Tips for Commuter Cars and Car Insurance

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Tonya Sisler has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of South Carolina in Journalism and has worked for 15+ years in management. She has also completed a proofreading certification and is currently a professional writer.

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Brad Larson has been in the insurance industry for more than a dozen years. He started out as a claims adjuster for a national carrier. He has since switched to the agency side of the business. Brad is licensed in all P&C lines.

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Reviewed by Brad Larsen
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Brad Larsen

UPDATED: Mar 18, 2022

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Things to Know

  • If you drive everyday, you are likely to pay more per month for car insurance
  • Discounts can lower insurance rates
  • Safety features on vehicles could lower monthly insurance rates

When you are applying for a new car insurance policy, commuter cars fall under a different category of risk. Car insurance companies may charge you a higher rate when you drive every day, because you are putting miles and wear-and-tear on your car. 

Following the coronavirus pandemic, the concept of the commute changed. It may be time to re-evaluate your insurance needs. Now, gas prices are reaching record highs, so your car needs to be comfortable, efficient, or maybe only used on the weekends.

People are working from home more, and those that are still going into the office may want some relief on their wallets. This guide teaches you how to find car insurance for commuters and which vehicles are best for daily traffic. 

If you already have your best commuter, speak with a local agent about car insurance rates in your area. Enter your ZIP code to get connected today. 

Pleasure versus Commute Car Insurance 

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the average person drives roughly 13,500 miles in a year, with men going upwards of 16,500 and women approximately 10,000 miles. If you average less than that, your insurance company may consider your risk lower than a typical driver.  

In general, your car insurance policy is calculated under the assumption that you drive your car every day. As a result, car insurance rates may fluctuate the more or less you drive each year. A car that is only used on the weekends will end up being more affordable to insure than one that puts in miles every day. 

More miles equals more risk in the eyes of your car insurance company. In some cases, you may find an insurance company that gives you a discount for keeping your annual mileage low. 

If you work from home or just average a low mileage each year, check out the table below for a company that offers your kind of discounts. 

Companies That Offer Low Mileage Discounts for Telecommuters
CompaniesLow-Mileage Discount OfferedPercentage Rate Discount Offered
AAAYes-
AllstateYes-
American FamilyYes-
AmicaYes10%
Country FinancialYes-
EsuranceYes15%
FarmersYes-
State FarmYes30%
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You may consider a per-mile insurance policy if you only use your car for pleasure, i.e., infrequent trips to the store or a friend’s house. If your current car insurance rates aren’t satisfactory, usage-based insurance programs can seriously cut costs for some drivers. 

Some of these programs are listed below.  

  • Metromile 
  • Milewise from Allstate 
  • SmartMiles from Nationwide 
  • Snapshot from Progressive

A pay-per-mile policy or usage-based insurance may be a better option for someone who has a weekend car. These programs charge drivers an introductory rate and then an additional fee depending on how often you drive. 

Another option to lower the cost of car insurance for low-mileage drivers is through discounts. Often, companies reward their customers for minimal car use. 

If you cannot avoid those miles, there are discounts for you, too. Check out the table below for a comprehensive look at what car insurance discounts are available by the provider. 

Discounts by Insurance Provider
Discounts21st CenturyAAAAllstateAmerican FamilyAmeripriseAmicaCountry FinancialEsuranceFarmersGeicoLiberty MutualMetLifeNationwideProgressiveSafe AutoSafecoState FarmThe GeneralThe HanoverThe HartfordTravelersUSAA
Adaptive Cruise Controlxxxx
Adaptive Headlightsxxxxxxxx
Anti-lock Brakesxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Anti-Theftxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Claim Freexxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Continuous Coveragexxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Daytime Running Lightsxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Defensive Driverxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Distant Studentxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Driver's Edxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Driving Device/Appxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Early Signingxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Electronic Stability Controlxxxxxxxxx
Emergency Deploymentx
Engaged Couplex
Family Legacyxxxxxx
Family Planxxxxx
Farm Vehiclexxxx
Fast 5x
Federal Employeexxxx
Forward Collision Warningxxxxxxx
Full Paymentxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Further Educationxxxxxxxxx
Garaging/Storingxxxxxx
Good Creditxxxx
Good Studentxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Green Vehiclexxxxxxx
Homeownerxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Lane Departure Warningxxxx
Life Insurancexx
Low Mileagexxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Loyaltyxxxxxxxxxxxx
Marriedxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Membership/Groupxxxxxxxxxxx
Militaryxxxxxxxxxx
Military Garagingx
Multiple Driversxx
Multiple Policiesxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Multiple Vehiclesxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
New Addressx
New Customer/New Planxxx
New Graduatex
Newer Vehiclexxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Newly Licensedx
Newlywedsx
Non-Smoker/Non-Drinkerx
Occasional Operatorx
Occupationxxxxxxxxxxxx
On Time Paymentsxxxx
Online Shopperxx
Paperless Documentsxxxxxxxx
Paperless/Auto Billingxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Passive Restraintxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Recent Retireesxx
Renterxxx
Roadside Assistancexx
Safe Driverxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Seat Belt Usex
Senior Driverxxxxxxxxx
Stable Residencexxxx
Students & Alumnixxxxxx
Switching Providerxxxxxxxxxxx
Utility Vehiclexxxx
Vehicle Recoveryxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
VIN Etchingxxxxxxxxxx
Volunteerx
Young Driverxxxxxx
Total Discounts Provided21212927182726343431383835362230192022382828
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Let’s take a look at some of the companies that cater policies to commuters. 

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Best Car Insurance for Commuters 

A commuter policy is what drivers generally purchase from their car insurance company. Take another look at the tables above. In some cases, mileage does not account for much of your costs. For example, a 6,000-mile difference on a Progressive car insurance policy is only a difference of $11. 

Then there are companies such as Allstate and Liberty Mutual that may have more than $100 variance when it comes to annual mileage. However, it would be best if you always relied on the insurance provider to give you an accurate yearly rate. 

Common factors that are companies consider when calculating car insurance is age, where you live, what kind of car you drive, and the level of insurance you purchase. The three main types of car insurance are liability, collision, and comprehensive. 

Keep reading for more information about rates based on mileage. 

What is the cheapest car insurance for commuters?

If you are in the military, are married to someone in the military, or are a veteran, USAA is the most affordable option for you. In some cases, drivers could be paying double with another car insurance company. On average, $650 is what commuters can expect to pay for full coverage. However, USAA only serves military members and their families. 

Civilians may find savings with other nationwide providers such as Progressive or State Farm. Check out the table on the average annual rates based on commute. 

Company10 miles commute, 6,000 annual mileage 25 mile commute, 12,000 annual mileage
Allstate$4,841.71 $4,934.20
American Family$3,401.30$3,484.88
Farmers$4,179.32$4,209.22
GEICO $3,162.64 $3,267.37
Liberty Mutual $5,995.27 $6,151.63
Nationwide $3,437.33 $3,462.67
Progressive $4,030.02 $4,041.01
State Farm $3,175.98 $3,344.01
Travelers $4,399.85 $4,469.96
USAA $2,482.69 $2,591.91
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If you are purchasing a new vehicle, keep reading to learn about the best commuter car. Car insurance companies offer plenty of discounts for safe drivers, but they also provide savings for safety features. 

We will discuss some of the best commuter cars and additional safety features in the next section. 

What is the best commuter car?

Based on consumer reviews online, some vehicles shine brighter than the rest. Drivers should consult with local dealerships about pricing and specifics. 

The Toyota Sienna and the brand-new Kia Carnival are good options for commuters with kids or carpoolers. The Sienna is a minivan, and the Carnival is a hybrid SUV, and both provide adaptive safety features and comfy seats. 

Did you know that only 5.2 percent of commuters carpool? That means that most drivers are spending hours sitting in traffic by themselves each day. Maybe your best commuter car is the one that fits all you and all your coworkers. 

The Ford Explorer and the Toyota RAV4 offer hybrid engines that could save you on gas money for haulers and SUV lovers. According to INRIX data, that’s $1,642 per year a driver spends on congestion costs. Periodically switching to an electric engine could save you hundreds of dollars per year. 

The Chevrolet Spark is a unique option for commuters. Though it doesn’t have many features, the newest model has an affordable MSRP of about $10,400. 

Some safety features to consider: 

  • Forward collision warning. Cameras or sensors that detect cars or other objects in the front of your vehicle.
  • Automatic emergency braking. Cameras or sensors that deploy your brakes if there is an object in your vehicle’s path and you do not apply your brakes. 
  • Blind-spot monitoring. Sensors that detect approaching vehicles in your blind spot.
  • Adaptive cruise control. Cameras or radars that monitor traffic and maintains a safe distance from the car in front of you.

Some comfort features to consider: 

  • Cup holders, cup holder placement 
  • USB ports 
  • Smartphone Integration 
  • Multiple power ports 

If you are driving every day, you want to be comfortable. If you are driving far distances, vehicles with these features could win you over. These features could even qualify for discounts if your car insurance company rewards safe-driving technologies. 

The Bottom Line: Commuter Cars

Car insurance for drivers who commute every day are likely to  have higher annual rates for full coverage on their vehicle. But there are some affordable options for every driver, particularly for military members and their families. If you drive every day, you should also consider a car insurance company with plenty of discounts for safe driving.

There are vehicles available that can help drivers save money on gas each year, and some with built-in safety features that could award you savings on your annual policy. The best tip for drivers to save money on car insurance, is to speak with their provider directly.

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