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If you’re a low-mileage driver, you’ll have an easier time finding cheap car insurance quotes than a road warrior who spends countless hours behind the wheel. This is because driving less invariably translates into a lower risk of being involved in a car accident, so auto insurance carriers will consider you to be less of a liability.
However, with so many companies to choose from, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when searching for affordable auto insurance for low-mileage drivers. To help you save time, our Geeks did the legwork and compared quotes from nine top providers. The table below summarizes our findings:
|Massachusetts||Plymouth Rock Assurance|
|New Hampshire||State Farm|
|New Mexico||State Farm|
|New York||State Farm|
|North Carolina||State Farm|
|North Dakota||State Farm|
|South Dakota||State Farm|
|Washington DC||State Farm|
|West Virginia||State Farm|
FAQs About Car Insurance for Low-Mileage Drivers
How Do I Qualify for a Low-Mileage Discount?
If you find yourself taking public transportation more than your car, if you find yourself suddenly without that long commute to work, or if you find you just don’t drive that much, you may want to look into getting a low-mileage discount. Insurance companies like to reward drivers they see as less of a liability, and the less you’re on the road, the better. The maximum number of miles you can drive per years varies from insurer to insurer, but it’s generally around 7,000 or 8,000. Some may offer discounts for multiple mileage tiers. Senior citizens, teen drivers, or city residents are frequent recipients of this deal.
What Are the Penalties for Driving Without Auto Insurance as a Low-Mileage Driver?
Low-mileage drivers carry less risk of being involved in crash, but that doesn’t mean you should skip out on insurance. In most states, electronic databases keep tabs on every motorist to weed out the uninsured. And those who slip through the cracks are often pulled over by law enforcement.
In most states, you will have your driver’s license and vehicle registration suspended if you are caught driving without car insurance. Reinstating both documents is a tedious process involving fees, queues and endless forms. In many states, uninsured drivers have to pay up to $1,000 for second or subsequent offenses. These offenses may also impact your car insurance premiums.
What Are “Fault” and “No-Fault” Car Insurance States?
The majority of states employ a “fault” system, which means the driver who caused the accident will have to dip into his or her own pocket (or insurance policy) to cover the costs resulting from a crash. However, because many accidents are the fault of multiple parties, many states have implemented comparative or contributory negligence laws, which reduce a person’s damages award by his or her percentage of fault.
For example, the courts may determine that while the other driver was reckless, you were 10% responsible for accident. As a result, the other driver would have to cover 90% of your damages.
In a no-fault state, drivers have to carry insurance that covers certain types of damages no matter who was at fault. If your own insurance policy does not cover all of your damages, you will have to file a third-party claim against the at-fault motorist or his/her insurance company.
What Mistakes Could Compromise My Car Insurance Claim?
1. Saying Too Much
Loose lips sink claims. Remember that mantra because admitting blame in the wake of an accident will only hurt you when it comes time to seek compensation.
Yes, it might look like the entire accident was your fault, but in the heat of the moment, you may have missed glaring details that tell a different story. Don’t jump the gun. Stick to calling the authorities, exchanging details with the other motorists and then contacting your insurance company.
2. Not Taking Pictures
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. After a car accident, a picture may be worth thousands of dollars. Photographic evidence can make or break your claim as they can help you prove liability and damages.
3. Not Following up with the Insurance Company
Filing an insurance claim – especially in “fault” insurance states – can be a long and complex process. Although a reliable insurance company won’t let your claim fall through the cracks, you may have missed an email notification or two. Instead of living with stress and uncertainty, pick up the phone and track down your claim to find out if there’s anything you need to do.
What Are Some Common Reasons Why Car Insurance Claims Are Denied?
1. You Missed Payments
Your policy is a contract between you and your insurer. If you fail to make good on your end of the bargain by paying the monthly premiums, the insurer is under no obligation to compensate you for your damages, or to compensate another driver for the damages you caused.
2. You Did Not Properly Document the Crash
Your insurer requires proof that the accident took place. It will want to see:
- An accident report compiled by the police;
- The names, phone numbers and insurance information of motorists involved;
- The personal details of anyone who may have witnessed the accident;
- Photographs of any damage or injuries; and
- A medical assessment conducted by a doctor.
3. You Didn’t File Your Claim on Time
Your insurance company has laid out detailed time limits for filing your car accident claim. If you fail to file your claim within that grace period, your claim will most likely be denied.
We suggest picking up your phone and getting in touch with your insurer within 24 hours of the crash.
How Should I Prepare for the Worst-Case Accident Scenario?
Even low-mileage drivers can find themselves in an accident. Make sure you’ve prepared for the worst by:
- Purchasing a fully equipped emergency first aid kit to treat injuries after a crash;
- Investing in a car charging kit for your phone to ensure you will not be stranded without a means of contacting the authorities; and
- Keeping important documents, such as your vehicle registration, driver’s license, insurance and health information, in your vehicle at all times.
What Should I Do If I Get into an Accident?
Since low-mileage drivers are on the road less frequently, they may have never experienced a car crash before. The situation can be very overwhelming; a lot of things are happening all at once. It’s important to remain calm, however, so you can make sure you handle the situation correctly.
After a crash, your immediate concern should be the wellbeing of yourself and everyone else involved. Do what you can for any injured parties, but try not to move anyone unless an external, life-threatening situation, like a car fire, occurs. Despite your best intentions, moving someone who is hurt could exacerbate their condition. Most states have Good Samaritan laws in place if you have to make a tough call, however.
Once you’ve done what you can, call for an ambulance and for the police. A police report can be a vital piece of evidence when insurers are investigating the claim and deciding what to pay. Note that failing to report an accident can have serious consequences, and if you leave the scene before the police arrive, you will be charged with a hit-and-run.
You should also record anything that may be helpful to your case. This includes the names and contact information of witnesses and the other people in the crash and insurance policy information.
What Laws Should I Know as a Low-Mileage Driver?
Even though you aren’t often behind the wheel, you still need to know, understand, and follow all of the rules of the road. Failing to comply can lead to repercussions like fines, suspensions, points on your permanent driving record, and, in the most severe cases, imprisonment. Any of these infractions can get you on your insurance company’s radar, and the more they see you as a risk, the more they’ll charge. Here are some policies to keep in mind when you find yourself on the road. Note that the specifics of these laws and punishments vary from state to state.
- Don’t drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This is a universal policy, and one of the most dangerous things you could do as a driver. Even a minor impairment could drastically impact your ability to operate a motor vehicle and to react appropriately to what’s going on around you. This puts your life and the lives of everyone else on the road at risk. Because of the seriousness of the subject, the consequences are very severe. It’s illegal for adults to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or over. Drivers under 21 are not permitted to drive with a BAC greater than .02 percent.
- Don’t drive if you’re distracted. Texting is one of the most common culprits of distracted driving, but anything that pulls your attention from your task counts. Even emotional or mental distractions could be dangerous. When you get behind the wheel of a car, you are committing to giving it 100 percent. Anything less puts yourself and your fellow travelers at risk.
- Move over for emergency vehicles. When you see those flashing lights stopped ahead, make every attempt to get into the lane farthest from them. If you notice an emergency vehicle racing up behind you, try to pull over and clear a path. This allows police officers, EMTs, and firefighters to take care of their business as efficiently and effectively as possible.
- Always yield for pedestrians. Pedestrians have the right of way, especially if they’re at a crosswalk. Allowing them to go before you reduces the chance of a miscommunication occurring and someone getting hit.
- Freeway lanes marked HOV are for motorists with more than one occupant in their vehicle. These lanes are located at the far left of the freeway and were created to incentivize carpooling. Since most people commute on their own, HOV lanes are typically less congested than the rest of the road. It’s illegal to use an HOV lane if you’re riding solo.
- Always use your blinker. A blinker, or turn signal, is a key factor to safe roadways. It communicates to those around you know that you intend to alter your course and gives them time to react accordingly.
- Follow the speed limit. Going too fast or too slow are both risky and can both increase the chance of an accident. Take special care around special areas like schools and construction zones.
- Always wear a seat belt. They were designed to keep motorists safe in the event of a collision. Besides keeping you from flying through the windshield or hitting various car parts, they can also help you maintain control of the car by keeping you stabilized. It’s your responsibility to make sure your passengers are also buckled, especially children.
What Should I Do If I’m Pulled over by the Police?
If law enforcement catches you breaking the rules listed above or any other rule, they have the right to deal with it accordingly. Once you see those lights in your rearview mirror, acknowledge the officer by turning on your flashers, pulling over to the side of the road, and coming to a complete stop. Don’t try to evade the police, as that will only worsen your punishment. Remember that this is a tense situation for all involved, including the officer, so be calm and polite. Keep your hands visible and don’t reach for anything suddenly. If you think you have been wrongfully stopped or ticketed, present your case before the court, not to the officer.
Car Insurance Terminology
Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC): A measure of how much alcohol is in your system.
Liability: The state of being responsible for something
Premium: An amount to be paid for an insurance policy
Quote: An estimated price for a for a potential insurance policy