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What car insurance is available for people who drive infrequently and/or drive a very small number of miles per year (say less than 500 miles/year)?

I just moved somewhere that allows me to walk and use public transportation. I'm curious if there's an insurance policy along the lines of $1/mile or something (which could be less than my $1300/year current costs).

Cheers!

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    Do you use a car infrequently enough to warrant getting rid of it and just renting a car on an hourly basis as you need? Consider services such as Zipcar or AutoShare or something along those lines if your city offers it. – fideli Mar 27 '11 at 17:02
  • Not sure yet since I just moved. Zipcar etc is a great idea... however I like having my car (which I own) at my house... that way I can drive to the grocery store on a rainy day. That's one reason I'm curious about the alternative insurance plans. – MrDatabase Mar 27 '11 at 20:06
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    I guess you didn't have any results asking your insurance company to lower your rate based on this? – mbhunter Mar 27 '11 at 20:21
  • Tried calling but they're closed on Sunday :-) – MrDatabase Mar 27 '11 at 21:28
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    you might look into one of the companies that attach a device to the data port on your car. That gives them all sorts of information regarding driving habits. It might be possible for them to determine miles per month and lower your rate. Of course they would also need to be able to tell that you didn't drive most of the month with the dongle unplugged. – mhoran_psprep Sep 24 '13 at 13:48
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To add to the previous comments and answer, every 2-3 years (or sometimes more, if you're willing/able), you should shop around to compare auto insurance rates. Lots of times your current rate is based on information that is stale (perhaps you got it when you were 18 and never changed, so even though you're now 29, you're paying as if you were much younger). Also, if your credit score has improved, you have no tickets/claims/etc, you can typically get your rates lowered.

While there are some companies I would specifically warn against (for a variety of reasons, not merely opinions), start your search with some of the "biggies", and maybe look at local agents, too.

Insurance agencies, especially local ones, will tend to offer an additional level of service over 'merely' the 800 number, and will help shop around for your specific case and needs.

Summary of data points to consider:

  • collision coverage need (if the vehicle is worth $2000, and collision coverage costs $500/yr, in only 4 years you will have saved the cost of the car)
  • deductible need (if it costs more than $250/yr to move from a $500 to a $250 deductible, go with a bigger deductible (in general))
  • are state minimum liability levels a level of risk you're willing to accept (eg 25k/50k instead of 250k/500k)?
  • is the state minimum liability level more expensive than a higher limit (every time I look, it costs more)?
  • if you have more than one driver (eg a spouse), how would the rate change if she is listed as the primary driver and you the secondary?
  • is the vehicle garaged, off-street, or on-street parked?
  • does the condo complex (if applicable) have any insurance offered/provided for vehicles on their grounds?
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If you don't drive to work or school, you may be able to get your vehicle classified as a "recreational vehicle" and pay lower premiums. (source)

  • My insurance company draws the line at 7500 Miles. Some insurance companies require 1 year at lower mileage before lowering your rates as protection against unscrupulous customers who just claim to be driving less miles. – Alex B Mar 28 '11 at 18:14

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