Can't-Miss Facts

  • The definition of an occasional operator differs with each auto insurance company, but most often is defined as a driver who uses the vehicle less than 25% of the time.
  • An occasional operator discount can save you up to 25% on your auto insurance.
  • An occasional operator cannot be the primary auto insurance policyholder.
  • Teen drivers, college students, and retirees are often listed as occasional operators.

The average American drives 13,500 miles per year. However, some drivers only use a vehicle occasionally and are referred to as occasional operators. Is there an occasional operator discount on auto insurance?

Occasional driver insurance can reduce auto insurance rates by up to 25%, but discounts will vary depending upon the occasional operator’s driving record. Auto insurance rates can vary by a number of factors and it’s good to understand each discount and how it can reduce your rates.

Occasional operators can also qualify for other auto insurance discounts, including usage-based and pay-per-mile discounts.

To find affordable occasional operator discount auto insurance, enter your ZIP code to get free quotes from top insurance companies.

Who qualifies for an occasional operator discount?

Each occasional operator discount insurance company has its own definition for an occasional operator. Generally, the occasional operator is defined as someone who drives the vehicle less than 25% of the time.

College students living away from home without a vehicle who only drive when home, retirees, or teenaged drivers without a vehicle may all qualify as occasional operators.

The occasional operator cannot be the primary driver of a vehicle on an auto insurance policy but must be listed as an occasional operator on the policy for coverage to apply. The Insurance Information Institute says your car insurance will generally cover other occasional operators, but if they live with you in your household, these drivers need to be covered under your policy.

Some insurance companies define the occasional operator by looking at how many hours or miles a week they drive. Someone who drives a vehicle a few miles per day may qualify as an occasional operator too, depending upon the insurance company.

What kind of discount can you get on occasional driver insurance?

Adding an occasional operator discount to your auto insurance policy can get you up to a 25% discount on your auto insurance rate.

The insurance companies that do offer this discount may have variable discount rates depending upon the record of the occasional operator and how much or how far they drive. 

Take a look at what types of auto insurance discounts are offered by various companies, including occasional operator discounts:

Occasional Operator Discounts Available by Company

CompaniesOccasional Operator Discount OfferedSenior Driver
Discount Offered
Low Mileage
Discount Offered
21st CenturyN/AYesN/A
AllstateN/AYes - 10%Yes - under
8,000 mi/yr
American Family N/AN/AYes
AmicaN/AN/A10% - up to 5,000 mi/yr
5% - 5,001 to 7,500 mi/yr
Country FinancialN/AN/ALower rate for
"Pleasure Use" only
EsuranceN/AYesYes - 15%
Liberty MutualN/AN/AYes - can qualify you for "Preferred Rating"
MetLlifeN/AMust be retired - 10%Yes
ProgressiveN/AN/AYes - but in CA, TX
must be under
10,000 mi/yr
Safe AutoN/AN/AN/A
SafecoN/AN/AYes - Up to 4,000 mi/yr gets highest discount;
up to 25,000 mi/yr gets
a discount
State FarmN/AN/AYes - under 7,500 mi/yr
with proof
The GeneralN/AYes - 5%
for 55+ yrs.
Yes - big discount
under 5,000 mi/yr
The HanoverN/AYes - 5% named "Pleasure Use"Yes
The HartfordN/AYesYes - based off
historical mileage
TravelersN/AN/AYes - low mileage
discount but must use
USAAYes - discount is based
on operator's individual
driving record
Yes - can be labeled as
occasional operator,
especially if retired
Yes - under 10,000 mi/yr
for drivers over 29
Not available in HI or NC

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It’s important to note the occasional operator cannot be the policyholder on the vehicle.

Which auto insurance companies offer occasional operator discounts?

Some auto insurance companies may not offer occasional operator discount auto insurance rates, but they may offer other discounts for drivers with low mileage, are good students, or are safe drivers.

For example, Progressive occasional driver discounts are not offered. But they do offer other types of discounts for those who only drive occasionally, including their usage-based Progressive SnapShot Program. Read our Progressive insurance review to learn more.

When it comes to occasional driver auto insurance, Geico also does not offer that discount, but they offer policyholders other ways to save including their Geico DriveEasy Program, which tracks your driving behavior and can reward good drivers with a discount of up to 25%. Read our Geico review to learn more about its rates and discounts.

When you reach out for occasional operator discount auto insurance quotes, be sure to ask insurance companies about their definition of an occasional operator to see if you qualify for the discount.

What other ways can occasional operators find insurance discounts?

Even if you are unable to find many occasional operator discount auto insurance companies, there are still ways for policyholders with occasional drivers to get discounts on auto insurance. These discounts are listed below.

Bundling Discount

Many insurance companies offer a discount to policyholders who bundle their homeowner’s or renter’s insurance along with a life insurance policy, and their auto insurance policy with them.

Read more: Renter Discount: How Much Can You Save?

Good Student Discount

College and teenage students who only occasionally drive mom or dad’s car can get a good student discount if they maintain a B average or higher with most insurance companies.

Usage-Based or Pay-Per-Mile Discounts

Using telematics devices on usage-based insurance discounts or pay-per-mile insurance discounts can offer occasional operators a discount for low-mileage.

Good Driver Discount

Telematics devices can also determine if a driver is a good driver and if they qualify for a good driver discount. Good drivers have good driving records and good claims records.

Paid-In-Full Discount

A paid-in-full discount for those who pay their insurance premiums in one lump sum rather than monthly or quarterly.

Paperless Billing Discount

Some insurance companies offer a paperless billing discount if the insurance company does not have to send out paper bills. Read our “Paperless and Auto Billing Discount: How Much Can You Save?” for more information.

Senior Driver Discount

Curious about the senior driver discount: how much can you save? Seniors may qualify for discounts ranging from 5% to 10%, provided they meet age requirements set by the insurer, typically either 55+ or 65+.

Hopefully, you’ve learned everything you need to know about buying occasional operator discount auto insurance. Start shopping for coverage now with our free quote comparison tool below. Enter your ZIP code to get free quotes from top insurance companies offering occasional operator discounts near you.

Frequently Asked Questions: Occasional Operator Discount

#1 – What is an occasional operator?

An occasional operator is any individual who drives an insured vehicle less frequently or fewer miles than the primary driver. Each insurance company defines it differently, but usually, it’s defined as a driver who uses a vehicle less than 25% of the time and is not the primary policyholder.

#2 – Can an occasional operator be the only policyholder on an auto insurance policy?

No, an occasional operator must be a secondary driver and not hold the auto insurance policy for the vehicle. They must be on the primary policyholder’s auto insurance to be eligible for an occasional operator discount.

#3 – Does the occasional operator have to be on the primary auto insurance policyholder’s policy to be covered?

Yes, an occasional operator is covered once they are added to the primary driver’s insurance policy and they are driving with the permission of the primary driver.