Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com.

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Daniel Walker

UPDATED: May 17, 2022

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The Lowdown

  • If you don’t drive often, you can pay less for insurance
  • Your insurance needs differ if you own a car or simply borrow one occasionally
  • Pay-per-mile insurance is an affordable option for people who don’t drive often

Even if you don’t drive regularly, you still need to buy auto insurance.

Drivers must be insured even if they aren’t on the road. Even if you don’t own a car and are driving a rental car, borrowing a friend’s vehicle, or test driving a car, you need insurance. Either way, you might be searching for the best auto insurance companies for people who don’t drive often.

The good news is that you could pay less for auto insurance if you don’t drive much. Insurance companies offer programs and discounts for people who don’t drive much. Non-owner policies are offered by many insurance companies for those that don’t own a car. Keep reading to find out what coverage you need as an occasional driver.

Before you get started, see how much your occasional driving could save you on car insurance. Use our free tool by entering your ZIP code, and you’ll get instant auto insurance quotes for people who don’t drive often from the best companies in your area.

What are the top auto insurance companies for people who don’t drive often?

Annual mileage affects car insurance, and so does how frequently you drive. 

There are two main scenarios for people who don’t drive often. The first is that you own a car, but it spends most of the time in the garage. The second is that you don’t own a car but do occasionally borrow or rent one.

Depending on your situation, the right auto insurance company for you may differ. Let’s start with the best auto insurance companies for people who don’t drive often but do own a car.

We can break these down into a few categories based on the type of insurance you might want to buy.

Pay-Per-Mile Insurance Companies

Usage-based insurance is the top choice for people who don’t drive often. Maybe you live close to your job or school, or you only drive sometimes. If so, it makes sense to only pay for how many miles you drive.

The first type of usage-based insurance is pay-per-mile auto insurance. The price of your policy will be linked to the mileage you rack up. This makes it a perfect fit for drivers who don’t drive often.

True pay-per-mile insurance is still harder to find than other types of usage-based insurance. There are a few companies that do offer it, and some big names have gotten in on it as well:

  • Metromile. Metromile insurance is stricly pay-per-mile and the company one of the pioneers of this type of insurance. Coverage is available in a limited number of states, but the company has been expanding.
  • Nationwide Smartmiles. Nationwide’s pay-per-mile insurance is available in most states where the company operates.
  • Allstate Milewise. The pay-per-mile program from one of the nation’s largest car insurance companies is available in more than 20 states and expanding.
  • Mile Auto. Currently only operating in seven states, Mile is another new pay-per-mile-only car insurance company that’s seeing a lot of growth.
  • Liberty Mutual ByMile. One of the newer options on the market, ByMile is currently only operating in a few states. 

Pay-per-mile auto insurance combines a base rate that uses the usual factors (like your driving record) with a per-mile rate. Your total rate will be that base rate plus the actual number of miles you drive. If you drive very few miles, you could pay a lot less for your car insurance.

Pay-How-You-Drive Insurance

Pay-how-you-drive insurance is a cheaper form of car insurance that is similar to pay-per-mile. The main difference between this and pay-per-mile is that your driving behavior will be more closely monitored.

In order to benefit from pay-how-you-drive insurance, your insurance company will require you to install a telematics device in your vehicle. Telematics devices record and store information about how you drive. Not just the distance you drive, but also how fast you go, how fast you brake, and even if you use your phone while driving.

Some newer vehicles come with a telematics device. If yours does not have one, you can buy and install it yourself. Or, your insurance company may have a specific model they use. In that case, you’ll need to contact it to get one sent to you.

Almost every major company offers a pay-how-you-drive program, including:

  • State Farm
  • Progressive
  • GEICO
  • Allstate
  • Farmers
  • Nationwide
  • USAA

The main problem with this type of insurance for people who don’t drive often is that in order to earn a discount, you have to drive. The system can’t monitor your driving habits if you aren’t driving. As a result, it may be difficult for people who rarely drive to provide enough driving data to get a discount. There are also privacy concerns with telematics systems.

Low Mileage Auto Insurance

Auto insurance companies see fewer miles as less risk, so low mileage auto insurance is cheaper than other types of insurance.

When calculating your mileage to see if you qualify, an auto insurance company will compare your mileage to the standard national average. In general, if you drive under 9,000 miles each year, you could buy low-mileage auto insurance and save.

The way that insurance companies give you this cheaper rate differs.

For example, depending on how many miles you drive in a year, USAA gives an annual low-mileage discount. American Family and State Farm car insurance also offer discounts if you drive under 7,500 miles a year.

Some people who don’t drive often but want to buy auto insurance do not own their own car. In that case, a non-owner auto insurance policy will be right for them. Many major insurance companies offer this type of coverage, so choosing the right one can be challenging.

Parked Car Insurance

If your car is going to be parked for long periods of time, you might want to consider a parked car policy. Also known as “in storage” insurance, this policy is comprehensive-only. It protects your car while it’s parked from risks like fire, vandalism, or theft.

What it doesn’t cover is liability, and this type of policy does not meet the legal requirements to be on the road in any state. So, if you plan to drive your car at all, you will need to add liability back onto the policy before you do. Insurance companies don’t like the adding and removing of liability coverage frequently.

That makes this type of policy a good fit only for people who plan to park the car for months at a time, such as for someone who doesn’t drive over the winter.

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Non-Owner Auto Insurance

For people who don’t drive often and also don’t own a car, non-owner auto insurance is a natural choice. One of its main advantages is that it is cheaper than other types of auto insurance.

So what is non-owner auto insurance exactly?

This type of insurance provides liability coverage, a basic type of auto insurance. It will cover damage to a vehicle and/or others. In this way, it’s similar to regular liability insurance. Most plans also do not have a deductible, which makes them cost even less.

One thing to note is that it does not cover you, the driver, getting hurt, or any damage to the vehicle you happen to be driving.

Some examples of drivers that may need this type of insurance include people who drive rented or borrowed vehicles. If you use a car-sharing service, it could also work for you. There are many situations where a driver would have a valid driver’s license and does not own a car.

These are the top auto insurance companies for non-owner auto insurance.

  • Acceptance Insurance
  • Dairyland
  • Direct Auto
  • GEICO
  • Liberty Mutual
  • Nationwide
  • Progressive
  • State Farm
  • USAA

While each company has its pros and cons, the first issue you might have is that they don’t all offer non-owner insurance to just anyone. Progressive, for example, only sells this coverage to existing customers.

If you’re looking for low rates, GEICO is one of the most affordable companies on this list. Two of the other top choices for drivers are USAA auto insurance and State Farm non-owner car insurance. Both offer their coverage in a number of states and to a wide variety of drivers.

Take a look at some average rates for non-owner auto insurance.

Average Annual Rates from the Best Auto Insurance Companies for People Who Don’t Own a Car
CompanyAverage Non-Owner Auto Insurance Rates
Allstate$638
Farmers$521
GEICO$311
Nationwide$677
Progressive$576
State Farm$408
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The best way by far to find cheap non-owner car insurance is to get a quote online.

Is non-owner insurance right for me?

Let’s look at a few common scenarios where non-owner insurance is worth buying.

The first is if you rent cars a lot. Even though most states make it mandatory for a rental car company to provide you with basic liability protection, it doesn’t fully protect you.

You can choose to pay for extra coverage, but it can add up since it is charged daily. 

To be fully protected, if you rent cars frequently, you’re going to want to buy your own coverage.

If you often borrow a friend or family member’s car, you may think you are fine on auto insurance. However, you’re only protected by the amount of coverage the vehicle’s owner has. This could be too little if anything like an accident happens.

You want to make sure that an insurance company has your back in a case like this. If you buy your own coverage, you know that you have enough liability insurance for worst-case scenarios.

One important reason for getting non-owner auto insurance is to keep continuous coverage when you’re in between vehicles. Say, for example, you want to sell your old car and have a buyer ready. You plan to buy another car soon.

The thing is, insurance companies don’t like to see a break in coverage.

They want you to keep continuous coverage. Staying on with the insurance company will also give you advantages for being a long-term customer.

Will I pay more for auto insurance if I don’t drive often?

As a general rule, no. The less time you spend on the road, the lower your risk of an accident. As a result, insurance companies charge lower rates to people who don’t drive often. 

Of course, your insurance company needs to know that you aren’t on the road much. Insurance companies use averages to estimate how many miles a person drives each year. The average for someone who commutes to work in their car is 12,000 miles a year. For someone who stays at home or uses public transportation to get to work, that average drops to 6,000 miles.

If you’ve had a change in how often you drive since you took out your policy, make sure your insurance company knows about it.

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Ways to Save on Insurance When you Don’t Drive Often

In addition to letting your insurance company know about a change in your driving habits, there are a few other ways to get your rates down when you don’t drive much.

First, ask about discounts. Some companies have low mileage discounts or other options that they can provide to people who don’t drive often to get lower rates.

Since you don’t drive much, your risk of an accident is lower. As a result, you might think about reducing your coverage or increasing your deductibles. Make sure you know the risks of carrying less coverage before you make that choice.

Finally, make sure you have compared quotes from as many companies as possible to find the best rates for your needs.

Best Auto Insurance Companies for People Who Don’t Drive Often: The Bottom Line

If you own a car but don’t drive often, your first step should be to contact your current insurance company to find out what rate reductions are available to you. Then, shop around to compare options and put pay-per-mile insurance at the top of your list.

If you don’t own a car and drive rarely, you might want to consider a non-owner policy. It provides additional protection when you rent or borrow a car.

The best way by far to find affordable auto insurance when you don’t drive much is by comparing quotes. Enter your ZIP code to use our free tool, and you will get auto insurance rates for people who don’t drive often right away.