The Top 5 Camping Spots in Northern California

Maybe we’re a little bit biased, but we sure do love our little City by the Bay. There’s nothing quite like brunch at Park Tavern, or dancing and drinks at Blondie’s in the Mission. However – sometimes living in San Francisco can be challenging. When city life gets to be a little too much and we could use a break, the first thing on our minds is hitting the road and getting some much-needed fresh air.

Whether you’re a camping newbie or a seasoned pro who feels at home next to a roaring campfire, there’s no doubt that northern California has some of the best camping spots in the country. From exquisite beaches to the secluded mountains (and occasional dormant volcano), here are the ones that come out at the top of our list!

The Top 5 Camping Spots in Northern California

  1. Lassen Volcanic National Park:
  2. Beautiful Lassen Volcanic National Park is home to oodles of geothermal activity, as the park is one of the only places in the world where all four types of volcanoes can be found. Camp in one of the 179 campsites on the stunning Manzanita Lake, and admire the natural beauty of the national park; swim, kayak, and hike around the lake, too. The campground at Manzanita Lake has showers, flush toilets, even a coin-operated laundry. No camping gear? It’s available there for rent, or stay in one of an assortment of tidy cabins and bunkhouses.

  3. Lava Beds National Monument:
  4. Punctuated by scrabbly earth and lava rocks, at first glance the Lava Beds National Park seems barren and desolate. But take a closer look. Go camping at Indian Well Campground, and snag one of the 43 campsites (as they are on a first-come-first-served basis). Sites can accommodate tents, pickup campers, small trailers and motorhomes up to 30 feet.

  5. McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park:
  6. The stunning McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park is within the Cascade Range and Modoc Plateau natural region, with forest and five miles of streamside and lake shoreline, including a portion of Lake Britton. The park’s centerpiece is the 129-foot Burney Falls, which, although it is not the highest or largest waterfall in the state, it might possibly be the most beautiful! The park’s landscape was created by volcanic activity and erosion from weather and streams. Campers, keep in mind: there will be road construction near McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park for the summer of 2018. Visitors traveling from Redding on Eastbound Highway 299 can expect delays from Johnson Park to Highway 89 junction with Highway 299.

  7. Jedediah Redwoods State Park:
  8. Spend the night sleeping under the giant redwoods. Pitch your tent at Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, northeast of Crescent City. Its 86-site developed campground sits beside the burbling, emerald green Smith River in a lush glade, complete with ferns and old-growth trees. You can walk from your tent to the 340-foot Stout Tree and its mammoth brethren, or go for a drive on spectacular Howland Hill Road – a 10-mile winding dirt road through old-growth redwoods.

  9. Lake Tahoe:
  10. We would be remiss if we didn’t mention our beloved Lake Tahoe. The camping at Lake Tahoe is beyond – between the majestic mountainous views and shimmering blue water, you can’t go wrong pitching your tent at Lake Tahoe. Some of the best campgrounds are in the Lake Tahoe area include Camp Richardson, Sugar Pine Point Campground, and Sand Harbor. Bike, kayak, and hike while taking in the fresh mountain air at one of California’s crowning jewels.

Now, who’s ready to pack up the camping gear and hit the road? Remember that Metromile caps your daily mileage at 250/miles per day in California, so don’t worry about racking up crazy mileage – we’ve got you covered! If you’re not yet a Metromile customer, what are you waiting for? Get a free quote today to find out how much we could allow you to save every year!

Julianne Cronin is a Bay Area freelance writer, content creator, and founder/editor of the women’s lifestyle site, The Wink. You can find her working on her capsule wardrobe, collecting cacti, and trying out the latest beauty products on Instagram

7 Things You Absolutely Need to Have in Your Trunk

Your vehicle is the epicenter of your comfort zone, however, it often takes you to places that are all but safe and secure. Because of that, you need to understand just how important it is to be prepared for any situation. Luckily, your trunk is most likely big enough to help. This is especially important to think about since you might find yourself behind the wheel of a car whose origin you’re not familiar with (e.g. a new buy or a rental vehicle).

Nevertheless, you can’t have it all, seeing as how even the biggest of trucks have a limited amount of space. For instance, carrying a tent when going on a road trip or camping is a great idea, but carrying it around during your commute to work or when visiting your relatives in another town is just ludicrous. With that in mind and without further ado, here are 7 things you absolutely need to have in your trunk at all times.

7 Things You Absolutely Need to Have in Your Trunk

  1. Jumper Cables:
    You would be shocked at just how often the battery in your vehicle drains. Once this happens, you need only two things to get it up and running. First, you need a friendly passerby. Second, you need a set of jumper cables. Sure, there’s always a probability that a person you stop will have their own jumper cables, but why take the risk? As for the use, you just connect black to black and red to red, while carefully holding for the rubber part. One last tip: make sure that both cars are in neutral when you first connect the cables.
  2. First Aid Kit:
    The next thing you need in your vehicle is a sealed first aid kit. This is one of those items you hope you’ll never get to use, yet it is also something you can’t even risk starting your car without. No matter how quickly you call the EMT and how fast their response is, you might need to do a bit more in order to preserve life. First aid kits have some of the essential items necessary for you to do so.
  3. Hazard Vest and Triangle:
    One of the things that a lot of people neglect to understand is the gravity of an emergency breakdown. Sure, taking your car to a reliable car repair center is mandatory before any trip, however, unexpected things may happen, even if you do have a nearby mechanic on speed dial. You need to know how to protect your motionless vehicle on the side of the road.

    During the night, hazard vests and triangles will help you get spotted by arriving mechanic/towing service, thus preventing the possibility of getting missed or hit. Furthermore, some insurance companies, like Metromile, already provide 24/7 roadside assistance, which is yet another handy safeguard to have in mind.

  4. Spare Tire and Jack Lug Wrench:
    There is virtually no driver out there who hasn’t had a flat tire at least once in his or her life. Therefore, it’s outright irresponsible sitting behind the wheel, let alone going on a road trip, if you don’t know how to change a tire. Still, knowledge alone might not suffice, seeing as how you can’t unscrew the bolts with your bare hand (at least not if they’re safely fastened). That’s why you need a lug wrench, as well as a spare. Aside from this, you also need a jack in order to lift your car slightly off the ground. Once you have these three items, you’ll be able to safely replace any flat tire without any worry.
  5. Flashlight:
    The next item you absolutely must have in your trunk is a flashlight. Keep in mind that some on-road accidents may happen at night. Needless to say, your level of mechanical prowess is completely irrelevant if you can’t see what you’re doing. Fortunately, a flashlight doesn’t take much space, which is why some prefer to keep it up front in the glove compartment. In this way, you can get your hands on it as soon as the vehicle stops.
  6. Air Pump:
    While some people may disagree on this point, it’s incredibly important to have an air pump with you. Sure, a spare tire is always a more reliable solution but what happens if two of your tires go flat. At least one of them might be inflated so why wouldn’t you have a device that can help you do that in your trunk.
  7. Blanket:
    Finally, this item may seem a bit unexpected on the list, but there’s really no reason for such surprise. After all, a blanket is a multi-tool to be used on so many different occasions. On a road trip, you can use it as a surface on which you can set up your camp. In a situation where you’re forced to stop unexpectedly, you can use it to wrap yourself in and get a bit warmer, more comfortable sleep. And if you’re ever forced to pull something hot or dirty, you can wrap the blanket around it to act as an insulator. You would be surprised just how often the latter situation occurs.

At the very end, there are some additional things you might consider taking like some water and snacks. The key to the list was to include items you can just safely deposit in the trunk and forget you even have them there. Snacks may have an expiration date and aren’t really vital to urban commute, even during the rush hour. As for the above-listed seven items, they don’t take much space but make a world of difference.

Nick is a blogger and a management expert currently engaged in projects for Media Gurus, an Australian business, and marketing resource. He is an aspiring street artist and a passionate traveler.

Summer Travel: 10 Things You’re Forgetting To Do

Isn’t summer the best? The days are longer, the weather is warmer, and your boss seems to be slightly more lenient when you leave for the weekend on a Friday at 3pm. You’ve planned every minute detail of your trip, packed the kids and the dog up and everyone has their Ass In Seat™ – so what are you forgetting? Keep scrolling to find out (hint: they’re important AF)!

10 Things You’re Forgetting To Do Before Your Summer Travels

  1. Turn the AC off. If you accidentally leave your AC running for a week straight, be prepared to come home to an enormous electric bill. No matter how hot it will be when you’re gone, always make sure to turn off your AC before leaving for your trip – unless you have an exorbitant amount of extra money to afford to keep an empty house cool.
  2. Put a bottle of water in your freezer. This tip is a two-parter. Part one: fill a clear water bottle up halfway and place in your freezer on its side. Part two: once the water has completely frozen, turn the bottle right-side up and keep frozen. If you return from your trip and some of the water has pooled and frozen on the bottom of the bottle (instead of staying frozen sideways), you’ll know that your home lost power for a period of time while you were gone. This means that the food in your freezer thawed out, potentially spoiled, and was refrozen when the power came back on. Gross.
  3. Make sure your car is parked in the shade. If you’re flying somewhere instead of taking a road trip, make sure your car is garaged or parked somewhere shady before you leave. Leaving your car out of the direct sun for days on end will help prevent the interior from fading and your dashboard from drying out and cracking. Bonus points if you use one of those giant silver windshield sun protectors!
  4. Clean out the fridge and take the trash out. I toyed with the idea of making this tip number one, because it’s probably one of the most important tips and I didn’t want you to skip over it whilst skimming. 1000% make sure to do this before you leave. If you forget to do it, your home will literally smell like hot garbage when you return.
  5. Passports. It seems obvious, but always double-check that you packed them. This also seems obvious – but this tip only applies if you’re traveling internationally.
  6. Pay bills or schedule automatic payments. Paying bills is the last thing you want to be thinking about while you’re frolicking on your summer adventure, so pay them before you leave or set up automatic payments. If you’re a Metromile customer, your bill is already set up as an automatic payment – so that’s one bill already checked off your list!
  7. Make digital copies of important items like passports, etc. and email them to yourself and someone who isn’t traveling with you. If you lose your passport while traveling, the first thing that the US Embassy will ask is if you have a digital copy. Emailing them to yourself and someone who isn’t traveling with you also covers you in the event that your phone or laptop (with the digital copies saved) is stolen.
  8. Put your mail on hold. Thieves love to scope out houses or apartments with piled up mail and packages because it signals that no one has been home in a while. Contact USPS to have your mail put on hold while you’re traveling, or have a friend stop by to bring the mail inside daily.
  9. Call your bank. Imagine this – after a long day of traveling, you go to check into your hotel and your credit card is declined. Ugh. Many banks and credit card companies will flag charges in dissimilar locations as fraud and decline them. Be sure to take this proactive step and contact your bank and credit card companies to let them know the location you’re traveling to and the dates you’ll be there.
  10. Set your Out of Office response. Even though you might be out-of-pocket checking emails while you’re traveling, don’t forget to set your OOO responder on your work and personal email accounts. This will let your colleagues know that you’ll be slower to respond and will maybe get you off-the-hook for answering some of them until you return.

So, how are you feeling? Did you check everything off the list? Great! Go have fun on your summer adventure, and don’t worry – we’ll be here when you get back. If you haven’t made the switch to Metromile yet, the summer is a great time to check out a quote to find out how much you could be saving, so grab yours today! Have a fab time on your summer travels and be safe out there on the roads.

Julianne Cronin is a Bay Area freelance writer, content creator, and founder/editor of the women’s lifestyle site, The Wink. You can find her working on her capsule wardrobe, collecting cacti, and trying out the latest beauty products on Instagram

7 of The Most Affordable Travel Destinations in the U.S.

Summer is the perfect time to explore all the awesomeness America has to offer, but if you’re on a budget, you might feel like your options are severely limited. Fear not, ambitious traveler: some of the country’s best landmarks are actually surprisingly affordable, and some are even free! So pack your bags and hop in the car—you have some sights to see:

7 of The Most Affordable Travel Destinations in the U.S.

Williamsburg, VA
Step up your U.S. history trivia knowledge and travel to Colonial Williamsburg for some education and culture. If you take advantage of one of the special discounted passes, you can visit multiple historical sites and amusement parks for a fraction of the cost. And don’t forget to ride The Jamestown Ferry for great views—it’s completely free!

The Grand Canyon

If you haven’t made a pilgrimage to this natural wonder in northern Arizona, it’s definitely worth a visit. Officially designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the iconic canyon measures approximately 277 river miles in length and up to 18 miles in width. While hotels inside the site can be pricey, camping at the canyon can be totally wallet-friendly, and if you save your visit for September (or a few other select calendar dates throughout the year), you can even skip the entrance fee altogether.

Biloxi, MS
Maybe you don’t equate “beach vacation” with Mississippi, but believe it or not, Biloxi is full of sand, surf, and—cha ching!—plenty of casinos. Some of the properties may be high-priced, but if you book a bit in advance, you should be able to secure a spot at one of the town’s hotels for under $100 a night.

Memphis, TN

Where else can you visit Elvis Presley’s Graceland kingdom and tour the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll? Memphis is a super cool destination that simply doesn’t get enough attention for its multitude of tourist offerings—many of which are reasonably priced. If you opt for a Backstage Pass, you gain access to the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, Sun Studio, Graceland and the Stax Museum of American Soul Music for one flat rate of $84.

Greenville, SC
Foodies, take note! Greenville has been making headlines for its burgeoning reputation as a culinary capital, and there’s plenty more to do when you’re not getting your grub on. The Greenville County Museum of Art houses collections by legends like Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns, and the 20-mile Swamp Rabbit Trail is a must for bike riders.

Sequoia National Park

You can’t consider an outdoorsy California adventure complete until if you’ve hit up this majestic location, which is home to some of the world’s tallest trees. Snag a spot at one of the park’s 14 campgrounds to save money on lodging, and stock up on picnic items on your way in to avoid the marked up prices onsite.

Chicago, IL
People need to make a bigger deal out of this city’s stunning architecture and incomparable food scene. You can take in a ton of sights for free, like the Garfield Park Conservatory, and fill up on authentic cuisine for under $10 at classic spots like Portillo’s.

Ready to hit the open road? Make sure you have an insurer who has your back. If you haven’t yet made the switch to pay-per-mile car insurance, visit www.metromile.com today for a free quote.

Michelle Konstantinovsky is a San Francisco-based journalist/writer/editor and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumna. She’s written extensively on health, body image, entertainment, lifestyle, design, and tech for outlets like Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, O: The Oprah Magazine, Seventeen, and a whole lot more. She’s also a contributing editor at Fitbit and the social media director at California Home + Design Magazine. She is an avid admirer of shiny objects, manatees, and preteen entertainment.

6 Safety Tips for Summer Road Trips

Across the United States, summertime means vacations and road trips for many families. It can be an exciting adventure to pass your time when on a break from school or work. Whether you are road-tripping near or very far, ensuring that your vehicle is ready for the trip is important. If you don’t plan ahead, you could be spending some of your trip on the side of the road. Below are some of the top tips you need to take into consideration before heading out for a summer road trip.

6 Safety Tips for Summer Road Trips

  1. Check Your Vehicle’s Tires

    One of the biggest things to check off your list before you pull out of your driveway is to check your tires. Trying to take a road trip with tires that are not in good shape or not inflated properly is extremely dangerous.
    First, you should be sure to check your car’s tire pressure. If your tires have too much air in them, you will not be able to stop as quickly. It can also cause your tires to wear down quicker and unevenly. If you don’t have enough air in your tires, it can lead to excessive wear on the tread, poor handling, and low fuel efficiency.

    Another thing to check with your tires is the amount of tread left on them. The depth of the tire tread can determine your vehicle’s safe stopping distance. You can always check this yourself by doing the Lincoln test. Place the penny upside-down in the groove of your tread. If you are able to see the president’s head on the penny, it is time to get your tires replaced.

    Lastly, always ensure you get your tires rotated about every 5,000 miles or so. This will help your tires wear more evenly and last longer.

  2. Plan Ahead Accordingly

    While it can be extra adventurous to take an impromptu road trip, it is not always the best or safest way to go about it. If you want to make sure you are safe and can fully enjoy your road trip, the best way is to plan ahead as much as possible. Planning ahead can ensure you are ready to tackle any issues or problems that get in your way without having to ruin or cancel your trip altogether. Another benefit of planning your trip ahead of time is creating an itinerary so that you have exciting places to visit on your drive. If you are just winging it, you may just pass up an incredible opportunity to visit a cool roadside attraction.

  3. Have Backup Plans and Assistance Ready

    When road tripping, you need to have an emergency plan to put into place. If you get a flat tire, do you have a spare? If your vehicle breaks down, do you have money for a tow truck? You need to have extra money for emergency situations so that you don’t find yourself stuck out in the middle of nowhere without anyone to help. It’s also a good idea to have a safety kit and some tools in your car. An extra tire, first aid kit, tire jack and a set of jumper cables are a good place to start.

  4. Carry Active Car Insurance

    It is never advisable or a good idea to plan a road trip without having your insurance up-to-date and active. If you are in the market for a new car insurance company, consider making the switch to Metromile. With Metromile customers pay a low base rate to and then a minimal fee per mile. This can be a great car insurance option for drivers who don’t use their vehicles too much. The less time you spend driving, the more money you can potentially save on your insurance premiums. Metromile also offers roadside assistance.

  5. Stay Alert and Cautious

    Aside from making sure your vehicle is in good condition and that you have your insurance and backup plans in place, a safe road trip during the summer will ultimately boil down to being a safe driver. While you are driving, it is important to stay alert and share the road with other drivers. Take your time and enjoy the scenery to make some memories with your loved ones that will last a lifetime.

By following these tips and planning ahead, you can stay safe and minimize your chance of car problems during your trip. Go out there and see where your road trip takes you this summer!

Abby Drexler is a contributing writer and media specialist for Great Deal Tires. She regularly produces content for a variety of car and safety blogs.

5 Basic Car Maintenance Tips for a DIY Car Safety Check

Summer has arrived and it is full of road trips, drives to the beach or pool, and campfires with delicious s’mores. It also means the dog days are here and your car can start to feel like a mini sauna when left outside. Your vehicle might not be used as much in the summer, which may mean the sun is beating down on it all day long while it sits in the driveway. That can’t be good for it – right?

DIY-Car-Safety-Checks

It is never fun dealing with a break-down when you and your loved ones are on the way to somewhere fun and adventurous. Regardless of what season it is, you should regularly check your car to make sure it is in good running condition.

5 DIY Car Safety Checks to Perform Regularly

  1. Tire pressure: This is a regular check you won’t want to miss completing. Luckily, most newer cars will alert you if your tire’s pressure is running lower – #blessed. But, if you have an older vehicle, this is something you will want to check regularly especially when the weather changes. Grab a pneumatic gauge and read up on what your tires recommend air pressure is. If it is running low, take it to the nearest air pump to fill it up to the right level. Do not exceed the max air pressure your tire can hold. Also, don’t neglect your spare tire.
  2. Battery Life: The threshold for a car’s battery is around three years, but it can run out even quicker in the heat of summer. If you start your car and you hear a slow cranking noise, then it might be time to replace it. Try your best to keep your battery clean. Having dirt and grease build-up acts as a conductor which can drain the battery quicker. If you are parked for prolonged periods of time, be sure to start your car every so often to keep the battery level up. Checking your battery is a good to do, especially right before hitting the road for a long trip.
  3. Engine Cooling System: Do a quick look to see if your engine coolant level is full and the liquid doesn’t look dirty. If the coolant level is below the marked line or the fluid isn’t green or orange, then your car can overheat. It is always good to replenish the coolant every so often, especially during these summer months.
  4. Lights and Signals: Make sure that all your headlights and signal lights are working and shining brightly. This is a good way to check to make sure the alignment of your lights is spot on. Do a good cleaning of your headlight covers every once in awhile so they can shine bright like a diamond.
  5. Air Filters: No one wants to breathe in gross air, especially in a confined place like a car. Clean both your engine air filter and your car’s cabin filter. Depending on your air filter type (dry v. oiled) you can use either a vacuum to get the dust and dirt or use a cleaning solution to rinse it off. Having a clean air filter will improve your vehicle’s performance and efficiency.

Say hello to summer and feel confident when driving your car. Performing regular safety checks on it will keep your vehicle in tip-top shape. If you find that your car is parked in the driveaway during these hot days, more than it’s driving around then pay-per-mile auto insurance might be the perfect fit for you. Our low-mileage customers save on avg. $611 a year when switching to Metromile. Get a free quote now.

Kelsey Glynn is a blogger and owner of Social Graces, a business to support others in their social media needs. She is a contributing blog writer for East Valley Moms Blog, a social media content creator, and an avid photo taker. She is Metromile’s Senior Social Media Advocate and helps to maintain our online communities. You can catch her adventuring around AZ and living the mom life on Instagram.

Crashing Cars for Science

At Metromile, we believe car insurance should be fair. Which means your rates should be based on how much you drive, you shouldn’t be held responsible for accidents that you didn’t cause, and filing a claim should be easy. That’s why we created AVA, our artificial intelligence (AI) claims system, who works with the Metromile Pulse device to accurately verify claims and quickly resolve them.

The Metromile Pulse

The Metromile Pulse is a small, GPS-enabled device that measures the miles you drive. Once installed, the Pulse seamlessly and securely counts your miles. And we use these miles to calculate your bill. It’s how the whole pay-per-mile thing works. Using Metromile Pulse sensor data, AVA can reconstruct the scene of an accident to instantly determine if claim details are accurate. In addition, AVA is able to issue instant payments, schedule repairs and coordinate rental car needs, taking care of all the mundane things that can make the claims experience such a hassle. But how does AVA know the difference between a vehicle accident and minor bump? — We taught her.

Training AVA:

The best way to get to the truth of what low-impact and hit-and-run crashes would look like to the Pulse and AVA is to truly measure those collisions in the field. So that’s precisely what we did. We found a couple of used cars and put Pulse devices in them. Then we crashed them. Over, and over again.

Busting Car Insurance Myths

Thanks to the work of our Data Scientists, who were able to create a machine learning technique to distinguish between crash types, AVA can now determine what is, and what is not a “crash event.” So, no matter what life throws at you or your car, Metromile will have your back.

Buy that car, take that trip, and don’t sweat the small things along the way, because Metromile is building a seamless claims experience, from the ground up. Because not every accident is the same, and we want to know all the facts, so we can help get you back on the road faster. Get a free quote today and join the Metromile fam – we’re always one call, tap, or click away. Be safe out there and see you on the roads!

How “Aware” of Insurance Are You?

Wedged between Flag Day and the Fourth of July is the summer holiday you probably didn’t know you needed: Insurance Awareness Day. That’s right—June 28 is the day Americans are encouraged to educate themselves on their current policies and make sure they’re getting the coverage they need. We’re not totally sure what constitutes an appropriate way to celebrate this annual event (would streamers and balloons be overkill?), but we do know the day is a great excuse to get familiar with the ins and outs of insurance and feel confident that you’re covered.

pay-per-mile car insurance

While Insurance Awareness Day may not get the same Hallmark treatment as some other national commemorations, the holiday is worth recognizing. After all, according to a survey from car insurance comparison marketplace, The Zebra, 81 percent of consumers say they have the coverage they need, but 99 percent failed to correctly identify 10 basic coverage types and terms. Potentially more shocking? Twenty-two percent of respondents didn’t even realize they’re required by law to have car insurance. Scary, right?

You may know a thing or two about car insurance (or you may be part of that twenty-two percent—that’s okay! No judgment!). No matter how much knowledge you think you’ve got, it’s always a great idea to brush up on the basics and feel safe, secure, and satisfied with your coverage.

Why Insurance Coverage Is a Must

While most people do know they need car insurance, far fewer probably know why. Like any other kind of security, car insurance protects you (and your passengers) in case of an unexpected incident, like an accident, theft, damage, etc. Every state requires drivers to have some kind of insurance plan, but the specific requirements vary based on location. Regardless of where you live though, the local law does require you to prove you can pay damages in the event of an accident.

It seems straightforward, but car insurance can get a lot more complex than that. There are various types that offer different levels of protection; some are required and some are optional. Understanding the factors that go into determining the type of coverage you need can help you find a plan that’s got your back at a premium that won’t break the bank.

Everything You Need to Know About Your Policy

Unless you’re an insurance professional, chances are you’re a little perplexed by all the paperwork that comes with coverage. Getting to know a few key terms can help you get up to speed:

  • Declaration page: This refers to the first page (or several pages) of your policy that states the name of the person insured, their address, the insurance provider, the policy term, coverage limits, and other key facts about the plan and who it’s covering.
  • Coverage: This one seems simple, but there are various types of car insurance coverage available:

    • Bodily Injury (BI) coverage is required by most states to cover costs related to injuries or deaths to other people in the event of an accident that’s your fault.
    • Property Damage Liability (PD) covers the cost of damages to someone else’s property if you’re at fault in an accident.
    • Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UMBI) covers you in an accident if other driver is at-fault and uninsured.
    • Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UIMBI) is very similar to UMBI but pays up to the limit for expenses in case the other driver is at-fault for the accident but can’t cover your costs because of their own plan’s insufficient liability limits.
    • Medical Payments could pay the medical deductibles and copayments that aren’t covered by your health insurer, or the insurer of any of your passengers.
    • Personal Injury Protection (PIP) covers your medical costs regardless of who’s at fault for the accident.
    • Comprehensive coverage can be helpful if your car is stolen or damaged in ways that don’t involve a collision.
    • Collision coverage covers you if your car collides with another object (like a car, a brick wall, a tree, etc).
    • Collision Deductible Waiver coverage isn’t available in every state, but if you have it, your collision deductible will be waived in case you’re in accident with an uninsured at-fault driver.
    • Underinsured Motorist Property Damage (UMPD) coverage pays for damages to your car if you’re hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver.
  • Deductible: The out-of-pocket amount you have to pay after a covered event (like an accident, theft, or weather damage) before your insurance kicks in. It’s basically your financial responsibility in case anything happens. For example, if your car requires $5,000 in repairs, and your deductible is $1,000, you’ll have to pay $1,000 before your insurer will pay the remaining $4,000. Your car insurance deductible will be applied for each claim you file (unlike health insurance deductibles which apply across the calendar year). That means if you submit two car insurance claims in a year, you’ll have to pay your deductible both times.
  • Premium: Your premium is the amount of money you pay your insurer to provide coverage for qualifying claims. The amount you pay is based on a variety of factors, including type and amount of coverage you want, the type of car you drive, your location, your driving record, your credit history, your age, your gender, and marital status.
  • Claim: A demand made by the insured person for provide coverage and compensation from the insurance company in the event of a loss, subject to the terms of the insurance policy contract.
  • Risk Assessment: This is how likely the insurer thinks it will be that you’ll file a claim, based on your driving record and other factors—this determines your rate.

How to Pick The Coverage That’s Right For You

To say car insurance is confusing is a major understatement. To know which kind of coverage you need, it’s best to ask yourself a series of questions so you can figure out the right policy for you. Here are some things to consider:

  • How much coverage do you need (and what’s required by your state)?
  • How much do you drive?
  • What’s your risk assessment?
  • Who will the policy cover?
  • What will your deductible be?
  • Is your car leased or financed?
  • Will you be driving for work?

Still confused? We don’t blame you—auto coverage can be a thorny issue. To ring in Insurance Awareness Day this year, why not visit metromile.com? You’ll find lots more information and have the chance to get a free quote. Now that’s the perfect way to celebrate.

Michelle Konstantinovsky is a San Francisco-based journalist/writer/editor and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumna. She’s written extensively on health, body image, entertainment, lifestyle, design, and tech for outlets like Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, O: The Oprah Magazine, Seventeen, and a whole lot more. She’s also a contributing editor at Fitbit and the social media director at California Home + Design Magazine. She is an avid admirer of shiny objects, manatees, and preteen entertainment.

Committed to Innovation: The Master of Science in Data Science Program at the University of San Francisco

Here at Metromile, we are all about making car insurance more fair and less painful — some may call this a lofty goal. We know that all it takes to make auto insurance simple and seamless is a bit of data, some science, a lot of technology, and a dash of magic. From the outside looking in, revolutionizing the auto insurance industry may seem easy, but take a peek under our insurance hood, and you’ll quickly realize that it takes a lot of systemization to keep this engine running. And at a company whose whole mission is to reinvent ways to manage risk, it should come as no surprise that our Data Science team is constantly buzzing; building and testing new models and furiously working to analyze Metromile data to find new opportunities to fix how insurance is traditionally “done.”

pay-per-mile car insurance

Revolutionizing an antiquated industry is no easy feat. It takes a village – a village of brilliant humans that are constantly iterating and innovating. One of the best ways to foster a culture of innovation is to work with local University programs like The Master of Science in Data Science (MSDS) Program at the University of San Francisco. It’s a win-win for both us, and the University because it gives students valuable business experience, and it gives us insight into new data patterns, trends, and opportunities.

The Program

The Practicum Program at USF pairs students with bay area companies, allowing them to apply their skills to gain experience, and reconcile mathematical theory with business practice. Each student is expected to create and refine a project with their partner company for 16 hours per week, while concurrently taking classes. This past Winter and Spring, we were lucky enough to have two USF students join us, Chenxi and Fang. They have spent the past six months trying to read mileage from odometer pictures, which can be used to correct the mileage measurements we receive from the Pulse device. This gets to the crux of what makes Metromile different from traditional insurers – we charge for insurance by the mile, so exact mileage is very important, and we are always looking for new ways to track mileage! Chenxi and Fang utilized some deep learning techniques, like the U-net model, in order to deal with object segmentation problems in computer vision.

The Project

During their time at Metromile, Chenxi and Fang applied state of the art techniques to real-world problems and gained experience using deep learning to solve computer vision challenges. Asking Chenxi and Fang what the most challenging part of their project was, they posited that the most taxing aspect was also what they learned the most from, “trying to solve a problem with limited resources and a relatively small dataset. We tried various ways to enlarge the dataset we have, as well as adjust the algorithms we used to overcome the issue.”

When asked whether or not they experienced a breakthrough moment, both Chenxi and Fang concluded. “There were several breakthrough moments during our work on this project, but the process is gradual and requires constant inputs and modification. The biggest challenge of our practicum was the project itself – extracting mileage from the odometer and correctly distinguishing that information from other similar numbers has turned out to be difficult. Luckily, our mentors have been patient and resourceful and have helped us a lot.”

One of these mentors, Chetan Ramaiah – a Data Science Manager here at Metromile – oversaw the internship program and recalled that Metromile had previously hired a 2016 participant of the program. It was the success from previous years that encouraged him to place Metromile in the program again. “The experiments conducted by Chenxi and Fang helped us identify a state of the art solution to a difficult research problem, and the process helped identify the various difficulties in modeling a solution to the problem. In addition, both Chenxi and Fang helped establish a benchmark on the quality of internship candidates.”

Internships at Metromile

According to Chetan, the project was a success.“The project adds a new dimension to Metromile’s mileage tracking abilities. The odometer project can independently verify and improve our mileage tracking from the Pulse and the OBD-II port.” Metromile looks forward to participating in the Practicum in coming years, and plans on taking on more Data Science and Engineer interns next summer. If you are interested in applying for an internship with Metromile please contact David Clifford, Director of Data Science (dclifford@metromile.com) or Mike Dicarlo, VP of Engineering (mdicarlo@metromile.com).

Teen Driving Safety Tips

As a parent, there’s almost nothing scarier than handing the car keys to your teenager and watching them drive away. You cross your fingers, hoping and praying that the years of teaching and giving life lessons to them has paid off. Out of anyone, new drivers need the most practice to get the hang of things – so there are a few tips that teens should know before getting behind the wheel.

Teen-Driving-Safety-Tips

Your teenager sees their driver’s license as their key to freedom. However, teenagers have a higher rate of fatal crashes due to their lack of skills, experience, and maturity. It’s crucial to instill safe driving tips and techniques in teens before they hit the roads. Keep reading for our best tips for teens to stay safe while driving!

Teen Driving Safety Tips

  1. Lead by example. If a teen spends time in the car with a parent who practices safe driving, they are much more likely to follow suit. Be a good role model for your teen and don’t text/talk and drive or participate in other distracting activities while behind the wheel. Don’t forget that your teen begins learning to drive by watching you, their parent. Leading by example is a great way to instill safe driving habits in your teenager before they ever sit in the driver’s seat.
  2. Talk to them. Spend time talking to your teenager about the dangers of drug and alcohol use. The conversation doesn’t need to be uncomfortable or awkward. Let them know that if they are even in a situation where they’ve been drinking or taking drugs that they should call you for a ride no matter what. We were all teenagers once, and perhaps many of us wish that our parents had taken the time to talk to us about doing the right thing when it comes to driving and being safe behind the wheel.
  3. Prohibit distracted driving. Did you know that 1 in 3 teens say that they have texted while driving? Research has shown that dialing a phone number while driving increases your teen’s risk of crashing by 6 times, and texting while driving increases the risk by 23 times. Remind your teen that driving is a privilege that should not be taken lightly, and set consequences for distracted driving. Consider suspending their privileges to drive or taking away the keys if they break a distraction rule you’ve set. Beyond the rules in your own household, make your teen aware of the penalties for distracted driving in your state. Restricting the number of passengers your teen can have in the vehicle, or the hours your teen is allowed drive, is also an effective way to minimize distraction for your teen driver.
  4. Teach them defensive driving skills. Earlier this month, we covered the importance of defensive driving. Teach your teen that by practicing defensive driving, they’re putting themselves in a proactive position rather than simply reacting to the potential hazards on the roads. For example, teach them to always try to look 15 seconds ahead to anticipate hazards. This practice of defensive driving reduces the likelihood of a collision, may reduce fuel consumption, and ensures a smooth ride for your teen and their passengers.

Teaching your teen safe driving tips is one of the most important things that you – as a parent – can do for your child. You’ve been driving for years and the skill has become second-nature to you, but don’t forget that you were once a teenager and sat behind the wheel for the first time. Your teenager is nervous, a little scared, but most of all, excited – make sure they understand the importance of staying safe behind the wheel before handing them the keys to their freedom! Also, be sure to grab a free quote from Metromile to see how much you could be saving. We might end up being the best option for the newly-minted driver in your household. Be safe and see you on the roads!

Julianne Cronin is a Bay Area freelance writer, content creator, and founder/editor of the women’s lifestyle site, The Wink. You can find her working on her capsule wardrobe, collecting cacti, and trying out the latest beauty products on Instagram