A Guide to Making Your Money Go Further

The COVID-19 pandemic is upending nearly every aspect of our lives. Every day, news headlines seem to bring more questions than answers. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed amidst the uncertainty, but you shouldn’t let these set back your financial success.

Consider these four steps to stretch your budget, so you have a better chance of shoring up your budget, even if you’ve lost income because of a furlough, layoff, or reduced hours at work.

1. Look into refinancing

The Federal Reserve has cut rates to nearly zero, which makes it an appealing time to refinance. In other words, you may be able to replace a loan, such as your mortgage, private student loan, or personal loan, with another loan that has a lower interest rate. Refinancing can help you lower your bills by reducing what you have to pay for a loan.

Refinancing isn’t always a good idea, though. For example, so many people are looking to refinance their mortgages that some lenders are actually increasing their rates. Plus, many loans come with closing costs, which could eat up some of your precious cash. Before you apply, talk to an expert or use an online mortgage refinance calculator to see whether refinancing will save you money.

Time estimate: It depends on what you’re trying to refinance. Mortgages, which are usually the most complicated, could take hours as you usually need to send the lender a ton of documents, get your place appraised, and more. However, refinancing other loans, such as your car or credit card debt, should take less time.

2. Apply for unemployment

If your employer reduced your hours or shut down completely, apply for unemployment as soon as you can. Government programs, including from Congress’ CARES Act, greatly expanded unemployment coverage, including:

  • Extended benefits by 13 weeks
  • Added an extra $600 a week for four months on top of state benefits
  • Extended to those who don’t qualify for regular state employment, including self-employed people and part-time workers

Check with your state government to see if you’re eligible and to apply. You can also check out this guide from the Department of Labor to learn more about your state’s program.

Time estimate: Many states let you apply online, and the application is usually pretty straightforward — you just need to have the right information on hand, like your former employer’s contact information, dates of employment, and latest pay stubs.

3. Take up a side-hustle

With the time you would’ve spent commuting, you can also try to make some extra cash. Companies like Upwork allow you to complete tasks from home, whether you want to design, write, or be a virtual assistant. Delivery apps and grocery stores are also ramping up hiring to keep up with the increased demand now that everyone is leaving the home less often.

Time estimate: It’s up to you! Some of these gigs can take minutes, while others can span hours — it depends on your schedule and what you’re looking for.

4. Talk to a professional

If you’re feeling overwhelmed (who isn’t?), reach out to a professional. Many can talk you through your situation and help evaluate your options for little or no cost.

Be careful, though — there are a lot of untrustworthy companies and scams out there. We recommend using a housing counselor or credit counseling organization recommended by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Jenna Lee is a content marketer, Oxford comma enthusiast, and cat lover living in the Bay Area.

The Top 3 Financial Moves to Make While You Shelter in Place

Let’s be real. Even if you’re fortunate enough to not get sick, COVID-19 will likely affect your life.  With all of this uncertainty, it’s best to start preparing now. Fortunately, if you’re one of the millions of Americans who have been urged to stay home, you likely have more time on your hands right now. In the United States, the average commute is around 27 minutes, which means if your company lets you work from home, you could save about an hour a day. (I save around two hours!)

This extra time is the perfect opportunity to make smart financial moves that can help protect yourself financially. Here’s how you can prepare: 

Assess your situation

If you haven’t already, begin by taking stock of your financial situation — you can’t make a plan if you don’t know what you’re working with. This means:

  • Check your bank accounts. Figure out how much you usually spend each month and how long your savings would last if you lost your job.
  • Check your debt statements. Check your credit cards, student loans, auto loans — everything you owe — and note how much debt you have in total.
  • Check your credit. If you end up needing to apply for more credit, it’s important to know your chances of being approved. A review of your credit score and credit report can help you prepare.

Once you have a good idea of your situation, it’ll be easier to prepare for the future and decide whether you need to make any of the financial moves below. For example, if you have a ton of credit card debt but have good credit, you could consider applying for a personal loan, a credit card with an introductory 0% APR, or a balance transfer. Or, if you’ve calculated that you’ll run out of savings in a month, you can contact your lenders and ask for more time to make payments.

Note: the one type of account you shouldn’t check is your investments, including your 401(k) retirement account. As the stock market is fluctuating, checking your investment accounts may cause you some unneeded stress. If you’re not in desperate need of the money you’ve invested, just ride this wave out. Investing is a long-term game — don’t get distracted by any short-term setbacks.

Time estimate: It depends on how many accounts you have (and how good you are at memorizing the passwords you need to get into your accounts). In general, this shouldn’t take more than a few hours or a weekend afternoon.

Contact your lenders if you need help

Late payments can wreak havoc on your credit, which could subsequently affect your ability to borrow for years to come. If you can’t make a payment, though, don’t just accept the hit. 

When disasters happen, the FDIC notes that “Your creditors will likely work with you on a solution, but it’s important to contact them as soon as possible and explain your situation.” In other words, don’t wait until you start missing payments.

Whether you need help from your phone company, mortgage servicer, credit card issuers, private student loan servicer, or insurance companies, simply contact them, let them know you’re having financial troubles due to COVID-19, and ask if they can be flexible. In many cases, they should be willing to help.

Credit cards

Many of the main credit card providers are offering temporary assistance, such as:

  • Allowing you to defer, reduce, or skip payments
  • Reducing or waiving interest charges
  • Increasing your credit limit
  • Waiving fees

Student loans

If you have federal student loans, the CARES Act provides an automatic suspension of payments through September 30 — no need to contact your student loan servicer. If you have private student loans, get in touch with your servicer, and see what they can do to help.


If your mortgage is backed by the federal government, you may be able to suspend payments for up to a year if you’ve lost income because of COVID-19. Simply submit a request to your mortgage servicer and let them know you’re experiencing financial hardship.

If your mortgage isn’t backed by the federal government, reach out to your servicer anyway and see if they can offer relief. It doesn’t hurt to ask.

Before you ask

Your lenders and servicers will likely ask questions about your situation to determine the best way to help you. Be ready to explain your situation and estimate how much you can pay and when you think you can resume full payments.

Time estimate: Varies. Unfortunately, many banks are experiencing very long wait times as they try to assist all of their customers. If you anticipate needing help, don’t wait until the day your bill is due — contact your provider as soon as possible in case you can’t get through to them the first time.

See where you can cut back on spending

In theory, it should be easier to spend less money these days. If your city or state is requiring you to shelter in place, not only are you probably not commuting, but you’re also probably not going shopping, going to the movie theater, going on vacation, or participating in other activities.

But don’t just assume you’re spending less money — instead, actively seek ways to cut back. Look at your financial statements and cancel or pause anything that’s not necessary while you’re at home. Think gyms, daycares, and more. If your company allows you to allocate some of your pay to your commute pre-tax, it may also be worth pausing that so you can get more money in each paycheck.

Once you’ve taken care of the obvious expenses, get creative. For example, if you anticipate sheltering for the foreseeable future, you could save money switching to pay-per-mile car insurance through Metromile. On average, our customers save $741 a year, according to a survey of new customers who saved in 2018.

Time estimate: If you log into each account separately, it could take hours. To save time, consider using a free or low-cost budgeting app to get a holistic look at your spending across different categories from restaurants to utilities and more.

Jenna Lee is a content marketer, Oxford comma enthusiast, and cat lover living in the Bay Area. 

Is Now a Good Time to Switch Insurance Companies?

The coronavirus pandemic has changed life for many of us. We know that now more than ever, it’s important to spend money wisely and cut costs whenever possible. While you may not be able to look for other options with large bills like your rent or utility bills, your car insurance is one area where you can save a lot of money with little work.

Here’s how you can get started to stop overpaying for coverage you might not need. 

1. Know that you can switch insurers at any time. 

Unlike some other bills, the great thing about switching car insurance is that you don’t need to wait for a specific time to do it. You can cancel your car insurance policy, and generally, your car insurance company will refund the unused portion of any premiums you paid.

2. Understand that you might be overpaying if your driving or lifestyle has changed recently.

Insurance companies will often use your age, driving and insurance history, location, the value of your vehicle, and other factors to determine how much you need to pay for car insurance.

Many people don’t realize that how much you drive is also considered. If you don’t have a regular commute or drive only when necessary, you may be paying a similar price to someone who drives hundreds of miles each month.

Many car insurance companies are offering credits, discounts, or rebates toward your bill because everyone is driving less. However, these savings may be temporary, and you may end up overpaying for car insurance if your driving and lifestyle have changed.

Unlike other insurers, you don’t need to let us know when your driving changes. Metromile’s monthly bills are based on how much you drive, so you could benefit from lower insurance costs year-round.

3. Accept that switching insurers is a lot easier than you might think.

Moving to a new insurance company will generally save you money, as you could benefit from more up-to-date rates that reflect how you drive now. Similarly, switching insurers may be a low-risk decision. Many insurers don’t charge cancellation fees if you decide to leave, although it’s always a good rule to contact your insurer or read your policy to check for any fees or penalties before you cut ties.

4. Time your switch wisely to avoid a lapse in coverage.

You don’t want to drive when you’re uninsured. To avoid a lapse in your coverage, time your new policy in effect date with your new insurer. Metromile can help you pick the day you want your coverage to start, so you can cancel your old coverage when your new coverage kicks in. This can help prevent you from paying for two policies at once unnecessarily.

5. Confirm your cancellation.

After you cancel your policy, most insurance companies will send you cancellation paperwork. If your company doesn’t provide this to you automatically, it doesn’t hurt to call and ask for a confirmation letter for your records.

If you don’t own your car, it can also be helpful to confirm that your financing or leasing company is updated about your new coverage when you switch. Some insurance companies might do the legwork of informing your financing company or lienholder, but it never hurts to double-check.

Bottom Line

Because you only pay for what you use with Metromile, pay per mile car insurance can help you avoid overpaying for coverage you might not need and help save you money.


Dillon Gonzales is a Phoenix-based licensed insurance specialist with a passion for providing customers with helpful insurance information and an outstanding experience.

How I Drive: A Turo All-Star Host Pays $50 Each Month to Cover His Maserati

Metromile customer & Turo host Jeff Badu

Jeff Badu is a certified public accountant who works from home full-time in Chicago, managing his tax practice and several other businesses. Jeff originally listed one car on Turo, when he started as a Turo host in 2016 but has since added three additional cars to the car-sharing marketplace. Having hosted nearly 400 trips on the platform, he’s now an All-Star Host, recognized as one of the top-rated and most experienced hosts on Turo. “For me, I had to test it first — that’s what I do with everything in life,” Jeff said about his experience.

How did you hear about Metromile?

Late last year, I got an email from Turo about the Metromile partnership. That was the first time I had heard of Metromile. If I had known about Metromile previously, I would have signed up much, much sooner. 

That’s great to hear! What made you want to sign up with us?

We were getting killed on rates with other insurance companies, especially since we don’t use these cars a lot. I looked at your rates and thought it was too good to be true. The beauty of Metromile is that even if you’re not renting on Turo, a car owner can really benefit from your low rates. 

How have your rates changed since you switched to Metromile?

My rates have been cut down tremendously. I was probably paying about ten times more than I’m now paying with Metromile. For example, I was paying about $500 per month on my Maserati Ghibli, and now, it costs me between $40 to $50 per month to insure that car with Metromile. 

Turo’s insurance covers the guest when they rent cars on the Turo platform, so it didn’t make sense for me to have to pay for the guest’s insurance too. In addition, sometimes the guest would add their own insurance, which meant the car was covered three times! That was crazy.  

Have you been driving less because of COVID-19?

Definitely. I’m driving a lot less myself, and I’m also not getting as many Turo bookings. So, I appreciate Metromile’s savings more than ever. 

Anything else you’d like to share? 

I think Metromile is a great platform. Things are being calculated in a very fair way. The pay per mile pricing is very fair, and it’s very user friendly. It’s improved my budget, and it’s helped me keep my car-sharing going during this recent slow period. 

I also love the car-location feature. I had a car stolen last year when I was with a different insurance company. If I had Metromile at the time, it would have been so much easier because I would have known where it was!

What Is A Motor Vehicle Report?

If you’re ready to switch up your car insurance, you may need a motor vehicle report. Even if your new insurance provider doesn’t request one, it may be helpful for you to review before you shop. Here’s everything you might need to know about your MVR:

What is a motor vehicle report?

A motor vehicle report or MVR is also known as your driving record. Consider the MVR your driving report card which documents everything from traffic tickets, accident reports, DUI convictions, driver’s license points, vehicle-related crimes, and more. Your MVR also includes driver’s license details, such as the driver’s license class, restrictions, endorsements, and personal information like your age, height, or weight.

Why does my car insurance company need a copy of my MVR?

Your car insurance rates are largely based on how risky you might be as a driver on the road. If your MVR indicates that you’re prone to accidents or speeding violations, an insurance company may need to factor those things into the premium you pay. If you have had major violations like DUIs, it can severely impact the rate insurance companies are likely to offer you, compared to a clean record with no history of violations.

Depending on which state you live in, certain items may be removed from your MVR after some time. For example, some violations like a DUI stick around longer, while other violations like a speeding ticket may be expunged sooner. Whether or not violations are stricken from your record after a certain amount of time, most car insurance companies will only take a close look at the most recent years detailed on your MVR. 

How do I get a copy of my MVR?

You can call or visit your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to request a copy of your MVR, but if you’re applying for car insurance, that carrier will contact the DMV themselves to get a copy. Ordering a copy of your MVR can be useful, as knowing all the details of your history can help you estimate how much money you’ll likely be paying for insurance premiums. 

The downside of ordering a copy is that it’ll likely cost you anywhere from $5 to $25, depending on which state you live in. A little tip: request an uncertified version, as it often costs less than an “official” version. You might not be able to use it for a job interview or a court appearance, but it will have all the information you need to understand your history and approximate your car insurance rate.


Michelle Konstantinovsky is a San Francisco-based freelance journalist, UC Berkeley alumna, and Metromile customer.

How I Drive: I Chose Pay Per Mile Because I Work From Home

Low-mileage driver & Illinois resident RJ

RJ Weiss works from home full-time in Geneva, Illinois, the western suburb of Chicago, where he lives with his wife and three children. A certified financial planner, he runs The Ways to Wealth. RJ describes it as an online community full of resources that helps people learn how to make money, budget, and invest their money wisely.

The work-from-home financial whiz became a Metromile customer in March 2018, after finding people who work from home weren’t getting a good deal from other insurance companies.

How’d you hear about Metromile?

I found Metromile while comparing options for low-mileage drivers. You could say insurance and financial planning run in my blood. I became a certified financial planner in my 20s, and my family had an insurance agency that dated back four generations. My father was the president of the agency, so we talked about insurance a lot. We still do, even though he’s sold the agency.

Why did you choose Metromile?

I thought my previous insurer wasn’t giving us enough credit for not driving much. We live about 40 miles outside of Chicago, and other than a big road trip now and then, we tend to drive close to home. With my understanding of coverage options, limits and Illinois requirements, Metromile seemed like a great fit for my family. 

We could have bundled our auto insurance with our home insurance, but my home insurer offered a discount that was only about 5% to 10% — that doesn’t come close to what I’m saving with Metromile. Unbundling was definitely a better option for us.

How has your bill been affected by shelter-in-place orders? How much is an average bill now compared to this time last year? 

I was already saving a lot, and now I’m saving even more. Last year, our monthly Metromile bill for both of our cars was usually about $60 or $70 total per month. Since shelter-in-place, it’s dropped to about $45 or $50 per month.

Have you taken advantage of Metromile’s free miles feature? In Illinois, we charge up to 250 miles driven in one day, and any additional miles after that on the same day are free. 

Yes! We took a family road trip to Tennessee last year, and that feature really came in handy. It’s sure nice to have the cap. It wound up being less than $10.

Have you used the Metromile app? 

Yes, I love the app. It’s fun to track my driving and costs. I don’t mind having the Pulse device plugged into our cars because it provides a more accurate view of our driving, keeps our rates low, and benefits me as a consumer.

What’s your advice for people who might be newly working from home or looking for ways to save money?

You have to find insurance companies that are willing to give you credit for what you already do. I found Metromile after I moved to work from home full-time, and it paid off to take advantage of the cost-savings. I know from personal experience that insurance companies have so much data about their customers that the cost can really skyrocket if they don’t want you. 

Additionally, more people are low-mileage drivers than you might think. It’s becoming more common to keep the car parked and walk to the store. It helps that I come from insurance, and I knew this trend; it made me an early mover to pay per mile.

Don’t Forget This Money To-Do When You Say ‘I Do’

Shannon Wright & her husband (Photo Credit: Kristie Hurst photography)

You know this if you’ve just gotten married: your to-do list can be immense. Add in the stress of how weddings have changed in the era of coronavirus — everything from a change of venue to front porches or Zoom celebrations — and it can get overwhelming quickly.

We asked Shannon W., Metromile’s Senior Manager of Customer Experience Operations, to help make things simpler. Newly married herself, Shannon shares tips about how your marital status might impact your car insurance rates and how to get a good rate after you say, “I do.”

Talk to your partner

You probably have a mental note on your to-do list to talk about your finances with your partner. But, have you considered talking about your driving and car insurance?

For starters, here are four questions you should ask your partner. Your partner’s answers will give you clues as to whether your car insurance bill may increase or decrease as a married couple, and what you should do next.

  1. How many years of driving experience do you have?
  2. Have you had any tickets or violations in the last few years? 
  3. Have you ever gone without car insurance?
  4. Have you ever been in an at-fault accident?

You’ll want to be equipped with the answers to these questions, so you’re both better prepared to get a competitive car insurance rate.

Review your current insurance

Now that you’ve tied the knot, you and your partner may want to tie your insurance policies together. It could pay off to take a few minutes to review your policies together beforehand.

Research shows married couples are generally deemed “less risky” drivers and could be eligible for discounts on auto insurance premiums. So, if you and your spouse both have great driving records and have no gaps in your insurance coverage, insurance companies will generally provide lower rates. Even if you previously shared a car insurance policy, you could still be eligible for additional discounts.

Even if one of you has a driving record that’s still a work in progress, the two of you may be able to benefit from multi-vehicle discounts by insuring multiple cars together on the same policy.

Keep in mind that if your partner has a history of bad driving, it could negatively impact your insurance rates, and a combined policy might not make sense. You might also consider excluding your partner as a driver on your policy, so their work-in-progress driving record doesn’t affect your rate, but understand this might not be possible in all states. Additionally, excluding someone from your policy means they won’t be covered by your insurance policy while driving your car, and you’ll be personally responsible for any damage if they’re driving. 

Shop around

Whether or not you said “I do” to a great driver, you should consider shopping around for car insurance. It’s a good idea to compare rates often, as changes in your life, including getting married or moving in together to a new place, could affect the price you pay.

You could also look into whether it might be better to keep your current policies and coverage separate. Just make sure both of you are listed on the other person’s policy, as insurance companies generally require you to include everyone in your household who might drive your car. Even if your spouse has their own vehicle they drive, there may be instances when they need to drive your car.

Additionally, if you don’t drive much, you could save with pay per mile car insurance like Metromile, even if you and your partner drive separate cars.

What To Know About Car Insurance During COVID-19

Metromile is committed to supporting drivers through every mile. We understand the COVID-19 pandemic has created stress and uncertainty, and we’re here to help. We want you to be able to focus on what matters most during this time — the health and safety of you and your family.

Savings as you drive less

We think the best deal is one that you don’t have to ask for. Our community saved approximately 30% on average on car insurance in April just for staying home, and the savings can continue. Savings are built-in when you pay per mile, which means lower bills for driving less. For example, essential and frontline workers save $741 a year on average with Metromile, even as they continue to drive because they pay per mile, according to a survey of new customers who saved with Metromile in 2018.

Coverage when you need it

We understand things happen. Our claims agents remain available 24/7. You can file a claim online, through our app, or by calling us at 888-595-5485. Reach out to us about an existing claim at 888-457-4301 from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT, Monday through Friday.

And if your car breaks down, we’ll be there for you. Repair shops in the Metromile network are open, even as we shelter in place. Our roadside assistance operators are also standing by to help.

Assistance with coverage and payments

We understand that you might be experiencing financial hardship because of COVID-19. We’re making payment relief options, so you won’t lose your coverage if you can’t pay now. If you need any help, we’re here for you at 888-311-2909 and through our Help Center.

We know every bit counts, so we’re not charging late fees or fees for payment extensions during this time.

Get rewarded for helping others

We’re rewarding our community so that you can get paid to help your friends save on car insurance. With each friend who gets a quote from your unique referral code, you will get $25 and could earn up to $100 per calendar year.

Now you can also choose to donate your referral reward to support those impacted by COVID-19. Metromile will donate $25 on your behalf — up to $100 per calendar year — to Direct Relief for each friend who completes a quote using your unique code when you refer someone from the Direct Relief page on our website. Direct Relief is a leading humanitarian aid organization providing medical assistance, including protective gear and critical care medications, in the U.S. and around the world.

Support for the community

We understand that our local communities need us now more than ever, which is why we’re taking steps to support small business owners. If you’re a small business owner or have a favorite restaurant or shop that deserves a shoutout, share it with us for a chance to be included in an upcoming Shop Local with Metromile spotlight.

Support for our New Jersey customers

For New Jersey customers experiencing financial hardship because of COVID-19, we’ve taken these steps for you:

  • We won’t cancel your policy for 90 days from May 1, 2020, if you’re having difficulties paying your bill. (Keep in mind that while you won’t lose your coverage because you can’t pay now, you’ll still be responsible for making these payments.)
    • You may make these payments over the rest of your current policy term or up to 12 months.
  • We’re not charging late fees or fees for payment extensions as we shelter in place.
  • We won’t consider any late payments in rate calculations for future policy terms.

If you need any help, we’re here for you at 888-311-2909 and through our Help Center.

How I Drive: A Turo Host Says He Saves 50% with Metromile Fractional Insurance

Lance C. is a software engineer who lives in the West Loop neighborhood of Chicago. He’s never driven much. Before the coronavirus pandemic, he would bike or take public transit to work. Now, because of COVID-19, he’s driving even less because he’s working from home. He keeps a car for the weekends for weekend getaways, his soccer matches, and errands. He owns three BMWs that he lists on the car-sharing marketplace Turo.

How long have you been a Metromile customer?

I joined Metromile around the beginning of 2020. As soon as Turo notified hosts about the partnership with Metromile, I jumped on it. Insurance can get expensive!

I had been looking for a pay per mile, low-use car insurance for the last two years. I couldn’t find one that fit my situation because other insurers with a pay per mile model would have still charged me for miles driven by Turo guests. That didn’t work because most of the miles being put on my cars are from my Turo guests, not me. Prior to Metromile, I was basically paying double for car insurance — for cars I wasn’t driving.

How do you like your Metromile insurance?

I love my Metromile insurance! It costs me about $20 a car each month. It’s the best thing there is! It’s cut my bill at least in half. It’s just great, and I saved so much money. Even if there are no guests, Metromile provides huge savings when the cars aren’t making money for me on Turo.

The Metromile app is also awesome. I love to see where my cars are parked. I have three cars on the Turo platform, so it’s great to know where the Turo guests park them. I also love the street-sweeping alerts and near real-time billing.

I’d love to see a car unlocking and locking feature, and I’d also like to see an integration that makes it easier and more seamless for Turo guests to share their gas and mileage. Also, add renters insurance, so I can dump my other insurer and bundle with Metromile!

With many people still staying close to home during COVID-19, what changes have you seen with trips taken by Turo guests?

I’m starting to see an uptick in rentals again this summer. People are still renting my cars to run errands like big grocery runs, but they are also driving to visit their families out of town.

Cities like Chicago are conducive to Metromile, and I think there will always be a need for pay-per-mile car insurance. It can take a long time to find parking, so many people are like me: The times you use your car are few and far between.