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Top 10 U.S. Cities With Best Public Transportation

There’s no doubt driving can be expensive. It all adds up between paying for gas, car insurance, car repairs, parking, and a potential car note. Fortunately, public transportation can be good for your wallet and the environment as a healthy alternative to driving. 

If you’re thinking of moving or just want to see if your city makes the rank, here are the 10 U.S. cities we believe have some of the best public transportation systems. 

10. Miami, FL

Miami offers three options to help you get where you want to go: Metrobus, Metrorail, and Metromover. 

You can take the Metrorail throughout the city on its 25 miles of elevated rail, including to and from the airport and downtown. Miami also offers a free Metromover that makes a loop from downtown to the nearby Brickell financial district. Rounding out the public transportation network, Miami’s Metrobus has 95 routes with over 1,000 buses. 

Miami ranking by ridership from Census data: 9th

Miami transit score: 88 trips per capita

Miami transit fare: $2.25 one-way

Total score: 57 

9. Minneapolis and Portland, Oregon (tied) 

Minneapolis, MN 

Minneapolis is a growing public transportation hub with light rail trams, buses, and commuter trains that can help you get to where you need to go. You can even take the light rail to the airport or between the twin cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. The city also has bus-only lanes and pilot programs to test out new transportation ideas. 

Affordability is another positive: One-way bus fares range from $2.00 to $3.25 depending on the time of day and whether the trip is an express route. Trips within the downtown area cost only $0.50, and there are also “free-ride” buses along Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis.

Minneapolis ranking by ridership from Census data: 10th

Minneapolis transit score: 91 trips per capita

Minneapolis transit fare: $2.50 one-way non-express fare during rush hour

Total score: 54

Portland, OR

Portland, Oregon, has various public transportation options, including buses, a light rail, the Westside Express Service commuter rail, and even the Portland Streetcar. Portland is also well-known for its biking culture and has a bike-share system available downtown and the city’s inner eastside. 

According to TriMet, the local transit authority, “Each weekday, Portland-area residents take more than 316,700 trips on TriMet to jobs, shopping, services, and recreation. That adds up to nearly 100 million trips per year! And 78% of those riders choose TriMet over driving.” 

All of this makes Portland a city with some of the best public transportation in the U.S.

Portland ranking by ridership from Census data: 11th

Portland transit score: 97 trips per capita

Portland transit fare: $2.50 two-and-a-half hour fare

Total score: 54 

8. Seattle, WA 

Similar to its Pacific Northwest brother city Portland, Seattle has many different public transportation options to choose from: You can take the bus, streetcar, light rail, or even Amtrak trains or the ferry. It’s also a very bike-friendly city, and the city boasts a robust bike-sharing program. 

Seattle ranking by ridership from Census data: 8th

Seattle transit score: 97 trips per capita

Seattle transit fare: $2.25 one-way

Total score: 47

7. Philadelphia, PA 

Philadelphia has the sixth-largest public transportation agency in the U.S. The system in Philly serves 13 million customers every day and offers rides through trains, subways, buses, and trolleys. 

Philadelphia ranking by ridership from Census data: 7th 

Philadelphia transit score: 98 trips per capita

Philadelphia transit fare: $4.00 one-way, with increasing fares for travel to zones further away or New Jersey

Total score: 43

6. Los Angeles, CA 

Los Angeles may be best-known for its car culture, but it’s working hard to expand its public transportation options.

Los Angeles has buses, bike-sharing options, and a metro rail with six lines that span from the LAX airport to the neighboring cities of Long Beach, Hollywood, Pasadena, and Santa Monica. 

There is currently a project underway to expand service around LAX to serve more communities and decongest the region’s famously busy freeways. Additional work is also underway to complete projects by the 2028 Summer Olympics.

Los Angeles ranking by ridership from Census data: 6th 

Los Angeles transit score: 96 trips per capita

Los Angeles transit fare: $1.75 one-way

Total score: 41

5. Chicago, IL 

Chicago makes it in the top five due to its robust public transportation system. The Chicago Transit Authority serves a whopping 35 different suburbs and millions of riders, making it a city with some of the best public transportation in the U.S. One of the main perks for residents and tourists is the direct rail service to the two major Chicago O’Hare and Chicago Midway airports. 

Chicago ranking by ridership from Census data: 2nd

Chicago transit score: 98 trips per capita

Chicago transit fare: $2.50 one-way

Total score: 24

4. Washington, D.C. 

The nation’s capital has one of the most frequently used and busiest public transportation systems. The public transportation network connects Washington’s four quadrants and serves communities nearby in Virginia and Maryland. It also is one of the primary U.S. cities with a subway system.

The local transit authority, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, has been around since 1967 and provides the Metrobus or the DC circulator, which costs $1 and frequents some of the major points of interest around the city, including the National Mall, Union Station, and in the summer, the Smithsonian National Zoo.

Washington, D.C. ranking by ridership from Census data: 4th

Washington, D.C. transit score: 99 trips per capita

Washington, D.C. transit fare: $2.00 one-way, with higher fares for express routes and subway trips to zones further away or travel at peak times 

Total score: 23

3. Boston, MA 

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority manages Boston’s public transportation system. The subways, buses, trolleys, and even boat service are often referred to by locals as the “T.”

Boston ranking by ridership from Census data: 5th

Boston transit score: 99 trips per capita

Boston transit fare: $1.70 one-way, with higher fares for commuter rail, subway, and ferry rides and trips of longer distances

Total score: 20

2. San Francisco, CA 

San Francisco has some of the best public transportation in the U.S., if for no other reason than its dizzying amount of options in the city, including Bay Area Rapid Transit commuter subway, Muni buses, light-rail trams, streetcars, and the world-famous cable cars. 

San Francisco ranking by ridership from Census data: 3rd 

San Francisco transit score: 99 trips per capita

San Francisco transit fare: $2.50 one-way, including two hours of transfers; BART fares start at $2.10, with higher costs when you travel longer distances or between counties or to an airport

Total score: 19 

1. New York, NY

New York City is well-known for its 24-hour subway, and as a result, the city is often touted as having the best public transportation in the U.S. 

The Metropolitan Transit Authority manages the subways and bus systems. You can get around New York with its comprehensive subway system and buses that connect seemingly all parts of the city and its various boroughs. There’s also the ferry and a bike-sharing program.

New York is the top-ranked city for public transportation use by percentage by APTA and the Census. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s our top city for public transportation in the U.S.

New York City ranking by ridership from Census data: 1st 

New York City transit score: 100 trips per capita

New York City transit fare: $2.75 one-way for most bus and subway routes

Total score: 14

Our Methodology

To determine the best public transportation, we looked at the total ridership, affordability, and how public transit affects health in the top 11 metropolitan areas in the U.S.

We used data from the American Public Transportation Association 2020 Factbook and Public Transportation Fare Database, Census data from the top 11 city metro areas, local transportation authorities, as well as the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Transportation and Health Tool.

We scored each city metro area on a scale of one to three points and calculated the rank by multiplying the points scored by the city’s rank in each category and adding all the points together. The city with the fewest points achieves the highest overall ranking.

For example, New York City ranked ninth in affordability, first in ridership volume, and first in health impact. It earned a total of 14 points: nine points for affordability (one point x ninth place), two points for ridership (two points x first place), and three points for health score (three points x first place) for a total of 14 points.

The bottom line

If you take public transportation often, you’re likely a low-mileage driver

Low-mileage drivers and people who take public transit, even occasionally, can save on their auto insurance with Metromile. Drivers can save 47% a year on average, according to a 2018 survey of new customers who saved with Metromile, by switching to pay-per-mile car insurance

Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

Quick Guide to Different Types of Tires

If you’re in the market for new tires, you might feel overwhelmed by the options available for your vehicle. Common questions you might have could include: What type of car tire should you get? How should you decide which tires to purchase? 

In short, you want to get car tires that fit your vehicle and the weather conditions and driving you do on a regular basis. In this quick guide, we’ll walk through different types of tires to help you decide what might be best for you.

What are the different types of tires?

When it comes to types of tires, there are different kinds on the market. For example, there are all-season tires, summer tires, winter tires, touring tires, and more. 

It’s important to note: Which type of tire you need will depend on the type of vehicle you have as well as your typical driving conditions

Let’s take a further look at some specific types of vehicles and the types of tires they might require. 

Sedans, minivans, and CUVs

If you drive a sedan, minivan, or crossover utility vehicle, your tires are generally made for reliability and comfort. Some common types of tires for these classes of vehicles include: 

All-season tires 

You can get an all-season touring tire that maximizes comfort. All-season tires create smooth driving conditions on the highway and have good traction for all seasons, hence the name. 

Touring tires 

Another type of tire that can work for this class of vehicles is a touring tire. Touring tires help secure a smooth ride like all-season tires and have more performance-boosting benefits like responsive handling.

Touring tires tend to have increased speed ratings, which means the tires can endure higher speeds while still offering the driver security and control. In general, touring tires are geared towards performance. 

Summer tires 

If you live in a warmer climate or need performance tires for warmer weather, summer tires could be a good fit for you. 

Summer tires are designed to work best in warm weather conditions and aren’t made for every season. They have a strong grip and responsive handling in various situations, such as dry or wet weather. 

Performance tires 

Though touring tires are geared more toward performance, they’re not to be confused with actual performance tires. 

Performance tires typically have higher speed ratings than touring tires but are also designed to support you in different weather conditions, especially wet weather. The design and grooves in performance tires work by increasing the grip to help you stay safe in all types of weather conditions. 

Trucks and SUVs

If you have a larger vehicle, such as a truck or SUV, you’d ordinarily want a tire that can withstand the terrain you’re driving on. Depending on your car usage, driving style, and location, you may consider one of the following: 

Highway tires 

Trucks and SUVs are heavier vehicles. Highway tires are designed to help create a smooth, even ride at increased speeds despite the vehicle’s mass. 

Many highway tires have tread patterns that help support the wear and tear of the tires might face while avoiding unevenness. The tires are generally designed to support traction during all seasons.  

All-terrain tires or mud-terrain tires 

If you like to go off-roading or often drive on uneven surfaces, all-terrain tires can help you navigate those environments with comfort and ease. 

All-terrain tires are made with complex tread patterns that support your vehicle while driving off-road, like in dirt, sand, or gravel. All-terrain tires provide security while dealing with various driving conditions while you drive off-road. 

You might also consider mud-terrain tires, which are made for dealing with off-roading in mud or less solid terrain but not great for other driving conditions. 

Rib tires 

Rib tires are a good general option for vehicles that see a lot of highway use and increased mileage. 

Rib tires can serve you well in a variety of weather conditions and have good traction on the road. The ribs in the tire treads are designed to support the vehicle and boost the car’s fuel efficiency

Different types of specialty tires 

Don’t forget these specialty tires from your car maintenance checklist:

Spare tires 

A common specialty tire is a spare tire. Spare tires are designed to help you out in a bind if you have a flat tire. There are compact temporary spare tires, sometimes referred to as donut spares, which are limited in how much you can drive them and only at certain speeds. For example, you may be able to drive for up to 50 miles at 50 miles per hour on a spare tire. A spare from your manufacturer is often full-sized. 

Winter tires 

Winter tires can be common in certain areas of the country and are designed to deal with cold weather conditions

Winter tires can handle weather conditions like snow and typically are either studded or non-studded. Studded winter tires can help with icy terrains; however, they may be illegal to drive on certain roads, so check your state’s department of transportation or department of motor vehicles

Non-studded or stud-less winter tires can also handle ice and snow and are generally more popular because they may be used on more types of roads and environments. 

The bottom line 

Your car tires are more than just an accessory; they’re integral to the performance of your car. Finding the right tire for your car can boost your safety, comfort, and performance, so it’s crucial to be well prepared and well equipped. 

Like your specialty tires, auto insurance can help keep you protected on the road. You could save money with Metromile and pay-per-mile auto insurance. Drivers can save 47% on average a year, according to a 2018 survey of new customers who saved with Metromile, and extra discounts of up to 40% are available for demonstrated safe driving during a Ride Along™ trial in select states. 

You can see if pay-per-mile auto insurance is right for you when you download the Metromile app for free from your favorite app store.

Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

Jump-starting Your Car: The Right Way to Do It

 

You get into your car, and you’re ready to go. There’s just one problem: your car won’t start. Being in this situation is no fun, but sometimes it just means your car needs a good jump start.

Metromile offers roadside assistance as an optional add-on coverage, but if you find yourself without this service or you want to DIY it, here’s how to jump a car. 

How to jump a car

Step 1: Park your car, and make sure the problem is from your car battery.

Before you do anything, you want to make sure that the car battery is actually the problem. If there’s another reason that your car won’t start, then jumping the battery won’t do any good. 

Having dim headlights or a dim dashboard is a good indication that you left the lights on or that the battery needs replacing

Step 2: Take out your jumper cables or buy them.

In order to jump-start your car, you’ll need a set of jumper cables. 

If you don’t have jumper cables, you’ll need to buy them. You can purchase jumper cables at automotive parts and accessory stores, big-box stores, or online with your favorite retailer. Gas stations might sell jumper cables, but they might not be ideal, as they are generally smaller. 

Step 3: Put both vehicles in either Park or Neutral, and shut off the ignition in both cars.

In order to jump a car, you need to have a companion car relatively close to the battery of the dead car. Put both vehicles in park or neutral, and turn off the ignition in both cars. 

Step 4: Take safety precautions.

Safety is a big concern with jumping a battery, so don’t skip any safety steps. You’ll want to take precautions to keep yourself safe.

  • Make sure the car that needs a jump is turned off. You’ll also want to make sure that any electrical items, such as the car lights and radio, are turned off. 
  • You should park the cars closely, but they shouldn’t touch.
  • Inspect the battery before you start. If it is oozing or broken, you’ll likely need to replace the battery. Don’t jump-start your car. Instead, you may need a tow to a repair shop to get a new car battery.
  • If either car battery is corroded, you can usually remove the corrosion from the battery cables and posts with a stiff brush or coarse cloth. It is very important to have clean connections on both batteries before you jump-start your vehicle.
  • Use gloves if you have them to protect your hands.
  • Protect your eyes with a pair of glasses or other eyewear, if possible.
  • Make sure the jumper cables don’t touch each other after they’re connected to the car or during the connection process. The arching can be fatal! The cables should be unwound, not left in a bundle so that you have good control over the clamp ends. 
  • If you don’t have jumper cables in good condition, then consider other options. You should have both a red cable and a black cable. 

Step 5: Attach one of the red clips to the positive terminal of your car.

Find out where each battery is located so that you can get the batteries as close to each other as possible. Some jumper cables are longer than others, so this is especially important if you have short cables. 

Batteries are usually in the front of the car, but this is not always the case. If you’re unsure where your car battery is, double-check your car owner’s manual

If you’re concerned about how to use jumper cables, here’s a quick guide:

  • Each battery will have a positive and a negative terminal, usually prominently marked with a + or – sign. 
  • If you’re curious about what color is positive on jumper cables: The red jumper is positive while a black jumper is negative.
  • Take the red cable clip and place it on the positive terminal of the dead battery. 

Step 6: Attach the other red clip to the positive terminal of the other car.

Next, you want to take the other end of the red cable clip to the positive terminal on the working battery of the other car. 

Step 7: Attach one of the black clips to the negative terminal on the other battery.

Then, attach one of the black clips to the negative terminal on the car with the good battery. 

Step 8: Attach the last black clip to an unpainted metal surface on your car that isn’t near the battery.

This following sequence is a really important one because this will close the circuit. If the black cable is connected to the dead battery’s negative post, then you risk igniting the gas that is coming off of the battery.

Look for an exposed, unpainted metal surface, such as a battery bolt or other shiny metal attached to the engine. If nothing is apparent, then the negative post may be used as a last resort.

Keep the cables away from the engine so that moving parts don’t damage the jumper cables and so that the clamps don’t touch each other. Here’s an image of how to hook up jumper cables:

Source: Dummies

Step 9: Start the working vehicle and let the engine run for a few minutes.

The next step is to start the working car first and let it run idle for a few minutes. 

Rev your car a little, but not too much; 30 to 60 seconds is enough. This will actually charge the dead battery, even if the car hasn’t started up yet. 

Step 10: Try to start your vehicle.

After letting the working vehicle run for a bit, try to start the disabled car. 

If that doesn’t seem to work, then turn off both of the engines. Then, disconnect the last-connected cable, and try to secure the connections again. This time around, you want to use a longer “charging” period by running the engine at a high idle for up to five minutes. 

If the car still doesn’t work, you may need to replace the car battery. 

Step 11: Learn how to remove jumper cables.

After you’ve confirmed everything is running smoothly, you’ll need to remove the jumper cables. 

To start, take the negative black clips off the cable. To disconnect jumper cables safely, start with the negative cables first, and then move onto the positive cables. 

Remember: The cables shouldn’t touch while attached to the cars. 

The bottom line 

If your car won’t start and you need to learn how to jump a car or how to use jumper cables on the fly, it can be a bit scary. But using these steps, you can learn how to hook up jumper cables and how to disconnect jumper cables safely.

If you want additional support with roadside assistance, check out Metromile and get an online quote for affordable pay-as-you-go car insurance. Drivers can save 47% on average when they switch to Metromile, according to a 2018 survey of new customers who saved with Metromile. 

Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function

Top Tips from a Personal Finance Expert: How to Have a Blowout Summer “Vaxication”

As the United States begins to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, many Americans are making their summer plans if they haven’t done so already. 

Pent-up demand will likely fuel increased spending for everything from “vaxications,” or the first vacation after someone is fully vaccinated. Farnoosh Torabi, a Metromile customer and personal finance expert, partnered with Metromile to explain how Americans can celebrate the start of a potential post-pandemic future without making costly financial mistakes

Here are some of Farnoosh’s top wallet-friendly ways to save money and get away.

1. Assign a theme for your summer.

It’s important to pace yourself, Farnoosh says. Summer is a four-month experience, and it can be easy to get carried away with a big summer trip. She advises Americans to be intentional and purpose-driven.

An easy way is to assign a theme, such as relaxation or reconnection. 

If your theme this summer is reconnection, you can avoid spending in any categories that don’t meet this goal, such as an expensive solo trip abroad, according to Farnoosh. Instead, you might opt for a budget-friendly backyard barbecue with your friends or take a local trip with family members you haven’t seen for a long time.

2. Revisit your budget.

Many of us consider and set budgets at the beginning of the year, but it’s important to revisit our budgets whenever our life shifts, according to Farnoosh.

During the pandemic, we may have picked up new habits that might stick going into the future. This is why it’s important to reassess where you are now and where you want to be this summer and beyond.

Consider setting a new budgetary plan. You could give up some subscriptions you signed up for in the last year or plan around any new expenses you might have to take on going forward.

3. Don’t let car costs get in the way.

Summer is always a popular time to hit the road, and summer trips, even on the road, can be pricey.

Farnoosh recently became a Metromile customer, a switch that she says saved her over $1,000 a year during the pandemic with pay-per-mile auto insurance. And she believes she will continue to drive a lot less: Farnoosh doesn’t expect to go back to a five-day-a-week commute — what she calls her “new normal.” 

Farnoosh recommends Metromile to drivers who might be looking to take road trips this summer. She likes that any miles driven after 250 miles in a single calendar day are free (150 miles in New Jersey), which can keep auto insurance costs down

The bottom line

Americans can take control of their finances for a blowout summer by switching to pay-as-you-go auto insurance. Because you pay a low monthly base rate and then a small cost for only the miles you drive, you could keep your insurance bill low and car costs in check.

Drivers can get a free quote from Metromile and take a Ride Along™ trial before they buy to see if pay-per-mile coverage makes sense for their lifestyle.

As a multi-bestselling financial author, Contributing Editor to Time Magazine’s NextAdvisor, CNBC host and creator of the Webby-nominated podcast “So Money,” Farnoosh Torabi has become a favorite go-to money expert. 

Farnoosh’s work and advice have been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Forbes, Time, Marie Claire, Glamour, Redbook and USA Today. She appears on major news and television shows and series. Highlights include Netflix’s “Money, Explained,” NBC’s “Today Show,” CNN, MSNBC, “Good Morning America,” “Dr. Oz,” “The View” and “Live! With Kelly and Michael.”

How to Turn Your Salvage Title into a Rebuilt Title in California

If a car is in an accident and deemed a total loss by the insurance company, the vehicle will have a salvage title. A total loss doesn’t mean a car is entirely inoperable or destroyed. It just means the cost to repair the car is more than the car is actually worth, or it is uneconomical to repair.

Having a salvage title can make it difficult to insure your vehicle. If you have a salvage title or purchased a car with one, here’s how to get a salvage title cleared in California. 

Can I get rid of a salvage title on my car?

Before we get into the steps on clearing salvage titles, it’s important to note that you can’t ditch the salvage title completely. When a car is a total loss, the car will forever have the salvage title label. 

However, in some cases, it is possible to have a “rebuilt title.” After taking the following steps and following the state DMV guidelines, you may be able to get a new rebuilt title for the car. 

How to get a salvage title cleared with a rebuilt title

Step 1: Repair the damage to the vehicle

If you want to keep your salvage title vehicle or you’ve purchased a car with a salvage title, you need to make the necessary repairs to get it back on the road. These may be expensive, and given the salvage title, they could be more than your car is worth. 

Once you repair the damage to the vehicle, you may be able to get a rebuilt title. Remember to keep track of the repairs you make, as you’ll need proof for inspections later. 

Step 2: Complete the required California documentation

On top of your repairs, you’ll need to file several documents at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). 

First, fill out the Application for Title or Registration. This form requests a new certificate of title so that you can ditch the salvage certificate and get a new title for your car. The new title will acknowledge the salvage title history but show that the vehicle has been revived or rebuilt. 

California drivers will need to have proof of ownership with a salvage title and a salvage certificate in their name. If you purchased the car from out of state, you will also need a Statement of Facts. If your vehicle is less than 20 years old, you’ll also need to provide an Odometer Disclosure Statement. 

Step 3: Schedule an inspection with a California-approved inspector

As part of getting a new title, you’ll need to schedule an inspection with a California-approved inspector. Have your vehicle identification number ready for an inspection from the DMV. 

In some cases, the DMV may require you to get an inspection from the California Highway Patrol (CHP). If your vehicle passes the inspection, they’ll give you a Reg 31 form, the DMV’s form for the Verification of Vehicle.

Approved CHP inspection sites

If you’re referred to the California Highway Patrol, you’ll want to have any proof of ownership documents and repair bills. The CHP also often checks vehicles that may have a high likelihood of being stolen. After passing the CHP inspection, you’ll receive a CHP 97C certificate, which is the Certificate of Inspection. 

Don’t forget: You’ll also need brake, light, and smog inspections for your vehicle and the respective certificates for each inspection to prove your vehicle has passed. 

If you’re referred to the CHP, here are the currently approved CHP inspection sites as listed on the CHP website:

Northern Division

2485 Sonoma Street

Redding, CA 96001-3026

Phone: (530) 242-4360

​Inland Division

847 E. Brier Drive

San Bernardino, CA 92408-2820

Phone: (909) 806-2437

​Valley Division

11336 Trade Center Drive

Rancho Cordova, CA 95742-6219

Phone: (916) 464-1480

Border Division

9330 Farnham St

San Diego, CA 92123-1216

Phone: (858) 492-1745

​Golden Gate Division

1551 Benicia Road

Vallejo, CA 94591-7568

Phone: (510) 622-4611

​Westminster Area

13200 Golden West Street

Westminster, CA 92683-2299

Phone: (714) 892-4426

Central Division

5179 North Gates Avenue

Fresno, CA 93722-6414

Phone: (559) 488-4053

Otay Mesa Inspection Facility

2335 Enrico Fermi

San Diego, CA 92154

Phone: (858) 492-1745

Southern Division                                                                             
411 N Central Ave. #410

Glendale, CA 91203

Phone: (323) 644-9593

​Coastal Division

4115 Broad Street

San Luis Obispo, CA 93401-7963

Phone: (805) 549-3006

Step 4: Go to the DMV 

Once you complete the repairs and you have your application and completed inspections in hand, you can go to the DMV.  Take the CHP 97C form to the DMV to begin the registration process, and pay a non-refundable fee as part of the application. After the DMV’s approval, it can take between four to six weeks for your new title to be mailed to you. 

The bottom line 

While you can’t clear the salvage title, California allows you to earn a rebuilt title to prove your car is a “revived salvage vehicle.”

While you might think you’re in the clear when you have a rebuilt title, it can still be difficult to get insured. Some car insurance companies may only offer liability coverage for your vehicle if it used to have a salvage title or may decline auto insurance coverage completely. It’s why you should make it a part of your car insurance shopping checklist to ask the insurer what their policy is. 

Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

AAPI Heritage Month Employee Spotlight: Junna Ro

To celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we’re featuring our incredibly talented AAPI-identifying Metromilers. AAPI Heritage month is a time to reflect, celebrate and recognize the incredible influence of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans in our history, culture and achievements. At Metromile, we celebrate our Asian American and Pacific Islander employees and the role they play not just in our organization, but in the world. 

We’re excited to spotlight Junna Ro, General Counsel at Metromile. 

Q: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

A: I was born and raised in San Francisco, and am of Korean descent. I went to UCLA for college and Santa Clara University for law school. I have been practicing law for 24 years and feel blessed to have such an exciting, challenging role here where I am continuously learning, growing, and contributing.

Q: What’s your role at Metromile?

A: I lead the legal team, and see my role as an advisor on legal, regulatory, and compliance matters, helping our partners effectively navigate risk to advance our business goals.

Q: Can you tell us what Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month means to you? 

A: This is a month to reflect on the AAPI contributions to the community, celebrate our heritage, and raise awareness around issues of importance to the AAPI community. This past year we have witnessed an alarming rise in hate crime against the Asian community, and it has been particularly important for me to speak out against this dangerous development and to encourage action. The recent passage of new Asian hate crime legislation is one major step in the right direction to address this issue. Ultimately, in sharing more about the AAPI community, I am hoping that we learn more about each other and discover that beyond our differences, we also have much in common.

Q. What is your favorite cultural tradition? 

A: As an American of Korean descent, I love being able to cultivate an interest and appreciation for the Korean language, food, and customs with my children, who as teenagers, are evolving in their own self-discovery. My son recently interviewed me for a project in one of his Asian American studies classes at UCLA, and it was such a special experience to share with him my upbringing and the Korean cultural influences that impacted my life as his research subject. My daughter is a kdrama and kpop fan, and it is so wonderful to see her staying connected to her roots in this way.

Q. What do you hope to see for the Asian community in the future?

A: I’d like to see Asians reach parity in representation in all aspects of American society, and particularly in law and politics. For instance, we are not seeing the same representation that we see of Asians in law school as we do at the law firm partner and general counsel ranks. According to a recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 88 percent of lawyers are white, which makes the legal profession one of the least racially diverse professions in the US. Furthermore, a recent Vault/MCCA study on law firm diversity reveals that even though one in four law firm associates is a person of color, they comprise only 10 percent of equity partners. And while Blacks, Latinos, Asian Americans, and Native Americans now constitute about a third of the population and a fifth of law school graduates, they make up fewer than 7 percent of law firm partners and 9 percent of general counsels of large corporations. Asian American attorneys comprise about 12% of associates but just under 4% of equity partners, and under 4% of the general counsels at Fortune 1000 companies. I’d like to see this change. 

Q: What is one activity or dish that you think everyone should try?

A: I think everyone should try to learn to read Korean! It is actually really easy, and has been deemed one of the most scientific languages ever developed. 

Q: Do you have a role model in your life? If so, who are they and how have they helped you in your journey? 

A: My dad. He has had a longstanding career as an educator and in politics, and is currently retired but pursuing his third career as an artist. He continues to seek out inspiration for his work and to find his unique identity. When I observe his life, I realize that he has always been fully committed to his goals and his passions, and is driven by the desire to have a meaningful impact on those around him. I share the same convictions and continue to be inspired by his example. 

Check back soon to meet more Metromilers. If you’re interested in joining Metromile, check out our open positions at https://www.metromile.com/careers/

Is There a Difference Between a DWI and a DUI?

If you drive while impaired due to alcohol or other substances, you may face a DWI or DUI charge. While these three-letter designations are similar, they’re not always the same. Here are the differences between a DWI and a DUI and how they might vary by state. 

What is the difference between a DWI and a DUI? 

Though the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, there is a difference between a DWI and a DUI in some cases. 

DWI is the acronym for driving while impaired, or in some cases, driving while intoxicated. A DWI typically refers to driving while impaired on drugs, whether recreational or prescription. In this case, it’s a separate charge from a DUI. If the state considers a DWI driving while intoxicated, there’s typically no difference between a DUI and DWI charge. This difference varies by state. 

DUI is an acronym for driving under the influence. Driving under the influence could refer to the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other substances. 

A DUI typically refers to alcohol, specifically, a driver with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) limit of 0.08%. However, some states may charge a driver with a DUI with a BAC at 0.01% based on the driver’s age (such as if you’re under 21 and not legally able to drink). Though you can be charged with a DUI after a breathalyzer test, law enforcement may still charge you with a DUI due to erratic driving, likely due to alcohol consumption, or a field sobriety test. 

Each of these charges can have different legal or financial implications for the driver and depends on state law. 

Which one is worse: DWI or DUI?

In some states, both DUI and DWI are considered interchangeable, and there’s no real difference. In other states, where there are separate charges for DUI and DWI, the DWI charge is often considered worse or more severe.

For example, law enforcement may charge a driver with a DUI based on behavior alone, but a DWI is generally based on a BAC of 0.08% or higher. 

In states that treat a DUI and DWI the same, you’re likely to get hit with a misdemeanor charge if there are no deaths, injuries, or other harm. However, you’ll still be on the hook for legal fees, fines, and additional costs, such as a DUI lawyer’s fees. On top of that, the state may suspend your driver’s license, your car insurance premium will generally go up, and you could see some jail time. Remember: It’s not worth it to drink and drive!  

If a DWI is treated as a separate offense from a DUI, there may be greater consequences. It depends on state law. 

If there was an accident as part of a DUI or DWI charge, your car insurance company might even drop your coverage. If not, your rates will often increase due to the higher risk. Your car insurance rates may even remain high for several years.

How common are DUIs in the United States?

Getting a DUI or DWI can have negative consequences, such as increased car insurance premiums, fines, legal fees, a suspended license, and more. What’s worse is that driving under the influence or driving while impaired can also lead to death or severe bodily harm.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 28 people in the U.S. die every day due to alcohol-related crashes. That’s approximately one death every 52 minutes. While incidents are decreasing, as of 2019, 10,142 people died because of a drunk-driving accident. 

One million drivers were arrested due to driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics, according to 2016 data from the Center for Disease Control

Fortunately, DUI arrests have fallen significantly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. From March to May 2020, DUI arrests dropped 42% in California, according to the California Highway Patrol.

DWI and DUI laws by state  

Each state has its own DUI and DWI laws. So, if you’re dealing with a charge now or concerned about one in the future, you’ll want to look up the laws as they relate to where you live. Here are some DUI and DWI laws by state: 

  • Arizona: If you’re above the drinking age of 21 and your BAC is more than 0.08%, you can be charged with a DUI in Arizona and face a minimum of 24 hours in jail, at least a $250 fine, and a license suspension for 90 days or more for your first offense. 
  • California: California’s DUI law covers both driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and you may be legally required to take a blood or urine test. If your BAC is 0.08% or higher, you could get a DUI conviction. Drivers convicted of a DUI or found with an excessive BAC level can be sentenced to up to six months in jail and a fine between $390 and $1,000 for the first convicted offense. Law enforcement can also impound your vehicle, and you may have to pay storage fees while your car is impounded.
  • Illinois: Illinois drivers who are 21 or older and have a BAC of 0.08% or higher could face a DUI. The consequences include a fine of up to $2,500 and up to one year in prison with more severe penalties starting from the second conviction.
  • Virginia: In Virginia, you could face a DUI conviction if your BAC is 0.08% or higher. If convicted, there is a mandatory minimum fine of $250, and the state will revoke your license for one year after your first offense. 
  • Pennsylvania: In Pennsylvania, there is a tiered system based on how many offenses and your BAC. For example, if there are no previous offenses, and you have a BAC of 0.08%, you’ll pay a $300 fine, get up to six months of probation, and be required to seek treatment. This is a misdemeanor. A higher BAC of 0.10% to 0.159% can result in fines between $500 and $5,000 and prison time of 48 hours to six months, and the state will suspend your license for a year. 
  • Oregon: Oregon has a DUII, which stands for driving under the influence of intoxicants. You can be charged if your BAC is 0.08% or higher or if you drove under the influence of any other substance. There are mandatory sentences based on how many offenses you have. The first offense can result in 48 hours in jail, a minimum $1,000 fine, one-year license suspension, and one year of having an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle. 
  • New Jersey: New Jersey has a tiered system. If you have a BAC between 0.08% but less than 0.10%, you could lose your license for three months, face fines, and spend up to 30 days in prison. If your BAC is higher than 0.10%, you may lose your license for seven months to one year and may face additional fines. 
  • Washington: In Washington state, law enforcement could charge you with a DUI if your BAC is 0.08% or higher. If you’re arrested, your license could be suspended for 90 days to two years unless you request a hearing within seven days of your arrest. If you’re convicted of a DUI in court, the license suspension can increase to up to four years. 

The bottom line

Drinking and driving is never worth it, especially when you consider the consequences and the risk to safety to you and others. If you plan on drinking, consider a rideshare app or get a ride from a friend. It is never worthwhile to drink and drive.

Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

This is How Frequently You Need to Change the Oil in Your Car

There’s no way around it: Owning or leasing a car requires some maintenance. 

Aside from filling up the gas tank, drivers need to change the oil in their car regularly. For the many of us who might be driving less nowadays, you might not remember the last time you got an oil change. If this sounds like you, here’s what you should consider about changing the oil in your vehicle.

After how many miles should you change your oil?

You may have heard about an outdated rule that you should change the oil in your car every 3,000 miles. While that is a good benchmark, it’s not a “rule” that you should stand by. Why? Because how many miles between oil changes varies from driver to driver depending on a number of factors. 

For example, how old your vehicle is, what type of oil your car uses, and driving conditions can affect how often you should change your oil. 

According to AAA, many modern cars need oil changes after you’ve driven between 5,000 and 7,500 miles. If your vehicle runs on synthetic motor oil, that number can jump up to 15,000 because of the greater efficiency. 

Aside from these benchmarks, a good place to look is your car’s owner’s manual. If you’re wondering, “How often should you change your oil?” the owner’s manual is the best place to look. It will also let you understand what type of oil is best for your vehicle. 

When should you change the engine oil in older cars? 

If you wonder how many miles for an oil change are needed, it can depend on whether you have an older car or a newer one. 

If you have an older vehicle, you may have a recommended oil change schedule based on your car mileage. There may be two different types of maintenance recommendations for your car based on your driving history. For example, there is “normal” and “severe service.” What is considered severe may surprise you. 

According to AAA, severe service can include: 

So, if you don’t drive much but make a lot of short trips in stop-and-go city traffic, you might require severe service and an engine oil more frequently than you expect. 

Many people think their condition fits the “normal” designation, but many drivers might need to follow the severe service maintenance schedule in reality. 

When should you change the engine oil in newer cars? 

Though you may pay more for a new car, there are certain advantages, notably with maintenance. 

Newer vehicles can have the latest technology, which monitors your driving and alerts you when it’s time to get an oil change. Instead of relying on a benchmark like mileage with an older vehicle, a new car will often have systems in place to notify you when it’s time to get an oil change or other maintenance. 

The owner’s manual for a new car might not have severe service recommendations, as the vehicle may have an internal system that monitors how you drive and the conditions that will affect your oil. 

When it’s time to get an oil change, you might be able to do it yourself and reset the oil monitor system, as noted in your owner’s manual. Of course, you can also have a technician do it for you while you get your car’s oil changed. 

Are frequent oil changes better? 

Some things are better the more times you do them. Getting an oil change isn’t necessarily one of them. 

While important, getting frequent oil changes won’t help improve the performance of your vehicle. While it might not hurt your car either, it could hurt your wallet if you’re getting oil changes too frequently and beyond the schedule recommended in your car owner’s manual. 

Your best bet is to seek guidance from your owner’s manual or stay on top of alerts from your car so that you have a better understanding of when it’s time for an oil change. 

Something to be mindful of is that changing your oil isn’t just about how many miles you drive. Even if you are a low-mileage driver, you’ll generally need fresh oil to get the most out of your car and keep it safe and ready for optimal use. 

What is long-life oil?

There are currently “long-life” oils on the market that might last for longer distances. Long-life oil may last between 5,000 and 15,000 miles, depending on the type you choose. 

Remember: You’ll need to make sure it’s compatible and works for your car. When in doubt, review your car’s owner’s manual to make sure. 

It’s important to understand that you may still need to change your oil filter more frequently than you change your oil. Some cars have oil filters that can last as long as long-life oil change intervals, but you should reference your owner’s manual to make sure your vehicle can handle it. 

The bottom line 

It’s crucial to maintain your car regularly to keep it running at its best. You’ll want to change the oil in your car regularly. Reviewing your car’s owner’s manual and regular checks of your oil filter can help your car’s health in the long run.

If you’re a low-mileage driver, you might be able to save money with fewer oil changes on your car. You can also save money on your car insurance with Metromile and pay-per-mile auto insurance

Drivers can save 47% on average a year, according to a 2018 survey of new customers who saved with Metromile, and you can earn an additional discount of up to 40% with your safe driving during a Ride Along™ trial in select states. You can download the Metromile app for free and see if pay-per-mile auto insurance is right for you.

Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

What is Usage-Based Insurance?

Usage-based insurance considers how you drive to help determine the price you pay for auto insurance. If you are a safe driver or don’t drive a lot, it could be right for you.

If you’re in the market for auto insurance, you may have come across usage-based auto insurance and wondered how it compares to other types of auto insurance. 

Here’s everything you might want to know about usage-based auto insurance, which is sometimes also called pay-as-you-go, pay-as-you-drive, or pay-per-mile insurance

What is usage-based car insurance? 

Usage-based car insurance, sometimes abbreviated as UBI, calculates the price you pay for auto insurance based on how you actually use your car. The policies are generally opt-in, although there are some insurance companies such as Metromile that specialize entirely in usage-based auto insurance.

Drivers may want to choose a usage-based insurance company to save on auto insurance.

Usage-based insurance typically favors drivers who don’t get on the road often, as well as people who drive carefully or safely. Because your insurance company can consider how you drive, usage-based insurance can be fairer for drivers. Many traditional auto insurance companies use factors such as age, gender, and even credit history in some states, without considering how you drive in real-time, which might not accurately represent whether you are a risky driver.

What factors does usage-based insurance consider?

As the name suggests, usage-based insurance considers how you use your vehicle. The most common types of usage-based insurance pay-as-you-go, pay-as-you-drive, and pay-per-mile insurance all consider the number of miles you drive. If you drive less often or stop driving, you can lower your costs for auto insurance.

Some other usage-based insurance also looks at how you drive to determine if you are a risky or safe driver. Risk factors often considered include speed, acceleration, braking, and even when you drive. All of these factors can indicate more risk. For example, an insurance company might consider you a risky driver if you drive at high speeds or often drive at night when the visibility is lower. Some telematics devices and technology can also assess whether you’re using your phone while driving or how you maneuver your vehicle on the road.

Usage-based insurance gives drivers control over their rates by focusing on factors they can influence. The factors considered can make for auto insurance that is more driver-focused.

In contrast, traditional auto insurance companies often don’t consider these factors when determining your rates. They may also use factors like gender or use your credit score to assess risk, which can be unfair. For example, states like California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Washington state have plans to disallow or don’t currently allow insurance companies to use credit history when setting the cost of car insurance.

Who is usage-based insurance a fit for?

Usage-based auto insurance is ideal for people who don’t drive that often or too far. The pay-as-you-go model can help you avoid pricey car insurance bills. Chances are usage-based insurance is a fit for you: 65 percent of drivers with traditional auto insurance may be overpaying for their coverage because they’re low-mileage drivers

Aside from low-mileage drivers, usage-based insurance is also a good fit for safe or careful drivers. With usage-based insurance, it’s easy for insurance companies to gauge how safely you drive and set an appropriate rate for you or offer discounts on car insurance

How does usage-based insurance work?

Many usage-based insurance companies use technology, including telematics devices, to understand your vehicle’s movement, speed, and how far or how often you drive. You’ll generally need to connect a device to your car’s onboard diagnostic port (OBD-II port). However, you might be able to use your insurance company’s smartphone app or your car manufacturer’s online account if you drive a connected vehicle.

Metromile provides drivers with a Pulse device that securely and accurately counts the miles they drive. The Pulse device also offers other benefits, including automated claims and free tools to help you find your car, plan your trip, look up fuel costs, and even get street-sweeping reminders in select cities directly from your mobile phone. 

Some usage-based insurance companies may have similar devices or use a smartphone app to monitor your driving.

Some usage-based insurance policies might charge for insurance after each trip you drive. Metromile takes a different approach. Metromile auto insurance policies have six-month terms, and you’ll keep the same per-mile rate for the entire term. 

In some states, Metromile also considers how you drive, and unlike some other usage-based insurance, doesn’t consider individual trips or instances of speeding, hard braking, or cornering. Instead, how you drive over time is considered more important and used to determine your rate when you renew your policy. This also means you could earn a lower rate when you renew or sign up after your Ride Along™ trial. 

Privacy concerns for usage-based insurance

When you have a usage-based insurance policy, you agree to let your insurance company monitor how you drive. It’s important to understand how your usage-based insurance company will use any data.

There’s some good news if you’re interested in usage-based car insurance and concerned about your privacy: Metromile allows drivers to disable their location services without affecting the price they pay for their auto insurance coverage.

Discounts available for usage-based insurance

If you opt for usage-based car insurance, you may be able to score some serious savings. On average, Metromile customers save 47 percent a year compared to what they were paying previously with traditional auto insurance, according to a 2018 survey of Metromile customers who saved. And it started by switching to pay-per-mile auto insurance. 

Metromile customers save on car insurance when they drive less.

* Average annual car insurance savings by new customers surveyed who saved with Metromile in 2018.

The bottom line 

If you’re ready for a change or looking for a new way to save, you might want to look into usage-based insurance. Safe drivers and people who don’t drive a lot can save with Metromile and its usage-based auto insurance coverage.

If you’re not sure if usage-based insurance or pay-as-you-go auto insurance is right for you, you can take a free trial before you buy with Metromile and Ride Along.

Download the Metromile app and get a free auto insurance quote with Ride Along. You’ll then drive as you typically would for about two weeks (you should keep your current insurance policy to keep coverage during your trial). Once your trial period is complete, you can save up to an extra 40% off your auto insurance quote, depending on your state, for demonstrating safe driving habits during your Ride Along.

Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

Behind the Scenes with Metromile’s New Senior Vice President, Growth Troy Dye

Metromile’s new Senior VP of Growth, Troy Dye

Metromile offers people more choice and control with their auto insurance and experience as drivers. We want people to have insurance that’s fairer and real-time based on how much you drive, which is why we started with a pay-as-you-go model.

Troy Dye, a Metromile customer and Capital One marketing veteran of more than 20 years, will join our community as the new senior vice president, growth, to bring pay-per-mile insurance to more drivers. Troy is eager to help drivers enjoy a better experience and more value from their insurance company.

We asked Troy why he decided to become a Metromiler, and the opportunities for growth he thinks are ahead.

What should people know about you, Troy?

The first and probably most important thing is I’m a big believer that good ideas can come from anywhere. I don’t think anyone has a monopoly on good ideas, and I think that it’s my job, and our company’s job, to really gather as many good ideas as we can and then put them together in novel ways. It’s important to me because it is a foundational element of team culture and starts to structure how we solve problems as a group.

Next, I believe there’s no such thing as a “normal” person. Normal is a mathematical construct that makes sense with large audiences, but it doesn’t exist at an individual level. Is anyone perfectly average at everything? If you can get away from the idea that something is or isn’t normal, you can start to learn a lot more. 

Do you take that same approach to work?

I’m a big fan of weird, and not only because I’m a weird person. I think weird makes for better marketing because you start looking at both the similarities and differences in people and embrace uniqueness. Again, if you can get away from what’s “normal,” you can land on something unique and novel, and that’s where greatness happens.

Why did you decide to join Metromile? 

I am a Metromile customer, so I’ve seen firsthand how the company sets itself apart. I’ve really connected personally with everyone I’ve met at the company and feel like we have an incredible diversity of thought on the team. 

I also think the product has a clear purpose and is truly a better option for many drivers

Finally, I like brands that zig when everyone else is zagging. I’ve always been a fan of challenger brands because they’re more nimble and hungry than big incumbents. 

What opportunities do you see ahead for Metromile?

Companies can get trapped in believing they have to appeal to everyone to grow. Instead, I think some of the best product development, marketing, and the best strategy comes from finding a real focused problem and solving it in a highly compelling way. 

Metromile is doing that by solving real problems for low-mileage drivers, and that segment is growing each year as people change their lifestyles and how they drive. There are more low-mileage drivers to serve, and it’s only going to get bigger.

I think one of our big opportunities is learning how to quickly and concisely explain what pay-per-mile insurance is and isn’t. When you create a truly new product category, consumer understanding is one of your primary hurdles to adoption. The more we test and learn our way into that answer, the more we will grow our community of drivers.

Finally, what do you like to do in your spare time?

I’m a fairly adventurous renovator and woodworker, and I am always amazed at how much you can find and teach yourself. Early in my career, I actually bought a house, stripped it down to the studs myself, and renovated everything except for the plumbing, all with the help of books and the internet. Home improvement remains my go-to activity for both stress relief and calming my mind.

Speed round:

Are you a better driver or passenger?

Driver. I can’t stand being a passenger.

What are you listening to in the car these days?

Right now, I’m not driving much. When I do, I listen to a rotation of dubstep, indie folk, and podcasts, but mostly dubstep. And no, I can’t dance — at all.

Do you have a favorite road trip?

I have historically traveled a lot for work, so when I have time off with my family, we like to hang out in generally quiet and tranquil settings. We’ve made a tradition of a summer trip to Smith Mountain Lake, a giant but very quiet lake about three hours from our home in Richmond, Virginia — lots of lazy days on the water!