If you’re unsure how many miles you drive each year, you’re not alone. More than a quarter of drivers could be guessing how far they drive and it may cost them dear, according to a survey.
The findings mean millions of drivers could be paying too much for their car insurance or, more worryingly, may be at risk of invalidating their policy.
The survey of 2,000 drivers highlighted how 27 per cent of Britain’s motorists ‘guesstimate’ how far they drive each year. It was conducted by uSwitch.
Why is it important to submit an accurate annual mileage to insurers?
The greater the distance a driver travels in a year, the greater the risk they pose to insurers. That’s why high mileage drivers usually end up paying more than a driver with a similar background and vehicle who drives half as far.
According to the uSwitch survey, drivers typically overestimate annual mileage. The findings were based on respondents being asked to estimate the distance between UK cities; on average, most were 15 per cent too generous.
That was equivalent to an additional 1185 miles, based on an average mileage of 7,900 a year for car drivers.
However, by providing too low an estimate, drivers risk invalidating their policy, especially if there is a substantial difference between claimed and actual mileage.
How can drivers check how many miles they covered in the previous year?
That’s the easy bit. If a car is less than three-years old, and requires servicing once a year, then its service records will reveal the mileage notched up after the first, second or third year of motoring.
These should have been printed out and handed to you by the garage, after the work was carried out. If your filing is in disarray, fear not: a phone call to the garage will get the information needed.
However, some cars may have flexible servicing intervals, determined by the onboard computer.
Compare your two most recent MOT certificates
In that case, once they are more than three years old, the simplest way to monitor annual mileage is to read the vehicle’s MOT certificates. At every MOT, once a car has passed its inspection for road safety and emissions standards, drivers are issued with a paper copy of the certificate.
The A4 document records, among other things, the date of the test and the car’s mileage. So once a car is five-years old and has had two MOT tests performed, you simply subtract the mileage of the earlier test from the most recent, and it gives an accurate picture of how far you typically drive in a year.
Again, if you can’t find the certificates, help is at hand. The government has a helpful website that allows anyone to view a car’s past MOT history.
Useful: the government MOT history website
All you’ll need is the vehicle registration and make of car. Once added, the website will display all MOT history for relevant age vehicles dating back to 2005.
In fact, for anyone buying a used car, this can be a useful site to scan. In addition to the recorded mileage at the time of the test, it shows whether any advisory notices were submitted against the car, such as repair work that will need to be carried out. It also shows when and why a car failed its MOT.
So next time you think about having a guess at how far you drive in a year, think again. The truth is a click of the keyboard away.