Low Mileage and Usage-Based Discounts

It has never been easier to track driver habits and mileage, determining everything from the severity of braking to the miles that they travel and the times they drive. This data is used by car insurance companies to create more personalized car insurance rates, and could, potentially, save you a small fortune.

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Known as usage-based discounts, these offers are available with most major insurance providers and are worth considering if you’re not clocking tens of thousands of miles every year and believe yourself to be a safe and responsible driver.

In this guide, we’ll look at how low mileage and usage-based discounts work, before highlighting the very best usage-based insurance programs on the market.

How Much Are Low-Mileage Discounts?

The less time you spend on the road, the less likely you are to have an accident and make a claim. It makes sense, therefore, for car insurance companies to offer you cheaper rates if you drive much less than the average. But rarely is that the case.

In our research, we found that the difference between someone who drives 5,000 miles and someone who drives 15,000 miles (the average is around 12,000) was just a few dollars. In other words, even if you drive twice as much as the national average, you won’t necessarily pay that much more.

There are exceptions, though. In some built-up cities, including Los Angeles, there are very noticeable differences between someone who drives 5,000 miles and someone who drives 15,000. Furthermore, many insurance companies offer specific programs tailored towards those with low annual mileages. Some companies cater exclusively to drivers in this category, essentially offering a pay-as-you-drive insurance policy.

Take a look at the programs and insurers below to see what you can save by doing fewer miles.

Allstate Drivewise Program

With the DriveWise program from Allstate, you can steadily reduce your rates based on your driving habits. If it turns out that you don’t have optimal habits, Allstate promises that it will not increase the base rate of your premiums, so there’s nothing to worry about in that regard.

Drivewise is offered in all states and considers several key rating factors to potentially reduce your premiums by as much as 40%. 

As with many similar programs, Drivewise is a plug-in device that connects to the Onboard Diagnostics port to gather real-time data.

  • Potential Savings: Up to 40%
  • What it Tracks: Hard braking, the time of day that you drive, and your speed.
  • Where it is Available: Offered in all 50 states.

Allstate Milewise Program

Launched in 2018, Milewise offers Allstate customers discounts when they drive less. It offers regular feedback concerning recent trips and mileage and tweaks insurance premiums based on data provided. In some states, including Arizona, Allstate changes insurance premiums on a weekly basis.

  • Potential Savings: Up to 39%.
  • What it Tracks: Mileage.
  • Where it is Available: Arizona, Delaware, D.C., Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia.

Esurance DriveSense Program

Online-only provider, Esurance, offers an instant discount of between 5% and 10% for all policyholders who sign up for the DriveSense program. This app, which tracks user data, can reduce insurance costs for motorists with safe driving habits and low mileage.

  • Potential Savings: Up to 30%.
  • What it Tracks: Speed, time of day, idle time, braking, acceleration, cornering.
  • Where it is Available: Everywhere except for the following states: California, Florida, Indiana, New York, and North Carolina.

GEICO DriveEasy Program

For many years, GEICO was one of the few major car insurance providers that didn’t offer a usage-based program. In fact, of the ten biggest insurance carriers, it was the only one, and that’s why you won’t find GEICO on many other website lists discussing low-mileage programs and telematics.

GEICO finally changed tact in 2019 when it adopted the DriveEasy program. As things stand, this mobile app is only offered in a couple of states, but there are plans to roll it out across the country. GEICO serves all states and is one of the nation’s biggest providers, so it could be a matter of time before you see it in your state.

  • Potential Savings: Up to 20%.
  • What it Tracks: Use of your phone, hard braking, other driving habits.
  • Where it is Available: Connecticut and Pennsylvania, with more states to be added soon.

SafeCo/Liberty Mutual RightTrack

Make weekly savings with the RightTrack program, which tracks driving habits to determine if you’re a good driver or not. It is not available everywhere and requirements/discounts differ, but there are only a few states where you can’t sign up for this program.

  • Potential Savings: Save an average of 30%.
  • What it Tracks: Mileage, the time of day that you drive, acceleration, and braking.
  • Where it is Available: Everywhere except for the following states: Alaska, California, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and DC.

Metromile

Metromile is a pay-per-mile auto insurance company geared towards those with a short commute and very few miles on the clock. It launched in 2011 and was underwriting its own policies within 5 years after experiencing massive growth. 

Metromile is only available in a handful of states, but more are being added to the list all of the time.

  • Potential Savings: Over $500 a year.
  • What it Tracks: Mileage.
  • Where it is Available: Arizona, Illinois, New Jersey, California, Pennsylvania, Washington, and Virginia.

Progressive Snapshot Program

Progressive changed the game when it launched the SnapShot program back in 2008, offering one of the first devices of its kind. Designed to discover low-mileage drivers and reward safe driving, this device checks a host of data points and offers substantial savings if it determines that you’re a safe driver that makes good decisions when behind the wheel.

  • Potential Savings: Get an average of $150 when you complete the program.
  • What it Tracks: Speed, time of day, times you check your smartphone, and other driving habits.
  • Where it is Available: All states.

State Farm Drive Safe Program

With Drive Safe, you can get 5% just for signing up to the program and up to an additional 45% once it gathers the necessary driving data (via the installation of a telematics device) and determines what type of driver you are.

State Farm is the nation’s biggest provider of car insurance and offers a wealth of car insurance discounts in addition to the Drive Safe program.

  • Potential Savings: Up to 50%.
  • What it Tracks: Hard braking, acceleration, time of day, number of miles, use of smartphone.
  • Where it is Available: Everywhere except for New York, Massachusetts, California, and Rhode Island.

The Hartford TrueLane Program

As a policyholder with The Hartford, you can request a free telematics device that you install in your car. You will get a 10% discount just for adding the device and can save up to 25% per vehicle from there.

  • Potential Savings: Up to 25%.
  • What it Tracks: Time of day that you drive, braking/acceleration data, and other driving behaviors.
  • Where it is Available: Everywhere except for the following states: Alaska, California, Florida, Montana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Kansas, New York, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Nevada, and Rhode Island.

Bottom Line

Telematics devices can be installed in all new cars and many older ones as well. Providing you don’t drive a car manufactured prior to the mid-90s, you shouldn’t have an issue in this regard. And due to the instant savings offered by usage-based programs and the information they can provide, we recommend them to all drivers.

In the worst-case scenario, you may discover that you’re not as safe and responsible as you thought you were, but if you choose your insurance company carefully, this shouldn’t result in higher premiums, and will give you the data you need to improve your driving habits. In most cases, you’ll also get an instant discount just for signing up.

It’s a win-win!