D. Gilson is a writer and author of essays, poetry, and scholarship that explore the relationship between popular culture, literature, sexuality, and memoir. His latest book is Jesus Freak, with Will Stockton, part of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 Series. His other books include I Will Say This Exactly One Time and Crush. His first chapbook, Catch & Release, won the 2012 Robin Becker Prize from Seve...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer

UPDATED: Sep 24, 2021

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Just the Basics

  • Driving more increases your risk for an accident and raises car insurance rates
  • On average, car insurance rates can increase up to 25% when you drive more
  • Usage-based car insurance can provide savings for high mileage limits

Is it bad if you set your car insurance miles too low? Setting your annual mileage too low may increase your rates when car insurance companies determine you drove more than the set mileage limit.

Each company has unique car insurance mileage brackets. Our car insurance guide can give you an estimate on how annual mileage affects monthly rates.

After you determine whether it’s a bad idea to set your car insurance miles low, enter your ZIP code in the free online quote tool above to compare the best insurance companies in your area.

Is it bad if you set your car insurance miles too low?

The answer is yes. Commute mileage (or annual mileage) that’s too low can increase your car insurance rates up to 25%. Car insurance companies calculate commute mileage in various ways.

Check out the sample list of car insurance mileage brackets.

  • 5,000 miles or under had the cheapest
  • 7,500 annual mileage generates a 10% increase from 5,000
  • 10,000 annual mileage produces an increase of 4% from 7,500
  • 12,000 miles increase car insurance rates by 7% from 10,000
  • 20,000 commute miles generates up to 25% from 12,000

These are just examples of how average car insurance quotes are impacted by commute mileage.

It’s possible to underestimate the number of miles you’re expected to drive. If your circumstances change while you’re insured, alert your car insurance company.

Intentionally lying about mileage on car insurance could increase your risk. Will car insurance companies check for commute mileage? Continue reading to learn more.

Do car insurance companies check mileage?

Car insurance companies usually ask about your estimated mileage for the year. Some car insurance companies may send agents to perform mileage checks each year.

It’s likely that you won’t have to worry about your insurance company managing your annual mileage.

Why do car insurance companies care about annual mileage?

Your commute mileage correlates to risk. The more you drive, the higher the risk of filing claims.

Lowering your commute miles reduces your overall risk and saves you hundreds of dollars per year.

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How much is car insurance by commute mileage?

Annual mileage affects each car insurance company differently. Let’s compare the average rates of the top car insurance companies in the United States and see how a mileage limit impacts monthly rates.

Average Monthly Car Insurance Rates Based on Commute Mileage by Company
CompaniesMonthly Car Insurance Rates for 6,000 Annual MilesMonthly Car Insurance Rates for 12,000 Annual Miles
Allstate$403$411
American Family$283$290
Farmers$348$351
GEICO$264$272
Liberty Mutual$500$513
Nationwide$286$289
Progressive$336$337
State Farm$265$279
Travelers$367$372
USAA$207$216
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USAA, GEICO, and State Farm are the cheapest companies based on annual mileage. But USAA car insurance is only available to military veterans and their immediate families.

Therefore, GEICO and State Farm are the two best insurance companies for more affordable car insurance.

How can I get a low-mileage car insurance discount?

Any annual mileage that’s lower than average could make you eligible for a low-mileage discount.

According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the average driver travels 14,425 miles per year.

But some car insurance companies set their commute mileage limits much lower. We recommend getting multiple quotes with various mileage limits to see which bracket qualifies you for a low-mileage discount.

If you can’t secure a low-mileage deal, try using usage-based car insurance. Read on to learn more.

Why should I get usage-based car insurance?

Usage-based car insurance can provide more affordable rates when you have good driving habits.

The best car insurance companies have mobile apps and telematics that track your driving behaviors and rewards you with various deals.

For example, Nationwide’s SmartRide gives policyholders 10% off when they sign up. Nationwide car insurance customers that maintain safe driving habits can save an additional 40%.

Can I save money using pay-per-mile car insurance?

Another type of usage-based insurance is called pay-as-you-drive (PAYD) insurance or pay-per-mile insurance.

These insurance programs issue rates based on the number of miles you drive within a month. Most of these policies don’t include full coverage benefits, but you’ll have the minimum car insurance requirements.

What are the minimum car insurance requirements?

The minimum car insurance requirements vary for each state, but liability insurance is the policy type all drivers need.

New Hampshire is the only exception to the rule. But any driver who buys car insurance in the state of New Hampshire is required to carry liability coverage.

You can maximize your savings through liability-only car insurance at the lowest coverage level.

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What other factors determine car insurance rates?

Although liability-only car insurance works for a restrictive budget, it doesn’t have the same coverage capabilities as full coverage.

Before you decide to buy liability-only insurance, consider other characteristics that affect car insurance.

Here’s a list of factors that impact car insurance rates.

  • Driving Record
  • Credit History
  • Age
  • Location
  • Marital Status
  • Gender (outlawed in some states)
  • Coverage Level
  • Vehicle
  • Deductible

A clean driving record and good credit are the quickest roads to cheap car insurance.

Young and single women pay lower rates than single men, but older, married men pay much less.

Vehicles equipped with several safety features can generate more affordable rates, also.

To lower your car insurance rates, choose a higher deductible and save at least 15%.

Is it bad to set your car insurance miles too low?: The Bottom Line

Don’t set your commute mileage too low if you can help it. The best way to estimate your annual mileage is to figure out how many miles it takes for you to get to work and back home.

General commuting is likely around 14,500 a year. Although commute miles increase car insurance rates, other factors cancel out that rise in prices and provide savings.

Now that you know more about setting your car insurance miles, use our free comparison tool below to compare multiple companies near you.