When you take out a car insurance policy, you’ll be asked what your annual mileage is likely to be. 

While you can’t predict exactly how much you’ll be driving, it is important that you answer this question as accurately as possible. This is because the more miles you drive, the higher your chances of needing to claim on your insurance policy[1].

How to work out your annual mileage

The estimated average annual mileage per car in England was 7,400 miles in 2019[2], about 142 miles a week. But the distance you drive could be far different from this average, depending on your lifestyle and circumstances.

As a guide, you could use the mileage recorded on your car between MOTs or on its service records. But remember to consider any recent or expected changes to your lifestyle that could impact this number.

If your circumstances have changed significantly and you don’t think you’ll drive the same amount as you have in previous years, then you could calculate how many miles you currently drive each day or week and then multiply that across the year. Remember to factor in the mileage of your commute to work, your weekly shop, social trips and errands, and take into account any extra road trips you might expect to take, including holidays.

The impact of mileage on your insurance

If you drive many more miles than you had predicted, then it could mean your insurance policy is invalidated. So, if you underestimate your mileage, your insurer may not pay out if you need to make a claim[3].

On the flipside, if you overestimate your mileage, then you could end up paying more for your insurance than you need to[1].

Your annual mileage is just one of several things that affect the cost of your insurance. You can find out more about how car insurance works in our guide. 

Keep an eye on your mileage

If it looks like you’ll clock up more miles than you predicted, then you should contact your insurer to tell them. This could happen, for example, if you change jobs or move home and have to spend more time on the road.

Technology may help, too. If you opt for a telematics insurance policy, you’ll generally have a small black box fitted to your car to monitor the way that you drive. It will also accurately record the number of miles you drive, enabling your insurer to adjust premiums accordingly[1] - which could be a good fit for you, if you end up driving much less than expected. Bear in mind that not all insurers offer telematics insurance and prices will vary. It’s always a good idea to shop around and get to know your options before you decide on an insurance policy. 

Read more about car insurance and driving at Solved.