How to Get an Occasional Operator Discount

An occasional operator discount is available to policyholders when adding a driver that contributes 25% or less of the mileage on the insured car. Occasional driver insurance is cheaper when you add an infrequent driver to your policy. Teens and young adults generate the most expensive rates. Shop around and compare to secure occasional driver discounts that give you the best rates.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Jul 22, 2021

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Things to Remember

  • Primary drivers can’t qualify for occasional operator discounts
  • Pay-per-mile auto insurance is best for drivers who don’t drive much
  • Auto insurance rates for teen drivers are more expensive than any other age group
  • You can stack other discounts to lower your auto insurance rates

Did you know you can get occasional operator insurance for teen drivers? Or maybe you want to add occasional use car insurance for an adult driver.

When you have an occasional driver on your auto insurance policy, you may qualify for an occasional operator discount. However, multiple factors determine whether an affordable occasional operator discount is available to you.

Read through this guide to learn how to secure cheap auto insurance, why you can’t buy occasional operator discounts, and how occasional operator discount rates vary for each company.

Once you learn everything about occasional operator discounts, enter your ZIP code in the free online quote tool above to compare multiple companies in your area.

How do you get an occasional operator discount?

You can get an occasional operator discount when adding a driver to your auto insurance policy that drives at least one day per week.

Some car insurance companies define an occasional driver as someone who drives 25% or less of the estimated miles on the insurance policy.

For example, a teen driver that drives your vehicle once a week is considered an occasional driver. Adult children who are caretakers for senior parents may be occasional drivers as well.

Some auto insurance companies respond to new drivers on your policy with a discount.

Although teen drivers increase car insurance rates, it’s cheaper to add a teen driver to your car insurance policy rather than starting a new one.

Is there auto insurance specifically for occasional drivers? What is occasional driver insurance? Continue reading to learn more.

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What is occasional operator auto insurance?

Occasional operator car insurance is a fancy way of saying car insurance for people who drive less than average.

Teen drivers and young adult drivers (under 21) who share a vehicle with their parents may be considered occasional operators.

Primary drivers cannot receive an occasional operator discount.

Since occasional driver insurance rates are more expensive for these age groups, it’s recommended that teen and young adult drivers stay under their parent’s car insurance policy.

Examine the auto insurance rates below to see how age, gender, and marital status affect auto insurance.

Average Monthly Auto Insurance Rates by Age, Gender, and Marital Status
CompaniesSingle 17-Year-Old FemaleSingle 17-Year-Old MaleSingle 25-Year-Old FemaleSingle 25-Year-Old MaleMarried 35-Year-Old FemaleMarried 35-Year-Old MaleMarried 65-Year-Old FemaleMarried 65-Year-Old Male
USAA$401$449$166$177$129$128$121$121
GEICO$471$523$198$189$192$193$187$190
State Farm$496$610$195$213$173$173$156$156
American Family$500$678$191$225$184$185$166$168
Nationwide$480$598$224$241$197$199$178$185
Progressive$724$802$225$230$191$181$166$171
Farmers$710$762$246$253$213$213$195$204
Travelers$776$1,071$194$208$182$183$171$173
Allstate$774$887$285$298$263$260$243$249
Liberty Mutual$968$1,143$330$375$317$321$287$307
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Any driver under 25 years old is set to pay significantly more for car insurance. Therefore, it’s cheaper to add teen drivers and young adult drivers to a current auto insurance policy.

But why is auto insurance so expensive for younger drivers? According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), teenagers drive less but  they are involved in fatal crashes at a higher rate than adults.

But, there’s another type of occasional operator auto insurance. If you don’t drive much at all, try to enroll in pay-as-you-drive (PAYD) insurance. Read on to see how PAYD car insurance works.

Why should occasional operators use pay-as-you-drive auto insurance?

If you’re not sure you’re eligible for an occasional driver discount, you can enroll in a usage-based insurance (UBI) program known as PAYD car insurance.

PAYD insurance is also known as pay-per-mile auto insurance.

Some car insurance companies provide low mileage discounts. But the best auto insurance companies have PAYD insurance.

Here’s a list of auto insurance companies’ PAYD car insurance programs:

  • Allstate Milewise
  • Liberty Mutual ByMile
  • Metromile
  • Mile Auto
  • Nationwide SmartMiles

Progressive, State Farm, and GEICO don’t provide a pay-per-mile auto insurance program. However, you can secure cheaper rates through a low mileage discount.

What if I can’t get an occasional operator discount?

There are a few deals you can qualify for with your car insurance policy. The first place you may want to look is a low mileage discount.

For teens and young adults, ask your auto insurance company about good student discounts and distant student discounts. But what about senior drivers?

Let’s compare the distant student and senior deals from various car insurance companies.

Auto Insurance Discounts That May Be Available to Occasional Drivers
CompaniesDistant StudentSenior Driver
21st CenturyN/AYes
AAAYesN/A
AllstateYes - 35%Yes - 10%
American FamilyYesN/A
AmeripriseYesN/A
AmicaYesN/A
Country FinancialN/AN/A
EsuranceN/AN/A
FarmersYesYes
GeicoYesN/A
Liberty MutualN/AN/A
MetLifeN/AYes - 10%
NationwideYes - 10%N/A
ProgressiveYesN/A
Safe AutoN/AN/A
SafecoYes - 15%N/A
State FarmYesN/A
The GeneralN/AYes - 5%
The HanoverYes - 5%Yes - 5%
The HartfordYes - 3%Yes
TravelersYes - 7%N/A
USAAYesYes
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Allstate provides the best savings for students. Some car insurance discounts don’t have percentages because the value depends on a few factors.

Where can I find an occasional operator discount?

Finding an occasional operator discount may be challenging. Auto insurance companies classify bargains differently. Therefore, the occasional operator discount may be under another name.

Most companies, however, don’t carry occasional operator discounts. USAA is one of the few companies that does have the occasional operator deal.

USAA’s occasional operator discount depends on the driving record of the occasional driver.

Also, the driver must be 29 and older. The USAA occasional driver discount is not available in Hawaii or North Carolina.

We couldn’t find any other company that offered an occasional operator discount, but some smaller companies may provide it.

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Other Ways Occasional Operators Can Save On Auto Insurance

Whether you’re shopping for new coverage or renewing your current policy, there are always ways to save money on car insurance.

The best way to save money is through a clean driving record and a good credit history. These two factors indicate a low risk for filing claims, and they generate cheap car insurance rates.

If your risk level is exceptionally low, think about raising your deductible to save about $100 more per year.

Stack your auto insurance deals even more with discounts. Check out this list of discounts that you can be eligible for as an infrequent driver.

  • Low mileage discount
  • Paperless billing discount
  • Anti-theft discount
  • Safety features discount
  • Full payment discount
  • Loyalty discount
  • Defensive driver discount

These are only a few deals you can receive, but there are more. Take advantage of any savings opportunity to keep your car insurance rate low.

Occasional Operator Discount: What’s the bottom line?

Occasional operator discounts may be hard to find. Focus on adding a driver to your policy to save money. You’ll likely qualify for other discounts, also.

Stack your auto insurance discounts and save hundreds of dollars per year. Maintain a clean driving record and good credit, and you could save over $1,000.

Now that you know more about occasional operator discounts, use our free comparison tool below to compare multiple companies in your local area.

Frequently Asked Questions: Occasional Operator Discount

Before we wrap up this guide, let’s answer a few frequently asked questions.

#1 – What’s the difference between an occasional operator and an occasional driver?

Occasional operators and occasional drivers are the same. Both terms are used interchangeably.

#2 – Why can’t occasional operators be primary policyholders?

The primary policyholder is likely the owner of the vehicle that’s insured. It’s safer for an auto insurance company to insure them as a regular driver.

#3 – Should I get usage-based auto insurance?

UBI is very convenient if you want a pay-per-mile option. However, you can save money if you use pay-how-you-drive (PHYD) auto insurance. Most of the top companies provide this option, and savings depend on your driving habits.

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