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The average person in the United States drives 13,476 miles per year, according to the Federal Highway Administration. That works out to an average of 1,123 miles per month. Putting that many miles on your car can wear it out faster, uses a large portion of your budget, and increases your car insurance rate. However, in many parts of the country, driving is a necessity.
Here’s a deeper dive into the average miles driven per year and how that affects car insurance rates
States with the highest annual miles driven
States where people drive the most tend to be more rural and geographically spread out between metropolitan areas. Everything from getting groceries to medical care requires more driving when you live in a rural area.
Here are the top 10 states where people drive the most annually, according to data from the Federal Highway Administration’s Office of Highway Policy Information. Note that these numbers are expressed in millions:
|State||Annual miles (in millions)|
It’s no surprise that mostly rural states with a lower population density dominate the list.
States with the lowest annual miles driven
Smaller states typically have the lowest annual mileage. While living in the Washington metropolitan area may rack up a lot of miles on your car, it’s hard to hit a lot of miles in the District of Columbia itself when it’s under 70 square miles.
States with a concentrated population in metropolitan areas that boast robust public transit systems also rack up lower mileage on average. While people in upstate New York, southern Illinois, and western Pennsylvania who live rurally may drive more, their state’s numbers are skewed after factoring in all the city dwellers in Chicago, New York City, and Philadelphia who either don’t own a car or drive minimally.
Here are the top 10 states where people drive the least each year, according to data from the Federal Highway Administration’s Office of Highway Policy Information. Note that these numbers are expressed in millions:
|District of Columbia||6,242|
Alaska is a notable outlier on this list. While it may be the largest state in the U.S., with a very low population density, it also doesn’t have many roads. Population centers in The Last Frontier are separated by vast stretches of wilderness, and when residents do need to travel between them, they generally fly.
Driving mileage by individual state
Here’s the average annual driving mileage by state, according to data from the Federal Highway Administration’s Office of Highway Policy Information. Note that these numbers are expressed in millions:
States with the highest average cost of car insurance
Here are the 10 states with the highest annual cost of car insurance, according to the latest data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners:
In addition, the number of car accidents that happen in your area can impact your car insurance premium. States with denser urban areas may have a lower number of miles driven per year on average, but they tend to have more car accidents. In 2020, 56% of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities occurred in urban areas, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Does individual annual mileage affect car insurance costs?
Yes, individual annual mileage affects car insurance costs. You may be able to qualify for a discount on your car insurance if you drive less than the average driver in your area. Contact your insurance provider to find out if you can take advantage of this discount.
In addition to annual mileage, car insurance rates are based on:
- Your demographics: Your age, gender, education level, employment history, and credit score are all factors that car insurance carriers may use to determine your risk and insurance rate.
- Your driving record: If you’ve never been in a car accident or had a moving violation, you’re considered a lower risk to insure and will typically get better rates. Drivers with many tickets or accidents generally pay more.
- Your vehicle: The year, make, model, and modifications to your vehicle affect your rate. Vehicles that are worth more are typically more expensive to repair and will cost more to insure.
- Your ZIP code: Your neighborhood has a large impact on your insurance rates. If you’re in an area where accidents, vandalism, or vehicle theft is common, you’ll likely pay more. Areas prone to natural disasters can also lead to higher insurance premiums, which is part of why coastal states like Louisiana and Florida typically have more expensive car insurance premiums.
- Your policy specifics: Higher coverage limits and lower deductibles mean that the insurer will have to pay out more if you’re in an accident and file a claim. They pass this cost on to you in the form of higher insurance premiums.
Even if you don’t drive very often, you don’t want to be without car insurance. You can even get a policy if you don’t own a car, so you’re covered whenever you’re driving someone else’s.
Car insurance doesn’t have to be expensive. Credible has excellent auto insurance partners, and you can compare rates in minutes with Credible’s platform.
Miles driven and car accidents
Generally speaking, the more miles you drive, the more likely you are to be in a car accident — but it’s not the only important factor.
In 2020, there was a 7.2% increase in traffic fatalities from the previous year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. However, Americans were driving an estimated 430.2 billion miles less, due to the pandemic. NHTSA attributes this increase in deaths from motor vehicle accidents to impaired driving, speeding, and lack of seat belt use. This data shows that while mileage matters, other factors play a major role in terms of overall safety for drivers and their passengers.
How long is the average commute in the U.S.?
The average one-way commute time in the United States was 27.6 minutes in 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. While this represents a new high for American commute times, that number is likely to decrease with the increase in hybrid and permanently remote options available to the U.S. workforce. Meanwhile, the average work commute in 2017 was 12.2 miles each way, according to data from the Federal Highway Administration’s 2017 National Household Travel Survey.
Whether you drive to work each day or work from home, having car insurance for a vehicle you drive is essential. With Credible, you can easily compare auto insurance rates from top insurers.
Disclaimer: All insurance-related services are offered through Young Alfred.