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How California Drivers Can Save on Auto Insurance

Drivers in California could save with Metromile’s pay-per-mile auto insurance.

Whether you live in Los Angeles, Modesto, Redding, or San Francisco or closer to Death Valley or Lake Tahoe, chances are you could get more from your car insurance coverage.

California drivers can save with pay-per-mile auto insurance and keep the same or better coverage.

How to save on auto insurance in California

More than 124 million Americans, including many California drivers, could be overpaying for car insurance because they do not pay per mile.

Here’s the thing: “Pay as you go” or “pay as you drive” auto insurance is based on how far you drive. These pay-per-mile auto insurance policies can be fairer because it focuses on your actual driving. This means you can control how much you want to pay for car insurance.

Savings can add up fast. It is common for drivers to save as much as $947 a year, according to a recent survey of new customers who saved with Metromile.

Miles driven per yearPer monthPer daySavings*
10,000833 miles192 miles$541
6,000500 miles115 miles$741
2,500208 miles48 miles$947
* Average annual car insurance savings by new customers surveyed who saved with Metromile in 2018.

You can find out whether Metromile and pay-per-mile auto insurance is right for you for free.

Metromile’s Ride Along™ helps drivers get a more accurate rate and understand whether they could save with pay-per-mile car insurance before they buy.

California drivers can download the Metromile app and drive with us for about two weeks. Metromile observes your actual driving, including how many miles you drive, to show you your rate.

Additional discounts are available for California drivers. 

Metromile customers who insure multiple cars on the same policy or install safety equipment or features in their cars could earn a lower rate. Senior drivers can save on auto insurance in recognition of their safer and mature driving practices.

How are auto insurance rates determined in California?

Insurance companies in California consider many factors when setting rates. Some of the most common include coverage limits and deductibles, claims history, driving history, vehicle type, vehicle theft rates, and many others.

Remember: It is important to shop around for auto insurance because rates can change over time. You’ll want to consider prices regularly as a result.

Pay-per-mile auto insurance can be fairer than other types of auto insurance. Metromile customers’ bills update in almost real-time because they pay per mile.

Each month, Metromile charges a base rate and a per-mile rate, usually just a few cents for each mile driven. The low monthly base rate keeps your car covered, even when you might not be driving, almost like how a cell phone provider might charge you a small fee to keep your telephone number and line operating.

What auto insurance coverage do I need in California?

Making sure you have the right amount of car insurance is important for every driver. Drivers want flexible coverage options, which is why Metromile policies can be customized.

California state minimum requirements for car insurance are $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage and $5,000 in property damage liability coverage. 

Many California drivers add comprehensive and collision coverage or choose higher limits because of their lifestyle.

The bottom line

There are many ways to save on car insurance, and many California drivers choose Metromile.

We’re proud to support the many drivers who are low-mileage drivers. Our goal is to provide our community of drivers with familiar coverage and provide some value as a leading pay-per-mile auto insurance company in the U.S. 

If you don’t drive often or find yourself driving less than you did before, you could save with Metromile. Find out how much you could save with a free quote or take a Ride Along™ to learn more.

How Arizona Drivers Can Save on Auto Insurance

Drivers in Arizona could save with Metromile’s pay-per-mile auto insurance.

Whether you live in Phoenix or Tucson or closer to the Four Corners in Monument Valley or the Sonoran Desert, chances are you could get more from your car insurance coverage.

Arizona drivers can save with pay-per-mile auto insurance and keep the same or better coverage.

How to save on auto insurance in Arizona

More than 124 million Americans, including many Arizona drivers, could be overpaying for car insurance because they do not pay per mile.

Pay-per-mile auto insurance, also known as “pay as you go” or “pay as you drive” auto insurance, is based on how far you drive. It can be fairer because it focuses on your actual driving, which gives you control over how much you want to pay for car insurance.

Savings can quickly add up. Drivers might be missing out on as much as $947 a year in savings, according to a recent survey of new customers who saved with Metromile.

Miles driven per yearPer monthPer daySavings*
10,000833 miles192 miles$541
6,000500 miles115 miles$741
2,500208 miles48 miles$947
* Average annual car insurance savings by new customers surveyed who saved with Metromile in 2018.

You can find out whether Metromile and pay-per-mile auto insurance is right for you for free.

Metromile’s Ride Along™ helps drivers get a more accurate rate and understand whether they could save with pay-per-mile car insurance before they buy.

Arizona drivers can download the Metromile app and drive with us for about two weeks. Metromile observes your actual driving, including how many miles you drive, to show you your rate. In Arizona, eligible drivers can save up to 15% on their initial quote with their safe driving — it’s another way drivers can save with Metromile.

Additional discounts are available for Arizona drivers. 

Metromile customers who insure multiple cars on the same policy or install safety equipment or features in their cars could earn a lower rate. Senior drivers can save on auto insurance in recognition of their safer and mature driving practices.

How are auto insurance rates determined in Arizona?

Insurance companies in Arizona consider many factors when setting rates. Some of the most common include coverage limits and deductibles, claims history, driving history, vehicle type, vehicle theft rates, and many others.

It is important to shop around for auto insurance regularly because rates can change over time.

Pay-per-mile auto insurance can be fairer because it helps drivers control their costs. Metromile customers’ bills update in almost real-time because they pay per mile.

Each month, Metromile charges a base rate and a per-mile rate, usually just a few cents for each mile driven. The low monthly base rate keeps your car covered, even when you might not be driving, almost like how a cell phone provider might charge you a small fee to keep your telephone number and line operating.

What auto insurance coverage do I need in Arizona?

Making sure you have the right amount of car insurance is important for every driver. This is why Metromile provides flexible coverage options, which can be customized for extra peace of mind.

Arizona state minimum requirements for car insurance are $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage and $15,000 in property damage liability coverage. 

Many Arizona drivers choose higher limits or add comprehensive and collision coverage for their lifestyle.

The bottom line

There are many ways to save on car insurance, and many Arizona drivers choose Metromile.

Many drivers are low-mileage drivers, and we’re proud to support our community of drivers with familiar coverage and provide some value as a leading pay-per-mile auto insurance company in the U.S.

If you don’t drive often or find yourself driving less than you did before, you could save with Metromile. Find out how much you could save with a free quote or take a Ride Along™ to learn more.

How to Choose the Right Auto Repair Shop After an Accident

An auto repair shop recommended by your insurance company can provide a higher level of service, including saving time and money.

It happened: Your car got damaged and needs repair.

Whether it is a flat tire or some broken glass, or worse, auto insurance can help protect your vehicle, finances, and well-being. Here is everything you might want to know about how to get your car repaired quickly.

What You Should Know About Your Auto Insurance Policy

When something happens to your car, it can be stressful. It’s why understanding your car insurance policy and the types of coverage can help provide some peace of mind. Your coverage could pay for your car repairs and help you get back on the road again.

Most states have state minimum coverage requirements, which are generally intended to ensure you have the right amount of coverage. 

You may have added higher limits or additional types of coverage for more protection. Some common add-ons and coverages for car insurance policies include:

  • Comprehensive coverage helps to cover your car for any damage not caused by a collision or crash. Think: falling objects, fire, natural disasters, theft, or vandalism. This coverage is a popular add-on because it is not only accidents that can damage your car.
  • Collision coverage helps to cover repairs to your vehicle or the cost to replace your car if it is totaled in an accident. The coverage kicks in if you crash into another car or object like a tree. It can also help cover any costs or repairs if you experience a roll-over.
  • Rental car reimbursement helps to save you money if you need a rental car after an accident. Repairs can take a long time, and if you rely on your car to get around, a rental car can feel like a must-have. Reimbursement for a rental car can help you avoid sticker shock from a pricy rental car bill.

Do you have to repair your car after an insurance claim?

You don’t have to get your car repaired right away after an accident. If there is little or no damage, or if you plan to fix everything yourself, you might not need to file a claim with your insurance company, especially if you can pay for the damage out of pocket. So, you might not need to worry if you break your rearview mirror or back into a pole.

However, if you are leasing or financing your vehicle, you may want to review your lease or financing agreement. Some leaseholders or lienholders might require you to get your vehicle repaired and do so quickly.

A good rule of thumb after an accident is to let your insurance company know. Filing a claim with your insurer can help protect you and make a stressful situation easier. 

But remember: You should always file a claim with your insurance company if you damage someone else’s car or it is not immediately clear who might be at fault. Your insurance company can help handle your damages, and you might also avoid some delays or disputes over what types of damages might be covered.

In serious cases, like when someone is injured, there is significant damage to your car, or if you have been in a hit and run, you should always let your insurance company know and file a claim. 

The Top 4 Things You Need to Know About Getting Your Car Repaired

If your car is damaged and needs repair, your car insurance policy might pay for the repairs or any replacement costs. Your car insurance company will often recommend a mechanic or a repair shop, and they might even tell you a body shop is within their network.

It can be expensive and take a lot of time to get your vehicle repaired. Make sure you understand your options and the possible advantages before you make a decision. Consider these four things before you get your car repaired:

1. Should you use a repair shop recommended by your auto insurance company?

When you file a claim or let your insurance company know about an accident, they may recommend their direct repair program or direct repair network

A direct repair network is a group of repair shops and sometimes dealerships that work with your insurance company to provide a higher level of service, which can be especially helpful for vehicle estimates and repairs.

2. Are there any benefits to using a direct repair network?

An insurer-recommended repair shop or another provider that is a part of a direct repair network is generally held to performance standards by the insurance company. 

An insurance company’s recommended repair shop might provide one or more of the following benefits:

  • No out-of-pocket costs for inspections or estimates
  • Potentially quicker repairs or lower costs for repairs
  • More accurate estimates
  • Limited lifetime warranty on repairs
  • Better communication with you and the insurance company
  • Certification for working on specific makes or types of cars, including certain brands, exotic vehicles, imported vehicles, or sports cars

Insurance companies generally work hard to make sure they work with reliable and reputable repair shops or vendors.

3. Can I pick my own mechanic or repair shop after an accident?

You have the right to choose your favorite repair shop or mechanic. Insurance companies cannot require you to visit or have your car repaired by a specific car repair shop.

When you are at your preferred garage or repair shop, make sure to get a repair estimate and let your insurance company know.

4. Can I choose what kind of replacement parts will be used for my car repair?

Some insurance companies and car insurance policies let you choose the types of replacement parts that will be used to repair your vehicle.

In some cases, your car insurance policy might require replacement parts from the original equipment manufacturer. 

Generally, you can choose between original equipment manufacturer parts, which are parts supplied by auto manufacturers under their brand or name, or generic parts.

Generic replacement parts are typically just as safe and might even be made in the same factory as branded car parts.

The bottom line

Damage to your car does not have to be a catastrophic event. Car insurance can be an important way to protect your vehicle and your sanity, which is why it is essential to personalize your policy for your lifestyle and understand how you are covered.

When you need a repair, you have the right to decide how your vehicle gets repaired, and generally, an auto repair shop recommended by your insurance company can be a good choice. It can save you money and time to go with a trusted repair shop in a direct repair network.

How to Update and Manage Your Car Insurance When You Move

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned many former office employees into remote workers, and with their jobs no longer tying them down to a particular location, some are leaving the cities they used to call home for greener pastures.

If you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to let your car insurance company know you’re moving, so they can update your address. 

Location affects the price you pay for car insurance, so your premium could change. This means it could also be a good time to look for a new auto insurance policy if your rate increases. Metromile’s pay-per-mile car insurance charges you for the miles you drive, so drivers who don’t drive often or long distances can save hundreds of dollars by switching.

We all know how stressful moving can be. Between finding a new place to live and packing, car insurance is probably the last thing on your mind right now. But this is one more item you should add to your moving to-do list.

Why is it so important? Let’s find out.

Why do you have to change auto insurance when you move?

There are two important reasons why you need to update your auto insurance when you move. 

  1. Your car insurance company might not operate in the state where you’re moving. Each state has its own licenses for insurance, so you’ll want to make sure your car insurance company operates in your new state. You might need a new auto insurer if your old insurance company isn’t available where you are moving.
  2. Even if they do have a presence there, they might want to adjust your premiums based on your new address.
    Location matters. Many insurance companies consider where you usually park your car each night to determine the price you pay.

What if I don’t tell my car insurance company I moved?

It could be tempting to not say anything, especially if you’re concerned your premiums will go up. 

But there are a few reasons why you’ll want to let your auto insurer know you’re moving:

  1. If you move out of a state, you’ll need a new auto insurance policy before you can register your car. Failing to register your car could get you into trouble with your new state.
  2. If you get into a car accident and need to file a claim, your insurance company might cancel your policy when they find out you moved without telling them. That means you might not be covered if something goes wrong. Not to mention, driving without insurance is illegal in most states.
  3. If that doesn’t get your attention, this might: Not updating your address could be a form of insurance fraud.

We’re not trying to scare you, but we think it’s important you understand the consequences of not updating your auto insurance policy when you move.

Of course, if you’re just out of town on vacation, you don’t need to update your address.

The same goes if you’re only moving temporarily, but plan to return home in a few months. But each insurance company might have a different timeline for what constitutes a temporary move. So you should check with your provider to be sure.

Does your ZIP Code affect your car insurance? 

Your auto insurance rate is based on a number of factors, including where you live and:

  • Age
  • Driving experience
  • Safety record
  • Vehicle type and age
  • Location

So if you move, your auto insurer might update the price you pay to match the rates in your new location.

Why does your car insurance go up when you change your address?

No matter how safe a driver you are, your location is bound to impact your car insurance.

There are three reasons why the price you pay for car insurance might go up when you change your address:

  1. You move to a place with a higher rate of car accidents.
  2. You move to a place with a higher rate of stolen cars.
  3. You move to a place with higher or different state minimum insurance requirements.

So we’d expect your car insurance premium to go up if you move from a small town where there are fewer cars or more patient drivers to a big city with heavy traffic and drivers who might speed or run red lights.

But of course, changing your address doesn’t always mean your premiums will increase. On the flip side, your car insurance rate could go down if you’re leaving an urban area to someplace where there are fewer drivers or hazards on the road.

If you’re looking for more value from your car insurance, Metromile could help low-mileage drivers (most Americans!) save money.

What are the state minimums where I’m moving?

Each state has different minimum coverage requirements for auto insurance.

Metromile can help you figure out what the minimum requirements for insurance coverage are if you’re moving to one of the eight states where we operate:

When should you change your car insurance when you move out of state?

Whether you’re moving out of state or across town, it’s essential to update your address.

Depending on where you go, you might also need to register your car with the local department of motor vehicles or the licensing department and get a new driver’s license. 

But with so many moving pieces, it can be confusing to figure out what to do first, and when to do it. So we put together a few steps for you to follow.

1. Let your car insurance company know before you move 

Each car insurance company has its own policies. 

So it’s important to communicate with them early and often to figure out if they offer car insurance where you are moving, how much it will cost, and exactly when you should update your policy.

2. Don’t cancel your current car insurance policy before you move 

Driving without insurance is illegal in most states.

Even if it’s only for a few days, you risk having no insurance coverage if you get into an accident.

You should also know that canceling your old insurance policy before you start a new one could increase your premiums. Auto insurers will refer to this as a “gap in coverage,” and they see it as a sign that you might be a risky driver. 

So you should wait until after you line up a new policy to cancel your old one.

3. Update your address after you move

After you move, call your insurance company and give them your new address.

Typically, you have 30 to 90 days to update your insurance, but you should verify these details with your car insurance company when you call to let them know about your upcoming move.

4. Shop for a cheaper car insurance

If your auto insurance company doesn’t operate in the new state you’re moving to, or charges too much, you can also shop for another car insurance policy.

People who don’t often drive or drive too far should look at Metromile. Metromile customers pay for the miles they drive and can save hundreds of dollars if they are a low-mileage driver. 

5. Get a driver’s license and register your car in your new state 

Once you update your car insurance, you can head over to the DMV to register your car.

The DMV will want to see proof of insurance before they approve your vehicle registration and give you new license plates. Most states will give you at least a month to register your car, but keep in mind some states require you to do it immediately! It might take a while to schedule an appointment, so it’s important to get on top of this as soon as you move. 

While you’re at the DMV, this could also be a good time to get your new driver’s license so you can knock two things off your to-do list at the same time.

What is this “pay-per-mile insurance” you keep talking about?

Pay-per-mile auto insurance lets you pay for what you use.

Most car insurance companies bundle up everything into one big insurance policy and don’t know how much you drive. But with pay-per-mile insurance, you pay for how much you drive.

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 much could Metromile save me?

Let’s take a look at how much low-mileage drivers could save with Metromile:

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

What’s next?

If you’re moving, it might be the perfect time to switch to pay-per-mile car insurance

It might seem easier to stick with your current car insurance company. But because you have to update your policy anyways, you might as well shop for the best rates while you do that.

Find out how much you could save with a free quote from Metromile.

Is Now a Good Time to Switch Insurance Companies?

The coronavirus pandemic has changed life for many of us. We know that now more than ever, it’s important to spend money wisely and cut costs whenever possible. While you may not be able to look for other options with large bills like your rent or utility bills, your car insurance is one area where you can save a lot of money with little work.

Here’s how you can get started to stop overpaying for coverage you might not need. 

1. Know that you can switch insurers at any time. 

Unlike some other bills, the great thing about switching car insurance is that you don’t need to wait for a specific time to do it. You can cancel your car insurance policy, and generally, your car insurance company will refund the unused portion of any premiums you paid.

2. Understand that you might be overpaying if your driving or lifestyle has changed recently.

Insurance companies will often use your age, driving and insurance history, location, the value of your vehicle, and other factors to determine how much you need to pay for car insurance.

Many people don’t realize that how much you drive is also considered. If you don’t have a regular commute or drive only when necessary, you may be paying a similar price to someone who drives hundreds of miles each month.

Many car insurance companies are offering credits, discounts, or rebates toward your bill because everyone is driving less. However, these savings may be temporary, and you may end up overpaying for car insurance if your driving and lifestyle have changed.

Unlike other insurers, you don’t need to let us know when your driving changes. Metromile’s monthly bills are based on how much you drive, so you could benefit from lower insurance costs year-round.

3. Accept that switching insurers is a lot easier than you might think.

Moving to a new insurance company will generally save you money, as you could benefit from more up-to-date rates that reflect how you drive now. Similarly, switching insurers may be a low-risk decision. Many insurers don’t charge cancellation fees if you decide to leave, although it’s always a good rule to contact your insurer or read your policy to check for any fees or penalties before you cut ties.

4. Time your switch wisely to avoid a lapse in coverage.

You don’t want to drive when you’re uninsured. To avoid a lapse in your coverage, time your new policy in effect date with your new insurer. Metromile can help you pick the day you want your coverage to start, so you can cancel your old coverage when your new coverage kicks in. This can help prevent you from paying for two policies at once unnecessarily.

5. Confirm your cancellation.

After you cancel your policy, most insurance companies will send you cancellation paperwork. If your company doesn’t provide this to you automatically, it doesn’t hurt to call and ask for a confirmation letter for your records.

If you don’t own your car, it can also be helpful to confirm that your financing or leasing company is updated about your new coverage when you switch. Some insurance companies might do the legwork of informing your financing company or lienholder, but it never hurts to double-check.

Bottom Line

Because you only pay for what you use with Metromile, pay per mile car insurance can help you avoid overpaying for coverage you might not need and help save you money.

— 

Dillon Gonzales is a Phoenix-based licensed insurance specialist with a passion for providing customers with helpful insurance information and an outstanding experience.

Car Insurance When Borrowing a Car — How Does it Work?

“Hey, can you run to the store for me real quick? You can use my car,” shouts your friend from across the room while tossing you the keys. As you hop in the driver’s seat, you break into a cold sweat. “What if I get into an accident? Will my insurance still cover me?” you mutter nervously to yourself as you shift the car into reverse.

Far and away, this is one of the most common concerns we hear from customers. Today, we’re breaking down what the basics of what you need to know when you borrow someone else’s car. Let’s get into it.

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

The general (general — not exhaustive!) rule of thumb is that car insurance follows the car, not the driver. Therefore, if you borrow a friend’s car, you would be covered under that friend’s car insurance policy up to the policy limits they chose. This is what’s known in the biz as “permissive use.”

It’s important to note that this counts for irregular and infrequent borrowing; if a friend drives your car to work every Tuesday, your insurance carrier may feel differently about it.

What about my mom/dad/sibling/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 or excluded from your policy.

What is primary vs. secondary 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.

As we mentioned, 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.

Some vehicles are covered by commercial policies 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 some kind of transportation service (eg, Uber, Lyft, Postmates). 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. 

* * *

We hope this helped demystify the insurance implications of borrowing a car! But remember: when in doubt, check the specifics of the car insurance policy in question before getting behind the wheel. If you have any lingering questions (or any questions at all, really), do get in touch. We’re here to help!

– – –

Julianne Sawyer is a freelance writer, app producer, and real-life Metromile customer living in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

Why Did My Car Insurance Bill Go Up? (Part 2)

A few weeks ago we looked into the main factors that impact car insurance rates. Some factors are personal — say, an accident, traffic ticket, or policy change. But insurance is ultimately about pooled risk, and other factors are common to an entire ZIP code, region, or state — things like crime, natural disasters, or a tendency toward riskier driving.

So what might that look like in real life? To speak very broadly, your risk falls into three categories: your driving, your car, your surroundings. Today we’re diving in again to explore some specific circumstances that could prompt a change to your insurance bill.

Same safe driver, different roads

Imagine you’re a safe driver, without a ticket or accident in recent memory. You move from a small town to a larger city, bringing your safe driving habits along with you. Here’s the trouble: there are a lot more cars in that larger city, a lot more traffic, and probably a higher likelihood of an accident. Even though you haven’t changed, the roads you’re driving on have. That affects risk, and thus rates.

Same driver, new car

Life is good, and you’ve treated yo’ self to a new ride. This might not affect the likelihood of an accident, but it could affect the cost of an accident were you to have one. New cars come with fussy on-board technology, expensive parts, and fancy safety features, all of which has recently tended to make car repair more expensive. In insurance jargon, this is known as “severity”; even if the frequency of crashes stays the same, they’re more expensive (severe) when they happen.

Same driver, same roads, different neighbors

Remember how we said insurance is about pooled risk? Well, just like moving to a new area can impact the risk around you, so too can changes to your area. Maybe your area is popular, and more people have moved there. Maybe it’s experienced a rash of car thefts. Maybe your mild-mannered neighbors moved away, and drivers with riskier habits moved in. You might notice this moving the needle come renewal time.

Same roads, new driver

You haven’t moved, you haven’t changed cars, and your neighborhood is just as safe as always. One big change, though: your teenager started driving and was added to your policy. A new driver can be risky — especially when that driver has a teenage brain. You’ll almost certainly see a new driver reflected in your rate.

* * * 

Note that in many of these and similar circumstances, the reverse might also hold true; you could find yourself with a lower car insurance bill after moving out of a crowded city, shifting to a less expensive car, or if your neighbors start having fewer accidents.

Of course, pay-per-mile insurance gives you more personal control of your bill. Had a life change and need a competitive rate? Give us a shout.

– – –

Jeff Rutledge is Sr. Manager of Communications at Metromile.


Different Types of Car Insurance, Explained

We’re obviously big fans of car insurance — and so is your state government, which requires you to carry at least some level of liability coverage. But while the decision to carry car insurance is fairly straightforward (do you own a car or not?) there are plenty of other types of insurance where the waters of decision become murky.

Renters insurance, life insurance, disability insurance — and what the heck is umbrella insurance anyway? If you’ve got car insurance taken care of, here’s a primer on a few other common types of insurance.

Umbrella insurance: it’s a thing.

What is renters insurance?

Renters insurance typically covers your items in the apartment or house you rent. If a pipe bursts inside your apartment and water ruins everything inside, renters insurance can help cover your damaged items. Thief breaks in and steals your laptop? Renters insurance can save the day. 

Though home-ownership occupies a central space in the American mythos, being a renter has many perks — no property taxes or homeowners association fees, minimal responsibility for upkeep, and more. 

Renters insurance can be incredibly affordable; sometimes just a few dollars a month.

What is life insurance?

Life insurance provides some money to your loved ones in the event of your death. Those with shared debt, those whose loved ones depend on their income, or those with future plans that would get bungled by their untimely death are all people who might consider life insurance.

Life insurance is designed for you if, for example, you and a spouse co-signed a mortgage but they would have trouble making the payments alone; if you have a child whose education you’d like to provide for when they’re grown; or if you’re a business owner who wants to ensure your business partners can keep the business afloat.

Certain types of life insurance (namely, term life) can be fairly affordable if purchased in your 20s or 30s.

What is disability insurance?

Disability insurance replaces all or a portion of your income if you’re unable to work due to illness or an accident.

There are two types of disability insurance: short term and long term. Short term, just like it sounds, is designed for shorter periods of income loss — generally 90 days — while long term kicks in after that and can last for years, sometimes until Social Security kicks in.

It’s not uncommon for employers to provide disability insurance that covers a fraction of income (in fact, this is required by law in five states); consumers have the opportunity to buy up to 100% of income on their own, either through a payroll deduction or on the private market.

What is umbrella insurance?

Umbrella insurance is a form of liability insurance that sits on top of your existing car, renters, or homeowners insurance policies. An umbrella insurance policy goes above and beyond claims directly relating to your home or auto insurance, and kicks in if those policies ever hit their cap.

Umbrella insurance usually protects your assets in the event of a lawsuit, and is usually designed for people with significant assets.

The Bottom Line

Insurers offer different policy packages and coverage options, and we can’t speak to your precise needs; be sure to speak to a licensed insurance agent about which policy is right for you, if any.

Knowledge is power, and we hope you’re feeling empowered to make insurance decisions that are right for you. And when it comes time to shop for car insurance, we’ll be here with great rates and premium features.

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Julianne Sawyer is a freelance writer, app producer, and real-life Metromile customer living in the San Francisco Bay Area. 


Didn’t Get the Other Driver’s Information After an Accident? No Problem

You’ve probably heard it a million times: if you have the misfortune of getting into a car accident, you’ve got to immediately swap info with the other driver. That means exchanging details like license plate numbers, contact details, and of course, your insurance information. But what if, for whatever reason, you’re involved in an accident and you don’t get the other driver’s deets? 

There can be a lot of chaos that ensues post-accident. Whether you’re too stressed to remember all the items on your checklist or you experience the unfortunate event of a hit-and-run, there are still steps you can take to make sure you’re taken care of. 

  1. Make sure you’re okay. This may sound obvious, but when the shock of an accident sets in, you may lose sight of what’s happening in the present moment. Take a moment to check yourself and any passengers for injuries, and, if you’re able, to move your car to a safe spot. 
  2. Call the cops. We get it — it can feel silly to involve the police in something as seemingly minor as a fender bender. But a police report can be an essential part of filing a claim, so if everyone’s in okay shape, call the police non-emergency line (use 911 if there are injuries or serious damage). It’s best to get a report number if you can.
  3. Write down what you remember. Pull out a pen and paper, open the Notes app on your phone — do whatever you have to do to start jotting down memories. Any details about the scene of the accident and the vehicle or individual involved is fair game, so things like the license plate number, the color, make, or model of the other car, or anything about the driver can be useful. Do what you can to focus and get it all down on a blank page. 
  4. Take photos. One of the biggest perks of constantly carrying around a smartphone is the ability to snap high quality pics at a moment’s notice. Take pictures of everything you can — the outside of your car, any damage it sustained, the surrounding area of the accident, etc. In the case of a hit-and-run, even the tiniest details could help police find the other driver.
  5. Look around for witnesses. Not only do you have a phone in your pocket — chances are, just about everyone else in the vicinity does too, and it’s very possible someone else recorded evidence of your accident. But even if no one nearby captured a photo or video of the incident, bystanders may be able to tell you about details you somehow missed, like which way the driver went after the accident, or identifying characteristics about their car. Jot down your witnesses’ info just in case your insurance carrier or the police need to touch base with them later. 
  6. Contact your insurance company. Whether the other driver took off after the accident or even flat out refused to hand over their info, you should absolutely still notify your insurance company about the accident. Not only does your insurance carrier likely require you get in touch within a reasonable time, they can make things easier by taking some of the work out of your hands.

And if you want some added peace of mind, perhaps it’s time to give Metromile a shot; one of our unique features is a virtual assistant named AVA who makes filing claims a snap, and can often verify where and when an accident happened and details like how hard the impact was. In some cases she can even ensure instant payment and help you schedule repairs.
Accidents are never convenient, but following the steps above — and considering whether you have the right insurance provider — will make for the smoothest possible claims process. 
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Michelle Konstantinovsky is a San Francisco-based freelance journalist, UC Berkeley alumna, and Metromile customer. 

How Much Should Your Car Insurance Cost?

It’s hard to think of anything more loathsome than overpaying for something you need. Imagine accidentally discovering your neighbor shells out half of what you do for internet that’s twice as fast. Pretty irksome, right?

red car passing in front of brown and white concrete building

How Much Should Your Car Insurance Cost?

If casually discussing your monthly bills with friends and acquaintances isn’t your style, then the best way to ensure you’re paying the appropriate amount for necessary goods and services is to do some research and stick to companies you trust. Case in point: Metromile, a company that believes customers should pay a fair and affordable rate for what they use (what a concept, right?). When you switch to Metromile for car insurance, you can rest assured you’re getting exactly what you pay for and never being taken for a ride.

The Average Cost of Car Insurance in 2018

While it’s totally possible to get a general sense of what car insurance costs around the country, it’s important to keep in mind that rates can vary quite a bit based on numerous factors like location, age, gender, vehicle type, etc. But all that said, you can still look at the big picture and figure out where you stand.

Our friends over at The Zebra did some analysis across the country and found that in 2018, the typical rate for Americans paying car insurance was $1,426/year or $118.63/month. Shocked? Surprised? Pleasantly at peace with what you’re paying? It’s worth understanding the methodology behind The Zebra’s findings before you freak out or celebrate. The researchers came to those numbers after examining nearly 53 million rates between September and December 2017 across all United States zip codes, including Washington, DC.

The team devised a consistent base profile for the insured driver to come to their conclusions: Analysis used a consistent base profile for the insured driver. This fictional driver:

  • Was a 30-year-old single male
  • Drove a 2013 Honda Accord EX
  • Had a good driving history
  • Had coverage limits of $50,000 bodily injury liability per person/$100,000 bodily injury liability per accident/$50,000 property damage liability per accident
  • Had a $500 deductible for comprehensive and collision

Taking all that and more into consideration, The Zebra team settled on the average rate of $1,426/year or $118.63/month. But to fully grasp all that went into those numbers, it’s helpful to break down the factors one by one.

What Factors Impact Your Rate

If you’ve been reading the Metromile blog for a while, then you probably know a bit about how car insurance is calculated. But here’s a refresher on the most common factors that make up car insurance rates across carriers:

  1. Age:

    According to research, age reliably correlates with risky driving behavior, and those at the lower and higher ends of the spectrum are generally considered to be greater risks on the road. Typically teens, people under the age of 30, and adults older than 70 have higher rates.

  2. Location:

    Where you live in the country may have the biggest influence over how much you pay since car insurance is regulated at the state level and priced by zip code. That means wherever your car is usually parked could heavily influence whether your monthly bill is high or low.

  3. Vehicle type:

    Just like you, your car is unique, and it has a specific identifier that no other car has: its vehicle identification number (VIN). The 17-character code is used for tracking recalls, registrations, warranty claims, thefts, and, yes, insurance coverage. When you provide your VIN to an insurance carrier, that company is able to take a peek into your vehicle’s mileage, accident history, model, etc. All those attributes are factored into your premium cost.

  4. Driving History:

    It really does pay to be safe. The more tickets, accidents, and violations you rack up, the higher your rates will be.

  5. Coverage:

    Your coverage limits and deductible amount affect your overall rate. In short: higher limits equal high rates and lower deductibles result in higher rates. The higher your deductible, the more likely you’ll have a lower rate (but, of course, it’s crucial to select a deductible amount you can actually afford).

The Car Insurance Carrier You Choose Matters

When you’re analyzing average rates between carriers, it’s important to know you’re not exactly comparing apples to apples. Each car insurance company relies on slightly different calculations to formulate rates, and, as mentioned above, each state operates differently on top of that. So while The Zebra’s national averages might be a helpful starting point when taking stock of your own rate, understanding the personal factors that are contributing to your costs will better equip you to make necessary changes.

So, what’s the bottom line, you ask? How much should car insurance actually cost? As you probably guessed by now, there’s no single clear-cut answer, and how that question is answered depends heavily on who’s asking it. But while there are no black or white answers in the world of car insurance costs, there are a few general, overarching rules of thumb worth following.

Know that you can expect small decreases in your bill as you age (until you turn 70, usually). And if you really want to guarantee you’re on track to score the best deal and truly getting what you’re paying for, then it’s time to make the switch to Metromile. Not only is Metromile the kind of company that will only ever charge you for the miles you drive, but it’s a comprehensive carrier that will help you save money on everything from street sweeping tickets to mechanic shop visits — seriously.

Ready to make the switch? Call 1.888.242.5204 or visit metromile.com to get your free quote. And if you’re already a member, consider a chat with one of Metromile’s qualified agents to find out how you could be saving even more money. Still have questions? Reach out to us on Twitter, FB, or Instagram or visit the help center.