A Smarter Website for a Smarter Car Insurance

We’re proud to be revolutionizing car insurance here at Metromile, making car ownership more seamless and affordable. Not only did we want to shake up an age old industry, but we also wanted to address the fairness factor: why should the majority of low-mileage drivers subsidize the minority? If you don’t drive much, you shouldn’t pay much.

This message has definitely resonated with many people, and we wanted to make sure that our mission and our offering could clearly be understood on our website. As savvy consumers, we’ve grown to appreciate and expect clean and simple designs that get to the point while still connecting with us emotionally. The new Metromile website clearly shows how much money you could save with pay-per-mile insurance, and also how we enable a smarter driving experience.

New Metromile Website

So what exactly has changed? We’ve improved how you get your insurance quote so you can see your potential savings sooner. Updated navigation makes it easier to find the answers you need, whether you are wondering how our app can really help you find your car (it can!) or if we are judging your driving habits (we aren’t!). We believe that cars should support your busy lives, not hinder them.

The insurance revolution doesn’t stop at a new website; there are lots of exciting updates that we can’t wait to share with you. We can’t reveal everything right now but we can give you a hint: East coast expansion. In the meantime, we love hearing from our community so drop us a line at customerservice@metromile.com if you have any feedback!

Metromile to offer per-mile insurance option to Uber driver partners

Editor’s note: In order to focus on our personal pay-per-mile insurance offering for low-mileage drivers, Metromile no longer offers rideshare insurance.

We are thrilled to announce an innovative solution for driver partners of Uber’s Transportation Network Companies in California, Washington, and Illinois! In our ongoing effort to empower drivers, we have obtained approval for a personal auto insurance product that recognizes and covers the dual nature of rideshare vehicles for personal and commercial use. Driver partners can now feel secure about their insurance coverage and not live in fear of being dropped by their carrier just because they participate in an Uber TNC.

Sign-up will begin in February 2015. Uber driver partners who are interested can add themselves to our waitlist at master-devwww.metromile.com/uber.

The beauty of the Metromile experience revolves around the ability to measure miles. Because we can tabulate all miles driven, it becomes a matter of distinguishing personal miles from “rideshare miles” – specifically, those driven from the moment a driver is matched with a rider until that passenger safely exits, thereby ending the trip. Metromile and Uber will coordinate to verify those timeframes and miles. For each monthly bill, rideshare miles will be subtracted from the total, and the driver is only billed for the personal miles. Rates will still vary by individual, but these are no different than how Metromile determines pricing for current (non rideshare) drivers.

This separation of coverage could translate into big savings for drivers who log most of their miles due to rideshare trips. On average, Metromile customers who drive less than 10,000 personal miles a year are saving 40%-50% on insurance premium.

Not only do drivers have the potential to save money, but ultimately they finally get peace of mind. They no longer have to live in fear of being denied coverage by a personal auto insurer because they participate in an Uber TNC, nor will they worry about coverage during formerly-ambiguous gray areas. Commercial coverage provided by Uber during actual Uber trips is still maintained and does not change because of this partnership.

HOW DID WE GET HERE?

The controversial issue of coverage for rideshare drivers has been debated for several years now. Calls for regulation abound, and several states have recently passed laws requiring more explicit coverage (CA AB2293 , IL SB 2774, and CO SB 14-125).

Why has it been so confusing and frustrating? It comes down to two aspects: 1) creating insurance products that recognize and cover the duality of personal and commercial functions for a single vehicle, and 2) clarifying who is primarily responsible for coverage at different times, or “modes” of a rideshare driver’s activity. These modes have been more commonly and frequently described as “periods”:

Period 1:  driver is actively seeking riders (app is on)
Period 2:  driver has been matched to a rider and is en route to pick up
Period 3:  rider has embarked vehicle

Periods 2 and 3 are covered by the commercial policy of the TNC (Transportation Network Company). Only in 2014 did legislation clarify which type of insurance products would be possible for coverage during Period 1. (States differ on effective dates by when drivers need to choose). Those options are:

1.  Personal auto insurance that recognizes TNC use
2. Commercial insurance (separate from the policy provided by the TNC)
3. Primary liability insurance provided by the TNC

Metromile is proud to offer a solution for option 1!

Other insurance providers are piloting new products as well, but it appears as if they will be charging customers more for this expanded recognition and coverage. Typically, option 2 is expensive and not realistic for drivers to afford long-term.

Outright ‘personal’ time has been relatively more clear:  the rideshare app isn’t on and the driver isn’t actively looking for riders. Thus far, personal auto insurance hasn’t traditionally included coverage for anyone using their car for rideshare (or livery) services. That’s old-world thinking though – when no one could imagine a time where a personal vehicle could also be successfully employed for, essentially, commercial use (i.e. as a cab).

No one can deny the rapid pace of innovation across industries today. Ultimately, it’s the consumer who experiences any Imbalances when adjacent services and products don’t keep pace within their ecosystem. At Metromile, we are motivated by our mission to revolutionize the auto insurance industry – we couldn’t be more excited to bring this new tangible solution to the driver community!

Stay tuned for more!

Claims and beyond

The claims process is important when it comes to picking your auto insurance. Customers purchase a policy in the hopes of never actually needing it. Buy it and forget it. But that’s not always how life works.

Unfortunately, things happen. Your car breaks down, leaving you stranded on the side of the road. A passing semi-truck flings a rock into your brand new windshield. Or worst of all, you’re involved in a major accident. In those moments, all you want is for the money you’ve been forking over every month for the last umpteen years to kick in to ensure everything is handled quickly, efficiently, and without hassle.

Metromile may be a relatively new company, but there’s nothing amateur about how we treat our customers. Our customer experience advocates go above and beyond to ensure the customer’s needs are met whether it’s answering questions through the quote process, making changes to an active account, or getting your claim handled from beginning to end.

Most insurance companies offer 24/7 claims support. Metromile is no different. If you call our claims number (888-215-9176) at 2am (in any time zone), we’ll be there to help you file your claim. Claims related incidents rarely happen at convenient times. That’s why we’re available all day, every day, to make sure you get the help you need.

We don’t stop there. Not only is a claims department available 24/7, but we also assign a customer experience advocate to ensure that your claims process goes smoothly from start to finish. Your advocate can not influence the outcome of your claim but helps make sure you have a good experience – from understanding what is going on to timing of claims resolution.

The claims process should never add anxiety to an already stressful experience. At Metromile, we promise to do everything we can to get you back on the road as quickly and safely as possible.

Questions? Feel free to email us at customerservice@metromile.com or visit our Community Forum.

Stick with those New Year’s resolutions!

Happy New Year!

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably got a list of resolutions for 2015 already. Here are ways Metromile can help you on two of the most popular things people hope to achieve each year.

EXERCISE

Let’s face it, exercise takes time:  planning when to go, packing your duffel bag with everything you need, traveling to and from the gym, and of course, working out! It doesn’t take much to craft excuses for why we stop participating in sports activities or hitting the gym. However, recent studies have shown that even short bursts of activity can go a long way. 

  • FIND OPPORTUNITIES. With the Metromile app, you can see all of your trips – short and long. If you’re noticing a pattern of short trips, maybe 5 miles or under, consider taking those opportunities to run or bike next time. You’ll not only give yourself the chance to squeeze in more cardio, but you’ll give Mother Nature a little break too.
  • ACCOUNTABILITY. Because you can label your trip endpoints in the app, why not create a label for “Gym”, “Bootcamp”, “Yoga”, or whatever physical activity you attend. Give yourself a goal to achieve a minimum number of trips per month, and hold yourself accountable! Maybe go a step further and obligate yourself to send the screenshot of monthly trips to a trainer or a friend who will champion your goals. 

SAVE MONEY

Helping people save money when it comes to their cars is what fuels us here at Metromile! How do we help?

  • Save on maintenance costs
    • KNOW. Because we can decode your check engine lights, you can figure out what’s going on with your car’s health sooner and get issues addressed before they become more serious (and potentially more expensive).
    • LEARN. We have an on-staff mechanic who is ready to answer your maintenance questions! Just tap on “Ask our Mechanic” in the app (under Car Health) and you’ll be prompted to send a message via email right from your device. Arming yourself with knowledge about your car will equip you for those cost negotiations next time you bring your car in for service.
    • PREPARE. Running your gas tank close to empty could cost you in more ways than one. Keep tabs on your fuel levels with the app and try not to let the tank dip below 1/4 full.
  • Track tax-deductible trips
    • Categorize your work-related trips as Business with our app. This will make it easier come tax-time to identify expenses that can be included in your deductions.  
  • Save on insurance
    • Did you know that you can switch at any time? You don’t have to wait out your 6-month term if you want to change providers. Your payments can be pro-rated at whatever point you decide to transition.
    • If you’re not driving a ton of miles, per-mile insurance could be just the thing for you. Get a quote to see what you could be saving. If you’ve already been using the app, check out the in-app calculator that estimates your savings based on the miles you’ve driven.

Sticking to resolutions can be challenging, but we hope that the Metromile experience gives you tangible ways to start and maintain good habits throughout the year (and beyond)!

Holiday Special for new CA insurance customers

Tis the season!

The hustle and bustle of Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come to a close. But here at Metromile, we know many more shopping days loom ahead. That’s why we’ve got a special two week offer for California customers to save on auto insurance.

The above image is a composite of three photos (Photo, Photo, and Photo) under the license CC BY 2.0.
The above image is a composite of three photos (Photo, Photo, and Photo) under the license CC BY 2.0.

For California customers, we’re offering a special one-time $50 rebate* for new** pay-per-mile insurance policies.

Why only California? There are guidelines for each state that dictate what is allowed for new insurance policies. As much as we would love to extend the rebate to everyone, we’ve got to follow the rules surrounding special offers.

What defines being a “new” insurance customer? It means you do not already have a pay-per-mile insurance policy through Metromile. You may already be a Metromile app user, but if you don’t have the per-mile insurance, you’re eligible!

This offer is good from Tuesday 12/2/14 through 12/16/14. Your policy’s effective date can be outside that timeframe if you choose; you just need to sign up for the insurance within those 2 weeks.

You can purchase on our site (metromile.com/insurance) or by calling us at 888.958.5973 (7am-6pm Pacific M-F).To receive the rebate, please use the code HOLIDAY14. For those planning to buy online, you’ll enter the code on the payment page. When asked “How did you hear about us?”, use the option for “Other” to type in HOLIDAY14. For those who call, please mention it during your conversation with our Customer Experience Advocates.

We hope everyone has a very happy holiday season!

*Rebate will be awarded in the form of an electronic $50 Amazon gift card. Processing can take 4-6 weeks after policy has been purchased.

** Offer valid for new insurance policies purchased between 12:00am Pacific Tuesday 12/2/14 and 11:59pm Pacific Tuesday 12/16/14. Rebate can not be applied to previous purchases nor be combined with any other offers. Rebate will not be awarded if purchase is cancelled within 2 weeks of sign-up date.

Customer Story: Ken from Oregon

Here at Metromile, we always appreciate hearing from our customers and how our work has touched their lives. Thanks Ken!

We have been with Metromile for about a year and a half and could not be more pleased. Our initial reasons for signing up with them was their rate structure based on actual miles driven, since we drive far less than the average driver. A secondary reason was that Metromile offered a much better rate for our teenage son who was on our policy at the time. 

We also really like the feature where we can track all of our trips. It came in very handy recently when my wife dropped a family member off at the airport. Somehow, she lost the parking ticket receipt so they charged her the full day rate. she was able to download and print the trip data that showed she was only there for less than a half hour and was able to get a refund.

Customer service has been top notch. Whenever we have called with a question, we get to speak with someone right away without having to navigate through a menu first. The customer service reps have always been able to answer questions and make changes to our policy with no hassle.

The true test with an insurance company, however, is will they be there for you when you need them. Based on my experience, I can unequivocally say yes. A little more than a year ago, I was involved in a crash when someone ran a stop sign and T-boned my vehicle. Fortunately I was unhurt, but the car was disabled as a result of the crash. While waiting for the police to arrive, I called Metromile to inform them of the crash. A few minutes later I got a call from Sean Griswold, the Vice President of Customer Experience and Claims. He immediately asked if I was injured, and I could tell that his concern for my well being was genuine. 

Sean and I had spoken before and he was always very helpful. He immediately arranged for a rental car for me to use to get to work, and the car was ready before my vehicle was towed back to the dealership. 

The claims process took weeks to finally resolve, in part because the other driver who was at fault did not have adequate insurance. A second complication was that this was an almost new vehicle and a new model that year. The extent of the damage needed to be determined in order to decide whether it could be repaired or not. Throughout the process, Sean and the claims adjuster assigned to my case kept me informed on an almost daily basis and provided documentation promptly to expedite the claim.

In the end it was decided that the vehicle was a total loss, and again, Metromile was ready and was able to transition my policy as soon as my replacement vehicle was at the dealer. 

Would I recommend Metromile? Absolutely! Great rates for someone who drives less, great customer service, useful features such as trip tracking, and most importantly, they are there for you when you really need them. What more could you want?

Trip Categories & Labels

Organizing and understanding your trips just got a whole lot more awesome.

We’re happy to introduce NEW Trip features: categories & labels!

END-POINT LABELS

The names for your start and end points can now be customized to whatever you’d like – e.g. Home, Work, Gym. Gone are vague city locations – you can now label your trip origins and destinations to words that make more sense to you! After all, we live to make your driving life easier!

1. Start by tapping on the city name (each end-point is lightly underlined)

2. Type in your custom label for the location. When you first start, there won’t be any choices, however, In the future, you’ll be able to choose from the list you’ve built. There is no maximum on how many locations you can store. 

3. Tap on “Apply” to set the label for that place. Going forward, the Metromile app will remember these named locations and automatically label for you. You can edit at any time (also under Settings), and the app will adjust to these new changes. 

 

CATEGORIES

Not all trips are created equal right? Some are for work while others are for fun. You can tag your trips with a category and filter just for these specific names. We supply 5 categories to start: Business, Commute, Errand, Leisure, Road Trip. You can change these any time to categories that help you organize all your trips or add completely new categories. Maybe you’ll want Fitness, Volunteering, or Carpool?

1. Tap on the icon of a tag (if it’s unnamed, it’ll say “add category”)

2. Choose one of the pre-existing categories by tapping on the white circle. Or add your own by tapping on “add new category” at the bottom of the list. You can also edit your choices from Settings.

3. Hit “Apply” and the category will be added for that individual trip.

CATEGORY FILTERS

1. To filter trips, tap on the gray funnel icon at the top of the Trips screen.

2. Select your choices from the right side. (You can also edit your list from Settings.)

3. Tap “Apply” at the bottom of the list or just tap outside of the menu. The funnel icon turns green when a filter is applied.

ENJOY! We hope these new features help you plan and optimize your trips better. Maybe you’ll notice some low-mileage trips and decide to bike or walk instead. Or you’ll finally figure out the best time to leave for work in the morning to avoid sitting in traffic! We’d love to hear about your experiences.

Let us know what you think! Feel free to leave comments or email us at appfeedback@metromile.com.

Settings & Sharing update on Android

Our Android app now has Settings & Sharing!

What cool features are included?

1. Set notifications for street sweeping and DTCs (diagnostic trouble codes) in 3 ways: push alerts via the app, SMS, and email.

2. Set your preferred fuel type* for more accurate Fuel Cost calculations.

3. Request a data export via the app; the CSV file will then be available for download in your online dashboard.

4. Add a photo of your beloved car under Settings.

5. Your VIN* (vehicle identification number) will show in Settings if available (about 60% of cars will be able to share this via the OBDII port).

6. Sharing! You can share just about everything from the app: Trips, Street Sweeping alerts, DTCs, Car Location, potential Insurance Savings, and the app itself. Just look for the sharing symbol in the upper right corner.

In case our iOS users didn’t know, these features are all available on our iOS app too.

Update your Android app to version 1.1.1 today!

* Not all car makes/models may have this info (varies by manufacturer)

 

Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da, OBD!

A little bit of OBDII history:  just what is an OBDII port and what does it do?

If your car was built after 1996 and has a gasoline engine, chances are high that it has an OBDII port. But what is its purpose, beside being what devices like Metromile’s Metronome are plugged into?

Metromile's Metronome plugs into your car's OBDII port and helps keep your car in tip top shape.

The OBD, or on-board diagnostics, port began as a way to measure a vehicle’s emissions. California, in particular, wanted a way to combat the growing issue of smog, so in 1966 they began to require emissions testing in all vehicles. This requirement gradually became adopted nationwide in 1968.

In 1988, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) passed a requirement that all vehicles sold in the state include on-board diagnostics. This first port would become known as the OBDI. If your car was made before 1996, you likely have the OBDI. Not sure if your car has an OBDI or OBDII? Here are three ways you can find out.

Flash forward almost a decade to 1996, when all new vehicles nationwide were required to include the OBDII. This next-generation of diagnostics had evolved from emissions testing to monitoring other performance-related aspects of the car, like the engine and chassis.

Here’s how the OBDII works:

  • Your car has a Powertrain Control Module (PCM) that constantly monitors the engine. If it detects a problem, like excessive oil consumption, your ‘Check Engine’ or service light will come on and remain on until the issue is resolved.

  • A repair technician can connect a scanner to the OBDII port, download your car’s data, confirm a diagnosis and start on the necessary repairs or resolution.

Check out this article to see when the OBDII was added to specific makes and models. For most vehicles, the port is located underneath the steering wheel.

The OBDII helps provide transparency into key operational features of your car so that you can make every effort to keep your vehicle in the best possible shape. Even with the amount of data provided, you should always make sure to stay up-to-date with your car’s maintenance schedule. Don’t delay changing your oil or overlook a Check Engine light that stays on.

If you have Metromile’s Metronome, then you already know how the OBDII can help you identify ways to keep your car at peak performance. Our Metromile app will decode those DTC’s (diagnostic trouble code) and even let you know the severity level. If you have any questions, you can click on the “Ask a Mechanic” button to ask our on-staff mechanic for advice. The app will pre-populate an email with those DTC’s so you won’t have to write them all down. You can also use our Sharing capability to send those DTC’s to your own mechanic directly (via Twitter, Facebook, SMS, and email).

Compatibility with OBDII devices can vary across manufacturers. We wish all car makes and models could magically be compatible with our Metronome! Until specs change, we won’t always be able to provide data for all car brands (check our site for any updates).

Wondering about security? The Metronome device pulls data in real-time from your car and transmits directly to Metromile’s secure data servers. The info is not sent directly to your mobile device. Rather, we make the data available in easy-to-interpret graphs and charts in 2 places:  our app (iOS & Android) and our web-based dashboard (log-in at metromile.com). In effect, data transfer is really only happening one way: from the Metronome device to Metromile secure servers. There is no danger of data going into the vehicle itself.

The OBDII is a great example of the evolution vehicles have gone through over the decades. What began as a way to test emissions has evolved into the portal for mechanics and drivers to obtain data about cars and fix potential problems. For Metromile, the OBDII is how we have unleashed the awesome amount of data to make driving less of a headache and enable drivers to make savvier decisions.

Want to read more? Check out this article’s sources: OBD II Background; Wikipedia; EPA.gov; CNET, “A Brief Intro to OBD-II technology” 

Driving on the Decline, especially with Millennials

A new consumer report released by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) shows what we long expectedthat driving is on the decline.

What’s really interesting is this chart from the Transportation Initiative. It highlights how the U.S. Department of Transportation overestimated growth in road travel for 2012 by almost 11 percent. They estimated that vehicle travel would rise significantly. In reality, it’s decreased. Who’s leading the trend away from driving? Millennials.

Figure 1: U.S. Vehicle Miles Traveled (in trillions) as tracked by the Federal Highway Administration's Travel Volume Trends (“Actual”) and as projected by U.S. DOT’s C&P reports (by year reports are dated).
Figure 1: U.S. Vehicle Miles Traveled (in trillions) as tracked by the Federal Highway Administration’s Travel Volume Trends (“Actual”) and as projected by U.S. DOT’s C&P reports (by year reports are dated).

According to their report, Millennials, more than previous generations, are driving less and exploring alternatives, like biking and public transportation.They cite several reasons for the decrease, like the rise in gas prices and the economy. For example, tighter pockets from the recession make buying a car a less feasible option. Millennials are also more likely to live in urban areas, where public transportation and walkable routes are more common. Plus, the rise in transportation apps like Google Maps and Muni+ have made navigating public transportation less of a headache by displaying real-time transit departures and arrivals along with suggestions for alternate routes.

When we look back at the “driving boom” of 1946-2004, people hit the road in huge numbers for a lot of reasons that made sense: low gas prices, the growth of suburbs, and the birth of Baby Boomers. Today, increasing numbers of Baby Boomers are retiring, gas prices have increased, and Millennials have developed new preferences for travel, including car sharing.

While the U.S. PIRG suggests that this decrease could be temporary, they also argue that driving will never reach the peak numbers that the U.S Department of Transportation estimated.

So what does this mean for the future of road travel? For one, you could be looking at less traffic on your daily commute (which we all agree would be a welcomed effect). The decrease could also mean more cities invest in public transportation and bike routes. In Metromile’s own backyard, San Francisco recently launched “WalkFirst,” an initiative to improve pedestrian safety. One of the most positive effects of this downward driving trend is a possible reduction in pollution. Less gas, less smog and cleaner air. That’s something we can all get behind.

What do you think about this trend? Does it surprise you that Millennials are driving less? Have you starting driving less? Are there certain kinds of trips where you’ve opted for alternative modes of transportation? Share your thoughts below.