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What is Usage-Based Insurance?

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.

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.

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 are considered with usage-based insurance?

Usage-based insurance, as the name suggests, is based on how much you use your vehicle. Instead of paying the same flat rate each month, you can pay for insurance coverage that is correlated with how much you drive. 

The more you drive, the more risk you take on. The less you drive, the less risk there is. So when you opt for usage-based insurance, you may be able to slash costs and get a fairer rate.  

Usage-based insurance can come in different forms and goes by different names, including:

  • Pay-as-you-go
  • Pay-as-you-drive
  • Pay-per-mile insurance

These options calculate car insurance based on the miles you drive. Other factors that may be considered are:

  • Speed
  • Acceleration
  • Braking
  • When you drive

These driving behaviors can add more risk, which may affect your car insurance rate. Typically usage-based insurance companies use telematics devices to track important metrics while driving that may impact your car insurance. 

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 more control over their rates by focusing on factors they can influence. You can do your part to be a safe driver and be rewarded with cost savings if you drive less and have fewer risks. The factors considered can make auto insurance more driver-focused and equitable. 

In contrast, traditional auto insurance companies often don’t consider these factors when determining your rates. 

Plus, you might get a flat rate that doesn’t consider the nuances or lifestyle factors that can impact your rate. On top of that, companies may also use factors like gender or use your credit score to assess risk, which can be unfair. You might be a great driver with poor credit, which could hurt your rate. 

However, this isn’t allowed in all states. 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 — in other words, someone who is considered a low-mileage driver. If you drive 10,000 miles or less each year, you may be considered a low-mileage driver. Usage-based insurance may be a good fit for:

If you fall into one of these categories, you may be able to score significant savings and avoid pricey car insurance premiums

Don’t see yourself in one of those categories? You may still benefit from pay-as-you-go insurance. Why? Because a whopping 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. If you drive safely and don’t drive that often, you should pay less based on the lower risk. 

How does usage-based insurance work?

If you’re a low-mileage driver and are considering a switch, you want to know how usage-based insurance actually works. As noted above, companies use the power of technology to offer the most competitive and fair car insurance rates. 

Specifically, telematics devices 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. In other words, it’s a super easy set up so you don’t have to be considered “tech-savvy” to take advantage of better rates with usage-based insurance. 

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.

How you’re billed for insurance may vary based on the insurance provider. 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. You can get an affordable base rate and pay a few cents per mile. The good news is that miles are capped at 250 miles per day (and 150 in New Jersey), so if you have a longer road trip, don’t worry about it. 

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 a low-mileage driver, it’s worth taking a look into usage-based insurance to see how much you might save. Safe drivers and people who don’t drive a lot can save up to $947 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. You pay for gas by the gallon, so it makes sense to pay for car insurance based on the miles you drive. Grab your free quote with Metromile today. 

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.

How to Choose the Right Comprehensive and Collision Coverage Levels for your Budget and Lifestyle

When was the last time you used “subrogation” in a sentence? How about “telematics”? “Indemnity”? Odds are unless you’re studying your handy insurance jargon glossary on a daily basis, you’re probably not dropping these terms into casual conversation.

The world of insurance terms can be confusing, intimidating, and downright frustrating, especially to someone just learning the ropes. Whether you’re switching insurance companies, changing plans, or just trying to educate yourself on your options, you might quickly find yourself bemoaning the often-confusing, sometimes-convoluted, always-complicated terminology.

Comprehensive and Collision Coverage Explained | Metromile

How to Choose the Right Comprehensive and Collision Coverage Levels for your Budget and Lifestyle

At Metromile, we’re here to make insurance lingo make sense — even to the most inexperienced newbie. Finding an auto insurance policy that fits your budget and lifestyle and keeps you at ease is so important — not just for your peace of mind, but also for your physical and financial security. Here’s what you need to know so you can choose the policy that’s perfect for you.

What Do “Comprehensive” and “Collision” Coverage Cover Anyways?

Throw the word “comprehensive” on anything and it sounds pretty impressive and all-encompassing, right? What else could you possibly need if you’ve got something “comprehensive” on your side? Well, for starters, collision coverage.

If you’re struggling to make sense of how something “comprehensive” could omit an issue as major as collisions (especially when cars are involved), you’re not alone. Before you judge a book by its cover and go with the first seemingly all-inclusive plan you see, get to know the ins and outs of what “comprehensive” and “collision” coverage are all about:

Comprehensive and Collision

Comprehensive and collision are two types of auto insurance coverage that are often grouped together because they both cover damage to your vehicle (as opposed to liability insurance, which covers the other person and their property in the case of a collision).

Let’s dig into each separate type:

Collision Coverage

Collision coverage helps you repair damages or replace your vehicle after a covered accident — whether you crashed into another car or object, rolled your car, or the other driver is at fault but doesn’t have enough insurance to pay for your repairs.

It doesn’t cover damage to your windows or windshield, weather-related damage (e.g. a branch denting your roof), damage to someone else’s vehicle or property, medical costs, or anything stolen from your vehicle.

Hit-and-run coverage is, well, hit or miss — your car could be covered with this type of insurance, but it’s not guaranteed in all states.

While you might think collision coverage should be required, it’s not — most states only require you to have coverage for injuries or damage you cause to someone else in an accident. There aren’t many states that require drivers to have insurance that covers their own damages. However, lenders will usually require you to have collision coverage for as long as you lease the vehicle — after all, they want to protect their investment.

Comprehensive Coverage

Comprehensive coverage gets its name because it covers practically any damages to your vehicle that aren’t caused by an accident, whether the culprit is an animal, hailstorm, vandal, or something else. Plus, it protects you from the loss of your vehicle if it’s ever stolen (though in the unfortunate case that that happens, Metromile may be able to help you recover your vehicle).

However, it doesn’t cover damage caused by a collision with another vehicle, damage to someone else’s vehicle or property, stolen items, or medical expenses.

Like collision coverage, comprehensive isn’t required by state law — though your lender will likely require it if you lease your vehicle. However, it can be a good idea if you want peace of mind knowing you’re covered in the event of non-accident-related damages.

While both collision and comprehensive coverage cover a lot of ground, neither one truly protects you in all situations across the board. There are certain things neither one covers — take vehicle wear and tear, for example. If you need new brake pads or a headlight bulb replaced, you won’t be able to rely on collision or comprehensive coverage to foot the bill. And while comprehensive coverage will be a huge help if your car is stolen, it won’t help you replace any items that were in that stolen vehicle.

Do You Really Need Comprehensive and/or Collision Coverage?

In a literal sense, no — you’re not required by law to get comprehensive and/or collision coverage. Most states only require a certain amount of liability coverage, which covers other people and their property when you cause an accident.

However, just because you’re not required to have additional coverage doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t consider it.

  • Would you be able to afford repair costs out of pocket? How’s your emergency fund looking? If you don’t opt for collision or comprehensive coverage, could you repair or replace your vehicle in the event of a crash or other incident?
  • Do you lease your car? If you lease or finance your car, your lender may require you to have collision and comprehensive coverage. If the car is all yours, it’s up to you.
  • How likely are you to file a claim? It’s impossible to predict the future, and as the saying goes, “accidents happen.” But if you live in areas where car thefts or natural disasters happen regularly or you’ve gotten into your fair share of fender benders over the years, then that fact is worth taking into consideration.
  • What’s your monthly budget? The more money you pay for your policy, and the lower you set your deductible, the less money you’ll have to pay out of pocket in the event of an accident or other event. You don’t want to barely scrape by every month in order to afford your coverage, but you do want to settle on an amount that’s affordable and puts your mind at ease.
If you’ve mulled those questions over and come to the realization that collision and/or comprehensive coverage is right for you, then it’s time to figure out how much you need.

Here’s where your deductible comes into play — that’s the out-of-pocket expense that you agree to pay for losses up to a set amount, like $250 or $1,000.

The lower your deductible, the more you’ll pay for insurance (since your out-of-pocket expense will be lower, and your insurer will have to cover the rest). You can also choose to pay a higher deductible and pay less for insurance, but that means if you do want to take advantage of your collision and/or comprehensive coverage, you’ll have to shell out more out-of-pocket before your insurance kicks in to cover the rest.

So while there’s, unfortunately, no perfect mathematical formula (or magic spell) to reveal your ideal level of coverage, understanding all the factors involved and thoughtfully considering the options that fit your budget and lifestyle will help you land on a plan that leaves you feeling content and comfortable.

Still Have Questions?

Totally understandable — this stuff is tricky. One great way to get more answers to common questions is to visit the Metromile Help Center. There, you’ll be able to comb through content on a variety of topics like billing, pricing, coverage, and more. If you’ve got a question, chances are someone else has it, has had it, or will have it in the future.

If you’d rather talk one-on-one with a qualified specialist, Metromile has plenty of those, too. Call 1.888.242.5204 any time from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m .PT, Monday through Friday, and a licensed agent will be able to address any of your concerns, give you a personalized quote, or start your new policy.

Already a customer? Awesome. Call 1.888.311.2909 between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. PT, Monday through Friday, and a qualified specialist will help you out.

Pay-Per-Mile Comprehensive and Collision Coverage with Metromile

If money is the only thing holding you back from purchasing collision coverage and comprehensive coverage, it might be time to consider other options, like pay-per-mile car insurance with Metromile. 

With Metromile, your rate is based on your actual driving habits, which means the less you drive, the less you pay. As a result, our customers save an average of 47%* compared to what they were paying their previous auto insurer.

Your driving situation is unique — be sure to choose a company that gets that and will work with you to find a customized plan that makes sense and meets your needs. Get a free quote from Metromile today.

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

Do You Need Insurance to Register a Car?

If you want to drive a vehicle on public roads, you’ll need to register your car with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or Motor Vehicle Comission (MVC) first.

The registration process can vary per state, but in general, you’ll probably need the following:

  • Valid driver’s license
  • Proof of insurance (usually an insurance card or printout detailing your coverage is sufficient)
  • Car title or signed lease agreement
  • Completed vehicle registration application form
  • Payment to register

In some states, you may also need proof that your vehicle passed a safety inspection and/or smog test and an odometer disclosure.
Before you register your car, most states require you to purchase car insurance or be able to demonstrate financial responsibility in another way. However, there are some exceptions and the exact requirements can vary. Below, we’ll break down each state’s stance on registering cars without insurance.

Do You Need Insurance to Register a Car - State guide

Does your state require insurance to register your car?

Here are the states and territories where you need proof of insurance so you can finally answer the question: “Do you need insurance to register a car?”

State or TerritoryDo you need insurance to register a car? 
Alabama Yes
Alaska Yes 
Arizona No, you can register without but must get insurance within 30 days of registering 
ArkansasYes
California Yes
Colorado Yes
Connecticut Yes
Delaware Yes
Florida Yes 
Georgia Yes
Hawaii Yes
Idaho Yes
Illinois Yes
Indiana Yes
Iowa No, you can register without insurance but must have minimum liability coverage to operate the vehicle
KansasYes
Kentucky Yes
Louisiana Yes
Maine Yes
Maryland Yes
Massachusetts Yes
Michigan Yes
Minnesota Yes
Mississippi No, you can register without insurance but must have minimum liability coverage to operate the vehicle 
Missouri Yes
Montana Yes
Nebraska Yes
Nevada Yes
New Hampshire No, insurance isn’t required to register and isn’t mandatory for most drivers, but it is strongly encouraged
New Jersey Yes
New Mexico Yes
New York Yes
North Carolina Yes
North Dakota No, you can register without insurance but must have minimum liability coverage to operate the vehicle
Ohio Yes
Oklahoma Yes
Oregon Yes
Pennsylvania Yes
Rhode Island Yes
South Carolina Yes 
South Dakota Yes
Tennessee No, you can register without insurance but must have minimum liability coverage to operate the vehicle
Texas Yes
Utah Yes
Vermont Yes
Virginia Yes 
WashingtonYes
Washington, D.C. Yes
West Virginia Yes
Wisconsin No, you can register without insurance but must have minimum liability coverage to operate the vehicle
Wyoming Yes

Not all states require insurance and registration at the same time

As you can see, you must have auto insurance before registering your car in most states and territories in the U.S.

However, some states, such as Arizona, Iowa, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Tennessee, and Wisconsin don’t require you to have auto insurance before registering a car — though most require you to purchase insurance if you plan on driving the vehicle. In some cases, you may be required to follow up with documentation (such as an insurance card or printout detailing your coverage) that proves you’re insured within a certain time period, such as 30 days, or your registration could be suspended.

Almost every state requires at least liability coverage, which covers damages to the other party’s vehicle and/or bodily injuries if you cause an accident. The minimum amount of coverage you need to purchase can vary per state, though, so it’s important to check with your state’s DMV before buying auto insurance and registering your vehicle.
While New Hampshire doesn’t require auto insurance, drivers from the Granite State who want to avoid purchasing a car insurance policy need to show “proof of financial responsibility” — or prove they’d be able to cover the cost of an accident if they cause one.

The bottom line

If you want to register and drive your car, you’ll usually need to purchase auto insurance first. But even if your state or region doesn’t require you to have auto insurance to register a car, having a car insurance policy with adequate coverage is a good idea to protect others — along with your finances, vehicles, and wellbeing.

Plus, it’s usually required if you eventually want to drive the vehicle — if you drive without insurance, you may be fined or sentenced to community service, your license may be suspended, your vehicle could be impounded, and you could even go to jail.

One good option is pay-per-mile auto insurance from Metromile. Drivers can save up to 47% a year on average, according to a 2018 survey of new customers who saved, without sacrificing their coverage or experience. See how much you can save with a free quote today.

Still not convinced? You can see if Metromile is right for you with the Ride Along™. Download the Metromile app from your favorite app store and drive as you usually do for about two weeks. (Make sure to keep your current insurance policy to keep your coverage during the trial.) After your Ride Along, you’ll see how much you could save based on your actual driving, and in some states, earn an additional discount of up to 15% off your initial quote for demonstrating safe driving during your trial.

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.

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

Does Insurance Cover Someone Else Borrowing Your Car or Not?

Whether you’re at home for the holidays or visiting a friend, you may opt to use a family member or friend’s car to run an errand or take over driving duties. No big deal, you think. Until you run to grab a quick coffee and back out and get into a fender bender. As the coffee spills, you worry about the mess and wonder “Do I need car insurance to borrow a car?” If you’re the owner of the vehicle letting someone else drive, you want to know if your insurance covers someone else to help you navigate this situation. Read on to learn about what happens when someone borrows a car and insurance protocols to be aware of. 

Does Insurance Cover Someone Borrowing Your Car, Answered | Metromile

Does insurance cover someone borrowing your car?

“Does insurance cover someone borrowing your car?” is a common question that people have. Whether you’re allowing a friend to borrow your car or the borrower of a friend’s car, the general rule of thumb is that a car insurance policy is associated with the car, not the driver. 

Therefore, if a friend borrows your car, they’re likely covered by your insurance policy. It’s best to check with your insurance provider to see what and who is covered

If you’re not at fault, liability coverage may not be as helpful in an accident as collision coverage. If you’re curious whether insurance covers someone borrowing your car or if you need car insurance to borrow a car, it’s best to go directly to the source as policies vary by insurer and state.  

Does my car insurance cover me while driving someone else’s vehicle?

If you borrow someone’s car, you would typically be covered under their car insurance policy up to the policy limits they chose. This is what’s known as “permissive use.” 

So if you borrow a friend’s car and wonder about insurance, your friend’s policy would be primarily responsible if you get into an accident while driving their car as car insurance generally follows the car and not the driver.

It’s important to note that this counts for irregular and infrequent borrowing. For example, if you’re home for the holidays, you’d typically be covered when you drive your mom’s car. But if you moved back home for an extended period during the pandemic, then your parents might need to add you to their insurance policy.

If someone who is not a Metromile customer drives my car, are they covered? 

Metromile insurance follows your car. So if you’re worried if insurance covers someone borrowing your car, with Metromile it does. 

So if you’re a Metromile customer and you let your friend borrow your car, they would be covered if they get into an accident, subject to the policy terms and conditions.
Unfortunately, this also means that even if you have a spotless driving record, your friend’s accident could increase your insurance costs going forward. Keep in mind: Metromile is pay-per-mile auto insurance. You’ll need to pay for any miles they drive in your car.

What happens if I’m renting a car?

Your Metromile insurance policy typically extends to rental cars. So if you’re renting a car for a trip and you get into an accident, we might be able to help. But you should check your policy before driving the car off the lot to make sure you understand your coverage and have the policy limits that make sense for your budget.

What about my mom, dad, sibling, or roommate’s car?

Usually, driving-age family members who live together should all be on the same insurance policy, making it just fine to swap cars. If not, they should be formally excluded from each other’s policies; importantly, a driver is generally not covered by a policy they’re excluded from, meaning you should never loan your car to someone you’ve excluded.

Roommates who aren’t direct family members can fall in a gray area; it’s a good idea to check with your insurance carrier about what’s allowed, but usually, you’ll want your roommate to either be listed on your policy if they have regular access to your vehicle and drive it occasionally.

What is primary vs. secondary auto insurance coverage?

When claims get complicated, insurance companies spend time working out who is primarily responsible — that is, taking point on paying out damages — and secondarily responsible, or kicking in only when the primary coverage is exhausted.

If you give someone permission to drive your vehicle, your car insurance usually takes primary coverage status. If damage exceeds your coverage limits, the driver’s policy may take over as secondary.

Am I covered if I’m using a borrowed car for business?

Here’s where things get sticky. Commercial policies cover some vehicles for business use, but it gets complicated when a car is borrowed or swapped around for a use that’s out of the ordinary, or if a personal vehicle is used for a delivery or transportation service, such as a local laundry delivery or an app-based service like Amazon, Doordash, Lyft, or Uber.

There are lots of ins and outs and exclusions when it comes to commercial use, so it’s worth doing your homework before borrowing a car in a situation like this.

Metromile provides personal auto insurance coverage for low-mileage drivers and does not cover vehicles used for work, including food delivery, package delivery, or ride-sharing.

The bottom line

If you’re thinking “Do I need car insurance to borrow a car?” now you know that when you borrow a car, insurance coverage is based on the policyholder of the vehicle. So if you borrow a car, you may be covered by the owner’s policy. If you allow a friend to borrow your car, they’d likely be covered by your policy. Get in touch with your provider if you have specific questions about what’s covered. Plus, you could pay less for auto insurance if you don’t drive your car often.

You can see if Metromile is right for you with Ride Along™. Download the Metromile app to get started. After you get a free auto insurance quote, you’ll keep your current coverage and drive as you do ordinarily for about two weeks. Then, Metromile will show you how much you could save with an accurate rate based on your actual driving. Why pay more, when you can pay less for driving less? Get your free quote.

Washington State Proposes a Ban on Credit Scores, But a Lawsuit Is Preventing Progress

In some states, your credit score is a factor when setting insurance rates. But having a credit-based insurance score can potentially hurt good drivers who happen to have not-so-great credit. Given the financial turmoil that many people have experienced during the public health emergency of COVID-19, Washington insurance commissioner Mike Kreidler advocated for change. He proposed to put a temporary halt on using credit scores for renter’s insurance, homeowners’ insurance, and auto insurance as of March 4, 2022. The credit score ban would likely affect most policyholders’ rates in some way. However, the rule didn’t go into effect and is in legal limbo due to a lawsuit, according to The Seattle Times. Currently, a hearing is requested for May. 

Washington credit based insurance score

A brief history of the credit score ban in Washington 

Mike Kreidler, who is the Insurance Commissioner in Washington, has proposed a credit score ban in Washington for several years. 

Last year on June 20, 2021, insurance companies were slated to no longer use credit scores to set rates for auto insurance and homeowners or renters insurance in Washington state.

The Washington state Office of the Insurance Commissioner issued an emergency rule in March 2021 to temporarily ban insurers from considering credit history to determine premiums and eligibility for personal property insurance. The new rule would be in effect for three years after the coronavirus pandemic is declared over.

Because of this change, many drivers (and homeowners or renters) would see new insurance premiums. 

Drivers who may have previously received a lower rate because they have a strong credit history could now see their auto insurance premiums increase because of the credit score ban. The opposite is true, too: Drivers may be due for lower auto insurance premiums if they have a lower credit score.

However, later in the year, the credit score ban was overturned by a judge. In February 2022, Kreidler adopted the rule again putting a halt to credit-based insurance scores and proposing a rule where insurers would be transparent and provide an explanation if there was a change in premium costs. But the rule didn’t go into effect as planned as it is being held up by a lawsuit.  

Insurers are concerned that this would raise insurance rates for millions of policyholders in Washington. Currently, there is not anything on the schedule to move forward but there is a requested hearing for May. 

Who would be impacted by Washington state’s credit scoring ban?

If the Washington state’s credit scoring ban goes into effect it would impact nearly all of the state’s residents with personal auto, homeowners, or renters insurance. 

The Washington state insurance regulator reports about 1.3 million people could expect a change in the premiums they pay for auto, homeowners, or renters coverage over time. 

Depending on someone’s credit history, this might mean someone would have to pay more or less for their insurance coverage when they renew their policies for another term. At this time, the move to eliminate credit-based insurance scores is on hold. 

How do insurance companies use credit scores?

Some insurance companies might use a credit-based insurance score as one factor to determine the rates they charge, often in addition to other factors.

If auto insurers consider credit, they might use it alongside factors such as a driver’s experience or history, accident or claims history, the type of car driven, or how far someone typically drives.

Additionally, insurance companies sometimes use similar credit-based insurance scores for homeowners’ and renters’ insurance.

Which states have credit scoring bans for insurance?

Washington state is not the first state to attempt to restrict insurance companies from using credit-based insurance scores.

California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Oregon, and Utah forbid insurance companies from using credit-based scores or someone’s credit history to set rates or make some underwriting decisions, such as canceling a policy, refusing coverage, or renewing a policy, for auto or homeowners insurance. Other states have temporary bans or are considering similar restrictions.

Why do insurance companies use credit-based scores to determine premium costs?

Insurance companies use different types of data to help make sure the premiums they charge are fair for consumers. 

They might use someone’s credit history as an additional data point to ensure their premiums are competitive and predictive of someone’s insurance risk. 

Credit-based insurance scores are designed to help insurers predict the risk of accidents or other claims.

What can I do to make sure I have a fair insurance rate?

Some consumer groups believe Washington state’s proposal to ban credit scores is a step in the right decision to ensure insurance is fairer for more people. 

You can also take steps on your own to get an equitable insurance rate. Pay-per-mile auto insurance considers how someone actually uses their car, notably how far someone drives or whether they drive often. 

As a result, drivers can earn and pay fairer auto insurance rates. Most car insurance companies charge drivers a flat rate for coverage each month or policy term. This approach to pricing can be problematic as it might not consider lifestyle changes as they occur, like if someone starts to work from home more often or replaces their driving with car-sharing, ride-sharing, or public transportation.

With pay-per-mile auto coverage, sometimes called pay-as-you-go or pay-as-you-drive insurance, drivers pay a low monthly fee to help keep their car covered and then a low per-mile rate, usually a few cents for each mile driven. Sometimes, there are caps on the miles charged. For example, Metromile doesn’t charge its customers for miles driven over 250 miles (or 150 miles in New Jersey) in a single day.

Is pay-as-you-drive auto insurance a good alternative?

Metromile, a leader in pay-as-you-drive auto insurance, uses technology to accurately and securely bill someone for the miles they drive. The company also uses this technology, sometimes called telematics technology, to understand someone’s driving behavior, such as how many miles are driven, the speed, or how drivers brake or make their turns.

If you’re not sure if Metromile or pay-per-mile is right for you, you can take a Ride Along™ trial for free. You’ll keep your current insurance provider but download the Metromile app and let Metromile ride along to learn how you typically drive.

The Metromile app will let you know how many miles you drive and how much you might save if you switched to Metromile at the end of your 17-day trial. If you demonstrate you’re a safe driver during the trial, you could also save up to an additional 15% off* your initial quote in select states.

Metromile also uses information from its telematics technology to determine if someone might qualify for additional discounts for safe driving or help drivers find their car if it’s ever lost or stolen and check on their car’s health.

The bottom line

Washington state recently proposed that insurance companies should stop using credit scores to determine how much someone should pay for auto, homeowners, or renters insurance. The state hopes the new rule will make insurance rates fairer for more people but the rule is currently in limbo. Regardless of what happens, you can take steps to get fairer insurance, even if you don’t live in Washington state or another state that bans the use of credit.

Drivers can choose a pay-per-mile car insurance policy, like Metromile, to help save money. According to a 2018 survey of new Metromile customers who saved, drivers who switched to Metromile saved an average of 47% a year. Most people are low-mileage drivers who don’t often drive or, more importantly, don’t drive long distances and could save with pay-as-you-drive coverage. If you drive less, then you should pay less. Find your free quote today. 

*Eligible drivers can save up to 15% on their initial quote with their safe driving in Oregon.

How to Save with Low-Mileage Auto Insurance

Owning a car can be pricey. There’s the potential car payment, gas, and repairs — as well as auto insurance. 

If you don’t drive much, you might be overpaying for auto insurance. We found that traditional auto insurance is unfair for many drivers, leaving a whopping 65 percent of drivers overpaying for coverage. So what can you do? One place to start is to look for low-mileage car insurance

Here’s everything you might want to learn about insurance for low-mileage drivers, what it means, and where you can find car insurance for low-mileage drivers without breaking the bank. 

Low Mileage Car Insurance Types and Discounts | Metromile

What is considered low-mileage?

According to the U.S. Federal Highway Administration, the average American drives around 13,500 miles per year, or about 37 miles per day. While the definition can vary by insurer, many car insurance providers define “low-mileage drivers” as individuals who drive a little over half that amount — around 7,500 miles per year, or roughly 20 miles per day.

If you’re like many Americans, your driving habits probably changed because of COVID-19. In fact, Metromile customers nationwide collectively drove 30% fewer miles from April through December 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.

Whether it’s because more people are working from home or individuals are still understandably nervous about leaving their homes, one thing is clear: there are likely many more drivers now considered low-mileage — which might be good news for their wallets.

Is car insurance cheaper if you drive less?

If you don’t drive much, you might think that your car insurance will be automatically cheaper, but that’s not necessarily true. You might be overpaying for car insurance, especially if you don’t drive too far or often. That’s why it’s a good idea to compare car insurance quotes and look into auto insurance for low-mileage drivers.

A good option is pay-per-mile car insurance. With pay-per-mile auto insurance, you pay as you go. How often you use your car determines the price you pay each month for your coverage. You’ll generally pay a monthly rate to help keep your vehicle covered, even when you’re not using it. Then, you’ll pay a per-mile rate (usually a few cents) for each mile you drive.

How can I get a low-mileage discount for auto insurance?

If you’re not putting in the miles like you used to, it doesn’t make sense to pay the same rate for car insurance. Whether your insurance provider offers a low-mileage discount or savings for people who don’t drive a lot — or doesn’t — here are a few things you can try to reduce your bill:

  • Drive less. If you don’t currently meet your insurance provider’s definition of “low-mileage,” try to reduce the number of miles you drive. There are a variety of ways to do this, from asking your company if you can work from home (many businesses are more amenable to the idea thanks to COVID-19) to walking or taking public transportation more often and using Google Maps to ensure you’re driving the shortest route possible.
  • Negotiate with your current provider. If you’re already a low mileage driver, try letting your insurance company know you’re driving less and ask for a discount. Some insurance companies might ask whether you drive your car primarily for business or personal leisure or ask you to take a photo of your odometer to benefit from their savings for low-mileage drivers. 
  • Switch to pay-per-mile insurance. With pay-per-mile insurance, your rate is based on your actual driving habits, which makes it a great option for low-mileage drivers who drive less than 10,000 miles a year. At the end of each monthly cycle, you’re billed for the cost of the miles you drove over the past month — no need to alter your driving habits or proactively ask for a discount.

What types of low-mileage car insurance are there?

Low-mileage car insurance programs often use telematics, which is a type of technology to understand how you use your car. They’ll usually ask you to plug the device into your car’s on-board diagnostic (OBD-II) port, and the technology will track details such as how often you drive, how much you drive, your speed, how you brake, and your general driving habits, like whether you use your phone while driving.

Alternatively, they may ask you to take a photo of your odometer every month — though this method is less reliable.

Auto insurers then usually take one of two approaches to low-mileage auto insurance:

  • Low-mileage discounts: Some car insurance providers offer you a set discount if you drive fewer than a set amount of miles, such as 6,000 miles per year.
  • Pay per mile: Pay-per-mile insurance is usage-based and pay-as-you-go — you pay a set monthly rate, and after that, your premium depends on how many miles you drive. If you drive less, you pay less. 

How much you can save with insurance for low mileage drivers

Low-mileage drivers could cut their auto insurance bills by switching to low-mileage insurance such as Metromile.

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

The bottom line

More and more drivers are becoming low-mileage drivers, and chances are you might be a low-mileage driver who could save with Metromile and pay-per-mile auto insurance.

Metromile has savings built into its pay-as-you-go auto insurance. Drivers don’t need to let us know or prove that they’re a low-mileage driver because they pay per mile. Your bill will go down automatically if you’re driving less in almost real-time, so there’s no need to call in or negotiate.

You can try out whether usage-based insurance is right for you for free with Ride Along™. Download the Metromile app onto your phone and get a free auto insurance quote. Then, drive like you usually do for about two weeks. (You should keep your current insurance coverage during the trial to stay covered.)

During your trial, we’ll use your driving habits, including how many miles you drive, to show you your potential savings — which can be significant. On average, our customers save 47% compared to what they were paying their previous auto insurer.

You pay gas by the gallon, why not the insurance by the mile? Check out Metromile per-mile car insurance today.

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

How to Get Car Insurance Online

The internet has made it easy to do almost anything from the comfort of your own home — from signing up for a bank account or getting an education to even buying online auto insurance.

Even if you currently have auto coverage, it doesn’t hurt to look for car insurance quotes online, as you may be able to find a better rate. Rates are always changing, and you might be eligible for new discounts. For example, if you got married, changed jobs, moved, or have a different car from when you purchased your last car insurance policy, it doesn’t hurt to see what’s out there. You may be able to save money and put it toward other things in your life. 

In this guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know before getting auto insurance online so you can get covered quickly and resume your latest Netflix binge.

How to Get Car Insurance Online | Metromile

5 steps to getting car insurance quotes online

Many car insurance companies allow you to get auto insurance quotes online directly from their website in a few simple steps. In fact, some car insurance companies offer a discount if you buy insurance online, so it’s not just more convenient — it could save you money as well. 

Here’s how the process generally works:

Step 1: Gather the information you’ll need to get an accurate quote

The first thing you’ll need to do is gather some information insurers will use to give you a quote.

Some of this information is straightforward, like your full name, address, and date of birth. However, you’ll also probably need to provide details about your vehicle and driving history, such as:

This may seem like a lot of information, but it’s meant to help you get the most accurate car insurance quotes online. While it might seem quicker and safer to go with a car insurance provider that promises quick quotes anonymously so you don’t have to hand over sensitive personal information, those rates are often inaccurate. 

By providing these details about yourself and your vehicle history, you can get a more accurate car insurance quote and make meaningful comparisons to other rates, including your current policy. 

Step 2: Get a car insurance quote online

Once you submit your information, the car insurance company will generate a quote estimating your cost per month or year. This doesn’t usually take long — with Metromile, for example, you can get a quote in minutes and quickly see how much you can save (our customers save 47% on average compared to what they were paying their previous auto insurer). 

Step 3: Understand your car insurance coverage options

Before deciding which policy is best for you, you need to understand your car insurance coverage options and how much coverage you need. While most states require certain types of coverage, such as bodily injury (BI) liability insurance and property damage (PD) liability insurance, other types, such as comprehensive coverage and collision coverage, are usually more optional. Knowing what you need and what you want can help narrow down your options.

Step 4: Compare and choose the best car insurance policy for your situation

The average cost of car insurance is $1,630 per year, or around $136 per month. That’s no small chunk of change, so you may want to compare multiple car insurance quotes online so you have a good idea of what you might need to pay and can figure out the best option for you.

Don’t just base your decision on the initial quote — there are many other factors you’ll want to consider, such as the types of coverage you want to buy, whether you can score any discounts to bring the price down, the deductible and premium you’re most comfortable with based on your financial situation and risk tolerance, and more.

Step 5: Purchase your insurance instantly

Once you’ve decided on the best plan for you, all you need to do is choose a payment method and buy your insurance! From there, you can download your proof of insurance and hit the open road.

What factors to look at with car insurance quote comparisons

When reviewing insurance quotes online, there are various factors you want to look at to get a fair assessment. 

  • Deductibles. An auto insurance deductible refers refers to the preselected amount you’ll pay out of pocket before your insurer covers anything else. 
  • Liability limits. A liability limit is the maximum amount a car insurance company is obligated to pay in the event of an accident or injury. 
  • Coverage types. Car insurance costs can vary depending on the coverage type. There are six types of coverage in a basic auto policy, including personal injury protection, bodily injury liability, property damage liability, collision, comprehensive, and uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage
  • Discounts. Many car insurance companies offer discounts to drivers for various reasons, ranging from being accident-free to installing safety equipment in your vehicle and more. Review which types of car insurance discounts are available with each company. 
  • Extra perks. Compare any additional perks a car insurance company offers. For example, Metromile charges you based on how much you actually drive, so you can save if you don’t drive often. 

Doing your research and looking at all of these factors can make the auto insurance quote comparison process easier. 

What determines the cost of auto insurance 

If you’re looking to buy cheap auto insurance online, you probably want to know what actually determines the cost of auto insurance. Here are some common factors that determine the cost of auto insurance:

  • Your age. The older you are, the more affordable your rate may be. Younger, more inexperienced drivers are likely going to have higher rates. 
  • Where you live. This matters because where you park and the city you live in can affect the likelihood of theft and accidents. More populous city drivers typically have higher rates. 
  • Driving history. Your driving history matters. If you have a clean driving record, you’ll score the best rates. If you have speeding tickets or at-fault accidents, your rates will be higher. 
  • Type of car. Your car type determines repair costs, the likelihood of theft, and more, so it affects your car insurance rates. 
  • How much you drive. The more you drive, the more at risk you are for accidents. So how much you drive can affect your rates. 

Some other factors that may be considered include your gender and your credit score, according to the Insurance Information Institute

How to get quotes on car insurance online with Metromile 

If you’re tired of paying for miles you aren’t driving and are looking for new car insurance online, look no further than Metromile — on average, our customers save up to 47% compared to what they were paying their previous auto insurer, and we offer four levels of liability protection, along with choices for comprehensive and collision deductibles. Get a risk-free, instant online quote in minutes.

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

Is Car Insurance Tax-Deductible or Not?

During tax season, you want to consider every possible tax deduction to make the numbers work in your favor. This is especially the case if you’re not getting a tax refund and owe money to Uncle Sam. After looking at all the potential deductions and your expenses, you might wonder “Can I write off car insurance?” In certain cases, car insurance is tax-deductible. However, certain conditions must be met to qualify.

Is-Car-Insurance-Tax-Deductible-

Is car insurance tax-deductible? 

Car insurance is tax-deductible in some instances, such as for self-employed individuals and business owners who use a vehicle to run a business. 

But is car insurance tax-deductible for self-employed people only, or do employees qualify as well?

Unfortunately, deducting car insurance as an employee is no longer an option. If you do business in your car for your employer and don’t get reimbursed, still, not an option. 

This new change was ushered in with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) which eliminated the ability for employees to itemize certain deductions, like using their car for work. Most of the tax provisions set forth as part of the TCJA are in effect until 2025. 

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. So basically, car insurance being tax-deductible is an option for business owners and in most cases, not employees. However, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) does outline some notable exceptions for who can deduct “unreimbursed employee travel expenses.” According to the IRS website, these taxpayers include: 

  • Armed Forces reservists
  • Qualified performing artists
  • Fee-basis state or local government officials

Writing off car insurance on your taxes 

If you’re a business owner and are curious “Is car insurance tax-deductible for self-employed people?” now you know that yes, it’s possible. 

So if you’re self-employed and use your car for business purposes, you might just be able to deduct a portion of your insurance premium

For example, if you’re a contractor and you use your truck to carry supplies to and from job sites, you can likely write off your full insurance premium, plus the cost of other expenses like gas. The catch here is that your vehicle has to be used for explicit business tasks primarily; using it to commute to and from the office isn’t enough to justify a business expense.

But when thinking about deducting car insurance, there’s something important to consider. According to the IRS, there are two ways that self-employed people can tally up their car expenses:

  1. Vehicle expenses (including car insurance, gas, depreciation, registration fees, etc.)
  2. The Standard Mileage Rate, is used to deduct a fixed amount per mile when deducting vehicle expenses. In 2022, that rate is 58.5 cents and in 2021 it was 56 cents. 

You typically need to use one of these ways to deduct vehicle expenses from your taxes. So if you want to deduct car insurance directly, it would need to be part of the actual vehicle expenses. 

However, opting for the Standard Mileage Rate may be more beneficial in some cases. This rate is set by the IRS each year and bakes in many of the costs into it. It’s best to calculate both ways to see which option offers the most benefits. It’s always best to discuss specific tax questions with a professional like a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

Splitting personal vs. business use 

If you use your vehicle for both personal and business use, then you may be able to write off a portion of your insurance. 

So if you’re using your car for both business and pleasure (think: Lyft or Uber drivers, for example), you can only write off the cost of your insurance up to the proportion of time it’s used for business. 

Let’s say you’re using it to work as a rideshare driver 25% of the time, and driving around town for personal reasons the other 75% of the time. In this case, you can only list 25% of the insurance premium cost on your taxes, and that would be if you opt to deduct your actual expenses versus the standard mileage rate. 

When you can’t deduct car insurance 

“Can I write off car insurance?” is a common question with an answer that has changed over the years with new tax laws. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act changed many of these rules over the past several years. 

It’s no longer possible to deduct car insurance or mileage as an employee. It’s also not possible to deduct a car insurance deductible in the case of theft. So if you were hoping to deduct car insurance for personal use or as an employee, it’s currently not an option. 

The bottom line 

Figuring out if car insurance is deductible can depend on whether you have a full-time or part-time business and how much you use your vehicle for that purpose. It also depends on the tax laws, which can change year to year. If you do run an eligible business and can write off car insurance be sure to assess whether deducting all expenses or using the standard mileage rate works best for you. If you don’t drive that many miles and want to lower car insurance costs, consider pay-per-mile coverage. Rethink your auto insurance coverage and only pay for the miles you drive, plus a low base rate. Grab a free quote to see how much you could save. 


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.

Does Your Insurance Go Up After a Claim?

Getting into a car accident can cause a range of emotions. It can be an annoyance if it’s a fender bender, and if it’s something more serious, it can be nerve-wracking and scary.  But after the initial impact, the troubles don’t stop there. Then you have to worry, “Will my insurance go up if I file a claim?” While you can’t predict exactly how your coverage may or may not change following a claim, it’s important to know the possibilities.

Will My Insurance Go Up If I File a Claim? | Metromile

Does insurance go up after a claim? 

If you get into a car accident and are considering filing a claim, you want to know the answer to an important question: Does insurance go up after a claim? 

What happens with your insurance rates after you file a claim depends on various factors, and it could go either way. In other words, your car insurance premium may go up or not. 

The overarching rule when it comes to the impact of claims on car insurance coverage is that every policyholder’s situation is unique. 

That means depending on your circumstances, your premium may or may not change. Here are a few contributing factors insurers consider when deciding the impact an accident may have on your rate:

  • The terms of your policy
  • Whether you were at fault for the accident
  • How many claims you’ve filed in the past
  • Insurance regulations in your state

It’s important to know what type of coverage you have and what is covered or not. Be sure to review your policy and get familiar with the terms and conditions, so you’re not surprised in the event of a post-accident premium hike. 

Honesty is the best policy with your insurer 

If you’re wondering “Does insurance go up after a claim?” it depends on the situation. But it’s important to note that your coverage and any potential pricing adjustments also could rely on the accuracy of facts that you, as the insured, present to your insurer when you purchase your policy. 

It’s critical to keep your insurer regularly updated about any changes — like additional drivers, or vehicle updates — to avoid any potential coverage issues or delays in claims processing.

What impacts your car insurance premium

Wondering will my insurance go up if I file a claim is a normal question after an accident. To understand what might happen, it’s key to know what impacts your car insurance premium. 

Your driving track record is really what insurers consider the biggest predictor of your future driving behavior, so the more claims you rack up, the more likely your premium is to rise — especially if you’ve been at fault for accidents in the past. 

If you’re filing a current claim for an accident that wasn’t your fault, your insurer will consider that information, but there are no guarantees regarding your future rate. 

However, if you were at fault, you should know that certain behaviors are generally considered a lot more serious — and therefore more reprehensible — than others.  Reckless or impaired driving, for example, may result in a major price increase (or even a cancellation of coverage, depending on the terms of your policy).

Whether you’re rear-ended in a minor fender bender or involved in a major pileup as the result of your own actions, it’s essential to report the accident to your insurer. This will help provide your carrier with all the information they need to properly investigate the issue and do everything possible to protect you if the other driver involved files their own claim.

Should you file a claim or not? 

Does your insurance go up after a claim or not? It certainly can, depending on the situation, which can make you question whether to file a claim or not. There are some important things to consider. 

First, how much is your deductible? If the cost to repair the vehicle is less than your car insurance deductible, it may not make sense to file a claim. 

Secondly, review your driving history and claims history. If this is your first-ever claim and you’re not at fault, it may not impact your rate. But if you have a history of frequent claims and are found at fault, you may be considered a risk and your rates may increase. 

You can talk to your insurance company about their policies around filing a claim and certain events. Just be aware that if you talk to your insurance agent insurer about an incident and don’t file a claim, they may need to report that. 

In general, it’s best to file a claim in the event of a total loss. If the damage is negligible or lower than your car insurance deductible, it may not be worth it. 

Though you may or may not decide to file a claim, depending on your state and the rules, if there is damage over a certain amount or injury or death it needs to be reported to the local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or similar authority. If you do file a claim, you’ll also want to file a police report as well. 

Consider the financials of your deductible and premiums 

Your deductible amount can affect your car insurance premium and inform whether you file a claim or not. If you have a low deductible, you may have higher insurance rates. If you have a small $500 deductible, but the damage is less than that, it doesn’t make sense to file a claim. 

One way to save money with car insurance is to opt for a higher deductible which can lower car insurance premiums. You can have your deductible amount as part of your emergency fund and easily pay that in the event of an incident and get the rest covered by your insurance. 

The bottom line 

Any type of accident can be a jarring event. But the added pressure and stress, worrying will my insurance go up if I file a claim can make it even worse. It’s possible that your rates may go up, so consider all the factors above before filing a claim. The fewer claims you file, the less risky you may appear to the insurer. If you’re looking for new insurance coverage if you want to save money, and you drive less, then pay per mile insurance is right for you.. If you’re still paying for miles you aren’t driving, rethink your auto insurance coverage and get a quote with Metromile today.

Everything You Need to Know About Telematics Auto Insurance

Getting car insurance before you get behind the wheel is a requirement in many states. But not all car insurance coverage is created equal. Many traditional car insurance companies have a set of factors that are exclusively used to determine your car insurance premiums. But what if you could get insurance based on how safely you drive or by how much you drive? Using telematics auto insurance you can. 

Your Guide to Telematics Auto Insurance | Metromile

What is telematics auto insurance? 

Telematics auto insurance is a unique type of car insurance that uses telematics devices to help determine rates. While traditional car insurers and those that offer telematics insurance may use similar data points when evaluating risk, the use of telematic devices can provide a more accurate picture of your driving behavior and how frequently you drive. In theory, the driver can benefit by lowering costs based on their driving behavior or the number of miles they drive. 

There are various types of telematics auto insurance that go by different names including:

All of these types of telematics insurance may vary a bit and differ by the insurer, but are designed to benefit drivers who drive fewer miles. Instead of a flat rate that doesn’t consider how much you drive, your rate is determined by how much you drive or by the miles you drive. 

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) states that “Policyholders tend to think of traditional auto insurance as a fixed cost, assessed annually and usually paid for in lump sums on an annual, semi-annual, or quarterly basis. However, studies show that there is a strong correlation between claim and loss costs and mileage driven, particularly within existing price rating factors (such as class and territory).

Driving is an activity that is inherently risky with many variables. But with less driving, there’s less risk, and consumers can stand to benefit. 

How does telematics auto insurance work? 

Telematics auto insurance utilizes telematics devices that collect various data points that insurers use to evaluate risk. 

According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), “Telematics devices measure a number of elements of interest to underwriters: miles driven; time of day; where the vehicle is driven (Global Positioning System or GPS); rapid acceleration; hard braking; hard cornering; and air bag deployment.

These data points are used and provide a more accurate picture of driving habits. If you’re considered a safe driver or a low-mileage driver, you could save money through telematics insurance. 

As part of the tracking, you may need to use a mobile app or specific telematics device to gather the data. The telematics device collects real-time information about how you drive and how much or how long you drive, which can impact your rate. 

Pay-per-mile car insurance 

Pay-per-mile insurance is one of the main types of telematics car insurance. Instead of a flat car insurance premium, you pay based on the miles you drive. Typically, there’s a base rate charged, and you pay several cents for each mile you drive

Low-mileage drivers can save money with pay-per-mile car insurance. In theory, if you drive less, there is less risk, and drivers can be rewarded for that. 

How much can I save with telematics insurance? 

Telematics insurance can be a smart way to save if you’re considered a safe driver and don’t put a ton of miles on your car each year. 

For example, at Metromile you’ll pay a consistent monthly base rate that starts at as low as $29/month and pay a rate that could be as low as 6 cents per mile you drive. Let’s assume you drive 450 miles per month. Your monthly car insurance premium would look like:

$29 + (450 x 6¢) = $56

If you’re a low-mileage driver, pay-per-mile insurance can save you money and reward you for driving less. Based on Metromile data*:

  • If you drive 10,000 miles, you could save up to $541 per year
  • If you drive 6,000 miles, you could save up to $741 per year
  • If you drive 2,500 miles, you could save up to $947 per year  

Pay-per-mile coverage can be a good fit for students, people who work from home, seniors, and people who are environmentally or budget conscious and prefer to take public transportation or walk or bike places.  

If you have a long commute or tend to speed or brake hard or engage in other risky driving behaviors, telematics insurance may not be the best fit. 

Why Metromile is a great option for telematics insurance 

There are various telematics insurance options, but Metromile is one of the best options for low-mileage drivers. You can use the Ride Along app and drive for 17 days and Metromile will offer the best rate possible, plus 15% off*.

Metromile also offers the following coverage options, so you’re protected no matter what your needs are:

If you’re worried about going over and paying too much, here’s a bonus: any miles you drive over 250 in one day are free (150 for New Jersey).  

Filing a claim is also easy using the AI-powered app AVA. In select areas,  the Metromile app offers street cleaning reminders in select areas and has a 92% stolen car return rate . Currently, Metromile is available to drivers in Arizona, California, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington

The bottom line 

Telematics car insurance uses the power of technology to score consumers better, and more accurate rates. Though there are different types of telematics insurance, one type is pay-per-mile coverage where you pay based on the miles you drive. You pay for gas by the gallon, so why not pay for insurance based on the miles you drive? It makes sense and can be a better option for consumers who don’t drive that often. Check out your prospective rate for free and how to get started with Metromile

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

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.

*Eligible drivers can save up to 15% on their initial quote with their safe driving in Oregon.