Does Your Mileage Matter for California Car Insurance?

In California, the type of vehicle you drive does matter. California car insurance premiums depend on many factors, including how old, expensive, safe and theft-prone your vehicle is. Another major determinant in your auto insurance rate has to do with how much you drive. In other words, your annual mileage. Essentially, the fewer miles you drive, the lower the risk you’ll be involved in a collision. And Auto Insurance companies like low-risk drivers.

Since insurers prefer these kinds of drivers, they try to attract them by offering lower insurance premiums. In fact, California Car Insurance companies are required to consider annual mileage when establishing rates.

Low-Mileage Discounts on Car Insurance

All Auto Insurance companies have different criteria for discounts. They generally divide their customers into mileage categories. For example, they may give discounts to people who drive fewer than 7,500 miles per year. They may also charge higher rates for those who exceed 15,000 miles per year. The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that the average person drives 13,476 miles each year.

The Car Insurance savings enjoyed by low-mileage drivers can be substantial. A 2015 study by Quadrant Information Services found that American drivers who decreased their total annual miles from 10,000 to 5,000 saved an average of 7% on their premiums. The discounts were even greater for high-mileage drivers who reduced their annual mileage down to 5,000. Drivers who averaged 15,000 miles a year saw an average discount of 8.4% on their premiums. Those whose yearly mileage exceeded 20,000 miles recorded savings of 9.1% on average after reduction.

California Car Insurance Low-Mileage Discounts

When you look at California specifically, low-mileage discounts are even larger. In fact, the study shows that no other U.S. state saw a bigger difference in Auto Insurance rates based on annual mileage than California. California drivers who logged 10,000 miles a year saw a whopping 16.4% drop in premiums when they cut their annual mileage in half. That average discount rose to 25.1% for drivers who reduced their yearly miles from 15,000 to 5,000. Drivers in the 20,000-mile club who reduced their annual mileage to 5,000 saw an average discount of a mind-boggling 29.4%! At this rate, a California driver who pays the state average annual insurance premium of about $856 would pocket an extra $250 each year by dropping their annual mileage total from 20,000 to 5,000.

How To Reduce Your Annual Mileage

So, what are some ways to lower the number of miles you drive each year? Ideally, you should live as close to your job or school as possible to reduce your daily commute. Another strategy is to select your home based on its proximity to the places you frequent. This could include the residences of friends and family members or areas that feature shopping, services and entertainment.

If it’s impractical to move to another home, you can do the following:

  • California car insuranceTake advantage of park-and-ride services
  • Set up a carpool system with co-workers or classmates
  • Use public transportation whenever possible
  • Call on ride-sharing services (like Uber or Lyft) for long commutes or excursions
  • Walk or bicycle when running errands close to your home

Embracing these alternatives even once or twice a week can still make a substantial difference in your annual mileage total.

Consider Mileage When Searching for Auto Insurance

It’s important to be aware of how many miles you drive when you’re shopping for Auto Insurance. Before choosing a carrier, find out what the company’s annual mileage categories are and what the threshold is for getting a discount on your California Car Insurance. You may only need to make a few minor tweaks to your routine in order to qualify for milage savings. Speak with an Auto Insurance Specialist at (855) 919-4247 for a free quote. We’ll compare low rates from multiple top insurance companies and also help you find the discounts you qualify for. Most importantly, tell your agent what your annual mileage is if you think you’ll be eligible for a discount.


The information in this article is obtained from various sources. This content is offered for educational purposes only and does not represent contractual agreements. It should not replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. The definitions, terms and coverage in a given policy may be different than those suggested her. Such policy will be governed by the language contained therein. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.

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