Pay-Per-Mile Car Insurance

Pay-by-the-mile car insurance offers flexibility and savings for some drivers. Find out if this option suits your needs.
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Renata Balasco

Content Strategist

  • Licensed Insurance Agent — Property and Casualty

Renata joined The Zebra in 2020 as a Customer Experience Agent. Since 2021, she has worked as licensed insurance professional and content strategist.…

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Ross Martin

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  • Licensed Insurance Agent — Property and Casualty

Ross joined The Zebra as a writer and researcher in 2019. As a licensed insurance agent, he specializes in writing insurance content to help shoppers…

What is pay-by-the-mile car insurance?

Pay-per-mile car insurance is straightforward: you pay for what you drive. In many ways, it's a way for insurance companies to reward low-mileage drivers. To insurance companies, the more often you’re on the road, the more likely you are to get into an accident. Insuring drivers who keep their mileage low can help them save money and keep rates down.

Not every company offers by-the-mile auto insurance payment plans. While still a relatively new territory, a number of startups and major insurance companies alike are looking at expanding beyond traditional quotes to the pay-per-mile insurance market. Let’s explore the pros and cons of pay-per-mile car insurance as well as the companies offering it.

Key Takeaways

  • Pay-per-mile car insurance allows drivers to pay based on the number of miles they drive, making it a cost-effective option for low-mileage drivers.
  • Insurers track mileage through wireless car plug-ins, in-car systems, phone applications, and odometer snapshots.
  • Pay-per-mile insurance focuses on mileage, while telematics insurance tracks driving behavior.
  • Compare rates, coverage options, and additional services to decide if pay-per-mile car insurance is right for you.

Who is pay-per-mile insurance best for?

Pay-per-mile insurance is best for people who drive 10,000 miles or less each year such as many college students, retirees, public transport or walking commuters, and remote worker. However, if you take long-distance trips by car, desire more coverage options and perks, or are uncomfortable with your driving behavior being tracked, you are likely better off going with a more traditional insurance policy.

Pay-per-mile insurance works for: Pay-per-mile doesn't work for:
College students Long-distance car commuters
Retirees Those who drive for work
Public transport or walking commuters Those who take long-distance trips by car
Remote workers who don't drive often Those requiring extensive coverage options or desiring more perks
Those wary of sharing driving data or being monitored by insurers

How does car insurance-by-mileage work?

Most pay-per-mile car insurance policies use an in-car device or phone app to track the number of miles you drive per month in order to determine your rate. Your insurer charges a base rate plus a per-mile fee, which is used to calculate your premium. Your base rate consists of standard rating factors such as your driving history, age, gender and vehicle type.

While your annual mileage is a rating factor for determining your rate, it’s not a major contributor to your overall premium (unless you’re in California). Other non-driving factors such as your age and credit score have larger impacts on your rate than how much time you spend behind the wheel. While these non-driving factors are taken into account when pricing pay-by-the-mile auto insurance, they aren't weighed as heavily.

Which car insurance companies are best for pay-per-mile coverage?

Pay-per-mile auto insurance is growing in popularity, with more major insurers offering by-the-mile rates. The best insurer for pay-per-mile coverage for you will depend upon a variety of factors. See below how each mileage-based car insurance program works as well as which ones we recommend based on your unique driving profile and priorities We've also included some companies with similar programs so you can easily compare your options.

Best for those seeking pure pay-per-mile coverage: Metromile

Mileage tracking method: Metromile uses a "Metromile Pulse" wireless device that plugs into your vehicle's OBD-II port.

Availability: AZ, CA, IL, NJ, OR, PA, VA, WA

Coverages offered: All common coverage options.

Rate: Metromile charges a monthly fee based on your driving profile and then an additional per-mile fee. Metromile advertises monthly fees starting at $29/month and per-mile fees starting at $.06/mile. If your mileage fluctuates month to month, your bill may also.

Features: Their convenient mobile app offers vehicle locating, street sweeping alerts, a check engine light decoder, and a trip tracker that can help track fuel cost and mpg.

Nationwide SmartMiles
Best for safe drivers: Nationwide SmartMiles

Mileage tracking method: With SmartMiles you have two options: a small plug-in device (compatible with most vehicles produced after 1996) or an in-car system (available in some 2018+ Ford and Lincoln models).

Availability: All states excluding AK, HI, LA, NC, NY, and OK.

Coverages offered: All common coverage options.

Rate: A monthly rate is composed of a base rate and a variable rate (cost per mile), which fluctuates depending on your monthly mileage.

Features: SmartMiles offers a safe driving discount (up to 10%), road trip exception (only the first 250 miles count on a single day), and a convenient mobile app.

Allstate Milewise
Best for drivers valuing a consistent app-to-site experience: Allstate Milewise

Mileage tracking method: A small device that plugs into your vehicle's OBD-II port.

Availability: AZ, DE, FL, ID, IL, IN, MD, MA, MN, MO, NJ, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, TX, VA, WA, WV, and WI.

Coverages offered: All common coverage options.

Rate: A daily base rate and a per-mile rate.

Features: Use their app to track your mileage, review your trips, see your safe driving trends, view vehicle diagnostics, get car maintenance reminders, find a mechanic, and access Allstate Car Health.

Hugo Insurance
Best for temporary, liability-only coverage: Hugo Insurance

While not technically pay-per-mile, newcomer Hugo Insurance's unique offerings might be of interest to low-mileage drivers. The company is one of the first to claim to be able to sell insurance that you can switch on and off as you need it. Customers simply use the smartphone app to turn on coverage before taking a journey and turn it off when they are finished. You purchase coverage for specific durations (3, 7, 14, or 30 days), paying solely for the period you require.

The company's business model certainly raises questions. For one, turning off insurance can leave you at risk if you park your car in a public area (such as a street). Also, information on the company and its offerings is still rather limited, so many potential customers may wish to let the company mature before signing up.

Coverages offered: Hugo offers three main insurance plans. Their "Flex" plan offers liability-only coverage to those who don't drive every day, while their "Unlimited Basic" plan is for those who want liability-only coverage but drive most days. Their "Unlimited Full" plan offers full coverage insurance.

Availability: Availability varies based on plan type. CA and IL residents can purchase all three plan types, while residents of AL, AZ, FL, GA, IN, MS, OH, PA, SC, TN, and TX can purchase just their "Basic" plan. Hugo is expecting to launch in KY and VA soon.

Rate: Hugo offers a flat daily rate based on the usual factors.

Features: $0 down payment, flexible micropayments, simple daily rate, free "cancellation", pay-as-you-go, instant proof of insurance, no upfront fees

Mile Auto
Best for those who value privacy: Mile Auto

Mile Auto is another newcomer to pay-per-mile insurance. The company claims to be able to save customers 30-40% compared to standard insurance rates. They market themselves as champions of customer privacy and accordingly don't require the use of a car plug-in or phone app to monitor customer driving habits.

Mileage tracking method: Once a month, you will receive a reminder from Mile Auto's MVerity system with a clickable hyperlink to open your smartphone's camera and snap a photo of your odometer reading. This image is automatically transmitted and mileage data extracted, verified, and authenticated without you even having to download an app.

Availability: AZ, CA, FL, GA, IL, OH, OR, PA, TN, TX, and WI.

Coverages offered: All standard coverage options.

Rate: Both your base rate and your per-mile rate are based on standard insurance variables.

Best for tech-savvy drivers: Noblr

Mileage tracking method: More akin to a standard telematics company, Noblr uses your smartphone's accelerometer, gyroscope, gps, and clock to monitor your driving after you download their app.

Availability: Noblr is available in AZ, CO, LA, MD, NM, OH, PA, TX, and VA.

Coverages offered: All standard coverage options.

Rate: A variable rate based on how, where, how much, and when you're actually driving.

Features: Noblr's app offers real-time driving feedback, a personalized driving score, trip details and statistics, and community and social features in addition to typical insurer app features like policy management.


Zebra Tip:  How to compare pay-per-mile and traditional insurance rates

To compare pay-per-mile insurance quotes side-by-side with traditional insurance quotes, we recommend doing some quick math:

Pay-Per-Mile Insurance Monthly Premium = monthly base rate + (per-mile rate x approximate # of miles driven per month)

If you don't feel like downloading an app or using your odometer, you can simply input your destination and relevant stops into Google Maps and it will calculate the total distance traveled.

How does pay-per-mile car insurance differ from telematics insurance?

Pay-per-mile and telematics-driven insurance policies use different metrics to calculate your premium. Pay-per-mile auto insurance does not take into consideration your driving habits or behaviors, while telematics auto insurance relies upon driving behavior metrics to assign your premium. A telematics device will track abrupt braking, sharp turns, high speeds, and late-night driving to assess the risk you present to your insurance company. By using this granular data, telematics offers a holistic examination of your driving profile.

Here are some estimated discounts you can possibly expect from telematics:

Company Estimated Savings
Progressive Snapshot Average of $130
Allstate Drivewise Average of 10-25%
State Farm Drive Safe & Save Up to 15%
Esurance DriveSense Varies
Nationwide SmartRide Up to 40%
Liberty Mutual RightTrack Average of 5-30%
GEICO DriveEasy Varies

Is pay-per-mile car insurance worth it?

Pay-per-mile auto insurance is a solid money-saving option for those who drive only occasionally. If you are simply looking for the best possible rate, shopping around is a good way to assess if pay-per-mile car insurance is worth it. The Zebra allows you to compare insurance products from a number of top insurance companies, giving you the chance to get multiple insurance quotes to see which plan is best for you.

Frequently Asked Questions


Pay-per-mile refers to the fact that you only pay for the miles you drive. Typically, you install an in-car device that tracks the number of miles you drive in a month. You often pay a low base rate plus a per-mile fee.

Pay-per-mile insurance is best for people who don't drive very often such as college students, retirees, public transport and walking commuters, and remote workers.

Different companies use different methods. Some companies require you to take monthly pictures of your odometer (Mile Auto) while others have you plug a wireless device into your car's diagnostics port (Allstate, Milewise, Metromile, Esurance).

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About The Zebra

The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.

  • The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.
  • The Zebra’s insurance content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.
  • The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.
  • The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.