Driving less miles doesn't always mean you’ll pay less for car insurance.

What you pay for car insurance is typically based on a variety of calculations and circumstance that are unique to each driver. One factor that is used is how much you drive. It has long been assumed that driving less miles means you are at less risk and therefore should pay less for insurance. Now it is revealed that this isn’t always the case. 

According to a report from the Consumer Federation of America, in many markets, drivers may not be offered significant reductions in their auto premiums, even if they cut down on mileage. In the report, premiums were tested in twelve cities by obtaining 275 quotes from the websites of five large insurance companies. 

It was found that the biggest insurers typically offered “little or no” premium reduction to low-mileage drivers compared with high-mileage drivers. This seems to imply that some insurance companies place little importance on the amount of driving that is done by their clients. The Consumer Federation of America thinks that’s not fair. 

In a call with reporters, J. Robert Hunter, the federation’s director of insurance, said some companies ignore drivers’ actual mileage driven, or give a “pittance” as a discount that has little impact on premiums. 

But the issue is not prevalent throughout the country. Drivers in Los Angeles saw consistent savings for fewer miles driven, the analysis found. Premiums dropped nearly 9 percent on average for every reduction of 5,000 miles driven per year, and very low-mileage drivers were quoted rates of about 30 percent less than very high-mileage drivers. That may be because California law requires auto insurers to give mileage driven the second-greatest weight when setting premiums, after the consumer’s driving record. 

It seems that where you live may have more of an impact on what you pay for car insurance than how much you drive. Insurers should be required to use the same criteria in every state.