Uninsured and Underinsured – What Do You Do?

It’s not exactly a fun way to pass the time, but do you ever think about what you’d do in the event of an accident? If you were the one responsible (hey, it happens to the best of us), you probably know the steps to take to get the claims process going. And if you’re involved in an accident caused by another party, you’ll want to get up to speed on filing a claim with the other driver’s insurer. But in both those instances, someone’s insurer is there to cover costs and facilitate the process.

Uninsured and Underinsured – What do I do?

So what happens if you’re hit by a driver who doesn’t have adequate coverage—or worse yet, doesn’t have coverage at all? That’s where uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage comes into the equation.

What is Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage?

Just like its name suggests, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (sometimes called UM/UIM) exists to protect you in case another driver hits you and doesn’t have the coverage to pay up for costs and damages. This type of coverage also comes in handy in case of a hit-and-run crash — if another driver hits you and takes off, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage will ensure you’re not left on the hook for all of your expenses. Whether you have medical bills, car repair payments, or both, this type of coverage will prevent you from having to pay for everything out-of-pocket.

Even if the at-fault driver in an accident has coverage, it may not be enough to cover your costs. Their liability limits may be too low to pay for your bills, or their limits may be less than or equal to your UM/UIM coverage limit. In both those scenarios, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage can be a lifesaver.

While this type of coverage may sound like a no-brainer-must-have addition to your policy, not all states make it mandatory. In fact, only 21 states and the District of Columbia require uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage by law. And if your state doesn’t mandate it, and you’ve never had a reason to know about it, you might wind up with an unpleasant surprise in the unfortunate event of an accident — after all, according to the Insurance Information Institute, one in eight drivers is uninsured.

The Different Types of UM Coverage

Now that you understand the logic behind UM/UIM coverage, it’s time to get familiar with the two distinct types of UM that exist:

  1. Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UMBI) can help cover the costs of medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering for people who are protected under your policy (like family members in other cars or passengers in your insured car) if they’re involved in an accident caused by an uninsured driver.
  2. Uninsured Motorist Property Damage (UMPD) can help pay for the damage done to your vehicle if you’re hit by an identifiable uninsured driver (though it’s not always applicable to hit-and-runs). This type of coverage isn’t available in all states, and if it is available in your state, it may not cover hit-and-runs, so be sure to talk to a licensed agent about your specific location and situation.

Some states require drivers to have UMBI and/or UMPD:

  • UMBI coverage is required in: Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, Washington D.C., West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
  • UMPD coverage is required in: Maryland, New Hampshire, North Carolina, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia. It’s also required in Alaska, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington, but drivers are allowed to reject it if they submit a written request.

Coverage limits (the total amount an insurance company will pay for a single accident or claim) vary greatly by the insurer and state. There are also different coverage minimums in states where UMBI and/or UMPD are required. For example, in California, the minimum for UMBI coverage is $15,000 per person/$30,000 per accident, and the minimum for UMPD coverage is $3,500. It’s important to talk to a licensed agent so you know the limits in your specific state (give us a call 1.888.242.5204 to do so).

Do You Really Need UM/UIM Coverage?

Of course, tacking on UM/UIM coverage does come with an added cost. So if you’re on a tight budget, how do you decide if it’s right for you? It might be worth considering the following factors:

  1. The number of uninsured drivers in your specific state (live in Mississippi, New Mexico, Michigan, Tennessee, or Florida? You’ll want to check out those stats).
  2. The minimum liability coverage your state requires is low, and your vehicle is worth a lot.
  3. If the thought of being involved in a hit-and run (even as a pedestrian, since that’s included) keeps you up at night.

So what is the added cost of UM/UIM coverage? Like pretty much everything in the world of insurance costs, it depends. A lot of pieces of info are factored into the cost of your coverage, like your age and location, claims history, chosen limits, and the type of vehicle you drive. In general, you can expect UM/UIM coverage to make up about 5-10 percent of the total cost of your premium.

Still Have Questions?

This stuff can get confusing, so if you still have questions, it’s totally understandable. And it’s likely other drivers have those questions too — that’s why Metromile has a Help Center that houses some of the most frequently asked questions, including those about UM/UIM coverage. If you can’t find the answers you’re looking for there, no problem. The licensed agents at Metromiles are available to answer your questions, provide a free quote, and address any concerns you may have. If you’re an existing customer, call 1.888.311.2909, and if you’re looking to start a new policy, call 1.888.242.5204. No matter whether you’re new to the Metromile family or just looking to better understand your policy, visit www.metromile.com and find out why having the right kind of coverage for your life and budget matters.

All Your Pulse Device Questions: Answered

As a disruptor of the traditional insurance industry, it may come as no surprise that we get a lot of questions. We get it – insurance is confusing, technology can be confusing, and people want to know how it all works. Here at Metromile, we’re all about giving the people what they want. The key to pay-per-mile car insurance is the Pulse device; it’s what securely counts your miles so we can bill you appropriately.

All Your Pulse Device Questions: Answered

Today, we’re taking a deep dive into the Pulse – what it is, what it does, and how we use it to save you hundreds on your car insurance.

A Brief Background on Telematics

Telematics is the technology of sending, receiving, and storing information relating to remote objects, like your car, through telecommunication devices, such as a cell phone, a GPS system, or our Pulse device. Telematics technology can track how many miles you drive and can also measure driving behavior. Telematics is what enables Metromile’s insurance – and without it, pay-per-mile simply would not be possible.

The combination of a GPS system with onboard diagnostic technology can show you a car’s location and the trips the car has taken. Basically, it is the technology used behind the wheel to give the driver information about their car or where they are going utilizing both internet and satellite connectivity. The first form of telematics started with navigation systems, eliminating the need for printed directions and old-fashioned maps. Instead, drivers were able to use the easy navigation system set up in their car. Telematics has since expanded to alerting drivers about their fuel levels (fuel monitoring) and traffic alerts. Telematics technology can even help drivers with roadside assistance and enable satellite radio.

How the Pulse Actually Works

Metromile uses a telematics device called the Pulse: a small electronic gadget that plugs into your car’s diagnostics port and collects data about your driving. This isn’t a new concept: many insurance companies use telematics to track their customers’ habits behind the wheel, such as average speed and instances of hard braking. But Metromile only charges you based on your mileage, not driving behavior. We believe the biggest risk factor for getting into an accident is mileage – if you aren’t on the road, you won’t get into any accidents. As such, our primary rating factor is mileage, not driving behavior.

Metromile gives you insight into your car’s health, location, and driving data – like fuel economy and trip data – through the Metromile Pulse. The Pulse uses telematics technology, which connects to a cellular network, to transfer the data collected from the car into our smart driving app. The app will notify a customer if the Pulse detects an error code from the vehicle. This code could be related to an engine, exhaust, or some other type of sub-system within the vehicle. The customer can tap on the engine code within the app to reveal an overview car that provides a detailed description of the issue along with the severity of the case. The customer can also check the health of their car at any time within the app by tapping on the car avatar on the overview screen to see a list of any codes and previously found codes.

Frequently Asked Pulse Questions – Answered:

  1. What is the Metromile Pulse?
    The Metromile Pulse is a small, wireless device that plugs into your vehicle’s onboard diagnostics port (OBD-II). Once you become a Metromile customer, we will ship a Pulse device to you for you to install in your vehicle. Don’t worry – installation is easy. See the tutorial below on how to install the Pulse in your vehicle:



    Once in place, the Pulse securely counts your miles to determine your total monthly bill. The Pulse works directly with Metromile’s smart driving app, supplying added features like trip tracking, monitoring your vehicle’s health, and a GPS vehicle locator.

  2. Can I get a Pulse device if I’m not a pay-per-mile insurance customer?
    Sadly, no. Currently, we only offer Pulse devices to Metromile pay-per-mile insurance policyholders. You can learn more about pay-per-mile car insurance here.
  3. Is it mandatory to plug in the Pulse?
    The Pulse must be plugged into your car at all times so that mileage can be accurately measured and billed. There are exceptions, however. For example, when you get your car serviced, it’s okay to remove the Pulse so that the mechanic can access the OBD-II port. If your Pulse stops transmitting a signal to Metromile at any time, you will receive a notification via email alerting you to plug the Pulse back in.
  4. Do I need to plug in the Pulse before my insurance can be effective?
    You are covered as of the effective date of your policy, whether or not your Pulse device is plugged in. As you near your policy effective date, we will ship your Pulse device to you, be sure to plug it in as soon as you receive it. You will receive email reminders once you receive your Pulse device to plug it in to avoid penalty charges.
  5. Does the Pulse sync with my smartphone?
    The Pulse operates independently by transmitting data securely through a cellular modem and does not sync with your smartphone. In order to set up the Pulse, plug the device into your OBD-II port and check to see if there is a pulsing red/orange light. That’s it. Once you see the light, the Pulse has been connected and is securely sharing your car’s mileage data with Metromile.

    Even though the Pulse does not sync with your smartphone, Metromile does offer a smart driving app that works in conjunction with the Pulse. The app keeps you up-to-date on your car’s health, tracks your car’s location with GPS features, and sends street sweeping alerts in select cities. It’s just another bonus we love to provide to our loyal customers.

  6. Can I turn off location tracking on my Pulse?
    Absolutely. To disable the GPS function on your Pulse, navigate to your online dashboard. Click the small arrow pointing down in the upper right-hand corner next to your account avatar. Go to ‘Account Settings’ and switch ‘Location Services’ from ‘Yes’ to ‘No.’ Please note: this will also disable Metromile’s smart driving app features such as trip tracking and street sweeping notifications.
  7. What happens if I unplug the Pulse?
    If you unplug the Pulse for any reason, you will receive alerts to your email associated with your Metromile account asking you to plug the device back in. For all pay-per-mile insurance customers, the Pulse must be plugged into your car at all times so mileage can be accurately measured and billed. We understand that there are times when you may need to unplug the Pulse, like when you get your car serviced. Don’t sweat it — it’s okay to remove the Pulse so that the mechanic can access the port. Be sure to plug the Pulse back in once your service has been completed.
  8. If I cancel my insurance policy with Metromile, can I still keep the Pulse?
    If your insurance policy is canceled for any reason, you will need to return the Pulse to Metromile using a provided pre-paid envelope. If we do not receive your Pulse within 30 business days, your pre-authorized debit or credit card on file will be charged a $100 fee.
  9. Are there any security vulnerabilities in the Pulse device?
    We take the security of our products and services very seriously and actively work to ensure that our products are safe and provide benefits to our customers.
  10. My Pulse was stolen or not delivered. What do I do?
    If your Pulse device was never delivered or stolen please give us call at (888) 244-1702, 6am – 6pm Pacific Time, Monday – Friday to update your shipping information and get a new device mailed out.
  11. What do I do with the Pulse device if I sell my car and/or get a new car?
    Please be sure to remove the device before you sell your vehicle. If you are replacing your old vehicle with a new one, you can use the same device from your previous vehicle in your new car. Please either contact us, or navigate to your DASHBOARD to add the new vehicle to your policy.
  12. What if I rent a vehicle? Do I need to install the device?
    When renting a vehicle you are not required to plug the Metromile Pulse device in, so please leave that device plugged into the vehicle listed on your policy.

Still Have Questions?

Got any lingering questions we didn’t cover? Give us a call at 1.888.311.2909, send us a DM, or Tweet at us. If you haven’t yet downloaded the Metromile smart driving app, you’re missing out on some majorly cool features, such as trip tracking, vehicle diagnostics, parking location, and more! If you’re a low-mileage driver who hasn’t made the switch to Metromile yet – what are you waiting for? Grab a quote from us anytime, because it’s always free. Be safe out there and see you on the roads.

How to Choose the Right Property Damage and Bodily Injury Liability Coverage Levels for your Budget and Lifestyle

Every driver knows car insurance is a non-negotiable must. But “car insurance” can mean a slew of different things, depending on the type of coverage you choose. And a lot of factors—like your budget, lifestyle, and vehicle—can affect your choices. Whether you’re a seasoned pro behind the wheel or a first-time driver just learning the ropes, you’ll want to know the ins and outs of some major coverage types so you can select the perfect plan for you.

How-to-Choose-the-Right-Liability-Property-Damage-and-Bodily-Injury-Coverages-Levels-for-your-Budget-and-Lifestyle-

Get To Know The Different Types of Liability Coverage

There are many different types of coverage, but three major terms to know are liability, property damage, and bodily injury:

Liability Coverage

Liability Coverage is the basic coverage level required for most drivers in the United States. If you cause an accident, your liability coverage will pay for damages to the other party’s vehicle and/or any bodily injuries they sustained (at the levels chosen). Each state has minimum required liability limits, but it might be worth purchasing a policy with higher limits to make sure you’re better protected. Better protection might mean a higher premium, but it can pay off if you end up needing to use it—if the damage caused in an accident exceeds your coverage limits, you could be held responsible for the remainder. There are two types of liability coverage:

  1. Property Damage (PD) Coverage: is a specific type of liability coverage that covers damages to things (that don’t belong to you). This type of coverage pays for any type of tangible property, including the other driver’s car, or any other pieces of property that may have been involved in an accident you caused, like a building, pole, garage, etc. Some states require drivers to have a predetermined minimum amount of this coverage.
  2. Bodily Injury (BI) Coverage: is required by most states, and it covers damages to people (again—not including you). If you cause an accident, BI coverage will pay for costs related to any injuries or deaths. It covers costs for things like medical treatment, rehabilitation, and funeral costs, as well as costs related to mental or emotional distress that results from bodily injury. If you’re sued for causing an accident, BI coverage may also pay for lawyer’s fees. Depending on the state you live in, you may be required to have a predetermined minimum amount of BI coverage.

One of the most important things to know about any type of liability coverage is what it doesn’t cover. If you cause an accident, PD won’t cover any damages to your vehicle, and BI won’t cover any medical expenses you or your passengers might incur. Liability coverage is solely meant to protect other parties in the event that you cause an accident. The good news is, there are plenty of other types of coverage that can come in handy in these unfortunate events.

How To Tell if You Really Need Property Damage and Bodily Injury Liability Coverage

Now that you know what these specific coverage types are for, how do you know if they’re right for you? And how much do you really need, anyway? It’s important to consider two big factors when choosing your coverage: your state’s legal requirements and your own financial limitations.

Legal Requirements

First, let’s start with the legal side of things. No matter which state you’re driving in, liability coverage is most likely a must. It’s mandatory in nearly all states, and even in states where it’s not required, there are financial-responsibility laws that can be met by purchasing it. The state-mandated minimums are generally lower than many people would want ($20,000 to $30,000 for bodily injury to one person, $50,000 for all people hurt in the same accident, and up to $25,000 for accident-related property damage).

Your Lifestyle, Your Budget

The next important factor to consider is your budget. The state requirements for liability coverage are pretty modest, so it’s always a good idea to purchase more protection if you can afford it—especially if you own a home and have other assets you want to keep safe in case of a devastating accident and subsequent lawsuit. Do you have a sizable savings account? A valuable vehicle? All those details matter when deciding how much coverage you need.

Different insurance companies have different maximum limits for liability coverage—Metromile offers limits of up to $250,000/$500,000. But don’t worry—opting for more coverage doesn’t mean you’ll be draining your bank account (especially if you’re with Metromile where customers save an average of $611 per year); the more liability coverage you buy, the less expensive it is to add additional coverage. The best way to understand how these costs are broken down into a monthly bill is to connect with a licensed agent and receive a customized quote.

When you’re doing the math to figure out your spending limits, don’t forget one other important factor: your deductible. Your deductible is the out-of-pocket cost you agree to pay before coverage kicks in. You have the ability to choose your deductible amount and liability protection—working with an agent will help you pick the best plan for your unique situation.

Get The Right Amount of Liability Coverage Today

Still have questions? Visit the Metromile Help Center to find answers to some of the most common coverage questions. If you’re in need of a new insurance company that fits your lifestyle and budget, visit metromile.com or call 1.888.242.5204 for a free quote. And if you’re already a customer and ready to learn more about liability coverage, visit the site or call 1.888.311.2909 for more info. Whether you’re new to Metromile or a just expanding your knowledge, there are experts available to guide your way.

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.

Building a Better Claims Experience, From the Ground Up

From a driver’s perspective, filing an auto insurance claim with most traditional insurance companies is usually nothing short of nightmarish. The scenario that got you there in the first place was probably anything but pleasant, resulting in a crash, an injury, or worse—both. And of course, the process that follows those unfortunate events is usually pretty painful, involving a lot of back and forth, endless piles of paperwork, and most likely a major headache (or three).

That’s why Metromile made the bold move in August 2016 to go off the beaten path and create an entirely new claims system. It’s become increasingly obvious that all auto insurance customers—regardless of who they sign up with—consistently get the short end of the stick when it comes to claims. So Metromile decided to build the best possible claims system imaginable—from the ground up.

How Auto Claims Work (In The Old School Insurance World)

Once you’ve gotten over the initial shock of an accident and you submit a claim to your insurance company, the claim has to go through an investigation process that leads to settlement. The process itself can vary depending on factors like the company’s policies, the nature, and severity of the accident, and whether the accident involved injuries, property damage, or both. But overall, the traditional process has always been pretty consistent:

  1. First, a claims adjuster is assigned to your case. They’ll review your policy and may contact you for some details about the accident. They may request a copy of the police report, contact the other driver involved, and talk to any listed witnesses. They may also inspect your car for damages, take photos, and even visit the scene of the accident. If there was medical care involved, they may need you to sign a medical release form so they can review your records, and they may contact your medical providers for information about your injuries.
  2. Until fault is determined, your insurance company will cover your injuries and repairs—then they’ll negotiate with the other driver’s insurance company to figure out who is ultimately responsible for the bills. If it’s determined that the other driver was at fault, your insurance company will seek payment from that person’s insurance company.
  3. Once your adjuster reviews all records and other information, they’ll determine fault. What you may not know: according to the law of most states, fault isn’t an all-or-nothing issue. Your adjuster may find you to be partially at fault and therefore hold you partially responsible for the accident. For example, if they decide you’re 80% responsible, and the other driver is 20% responsible, your company may pay 80% of the settlement while the other driver’s insurance company covers the remaining 20%.
  4. Here’s where your deductible matters. With most insurance companies, when you first sign up for your policy, you choose a deductible—that’s the amount of money you’ll have to pay out of pocket toward repairs before insurance coverage kicks in.

If this lengthy, complicated, drawn-out system sounds confusing and totally broken, that’s because it is. While theoretically, it could be simple and straightforward to have a company evaluate a claim, make a decision, and move along, things are rarely so cut and dry in the real world, and a ton of variables contribute to longer-than-necessary cycle times.

Add to the equation the issue of communication. It’s pretty near impossible to cover all the necessary details in one single phone call or email, so adjusters and claimants will often have to go back and forth (and back and forth and back again) to cover all the ground necessary. This would only be a minor headache if everyone were on the same schedule, but as you can imagine, there’s a whole lot of phone tag taking place in these interactions, which limits the amount of productivity and progress. Talk about frustrating.

How Metromile Uses Data, Science, and Technology to Build the World’s Best Claims Experience

AVA-Desktop-Mobile

At this point, you’re probably tearing your hair out wondering how anything ever gets done in the traditional claims system. The Metromile team wasn’t too pleased with the process either. That’s why the company decided to go in a completely new direction. Meet AVA.

AVA

AVA is Metromile’s AI claims assistant. She’s able to accurately verify claims and works with our adjusters to quickly resolve them. How does she do it? AVA automates anything that doesn’t require a human touch, so she collects details to help you file, guides you through collecting damage photos, and helps you get paid as soon as possible.

To make this all possible Metromile uses a device called the Metromile Pulse to monitor time on the road (this is how your mileage costs are calculated). AVA uses similar data from Pulse (with your permission) to reconstruct the scene of an accident to figure out what exactly happened. She can also help connect policyholders with repair shops participating in the AVA open shop program and are located near the zip code of the vehicle’s last location. And if the policyholder has rental coverage, AVA can offer the option of reserving a vehicle through a local Enterprise-Rent-A-Car location on the Metromile online dashboard. Policyholders can even gain access to and schedule an Enterprise shuttle for pick-up from the repair shop or another specified address.

But if all this sounds a little too sci-fi, don’t freak out: just because Metromile has the amazing AVA doesn’t mean the company is all 0s and 1s behind the scenes. Metromile has a dedicated claims team made up of industry experts who work tirelessly to ensure customers get back on the road as quickly as possible. In fact, a lot of the work AVA does directly helps the claims adjusters so they can know exactly what happened in any situation.

Have Questions?

Building an innovative claims process isn’t easy. And Metromile knows that. But we aren’t really interested in going the simple route—instead, we are dedicated to providing low-mileage drivers coverage that’s fair, affordable, and high-quality. If you’re already a customer, explore metromile.com and get to know all the unique features that make Metromile the right provider for you. And if you haven’t made the switch yet, head to the website for a free quote and find out how you can take the pain out of the claims process (and so much more).

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.

A Bill That Fits Your Lifestyle: How Metromile Billing Works

There are a lot of reasons Metromile stands out in a sea of car insurance options, but perhaps the biggest differentiator is its billing model, which is based on a totally sensible premise that others in the insurance game simply haven’t caught on to: the less you drive, the less you pay.

It seems like a no-brainer, but most car insurance companies require customers to pay a flat monthly fee, regardless of whether they’re commuting two hours daily or keeping their weekend vehicle locked in the garage Monday through Friday. With its innovative billing system, Metromile customers actually have control over how much they spend every month, meaning they can tailor their bill to fit their budget and lifestyle. No more wasting cash on a (necessary) service you hardly ever have time to use.

How Metromile Billing Works

Billing isn’t exactly known to be a thrilling topic for most people (unless those people are accountants…in which case, get excited!). But that’s because many companies make billing a confusing, opaque process—the model at Metromile is built on a simple, straightforward premise, so there are no hidden fees or mystery charges. Here’s how it works:

  1. When you first make the switch to Metromile (welcome!), you’ll be charged for your first month’s base rate. That’s it—and in most cases, it’s much lower than you’d expect. Just like other insurance companies, Metromile considers a variety of factors when calculating a base rate—things like the driver age, credit history, type of vehicle, driver history, and more.
  2. At the end of the month, you’ll be charged for the next month’s base rate, plus any miles you drove the previous month, at your per-mile rate. Your pay-per-mile rate is unique to you too, based on those same factors mentioned above.

It’s that simple. Plus, when you first sign up for Metromile, you’ll be enrolled in automatic billing, so you never have to worry about missing payments (New Jersey customers have the option of opting out of this system in favor of manual billing or payment by check). Need to update your billing information? No problem. All you have to do is log on to your online dashboard and follow the easy instructions (this is also where you’ll find your billing statements and a lot of other important info).

Why Your Bill Varies Each Month

You might notice that your rate varies a bit month to month. There are a few good reasons for that. First, it’s important to understand that because your base rate is determined by a daily rate multiplied by the amount of days in each month, shorter months will always cost less (so if there are 31 days in the month versus 30, the base rate will be slightly higher). But your actual daily rate won’t change within a 6-month period unless you make a specific request.

While your base rate will pretty much stay the same (give or take the difference of a few days depending on the length of the month), the other portion of your bill may fluctuate quite a bit—that’s the pay-per-mile portion. Because Metromile doesn’t believe in charging customers for miles they don’t drive (because, well, that’s just not cool), customers are in complete control and have the opportunity to budget their miles accordingly. Your miles are charged retroactively, so you’ll have the opportunity to reflect on your actions and, if necessary, make adjustments. Took a few unnecessarily long joyrides last month? If money’s tight this month, you may choose to ride your bike around town instead and save some dough.

The Deal With Prepayment

When you first sign up for Metromile, you’ll also be charged a prepayment that will be applied as a credit toward your next five bills. That means your first five monthly bills will be calculated using this equation:

Base rate + (per-mile rate x miles driven that month) – (prepayment amount/5) = monthly charge for the first five bills

This prepayment is only required for first-time policy holders, but you may be pleasantly surprised each time you receive one of those first five bills and remember you already partially paid them (your future self will thank you!). Your sixth bill won’t receive a credit, and from there on out, your bill will only ever be calculated from your base rate + per-mile rate x miles driven that month.

Your Billing Due Date

Flexibility is great, and Metromile gets that (hence that modifiable billing model). But some things are better set in stone—like your billing date. Your billing cycle begins on your policy effective date. That numerical date on the calendar continues to be your billing date for every remaining month of your Metromile policy (so if your policy starts on the 22nd of May, your billing date will be the 22nd of June, July, August, etc.). Each billing cycle spans a four-week time period and ends on the day before your monthly effective date (so in the above scenario, it would start on the 22nd and end on the 21st of the following month). Your monthly bill will be due two days following your monthly effective date (or four days if you’re in New Jersey).

While you can’t change your billing date, you can absolutely alter your billing method. If you need to change your credit card information, just log into the online dashboard and head to the billing section. If for any reason Metromile doesn’t receive your payment by the due date, you’ll be notified via email, and Metromile will continue to try and charge the card on file. If the card continues to be denied after two failures in a row, Metromile will stop attempting to charge it and instead send you another email with a potential cancellation date for your policy unless payment is received. The good news? No late fees! So just make sure your card info is all up to date, and you won’t run into any problems.

If your main mode of transportation is anything but your car, you might be wondering how billing works during a month of no driving. The answer is simple: it’s the exact same system! You’ll still get a bill for your low monthly base rate and pennies per any miles you did drive. If your car is just parked the whole month, you only pay the base rate. Whether you’re stationary or constantly on the go, you’ll be covered with Metromile. And don’t worry if you take a long road trip—you won’t receive an astronomically high bill. Your daily mileage charges are capped at 250 miles per day for each vehicle (150 miles per day in New Jersey), so you won’t be charged for any miles above those amounts in any calendar day.

Still Have Questions?

So whether you’re always behind the wheel or you avoid the driver’s seat whenever possible Metromile makes sure your bill always fits your lifestyle. If you’re still relying on another traditional form of car insurance, visit metromile.com today to get a free quote. And if you’re a current customer looking for a plan that’s more suitable for your needs, head to the website and see what other options are available—you won’t be disappointed.

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.

How to Master Your Monthly Bill (Tips For Creating a Mileage Budget)

With most car insurance premiums, you cannot control the amount you pay. You get a quote and cross your fingers, hoping that your bill won’t break the bank. Even if it does, you still have no choice but to pay it, because car insurance is non-negotiable… right?

Here at Metromile, we do things a little differently. Instead of paying a flat fee, your monthly car insurance bill varies and is based on two simple things: your monthly base rate + the pennies-per-mile you pay. That’s it – and it’s all within your control.

Want to learn how to become the master of your monthly bill? Right this way – follow us.

Figuring Out Your Mileage Budget

We get it – figuring out a mileage budget can be stressful, time-consuming, and maybe a little unpleasant. After all, it can be easier to hop into the car and drive anywhere your heart desires without thinking about the slowly ticking odometer. Maybe you have a strict monthly budget you need to stick to. Maybe you don’t want to have a bill that fluctuates from month-to-month. If your ultimate goal is to take control of your financial future, the first thing to check off your list is creating your monthly mileage budget.

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First, on a spreadsheet (or even just a plain ol’ piece of paper), create two columns. In the first column, write down your monthly Metromile base rate. This is the rate that you would be responsible for paying even if you drove zero miles. In the second column, write down the estimated mileage for every destination you need to drive to in a month. For example, if you drive to and from your job, estimate your daily mileage and multiply it by 20 (the number of working days in a month). If you drive to and from church on Sunday, estimate that mileage and multiply by 4. Keep doing this until you have a fairly good estimate of the miles that you consistently drive each month.

Once you have your estimated monthly mileage, multiply that number by your per-mile rate. Add the number you just calculated to your monthly base rate in the first column and voilà! You have successfully estimated the cost of your monthly Metromile bill.

How To Stick to Your Mileage Budget

If the number you calculated is looking a little bit higher than you’d like it to be, try to brainstorm ways to cut down on the number of miles that you drive each month, like Brian D. did. In December, Brian drove 730.1 miles, mostly shopping for presents and visiting his family in Southern California for the Holidays. The following months, he didn’t drive much, but in March, his monthly mileage peaked at 682.5 miles, which included a 3-day weekend trip to the wine country with friends. He also regularly checks the Metromile app to know how much he owes at one point in time.




Consider the following options to minimize the quantity of miles driven:

  • Carpool to work or events with a friend or family member
  • Bike to the store, to church, or even to work instead of driving
  • Whenever possible, choose to take public transportation
  • Consolidate the number of errands/trips to the store and try to go only once a week
  • Take the drive with the least amount of miles, even if it’s not as scenic as your usual route
    If your morning routine includes stopping for coffee or breakfast, pick a coffee shop that’s already on your usual route instead of driving out of your way for that French roast you can’t seem to live without
  • Shop online rather than driving all over town
  • Deposit checks with a phone camera and app instead of driving to the bank
  • If you can, call into a meeting or video chat instead of driving to the office
  • Avoid circling around the block for parking – have a game plan of where you’re going to park before getting to your destination

All of these seemingly insignificant things can really add up to a lot of extra miles driven at the end of the month! These options to reduce your monthly mileage may help save you hundreds at the end of the year, and some are probably why you’ve decided to switch to Metromile in the first place. As a bonus, the fewer miles you drive, the less you’ll have to spend on gas each month. That’s a win-win in our book.

You Are Now the Master of Your Monthly Bill

Congratulations! You are now the proud owner of a mileage budget and (most likely) a lower monthly car insurance bill. Well done! By implementing these tips and strategies, you were able to lower your monthly insurance bill to fit within your budget. As with all things in life, the fine art of budgeting takes a bit of time and skill – but you’re well on your way to a healthy financial future.

This exercise is also helpful for prospective Metromile customers, and something that we already take into account when offering a free quote. As always, whether you’re a current Metromile customer or are thinking about making the switch, we want to hear from you! Drop us a line and let us know how we can help. Be safe out there 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

8 Road Trips That Can Be Done On The Cheap

If you’ve opted to forego the pricey European summer vacation in favor of a more budget-friendly road trip in the States, you’re already ahead of the game in terms of saving. But while low-cost accommodations and meals will undoubtedly cut costs, diving head-first into a spontaneous cross-country excursion could still result in a nasty surprise in the form of a scary credit card bill. Carefully plotting out your journey from beginning to end will spare you any unpleasant financial surprises, and will take the guesswork out of where to eat, sleep, and sightsee. Here are some of the very best American road trips that can be done on a strict budget:

8-Road-Trips-That-Can-Be-Done-On-The-Cheap

8 Road Trips That Can Be Done On The Cheap

  1. Big Bear Lake, California.
    The trip from San Francisco to Big Bear is just shy of eight hours—the perfect amount of time to blast your favorite Spotify playlists and still have time for some juicy podcasts. And if you’re in Los Angeles, Big Bear is the ideal quick and easy escape from the big city (it’s about 100 miles northeast of L.A. proper). The mountain resort is a perfect budget-friendly destination, thanks to its comprehensive website full of online coupons for everything from dining and shopping to lodging and recreation. There’s no cost to visit the destination itself, so with a little research, you can tailor-make a stay that’s totally affordable.
  2. Antelope Canyon, Arizona.
    You’ve seen the seemingly endless stream of Instagram pics—now it’s time to get your own stunning selfie. Antelope Canyon is easily accessible from a number of starting points, including Phoenix, AZ, Nevada, or Utah. The epic attraction is also close to the Grand Canyon, so if you’re trying to get the most bang for your buck, this route will pack plenty of action. The canyon is located on Native American Navajo territory and requires a $6 entry fee. You can try your luck with local tour groups at the canyon entrance, or make a reservation ahead of time for under $40 per person.

    Antelope-Canyon-Arizona

  3. Florida Keys, Florida.
    A short and sweet trip south of Miami is the two-hour drive from Key West to Key Largo. The quick escape is packed with historic sites like Victorian mansions and museums (the Hemingway Home was built in 1851 and it’s where the iconic writer lived from 1931 to 1940—admission is jut $14). And if you’re looking for a nature-based adventure, for just $12, you can see hundreds of butterflies, birds, and tropical plants at the Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory.
  4. Big Sur, California.
    This central coast California destination is a must for outdoorsy types. It takes less than three hours to drive the 145 miles from San Francisco, and accommodations can be pretty cost-effective since campsites are plentiful (some cost as little as $15 a night, but you’ll have to make advanced reservations). If roughing it isn’t really your thing, you can indulge in some self-care without totally splurging—take a late-night dip in the healing waters at Esalen hot springs for just $35.

  5. Going-to-the-Sun Road, Montana.
    If a 12-mile hike sounds like your idea of the perfect way to cap off a road trip, then consider driving Montana’s Going-to-the-Sun Road. The high-altitude, 50-mile winding route connects the East and West passes of Glacier National Park, and includes access to the Highline Trail, a wildflower-dotted hiking path that’s not for the faint of heart—but totally free to try.
  6. Canyon Country, Utah.
    National park connoisseurs will definitely want to make an adventure out of a Southern Utah excursion. Within just 650 miles of desert, you’ll find five national parks that some people consider among the best in the country. Drive from Moab to Grand Junction in just 90 minutes, and you’ll have a chance to see Arches National Park and Canyonlands (both cost just $30 for seven days’ worth of admission per private vehicle).

  7. Great Lakes Seaway Trail, New York and Pennsylvania.
    Get a serious history lesson on the Great Lakes Seaway Trail, one of the first American roads to be designated as a National Scenic Byway. The 518-mile route follows along the shores of Lake Erie, the Niagara River, Lake Ontario, and the St. Lawrence River and includes an astounding 40 state parks. Presque Isle State Park is one worthy stop in particular. The (free!) natural attraction is a 3,200-acre peninsula that features miles of beach.
  8. The Loneliest Road, Nevada.
    Okay, yes, the name is a drag, but you’re bound to have a pretty great time traversing this largely-isolated section of U.S. Highway 50. Because the route follows the Pony Express path, there are actually quite a few must-see attractions on the drive from Carson City to Baker, including hot springs and old mining towns.

    Nevada

Before you hit the road, you’ll need to have a car insurance company that has you covered. If you’re not a Metromile customer, what are you waiting for? Visit metromile.com for a free quote today.

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.

Ear Candy: Podcasts for the Daily Commute

Whether driving or using alternative forms of transportation, the monotony of a daily commute can be exhausting. Turn left here, turn right there, sit in stopped traffic for twenty minutes… To make your commute more enjoyable, we’re here with some great podcasts to tune in to. The best part? They’re almost all free. Many will have you on the edge of your seat with suspense or crying because you are laughing so hard.

commuting tips

Serial tells one true story over the course of a season. Each episode, you are given more and more information about the plot and characters, so episodes must be listened to in order. Season one follows an unsolved murder mystery, and season two follows U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl, who was captured by the Taliban and is now home. It’s captivating – you won’t want to get out of your car (or bus)!

The Moth records stories told by everyday people, unscripted, to a crowd of storytelling enthusiasts worldwide. The stories are strung together by a common theme into a weekly podcast that comes out on Tuesdays. See if there is a live story slam near you (you can enter to share your own story too).

Stuff You Should Know has something for everyone – from learning how jackhammers work to discovering the origins of dark fairy tales. You can get the lowdown now on their website.

TED Radio Hour circles through many fascinating inventions, approaches, creations and more. They are based on real TED Talks given by speakers on the famed TED stage. Also, check out the TEDTalks: Technology podcast where inventors and researchers in tech share their visions and successes.

Dinner Party Download will get you up-to-date on culture, food and conversation. Guests include creative and comedic celebrities, such as Steve Martin, Jason Schwartzmann, Brie Larson and Olivia Wilde. You’ll be full of conversation starters for your next party.

We’re always looking for new podcasts to add to our library. What are you listening to? Share with us below in the comments. And if your podcast-filled commute has you taking the bus instead of driving, pay-per-mile insurance could be a great option for you! Learn more here.

Be Prepared: What to Do Before & After a Car Accident

No matter how minor, being in a car accident can really jolt you (pun not intended). To ease the burden and shock, familiarize yourself with the following tips about what to do before and after an accident.

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Before the accident
Be sure to keep your vehicle registration, auto insurance and emergency contact list in your car, and always carry your driver’s license with you when driving. Keep a set of orange cones or warning triangles in your trunk to help alert traffic in the situation of an accident.

At the scene
Before worrying about anything else, make sure everyone is OK (including people in the other car), and call 911 if anyone is injured. Then immediately move everyone (and your car if possible) to a safe location on the side of the road.

Once in a safe space, be sure to call the police to file a police report, and use your smartphone to take pictures of the damage. Before the other party departs, exchange information and take down their insurance information, license plate and a photo of their driver’s license. Notify your insurance company immediately and be ready to provide them with this information. If you are a Metromile customer, you can easily file your claim online or call us at 1.888.595.5485.

In case of phantom accidents
In the case of a hit and run, be sure to get as much information as possible, especially a full or partial license plate if possible. If there are any witnesses, get their contact information. Avoid fixing the car until the damage has been assessed by an adjuster.

In the case of stolen car, call the police as soon as possible to file a report, and then contact your insurance company. If you are a pay-per-mile customer, the Pulse can be used to help locate a stolen car (it’s happened in the past!).

The Aftermath
At Metromile, a customer service advocate will reach out proactively to help ensure the claims process goes as smooth as possible. No other leading insurance company does this! They will track your progress and help you with any questions you may have about resolving the claim.

If you are a pay-per-mile insurance customer and are in an accident, you can reach the Metromile claims team 24/7 at 888.215.9176. Whether you need help locating repair facilities or need an update on work being done, Metromile can get you the information you need. We’ll do everything we can to get you back on the road as quickly and safely as possible.

Making Moves: Metromile Receives Strategic Investment

We are thrilled to announce that Intact Financial Corporation, the largest provider of property and casualty insurance in Canada, has made a strategic investment in Metromile.

Metromile Investment

2015 was an exciting year for Metromile – we launched a partnership with Uber, expanded to the East Coast and added to our executive team. Funds from this investment will be used to continue on our exciting journey by accelerating Metromile’s growth and offerings nationwide. For our customers, this means a continued focus on the customer experience from sign up through day-to-day needs, improved app technology and updated features, further development of the claims experience and much more. You’ll also be seeing a lot more of us around town!

Intact Financial shares similar values in transparency, customer experience and a technology-driving approach to insurance. The venture represents an exciting opportunity for Intact Financial to expand its core competencies which will ultimately enhance the customer experience.

To see more announcements from Metromile, visit our Press page. And if you are interested in our pay-per-mile insurance offering, you can learn more here.