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How I Drive: I Chose Pay Per Mile Because I Work From Home

Low-mileage driver & Illinois resident RJ

RJ Weiss works from home full-time in Geneva, Illinois, the western suburb of Chicago, where he lives with his wife and three children. A certified financial planner, he runs The Ways to Wealth. RJ describes it as an online community full of resources that helps people learn how to make money, budget, and invest their money wisely.

The work-from-home financial whiz became a Metromile customer in March 2018, after finding people who work from home weren’t getting a good deal from other insurance companies.

How’d you hear about Metromile?

I found Metromile while comparing options for low-mileage drivers. You could say insurance and financial planning run in my blood. I became a certified financial planner in my 20s, and my family had an insurance agency that dated back four generations. My father was the president of the agency, so we talked about insurance a lot. We still do, even though he’s sold the agency.

Why did you choose Metromile?

I thought my previous insurer wasn’t giving us enough credit for not driving much. We live about 40 miles outside of Chicago, and other than a big road trip now and then, we tend to drive close to home. With my understanding of coverage options, limits and Illinois requirements, Metromile seemed like a great fit for my family. 

We could have bundled our auto insurance with our home insurance, but my home insurer offered a discount that was only about 5% to 10% — that doesn’t come close to what I’m saving with Metromile. Unbundling was definitely a better option for us.

How has your bill been affected by shelter-in-place orders? How much is an average bill now compared to this time last year? 

I was already saving a lot, and now I’m saving even more. Last year, our monthly Metromile bill for both of our cars was usually about $60 or $70 total per month. Since shelter-in-place, it’s dropped to about $45 or $50 per month.

Have you taken advantage of Metromile’s free miles feature? In Illinois, we charge up to 250 miles driven in one day, and any additional miles after that on the same day are free. 

Yes! We took a family road trip to Tennessee last year, and that feature really came in handy. It’s sure nice to have the cap. It wound up being less than $10.

Have you used the Metromile app? 

Yes, I love the app. It’s fun to track my driving and costs. I don’t mind having the Pulse device plugged into our cars because it provides a more accurate view of our driving, keeps our rates low, and benefits me as a consumer.

What’s your advice for people who might be newly working from home or looking for ways to save money?

You have to find insurance companies that are willing to give you credit for what you already do. I found Metromile after I moved to work from home full-time, and it paid off to take advantage of the cost-savings. I know from personal experience that insurance companies have so much data about their customers that the cost can really skyrocket if they don’t want you. 

Additionally, more people are low-mileage drivers than you might think. It’s becoming more common to keep the car parked and walk to the store. It helps that I come from insurance, and I knew this trend; it made me an early mover to pay per mile.

How to Handle an Accident in a Rental Car

So, you’re finally on vacation. Yay! After stepping off the plane, where do you go first? The rental car agency, of course. At the counter, you confidently decline the rental insurance because you “don’t need it.” Three days later, you get into an accident…in said rental car. If you’re internally screaming at yourself for declining the rental insurance, you’re not alone. Getting into an accident on vacation in a rental car is the perfect storm of bad luck. 

My husband and I were on a romantic anniversary trip in our favorite place on earth: Maui. Unfortunately, we learned that it’s possible to be rude even in paradise; someone side swiped our rental in the parking lot of a restaurant before driving away.

Stressful, right?

Metromile customer or not, here’s what you should do if you get into an accident in a rental car:

Step 1: Keep your cool. Make sure your car is fully stopped before exiting the vehicle.

Step 2: Check-in with your passengers and the parties in the other car. If anyone needs medical attention, dial 911 immediately. Then, move your car out of the flow of traffic (as best you can). 

Step 3: Report the accident to the police. This step is critical, especially in the case of a hit-and-run.

Step 4: While you’re waiting for the police to arrive, do not admit guilt or apologize (an apology can be considered an admission of guilt in some circumstances).

Step 5: Document the scene with photos and videos. Snap pictures of both cars, the driver, signs, lights, lane markings, skid marks, road construction, etc.

Step 6: Obtain a police report. Having a police report can help expedite an insurance payout.

Step 7: Contact the rental car company and ask how you should proceed. If you purchased rental insurance, they will explain the next steps.

Step 8: File a claim with your personal insurance company.

If you’re a Metromile customer, you’re in especially good hands — our agents are here to help and our claims team is lightning fast. But if not, knowing the steps to follow in the event of an accident in a rental car is beneficial. Don’t let it ruin your vacation!

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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?

Some surprises are pleasant: an unexpected raise, an upgrade to first class, a new puppy. And some — like a mysterious increase in your car insurance bill — are anything but. Some of the most common questions we hear from customers have to do with bill changes, and while there’s no one-size-fits-all answer (insurance is complicated!), there are a few common causes for a price increase.

An accident or traffic ticket. This is the big one. If you were at fault in any fender bender during your term, your insurance company would likely factor that into your rate when your policy renews. That’s because your driving record is one of the most important factors insurance carriers use to calculate your risk. A speeding ticket or other violation may have the same impact. In both situations, you may lose the “good driver discount” that takes three years of flawless driving to qualify for.

A change to your policy. Did you recently add a new driver to your insurance? Any switches to your plan or additions of different types of coverage? Any tweak to your previous plan changes the risk.

You qualified for a discount, but you don’t anymore. Sometimes the low rate you grew accustomed to was tied to a discount on your policy — but if something in your life changed (e.g., you went from married to single, you moved to a new ZIP Code, your defensive driving course took place several years ago) you may no longer qualify for that discount. 

Changes at the state level. It’s common for state-level factors, which individual drivers don’t have control over, to affect insurance prices. Everything from natural disasters to widespread insurance fraud impacts risk, and each state has a distinct regulatory agency that insurers work with to set rates. Since these factors are collective, they tend to produce more modest rate changes than individual driving habits.

Location, location, location. ZIP Code is a primary factor used to evaluate risk. If your area has experienced a rash of stolen cars, has more accident-prone drivers, or is more crowded with cars, you may see that additional risk reflected in your bill. 

If your bill recently went up, chances are one of these factors was behind it. (All of these factors can also contribute to a lower bill — but as you might guess most customers are a-ok with a lower rate.)

We know a rate increase is frustrating, which is why we offer our customers some control over their bill by charging per mile; we can help you get started.

Still have questions about your bill? We’re available by chat, email, and phone to help.

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Michelle Konstantinovsky is a San Francisco-based freelance journalist, UC Berkeley alumna, and Metromile customer. 


Car Insurance Add-Ons: A Guide

Carrying car insurance is a no-brainer. Besides keeping you within the bounds of the law, the major nuts and bolts of an insurance policy — your coverage limits, deductibles, and so on — are there to help you avoid financial ruin in the case of an accident.

But what about those options like rental coverage or a $0 deductible for glass repair, that are nice-to-haves but not necessarily standing between you and bankruptcy? Are you cheating yourself by not adding these bonuses to your plan? To help you avoid decision paralysis, here’s what you need to know about three common car insurance add-ons.

$0 glass deductible
A practically inevitable part of driving is an eventual glass issue, and even the most high-end vehicles are at risk for chips and cracks in the windows and windshield. The good news is these minor problems can be fixed quickly and easily. The not-so-good news is they typically aren’t cheap. 
If you’re particularly concerned about the state of your glass or if you’re in the habit of driving your car through construction zones or other environments that increase your likelihood of chips and cracks, you may want to consider opting for glass and windshield coverage. With a zero-dollar glass deductible, your insurer will be the one footing the bill for repairs, so if you do experience a broken, chipped, or cracked windshield or window, you won’t be on the hook for costs.

Rental coverage
When an accident occurs, you’re likely consumed with gathering details, submitting a claim, and making sure you handle any necessary medical issues. But there’s another major detail many people forget to consider in the aftermath of an accident: how to get around if your car needs to go into the shop for repairs, or worse — it was totaled.

If you rely on a car for work, errands, or any other daily responsibility, you’ll probably need to replace your damaged vehicle with something as soon as possible. The easiest option would be to rent a car, but — surprise, surprise — rental cars can be pretty pricey. By adding rental car reimbursement to your car insurance plan, you protect yourself and your wallet with the assurance that your insurer will cover the cost of your rental while your car is out of commission. If the thought of being without wheels is too much for you to bear, you might want to consider this extra a must-have.

Roadside assistance
Is there anything worse than the thought of being stranded by the side of the road? There are dozens of reasons this could happen — especially if you have a…let’s say “less than reliable” vehicle. Car stuff just happens. Enter roadside assistance.

By adding roadside assistance to your insurance plan, you’re covered if you need any of these:

  • Flat tire fixes
  • Locksmith services
  • Emergency gasoline delivery
  • Towing (up to the distance outlined in your contract)

(Brag alert: Metromile’s roadside assistance works completely through our app — no digging cards out of your glovebox or looking up missing phone numbers.)

Like the other extras, roadside assistance can provide peace of mind. And if that peace of mind feels worthwhile, roadside assistance coverage might be for you. The good news is that none of these extras will break the bank — they often cost only a few bucks a month.

So the question is: how much value do you place on peace of mind?
Need more info on these or any other Metromile features or extras? Visit metromile.com today to get a free quotewe’ll find the plan for you, with or without the extras.

How a Speeding Ticket Affects Your Insurance

I remember my one and only speeding ticket experience like it was yesterday. Sadly, it wasn’t, which means my college days are farther behind me than I like to admit. I was driving back to school after a weekend at my parents’ house, convinced I was commuting with the flow of traffic. But the Highway Patrol Officer who pulled me over begged to differ. He said I was going 15 miles over the speed limit. The only rational response I could offer in the moment was a full-on hysterical sob. I was such a chicken behind the wheel! How could I have committed a crime?! And how would this affect me financially?

Speeding tickets aren’t cheap. The average cost in California is $710 for a $35 base-fine infraction, and that’s not even close to some of the costs in other parts of the country (Virginia reportedly has the highest penalties, with citations that can cost upwards of $1,000!). But that initial sting of the ticket itself is just part of the overall financial repercussions. Speeding tickets do affect your insurance rates, and they may have a bigger impact than you think.
A major factor in determining your insurance rate is your driving record. That helps insurers get a sense of how much of a risk you might be on the road. And guess what determines your driving record in addition to accidents and minor fender benders. That’s right: traffic violations. The more tickets you have, the more likely it is that your insurance rates will rise. The (kind of) good news is that according to an analysis from The Zebra, speeding tickets are the least costly kind of traffic violations when it comes to insurance rates. But the potential price hike can still be significant: an average of $354 per year.  
The thing about speeding is that it’s not a black and white issue; a driver may be caught speeding a few miles over the limit or far past the limit. Different insurance companies may adjust that driver’s rates differently depending on the severity of the speed infraction. While some companies only increase rates if a driver receives a ticket for going more than 15 mph over the posted limit, other companies may not increase the rate at all if it’s a first-time offense. Multiple violations will have a greater impact, and in some states, accumulating multiple “points” on your driving record (the system varies by state) can lead to more than sky-high insurance premium — it can even lead to license revocation or suspension.
Luckily, for unintentional speed demons like me, traffic violations don’t permanently affect your insurance rates. Most companies examine your list of traffic violations over the last three to five years when determining your rate, and once a ticket is removed from your driving record (this varies by state, but most states take away the points after three years), insurance companies can no longer hold the infraction against you.
One surefire way to assure you’re getting the best rate possible is to investigate all your options. If you’re a low-mileage driver looking for a better fit, Metromile may just be your perfect solution. Visit metromile.com today to receive a free quote.

Great, You Got a Speeding Ticket. Wondering if it’ll Affect Your Insurance Rates?

 
I remember my one and only speeding ticket experience like it was yesterday. Sadly, it wasn’t, which means my college days are farther behind me than I like to admit. I was driving back to school after a weekend at my parents’ house, convinced I was commuting with the flow of traffic. But the Highway Patrol Officer who pulled me over begged to differ. He said I was going 15 miles over the speed limit. The only rational response I could offer in the moment was a full-on hysterical sob. I was such a chicken behind the wheel! How could I have committed a crime?! And how would this affect me financially?

Speeding tickets aren’t cheap. The average cost in California is $710 for a $35 base-fine infraction, and that’s not even close to some of the costs in other parts of the country (Virginia reportedly has the highest penalties, with citations that can cost upwards of $1,000!). But that initial sting of the ticket itself is just part of the overall financial repercussions. Speeding tickets do affect your insurance rates, and they may have a bigger impact than you think.
A major factor in determining your insurance rate is your driving record. That helps insurers get a sense of how much of a risk you might be on the road. And guess what determines your driving record in addition to accidents and minor fender benders. That’s right: traffic violations. The more tickets you have, the more likely it is that your insurance rates will rise. The (kind of) good news is that according to an analysis from The Zebra, speeding tickets are the least costly kind of traffic violations when it comes to insurance rates. But the potential price hike can still be significant: an average of $354 per year.  
The thing about speeding is that it’s not a black and white issue; a driver may be caught speeding a few miles over the limit or far past the limit. Different insurance companies may adjust that driver’s rates differently depending on the severity of the speed infraction. While some companies only increase rates if a driver receives a ticket for going more than 15 mph over the posted limit, other companies may not increase the rate at all if it’s a first-time offense. Multiple violations will have a greater impact, and in some states, accumulating multiple “points” on your driving record (the system varies by state) can lead to more than sky-high insurance premium — it can even lead to license revocation or suspension.
Luckily, for unintentional speed demons like me, traffic violations don’t permanently affect your insurance rates. Most companies examine your list of traffic violations over the last three to five years when determining your rate, and once a ticket is removed from your driving record (this varies by state, but most states take away the points after three years), insurance companies can no longer hold the infraction against you.
One surefire way to assure you’re getting the best rate possible is to investigate all your options. If you’re a low-mileage driver looking for a better fit, Metromile may just be your perfect solution. Visit metromile.com today to receive a free quote.

Help! I Need Roadside Assistance

 
One of the many reasons drivers seek out a solid car insurance plan is to feel totally secure in the event that something unexpected occurs. And one major way Metromile takes care of its customers is by offering 24/7 roadside assistance. That means if you need a jump, tow, or locksmith any time of day, Metromile will get you back up and running in no time. But unlike traditional insurers who require customers to call in and navigate a lengthy telephone process before actually receiving help, Metromile makes things super simple so you can request assistance in a way that’s quick and convenient for you.

Three Easy Ways to Get Roadside Assistance ASAP
 
If you opt to add roadside assistance to your Metromile plan (just $5-$7 extra a month), the vehicles on your policy will be covered for flat tire changes, battery jump starts, locksmith services, and emergency gasoline deliveries. To utilize any of those perks, you can do one of three things:
 

  1. Use your Metromile app. You already know the Metromile app is awesome for a multitude of reasons (it can keep you on track with important trip data, keep your car in tip top shape thanks to diagnostic info, and much more). But the Metromile app is also one key way to access roadside assistance. Here’s how:
    1. Log into your app and tap the ‘Insurance’ icon on the bottom right.
    2. Tap the ‘Roadside’ icon in the top left and follow the prompts on the screen.
    3. Answer the series of questions regarding your incident to help Metromile determine what type of assistance you need.
    4. That’s it! As soon as you complete the prompts, someone is dispatched and help is on the way.

 
 

  • Use your online dashboard. The Metromile online dashboard really is the one-stop shop for all things policy-related. And it’s also another easy way to request roadside assistance by following these simple steps:

 

    1. Navigate to the dashboard either online or via the Metromile app.
    2. Click the ‘Claims’ tab on the top navigation bar.
    3. From there, click ‘Request Roadside Assistance’ in the right-hand menu.
    4. Follow the prompts to determine the kind of help you need, and sit back until someone arrives.

 

  1. Call Metromile roadside assistance. Not into navigating menus or typing out your answers? No problem. It’s ridiculously easy to request roadside assistance with a quick call — just dial 1-800-983-3400 and someone will be out to help you in a snap.

 
Still have questions about the value of roadside assistance or any of the other features Metromile customers love? Visit the Help Center for answers to some of the most frequently asked questions, and if you’re not a Metromile customer yet, get your free quote today.

Is Insurance Affected by Getting Married?

Does Getting Married Impact Your Car Insurance Costs? 

For better or worse, your car insurance rates may change when you get married.

bouquet assorted-color flowers

Research shows married couples are generally deemed “less risky” by auto insurers and can be eligible for discounts on auto insurance premiums. Even if you previously shared a car insurance policy, you could still be eligible for additional discounts. However (and this is a big however), if your partner has a history of bad driving, this could negatively impact your combined insurance rate moving forward.

Um… file this under “things I didn’t know before getting married.” As a newlywed, I was confident we had everything under control. We filed the paperwork with our city clerk’s office, I went through the steps to change my last name to his, we filed our taxes jointly, and we moved our health insurance over to my new husband’s plan. Things were going swimmingly.

Now, eight months into my new marriage and I find out that we could’ve been saving money on our car insurance this entire time? Cool. The one time being married may actually cost us less and I had no idea.

Now onto you – are you newly married or getting married soon? Did you know that your car insurance premiums could rise or fall once you get married? No? Join the club.

Here’s a little background on why this is the case. If you and your spouse have stellar driving records and no recent gaps in your insurance coverage, you are considered low-risk drivers and therefore will pay less in auto insurance premiums. Sit down together and review your policies. Then, check to see if you can get a better quote. Being a safer driver could actually improve both your relationship and the cost of your insurance.

Did you know that insurers often view married drivers as more responsible than single drivers? In fact, one study suggested that single drivers were twice as likely to be involved in a drinking and driving accident than married drivers. I’ve also read that rates can drop for people under the age of 25 when they tie the knot. I can’t speak to this from personal experience, as both my husband and myself were 28 when we got married – but the data is there.

There are times, though, when merging car insurance policies after marriage isn’t prudent. If one of you doesn’t have a squeaky-clean driving record (hey, no judgment!), it might be better to keep your policies separate. Merging policies may actually increase your rate overall. Why? Because there is risk-by-association. So even if your spouse drives their own car, there may be rare instances when they need to drive your car, and therefore become a higher risk.

As a Metromile customer, I checked with its Customer Experience team hoping I’d score a marriage discount. The rep let me know it didn’t apply to us because we were already getting Metromile’s best rate. Though I was disappointed, it was nice to know that our car insurance rate was the most competitive offered by Metromile. Our premium and per-mile rate are determined by our car model, location, and the fact that both my husband and myself are responsible, low-mileage drivers.

The bottom line: remember that your car insurance rates may change once you’re hitched, and do your homework to make sure you’re getting the best rate.

Not part of the Metromile fam yet? Click here to grab a free quote and see how much money you could be saving! Already a Metromile customer? Refer your friends and family to Metromile and make some extra cash. Be safe out there and see you on the road.

Does Your Car Insurance Spark Joy?

Spring is finally here! It’s time to pack away the thick sweaters, open up the windows, and clean the corners of our houses that haven’t seen the light of day all winter.

Are you familiar with the KonMari Method of tidying up? For those who aren’t familiar, the KonMari Method states that any item that doesn’t “spark joy” should be thanked and discarded. Founded by Marie Kondo, the KonMari Method has helped thousands of people across the world find deeper happiness and sense of calm by eliminating those items that no longer “spark joy.”

 

Personally, I’ve had great success with the KonMari Method. By eliminating items that no longer sparked joy I found that my home stayed tidy, felt less cluttered, and gave me a sense of peace. It also helped tremendously with my own mental clarity, which got me thinking: are there other areas of my life that could be KonMari’d?

 

The idea excited me, and I dove into other ways I could KonMari my life. My digital life needed cleaning up, so I purged my laptop of all the old and useless files and organized only the ones still important to me. Apps on my phone got organized into folders based on their function, and ones that no longer served me were deleted. I cleaned up my online presence as well, by removing old website login info (bye Myspace!) and embarrassing Instagram pics from 2013.

 

The last piece of the puzzle was figuring out what to do with my financial life. While combing through my bank statements and credit card transactions, it occurred to me: I’m paying for things that don’t spark joy but are a necessity (like electricity, my cell phone bill, etc.). How am I supposed to KonMari those things? This made me step back and think – how can I bring more joy into my life with these necessities?

 

The first step in this process was to sit down and figure out what I was paying for out of necessity. Was I getting what I paid for? Do these companies and services have my best interests at heart, or do I only hear from them when my bill is late? What are my other options? Many of these services didn’t pass the KonMari Method test (looking at you, Internet provider), so I started to sniff out what other companies offered the same services.

 

Spoiler alert: most of the necessities that I was paying for didn’t pass the KonMari test. In fact, only one did: my Metromile car insurance. To most people, their car insurance provider doesn’t exactly light a fire within them, but mine does.

 

If I’ve forgotten where I parked my car, the Metromile app tells me exactly where it is (this happens a lot). The Metromile app also tells me how much gas I have left in my tank and helps decode warning lights that pop up on my dashboard from time to time. As a low-mileage driver, I never feel like I’m paying for something I don’t use because, quite simply, I’m not.

 

My favorite feature, however, is the trip tracking feature. As a freelance writer, I’m frequently driving to various client meetings. The mileage that I put on my car for those business meetings is a deductible expense which I can claim on my taxes at the end of the year. With Metromile, I can see every single trip I’ve ever taken and the exact mileage incurred, which makes bookkeeping for my small business an absolute breeze.

 

While I still might be struggling to find other options for the services that don’t spark joy, I know one thing for damn sure: my car insurance sparks joy. Does yours?

 

Does your car insurance spark joy? If not, it might be time to switch to Metromile. Click here to grab a free quote and Spring clean your car insurance provider! Already part of the Metromile fam? Share the love and make some cash! Click here to take advantage of our friends and family referral program. Be safe out there and see you on the roads!

Busting The 3 Biggest Car Insurance Myths

 

Between finding a plan that fits your needs and learning to decode industry jargon (what the heck is subrogation, anyway?), you might be under the impression that car insurance is seriously complicated. And while there can be a lot to learn, coverage doesn’t have to make you tear your hair out.

In fact, we at Metromile have made it our business to make car insurance as simple and straightforward as possible — customers get the best coverage for their individual situation,  at a fair price. But the benefits of being a Metromile customer go far beyond your bank account — from a simple sign-up process and easy automatic payments to seamless customer support and features like a monthly trip summary. Your peace of mind is a priority for us, and we value your time.  

 

But in case you’re still skeptical, it’s time to bust the biggest myths and set your mind at ease:

 

Myth #1: My insurer won’t believe it was a hit and run.

 

If your insurer is Metromile, there won’t be frustration. Meet AVA, Metromile’s AI claims system, who can verify where and when an accident occurred and even how hard the impact was. AVA collects details in seconds to help you file your claim quickly, and in some cases, can even ensure instant payment and help schedule repairs. Hit and runs are bad enough without having to prove your role as the victim.

 

 

Myth #2: With car accidents and insurance claims, it’s always a “my word over theirs” situation

 

Although AVA’s not a real person, she packs a lot of power and pretty effectively squashes any question about the facts.  AVA’s got a team of data scientists behind the scenes who utilize machine learning to continually improve the customer experience. Acting as a virtual witness, she can even help reconstruct an accident scene, thanks to sensor data from the Metromile Pulse, our device that plugs into your car’s OBD-II port.

 

 

Myth #3: Claims are complicated and take forever.

 

You’re probably already using your phone to network, order food, and maybe find the love of your life. Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could also file a claim, locate a repair shop, book a rental car, and get paid all with a few swipes? You absolutely can, with the Metromile app. Unlike other insurance companies that only allow you to start the claim process online, Metromile allows customers to file the whole claim on their mobile phones, and certain claim types can even be resolved in as little as a few hours — without ever leaving your couch. And if you’re not an app person, we have a best in class Customer Experience team based in Tempe, Arizona.

 

 

Still have questions about how Metromile is busting myths and breaking through car insurance stereotypes? Visit our Help Center to learn more, or check out some pretty cool videos on our Youtube channel.