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If you own a car but rarely drive it, you may wonder if you can save money on car insurance. While there isn’t specific auto insurance for infrequent drivers, there are plenty of coverage options that can reduce your overall rates.
Our team has ranked the best auto insurance companies on the market in terms of cost, coverage plans and customer service. The best way to determine your top option comes by comparing car insurance quotes from various providers before making a final call.
Is There Auto Insurance for Infrequent Drivers?
As mentioned earlier, there’s no such thing as auto insurance for infrequent drivers. This doesn’t mean that you’re out of options, however, as there are plenty of ways to save on car coverage if you own a vehicle but don’t drive it often.
Pay-per-mile coverage is an insurance program that charges customers based on the number of miles they drive. This type of insurance can be good for people who rarely get behind the wheel and for those who carpool frequently. With pay-per-mile car insurance, there’s no need to worry about getting charged for coverage that you won’t use.
It’s vital to accurately estimate the miles you’ll drive, though, as incorrect estimates could lead to higher insurance premiums. Pay-per-mile insurance can be a great way to save money on auto coverage, but it’s not suitable for everyone.
How Does Pay-Per-Mile Insurance Work?
Insurance experts say that pay-per-mile coverage is one of the most viable options for motorists who don’t drive their vehicles often. Here’s how the system typically works:
- Reach out to a provider that offers a pay-per-mile program to buy car insurance. While Metromile is best known for its pay-per-mile policies, other options include Milewise® from Allstate and SmartMiles® from Nationwide.
- The insurer decides your base and per-mile rates, factoring in your age, where you live, what type of vehicle you’re insuring and your credit score.
- You’re given a GPS tracker or an app that monitors your monthly and annual mileage.
- Your car insurance rates are calculated at the end of each month based on miles driven. Note that you could end up paying a steep rate if you head out on a road trip.
Note that your provider can tack charges onto your base rate depending on when and where you’re operating your vehicle. For example, driving during rush hour in California or through high-crime neighborhoods may lead to higher car insurance costs. Still, pay-per-mile coverage often offers lower rates to those seeking auto insurance for infrequent drivers.
Usage-based policies and telematics insurance set monthly premiums based on your driving habits. Data is collected through a plug-in device or a mobile app that looks for practices commonly followed by safe drivers. This type of car insurance usually tracks miles driven, vehicle speed, hard braking and acceleration, phone use and times of day spent on the road.
This information is then used to set rates, so good drivers with responsible driving behaviors can save money on their premiums. On the other hand, your rates could go up if you’re deemed a high-risk driver and have a bad driving record. This type of insurance offers a more personalized way to calculate rates and can lead to savings if you rarely drive.
If you don’t drive often, your auto insurer may offer a low-mileage car insurance discount that could lead to below-average rates. This savings opportunity is usually meant for those who drive far less than the average driver, so don’t consider it if you log over 10,000 miles per year.
To get this discount, you’ll usually have to provide proof of low mileage such as a recent odometer reading. Read through the insurance disclaimers on your contract to find your exact requirements. Those who are retired or work from home may qualify for this way to save on auto insurance for infrequent drivers.
Other Ways To Save on Car Insurance
All drivers can reduce their rates for auto insurance by cutting extra insurance types such as collision and comprehensive coverage. Consider whether you’ll be comfortable doing so, though, before sending in your request to an auto insurer.
You can also increase your deductible to receive lower monthly payments on car insurance. This means, however, that you’ll pay more out of pocket in the event of a car accident.
It’s worth seeking out other car insurance discounts such as those for safe driving practices and for having a clean driving history. You can learn which savings you could be eligible for by getting free quotes from various insurance options or by speaking with a local insurance agent.
What Happens If You’re Caught Driving Without Auto Insurance?
Since you likely don’t drive very often, the thought of not getting a car insurance policy may have crossed your mind. This is both dangerous and illegal in almost every circumstance.
You must show your ability to pay for damages in the case of an accident in each state. Auto insurance is required in most states as proof of such financial responsibility. If you’re caught driving without car insurance, you could face some of the penalties outlined below.
Fines for Driving Uninsured
If you get pulled over and aren’t able to present valid proof of insurance, you can be levied fines ranging from $100 up to $5,000. This figure largely depends on which state you’re caught in. In the end, it’ll likely be much cheaper to simply get auto insurance for infrequent drivers.
Suspension or Revocation of Your License
You could also end up with a revoked or suspended license if you’re caught driving without car insurance. The length of the suspension will depend on your state, but it can last anywhere from a few months to a year. In some cases, you may even have to retake your driving test.
Suspension or Revocation of Your Car Registration
Your vehicle registration may also be suspended or revoked if you don’t have car insurance. This means that it will be illegal for your vehicle to be driven on any public roads.
Your car can also be impounded if you’re found to be driving without insurance. The length of time that your vehicle could be impounded will depend on the state, but it can last anywhere from a few days up to a couple of months.
Potential Jail Time
Driving without an auto insurance policy can even land you in jail in certain states. For example, driving without insurance in Michigan is a misdemeanor that can result in up to one year of imprisonment. Make sure to seek out auto insurance for infrequent drivers if you ever plan to hit the road, no matter how rare those instances may be.
Our Recommendations for Auto Insurance
Car insurance is an absolute necessity whether you drive your car every day or almost never. The consequences of not having auto insurance are often severe and can easily be avoided by picking up coverage. We’d recommend GEICO, USAA and Progressive as top choices if you’re searching for cheap auto insurance.
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GEICO: Best Discounts
GEICO is one of the most popular car insurance companies in the U.S., and there are plenty of reasons why. The provider offers a wide range of coverage options, from liability-only policies to full coverage car insurance. In addition, GEICO has some of the lowest rates in the insurance industry and an outstanding array of discounts.
USAA: Best Military Provider
If you’re affiliated with the military, USAA could be an excellent choice for auto insurance. USAA offers excellent add-on options such as roadside assistance, rental car reimbursement, accident forgiveness and gap insurance. It’s also known for its strong performance with customer service.
Progressive: Best for High-Risk Drivers
Progressive is typically one of the best choices for those with at-fault accidents, DUI violations and speeding tickets. That’s because the company is less likely to reject motorists with imperfect driving records than other leading providers. Learn about the benefits of this provider by reading through our full Progressive insurance review.
Can I get rid of car insurance if I don’t drive often?
You are required by law to have car insurance, even if you don’t drive your car often. The consequences of not having car insurance range from hefty fines to license suspensions to even time in jail.
How can I get the best rates if I don’t drive much?
You can do a few things to get the best rates for car insurance. First, shop around and compare rates from different insurers. Second, consider getting a policy with liability-only insurance coverage if that’s permitted for your situation. Third, ask about potential discounts or opportunities to bundle with homeowners or life insurance.
Is there infrequent driver car insurance?
There is no such thing as auto insurance for infrequent drivers. However, you can tailor your plan to fit your needs by getting pay-per-mile auto coverage or a usage-based insurance policy. Low-mileage drivers can usually find affordable rates even if there’s no specific plan intended for them.