Pay-As-You-Go Car Insurance

Pay-as-you-go insurance allows you to pay for the miles you drive. It's a good option for antique cars, retired drivers, and even new, young drivers. Most car insurance companies provide pay-as-you-go insurance.

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UPDATED: Jun 2, 2022

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Written By: Laura BerryReviewed By: Joel OhmanUPDATED: Jun 2, 2022Fact Checked

Here's what you need to know...

  • Pay-as-you-go insurance allows you to pay for the miles you actually drive and the caution of your driving
  • It is a good option for people that do not drive many miles annually
  • When you compare rates, make sure all the criteria is the same so that you can see a valid comparison

Car insurance where you can pay as you go is a very customized approach to car insurance that allows you to tailor your coverage to exactly what you need, not for a preset standard period of time.

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With this type of coverage, your vehicle will have a special tracking device that counts the miles you drive. Your driving data, which may also include some of your habits like sudden stops, is sent to the insurer who adjusts your rate for usage.

You can save between 25 and 50 percent on a one-year policy.

What is Pay-As-You-Go Car Insurance?

Pay-as-you-go car insurance is simply car insurance that reflects your actual usage of your vehicle.

In the traditional system of car insurance, two people with similar driving records and the same car would pay the same premium regardless of the number of miles put on their car.

With pay-as-you-go car insurance, someone who uses their car for less than 10,000 miles annually can save a substantial amount of money over someone who puts 30,000 miles per year on their car.

One of the drawbacks of the system is complaints about the tracking system being intrusive on the privacy of drivers.

Because it has the capacity to not only track your miles driven but to also tally your bad driving habits, it creates some distrust in those contemplating using the system.

You can also be penalized in price if you happen to take an emergency trip and exceed the number of miles you were supposed to put on the car.

In addition to saving money for the number of miles you drive annually, this system gives you savings for a good driving record, the time of day you most often drive and for older drivers.

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Who Should Buy Pay-As-You-Go Car Insurance?

There are some people in ideal situations to benefit from this type of insurance coverage:

  • New drivers – They often have limited access to a vehicle, so pay-as-you-go car insurance allows them to gain driving experience without incurring extremely high car insurance rates.
  • Those with more than one vehicle – This car insurance can provide a big break on car insurance costs. Typically in multiple vehicle households, one vehicle is used significantly more than others. Therefore, you can save money by putting this policy on only the lesser used vehicles.
  • Retired persons who want to keep their cars – They drive, but simply do not use their car as much as when they were commuting daily.
  • Those who live close to their workplace
  • Antique car owners – They tend to drive their vehicles infrequently.

The pay as you go option is an environmentally friendly option, as well as a money-saving one. Drivers are more likely to walk, carpool, take public transportation and make fewer trips in the car if they know the number of miles they drive will affect the car insurance premium they pay.

This results in less pollution, fewer traffic accidents, and less traffic.

While not every state has the pay as you go car insurance option available, there are 34 states currently offering it in one form or another.

Even if your state does not offer it right now, it is likely being considered and will become available before long.

Compare Car Insurance Rates

If you are in the market for car insurance, the best way to get it is to shop around and compare the prices you get from different companies. Depending on the insurance company, your monthly rate may lower than the national average cost of insurance.

You can do so in almost no time by using the free online quote tool to get those prices. You begin by putting your zip code into the quote tool, answering the questions you are asked and let the tool do the work for you.

Two important reminders:

  1. Once you get the car insurance rates, you should carefully compare the quotes for a variety of factors, like you would for regular car insurance. Make sure that the quotes are all based on the same duration, number of miles, and coverage limits.
  2. Watch out for exclusions. Check out a company’s insurance rating to learn how financially stable they are before doing business with them. Look into their customer complaint records too in order to get an idea of how they treat their customers.

Who Sells Pay-As-You-Go Insurance?

When it first started, not many companies were offering this innovative insurance option. Now, it is more widely available.

Progressive calls their pay as you go plan their Snapshot plan.

To sign up for Progressive’s Snapshot plan, you have to purchase a regular auto insurance policy. You will then get the option to sign up for Snapshot if it is available in your state.

Progressive sends you a device that records your mileage and transmits that information to their computers. A discount is applied to your bill if you meet the criteria for the plan.

GMAC’s pay as you go plan falls under their SmartDiscount section. GMAC only offers a pay as you go option for people who have OnStar. Ask about the GMAC low-mileage discounts for OnStar subscribers.

Instead of installing a device onto your vehicle, GMAC uses your OnStar device to track your mileage. You must have under 15,000 miles a year, which is 288 miles a week, in order to qualify for their plan.

GMAC’s discounts go as low as 54% off your total bill if you drive less than 5,000 miles annually. This translates to 96 miles a week. Other insurance discounts may apply to you, and provide you with a lower auto insurance quote, especially if you are a safe driver.

In some states, such as Oregon and Washington, the local governments are offering tax credits to insurance companies that offer pay as you drive or pay as you go car insurance.

Get started with your FREE online car insurance quotes for car insurance by entering your ZIP code in our comparison tool below now!

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Written by Laura Berry
Former Insurance Agent Laura Berry

Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP® Joel Ohman

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