motorists who drive between 5,000 and 6,000 miles per year pay an average of £210 more for standard car insurance premiums than motorists who drive 11,000 to 12,000 miles a year.

So choosing an insurer that rewards you for driving less could well help you get cheaper cover.

Drivers with an average mileage of 5,000-6,000 pay over £200 more a year on average for car insurance than those who drive 11,000-12,000 miles Woman driving car

How does low mileage car insurance work?

Most insurers offer low-mileage car insurance via a pay-as-you-go car insurance policy, which involves having a tracking device fitted to your car to measure how far you drive.

It often works out cheaper because the less you drive, the less likely you are to be involved in an accident. This means less risk for the insurer, so your car insurance premiums should come down too.

You normally pay a fixed annual fee when you start the policy, which will cover your car against theft, vandalism or accidental damage while it’s parked. You’ll then be charged a per-mile rate for each mile you’ve driven at the end of each month.

Your insurer will send you a tracker, which should be easy to plug in and will transfer your mileage data to your insurer. You will usually be able to review the system used in your pay-as-you-go car insurer’s app or on its website.

Some insurers offer a mileage limit and allow you to top up in 1,000-mile blocks, while others let you pay just for the distance you’ve driven every month. And if you need to make a claim, you do so in the same way as you would for a standard policy, including paying an excess fee.

Who can benefit from low-mileage car insurance?

Low-mileage car insurance coverage isn’t the right solution for everyone. If you use your car for your daily commute or to travel long distances, for instance, it’s likely you’ll be better off with a regular policy.

But a low-mileage insurance policy may be just the ticket for more occasional drivers, including:

  • OAPs who don’t often travel

  • Students

  • Employees who live close to work

  • Second car owners

  • People who rideshare to work

  • Classic car owners

What is considered low mileage?

According to the latest figures from the Department of Transport, the average car in the UK drives 6,500 miles per year. So while each insurer has a different threshold for their low-mileage car insurance policy, a limited-mileage plan could well be worth investigating if you travel less than this every year.

Cars in the UK drive an average annual mileage of 6,500

Based on data provided by the Department of Transport, December 2019

How do I calculate my mileage?

If you choose a standard car insurance policy, it’s important to estimate your annual mileage accurately. However, it’s not always easy to estimate how much you’ll drive in a year, especially if you’re doing it for the first time – that’s why car insurance companies usually allow some flexibility.

To give yourself a helping hand, take a look at your MOT certificates, which list your vehicle’s mileage at the time it was tested. As the tests are annual, you can get a reasonable idea of how far you’ve driven it each year.

Then factor in any major driving holiday plans and changes of circumstances. If you’ve recently moved job or house, for example, your commuting distance will probably change. Likewise, if friends or family move, you may see a change in mileage according to how often you visit.

What happens if I provide the incorrect information about my annual mileage?

Providing inaccurate information about your mileage – for example by underestimating it – could cause problems if you need to make a claim, especially if there’s a big difference between the figure you state and you actual mileage.

In some cases, it could result in your policy being declared invalid, or even lead to you being charged with insurance fraud.

What are the different types of low mileage policy?

A pay-as-you-go policy with which you use a tracker to monitor your mileage is just one option for motorists who drive less than the average. Alternatives include:

  • Blackbox insurance Also known as telematics insurance, with one of these policies your insurer will monitor how you drive. This includes how far you go, when you drive most, and how safe your driving is. It can then lower your premium, or put it up, as a result.

  • Short-term car insurance If you only drive occasionally, temporary car insurance or short-term cover, which can last for a few days or months, could work out cheaper than an annual policy. You insure the car only when you need to drive it. 

  • Classic car insurance designed for owners of older cars that are primarily used for leisure purposes. If you have a classic car, you’re likely to drive it for fewer miles than you would your everyday vehicle. 

Do I still need car insurance when I’m not driving my vehicle?

You will always need to have car insurance if your car is kept on a public road or car park. The only time when you don’t need insurance is if you have declared the car as Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN). This means you don’t drive it and it’s kept off the road, such as in a private garage. 

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

If you underestimate your annual mileage, your insurer may invalidate an insurance claim, if you need to make one, and in some cases could cancel your policy. This could lead to problems taking out another insurance policy in the future.

Your insurer will see your annual mileage on your MOT certificate. If you over-estimate your mileage, you could be paying too much for your policy. That’s why it’s important your average car mileage per year is correct.

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

Contact your insurer if you think you’re going to go over your annual mileage limit. It should be able to change your policy. This might mean you have to pay more but it will protect you from having your policy cancelled altogether. 

Will low mileage always reduce my car insurance premium?

One way to lower your car insurance could be by driving less, but insurance is made up of lots of different factors. Therefore, there’s no guarantee this will happen. If you reduce your mileage, for example, but you’re caught speeding, your insurance is still likely to go up.

How can I reduce my annual mileage?

Ways to reduce the mileage you do in your car include:

  • Car sharing with a colleague to halve the miles you cover on your commute

  • Choosing public transport where possible

  • Doing short journeys on foot or on a bike rather than in the car

Compare low-mileage car insurance

It’s easy to find low-mileage car insurance with MoneySuperMarket. You can also compare it with standard fully comprehensive, third party only, and third party, fire and theft policies to help you find the best car insurance for your needs.