Do Car Insurance Companies Check Your Mileage?

Mileage is a key factor that auto insurance companies use to calculate your premiums. The more you drive, the greater your risk of being involved in an accident. So how exactly do insurers determine how many miles you drive? Do they rely on your own estimates or do they independently verify your odometer readings?

The answer is that car insurance companies use a variety of methods to check your mileage, ranging from customer self-reporting to high-tech tracking services. Understanding how insurers monitor your driving activity can help ensure you pay fair rates based on actual usage.

Why Insurers Need Your Mileage Information

Your annual mileage is directly tied to your likelihood of getting into an accident. Drivers who rack up higher mileage:

  • Spend more time on the road exposed to potential crashes
  • Experience more wear and tear that can lead to mechanical breakdowns
  • Are more likely to file claims for repairs, damages, and injuries

Insurers price your policy based on risk, so the more miles you drive, the greater chance you’ll have a claim. That results in higher premiums. Checking odometer readings allows insurers to accurately base rates on driving habits.

How Insurance Companies Determine Your Mileage

Insurers obtain your mileage information through several sources:

  • Customer provided estimates – You report your estimated annual miles when first getting a policy and upon renewal. This relies on you accurately assessing your driving habits.

  • Odometer verification – Agents may request a photo of your odometer or take an in-person reading periodically to validate your estimates.

  • Usage tracking programs – Many insurers now offer voluntary app or device-based tracking services to monitor actual mileage. These provide precise data.

  • External databases – Insurers can pull mileage information from sources like vehicle registration records and auto repair shop invoices that record odometer readings.

  • Driving data recorders – Some modern vehicles have black boxes that track driving data. Insurers may be able to access this info with your consent.

So while customer-provided estimates are still common, insurers have multiple ways to independently verify your mileage now.

Examples of How Insurers Check Mileage

Here are some specific methods insurance companies may use to confirm how much you drive:

  • Requiring photos of your odometer periodically
  • Using DMV records showing annual mileage from registration or inspections
  • Tracking mileage at each oil change or repair visit via shop invoices
  • Enrolling you in a smartphone app that tracks driving activity via GPS
  • Installing a plug-in device that connects to your car computer to record mileage and more
  • Accessing trip data from your vehicle’s built-in infotainment system
  • Reviewing usage details if you have a car lease

Advanced telematics programs that capture every trip provide the most accurate ongoing mileage readings. But even basic verification like odometer photos helps confirm estimates.

Why Accurate Mileage Equals Fair Premiums

Reporting your mileage accurately is mutually beneficial for both you and your insurer when it comes to determining fair policy pricing:

For customers:

  • Lower premiums if you drive less than average
  • Avoid overpaying if you were overestimating mileage
  • Justify rate discounts like low-mileage savings

For insurers:

  • More precise underwriting and rating
  • Reduced risk of fraud from mileage misrepresentations
  • Ability to offer tailored discounts based on actual driving habits

Premiums aligned with true annual mileage, verified via multiple sources, result in fair costs based on real data. This rewards lower risk drivers.

Can You Opt Out of Mileage Tracking?

Insurance companies have a right to verify your driving activity as it relates to your policy premiums. However, any advanced telematics programs that use technology to collect data typically require your explicit opt-in consent.

You can decline or withdraw from gps-based mileage tracking programs at any time. But this may forfeit you eligibility for certain usage-based discounts. Without precise odometer data, insurers will rely on less accurate self-reported estimates or external databases to determine your mileage.

Basic periodic odometer photo verifications are generally mandatory, but telematics tracking remains optional in most cases. If you do consent, you’ll have ongoing access to your driving data.

How to Ensure Your Rates Reflect Actual Mileage

To make sure your auto insurance premiums stay in sync with your true annual mileage, follow these best practices:

  • Record odometer readings at every fill-up and maintenance visit. This provides accurate data to compare against estimates.

  • If estimates don’t match actual usage, contact your insurer to adjust. Significantly lowered mileage could qualify you for discounts.

  • Consider consenting to telematics tracking to provide insurers specific usage details that may earn savings.

  • Review mileage when renewing your policy. Update estimates to reflect major life changes impacting driving time like retirement, new job, or college.

  • Ask about snapshot odometer reading discounts. Photographing your odometer at renewal may help drop premiums.

  • Compare rates between insurers using your real mileage numbers to find the best deal.

The bottom line is insurers have multiple ways to determine your annual mileage now beyond just taking your word for it. Tracking your odometer readings yourself ensures you pay rates reflective of actual driving habits. Honesty – and allowing access if you’re a lower-mileage driver – can save you money.

How Do Car Insurance Companies Know Your Mileage | How To Lower Insurance Check It Out!


What happens if I underestimate my mileage for insurance?

Compare Insurance Rates Underestimating your mileage may cause an insurer to reject your claim in case of an accident, and overestimating may translate to higher premiums than expected. It is easy to get multiple quotes and find the best rate.

What is the lowest mileage for car insurance?

What is considered low mileage for insurance? To get low-mileage car insurance discounts, you usually need to drive under 7,500 or 8,000 miles per year. However, some companies can give discounts if you drive fewer miles than the national average of 13,500 annually.

Does high mileage affect car insurance?

Drivers who clock more miles than the average — about 12,000 miles per year — pay more for car insurance because of the heightened risk of being on the road more often than a low-mileage driver.

How does State Farm verify mileage?

Provide odometer information to a State Farm agent, who will call to verify the reading. Agents call to verify odometer information when it’s time to renew a policy, and sometimes mid-term.

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