What’s the Best Car Insurance During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

The new “don’t forget” checklist: phone, wallet, keys, mask

If you’re driving less during the coronavirus pandemic, you might save money by switching to pay-per-mile car insurance.

With Metromile’s pay-per-mile car insurance, you only pay a low base rate and a few cents for the miles you drive, which gives you control over how much you want to pay.

That means people working from home or sheltering in place until it’s safe to go out again could save truckloads of money because they aren’t driving as much as they used to.

What is pay-per-mile insurance?

Pay-per-mile insurance is like buying insurance a la carte.

Similar to dining out at a restaurant, you only pay for what you need.

At Metromile, you’ll pay a base rate, starting as low as $29 per month, plus a few cents for every mile you drive, measured accurately through a secure device you plug into your car.

That means the less you drive, the more you save on car insurance.

How can I get a COVID-19 refund?

You might have heard some insurance companies are offering car insurance refunds because policyholders aren’t driving as much during the pandemic.

The savings typically range from 10% to 25% of your premiums.

Unfortunately, those discounts don’t match the decline in driving we’ve noticed from many of our customers. We don’t think that’s fair. If the risk goes down for insurers, so should the price you pay. 

That’s why Metromile offers pay-per-mile car insurance. So if you’ve reduced your miles by more than 25% during the COVID-19 pandemic, you could save even more with us simply by driving less.

3 reasons why pay-per-mile insurance makes sense during COVID-19

To see how driving habits are changing in response to COVID-19, Metromile looked at the traffic patterns in three cities — San Francisco, Portland, Oregon, and Seattle — in June 2020 and June 2019.

The changes are staggering. 

We found 22% fewer cars on the road in June 2020 than there were a year earlier, and those who still got behind the wheel drove 30% fewer miles.

What does that mean for you?

1. You could save money on car insurance wherever you live

Metromile customers in all three cities are driving far less often than they used to. 

  • Seattle noticed the biggest decline with people driving 33% fewer miles.
  • In Portland, people drove 30% fewer miles.
  • While people in San Francisco drove 28% fewer miles.

Even in San Francisco, which experienced the smallest decline, drivers could still save more money with a pay-per-mile policy than traditional auto insurers’ discounts.

Metromile customers saved about 30% on average on car insurance, beginning in April, because they pay per mile. Unlike with other insurers, they didn’t need to ask for a discount or let us know their driving habits had changed—their bills dropped automatically when they stayed home or drove less. 

2. You could save money on car insurance if you’re working from home

We also looked at how many miles people drive on weekdays compared to the previous year.

  • In Seattle, people drove 33% fewer miles.
  • In Portland, people drove 31% fewer miles.
  • In San Francisco, people drove 29% fewer miles.

It looks like people may be working from home, and they are spending much less time on the road because they don’t have to drive to work. These drivers have a lot to gain from switching to pay-per-mile insurance.

3. You could save money on car insurance if you’re following a stay-at-home or shelter-in-place order

We also looked at how many miles people drive on weekends.

This gives us a better idea of how shelter-in-place and stay-at-home orders are changing driving behaviors when people are not working and have more time to get out of the house for a few hours or take a weekend trip.

  • In San Francisco, people drove 20% fewer miles on weekends.
  • In Seattle, people drove 30% fewer miles on weekends.
  • In Portland, people drove 31% fewer miles on weekends.

Even though people are more likely to drive on the weekends, they’re still spending significantly less time behind the wheel than they did before COVID-19. Even if you take an occasional weekend road trip, you could save money by switching to pay-per-mile insurance because you’re likely driving less overall.

How much could Metromile save me in a post-pandemic world?

Some studies suggest the decline in driving may be even greater.

Between March 19, the start of many shelter-in-place and stay-at-home orders, and April 20, 2020, Metromile customers collectively drove 58% fewer miles than they did last year.

Similarly, the Brookings Institute reports traffic has declined at least 53% in every major metropolitan area across the country, based on StreetLight Data’s statistics that use drivers’ cellphones to track vehicle miles traveled. 

You might be wondering when things will get back to normal?

They might not.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced many companies to rethink their remote work policies and pushed consumers toward online shopping more than ever before. If these changes and others like them continue, it’s possible driving patterns may never fully recover, even after health officials come up with a vaccine for COVID-19 and society returns to normal.

Notably, the accounting firm KPMG sees a future where Americans drive 270 billion fewer miles each year than they did before COVID-19, which would represent more than a 9% decline in traffic. 

If you see yourself driving less in the long run, Metromile might make more sense, because you’ll only be charged for the miles you drive.

What’s next?

Right now could be the perfect time to switch to pay-per-mile car insurance.
If you’re driving less during the COVID-19 pandemic, find out much you could save with a free quote from Metromile.