Medical Payments and Personal Injury Protection Explained

If you’ve been visiting the Metromile blog for a while, there’s a decent chance you’re well on your way to becoming a coverage connoisseur, able to effortlessly rattle off the differences between collision, comprehensive, liability, and uninsured coverage. But even if you’re just kicking off your insurance education, you’re probably already hip to the fact that not all coverage is created equal. That’s why today, we’re breaking down even more must-know terms: medical payments coverage and Personal Injury Protection (PIP).

Medical-Payments-and-Personal-Injury-Protection-Explained

The Basics: What Are Medical Payments and Personal Injury Protection Coverage?

Medical Payments Coverage

Unsurprisingly, medical payments coverage (sometimes called medical expense or MedPay) is intended to cover the costs of, well, medical payments that are the result of an accident. This type of coverage protects you no matter who is at fault for the accident. While your health insurance plan may go a long way in paying for medical costs, MedPay typically fills in the gaps and is a good go-to in the case of low limits or high deductibles. Aside from covering any necessary hospital expenses, medications, etc., medical payment insurance may help pay for any injuries sustained by your passengers, injuries you sustain as a pedestrian or bicyclist if a driver hits you, any necessary dental care resulting from the accident, and, in the worst case scenario, funeral expenses.

Personal Injury Protection Coverage

Personal Injury Protection is similar but distinct; while medical payments coverage is strictly intended to cover medical bills, PIP takes things a step further, covering health costs and resulting lost wages for you and your passengers after an accident, regardless of fault. Unlike bodily injury liability insurance, which covers damages to other people If you cause an accident, PIP pays for your expenses. And while MedPay and PIP overlap in some areas, PIP usually covers more expenses and is written specifically for car-related injuries, which are sometimes excluded from certain health insurance policies.

But all that info is general — the specifics of medical payments coverage and PIP vary from state to state. For example:
  • In California, Arizona, Illinois, and Virginia, medical payments coverage can pay medical bills for injuries you or your passengers sustained in a covered accident, up to the limit you choose (regardless of who caused the accident).
  • Pennsylvania requires something called first-party benefits for medical expenses; that just means MedPay covers medical costs, funeral costs, lost income, and any potential death benefit for the policyholder and anyone occupying the covered vehicle, at the time of the accident, no matter who’s at fault, up to a limit you choose.
  • In Washington, insurance providers are required to offer PIP to cover lost wages and benefits resulting from injury or death (residents can choose to reject this coverage).
  • MedPay isn’t offered in Oregon, but PIP is required to cover medical expenses (which may include lost wages and/or other benefits) resulting from injury or death, regardless of who’s at fault in an accident.
  • Similar to Oregon, New Jersey is considered a “no-fault” state because, regardless of who caused the accident, PIP is required to cover an array of medical, rehabilitative, and living expense options as well as lost wages.

These are just a few examples of how MedPay and PIP may vary — to find out the requirements where you live and to make sure you’re abiding by all the local laws, visit the Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV)’s state by state guide.

So Do You Really Need Medical Payments Coverage and/or PIP?

We get it, all these different types of coverage can be confusing and overwhelming, and it can be hard to know which ones fit your needs, lifestyle, and budget. But there are at least a few guidelines that can help you make the right decision.

The Legal Stuff

As mentioned above, some states require certain forms of insurance, so if you’re a driver, your decision is already made for you (at least it takes the guesswork out of the equation, right?).

Most states offer MedPay, but a handful don’t: Oregon, Minnesota, New York, and North Dakota.

    Medical Payments Coverage Is Required In:
    1. Pennsylvania
    2. Maine
    3. New Hampshire

Things are a little trickier when it comes to PIP. In addition to Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico, 15 states use the no-fault system and require drivers to buy PIP:

    Personal Injury Protection Coverage Is Required In:
    1. Delaware
    2. Florida
    3. Hawaii
    4. Kansas
    5. Kentucky
    6. Massachusetts
    7. Michigan
    8. Minnesota
    9. New Jersey
    10. New York
    11. North Dakota
    12. Oregon
    13. Pennsylvania
    14. Texas
    15. Utah

If your state requires PIP coverage, then you can count on your insurance policy to cover your expenses in an accident — even if another driver was at fault — unless certain monetary or verbal “tort thresholds” are met. That means either the resulting expenses would exceed a specific amount or you’d have to suffer a specific type of injury before being able to file a lawsuit. All these rules and regulations vary from state to state, so it’s important to know the laws where you live (check the Department of Motor Vehicles website for more info on the requirements in your neck of the woods).

The Coverage Stuff

When it comes to how much coverage you really need, well, as with a lot of other insurance scenarios, it depends. The cost of your policy will depend on your coverage limit and deductible, as well as your location, age, and other factors. Determining how much you need and can afford takes some personalized planning, so it’s always best to work with a skilled insurance agent who can walk you through the process (you can reach ours at 1.888.242.5204).

One of the biggest things to consider when looking into MedPay is your health insurance. If your health insurance will provide adequate coverage for injuries you suffer after a car accident, and MedPay isn’t required in your state, then you may not need it. If you health insurance does not cover injuries results from car accidents, it’s a good idea to buy medical payments coverage.

On the other end of the spectrum, often times PIP can work in conjunction with your health insurance coverage. To do so, you have to set your health insurance as your primary form of injury coverage after an accident. Which means: your health insurance benefits will pay your medical costs in the event of a car accident that causes you injury. Your Personal Injury Protection coverage would then help with expenses that exceed your health insurance limits. Be sure to consult with your health insurance and car insurance providers before making any decisions.

Remember both MedPay and PIP cover medical bills after an auto accident, but MedPay does not include coverage for lost wages, rehab or other essential services like PIP does. So, if you’re required to have PIP, MedPay may be overkill. However if your state’s limit on PIP is low, MedPay coverage could be a beneficial supplement.

Still Have Questions?

If you find all this info confusing, you’re far from alone. Insurance can be a tough topic to navigate, which is why Metromile offers a comprehensive Help Center to address all the most common frequently asked questions on coverage types, claims, billing, and much, much more. And if your question isn’t answered there, you can get direct, customized guidance from one of Metromile’s licensed agents. Whether you’re just signing up for a new policy, switching providers, or thinking of tacking on a new type of coverage, Metromile’s there to take the guesswork out of the equation. Get a free quote today or call 1.888.242.5204 to talk it out.

Michelle Konstantinovsky is a San Francisco-based journalist/writer/editor and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumna. She’s written extensively on health, body image, entertainment, lifestyle, design, and tech for outlets like Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, O: The Oprah Magazine, Seventeen, and a whole lot more. She’s also a contributing editor at Fitbit and the social media director at California Home + Design Magazine. She is an avid admirer of shiny objects, manatees, and preteen entertainment.

How Metromile Roadside Assistance Works

If you’ve been a longtime reader of the Metromile blog (hey, thanks!), you’ll remember our previous posts on comprehensive and collision coverage, how to choose the property damage and bodily injury coverage for you, and what to do if you get into an accident with an underinsured or uninsured driver. Today we’re covering a new topic – how the Metromile roadside assistance program works.

From a dead battery to getting locked out of your car, there’s never an instance when Metromile roadside assistance doesn’t come in handy. Why pay a different company to handle roadside assistance when you can add it to your Metromile policy in a snap? Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how roadside assistance works, what’s included, and more. Grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and let’s chat.

Do You Need Metromile Roadside Assistance?

First things first – you need to understand how roadside assistance works to determine if it’s the right fit for you! Let’s get into the cost, use cases for roadside assistance, how to call for roadside assistance, and more.

Cost

The cost to add roadside assistance to your policy is about $5 – $7 a month. In addition to towing, our roadside assistance coverage offers flat tire changes, battery jump starts, locksmith services, and emergency gasoline deliveries. All of that protection for the price of a matinee movie ticket!

Use cases

We offer roadside assistance as an optional add-on to comprehensive and collision policies. The coverage includes:

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

Please note that this coverage only applies to vehicles listed on your policy. If you need to edit the vehicles covered on your policy, you can easily do so through your Metromile online dashboard.

How Metromile Roadside Assistance Works

Once you have Metromile Roadside Assistance, we hope you’ll never have to use it. But if you are ever in a bind like outlined above, we’ll be happy to help.

How to call for roadside assistance

A time may come when you need to call for roadside assistance, and you’ll most likely be stressed, frustrated, and a little on edge. That’s why we make it so easy to do.

  1. Metromile Roadside Assistance on the Metromile App
  2. Your first option for calling roadside assistance is through the Metromile smart driving app. Simply log into the app and tap the ‘Insurance’ icon on the bottom right. Then, tap the ‘Roadside’ icon in the top left and follow the prompts on the screen. The app will take you through questions such as, “Were you in an accident?” and “Will you be waiting at your vehicle for the tow truck to arrive?” to determine what type of assistance you need. Once you complete the prompts, a driver will be dispatched and sent to you as soon as possible.

  3. Metromile Roadside Assistance on your online dashboard
  4. The second option for contacting roadside assistance is through the Metromile online dashboard. From the dashboard, navigate to the ‘Claims’ tab on the top navigation bar. Then, click ‘Request Roadside Assistance’ in the right-hand menu. Follow the prompts so we can determine what type of assistance you need and a driver will be dispatched to help you!

  5. Calling Metromile Roadside Assistance
  6. The third option for calling roadside assistance is, yep, you guessed it – by actually calling! Call us at 1-800-983-3400 and we’ll get a driver out to help you right away.

What happens next?

Sit tight – a dispatch driver is on their way to you. Whether you need a battery jump, a flat tire fixed, or a full-on tow, we’re here to help. Remember that this is all included in your roadside assistance coverage, at no out-of-pocket cost to you! Just another perk of being a Metromile customer.

Still Have Questions?

It’s cool. Here are some of our most-asked questions about roadside assistance.

FAQs

  • Do you need it?
  • Roadside assistance is something that you never think you’ll need, but when the time comes, you won’t take it for granted. If your car is older or unreliable, you’ll especially thank yourself when the unexpected happens.

  • Is it worth it?
  • The price of roadside assistance is equivalent to about two lattes a month. If you love road trips, this might be a smart coverage option for you. For Metromile customers, adding roadside assistance is typically much cheaper than using an external company like AAA. Also, can you really put a price on your peace of mind?

Visit our Help Center

If you still have any lingering questions, be sure to visit the Metromile Help Center. We have answers about roadside assistance, the Metromile Pulse device, how billing works, coverage options, and more.

As we all know, cars can be somewhat unpredictable. If your car decides to break down at the worst possible time, Metromile has got your back! If your car breaks down on the road and you have elected for Metromile roadside assistance coverage, you can submit an online roadside assistance request, file through the Metromile app, or call Metromile roadside assistance at 1-800-983-3400 to request service. Our Metromile roadside assistance team will make arrangements to assist you and also can provide an estimated time of arrival.

TL;DR

Metromile roadside assistance is not just for towing services, although an on­-call tow truck is a convenience that shouldn’t be overlooked – especially if you are a fan of impromptu road trips or have a long daily commute. In addition to towing, our roadside assistance coverage offers flat tire changes, battery jump starts, locksmith services, and emergency gasoline deliveries. The really nice part? All this protection comes for less than the cost of a matinée movie ticket or two lattes – only $5­ – $7 extra dollars a month. One additional thing to note: we may require that you carry comprehensive and collision coverage in order to add roadside assistance to your policy.

If you’re not yet a Metromile customer, be sure to grab a free quote today. If you are a Metromile customer and don’t yet have roadside assistance coverage, what are you waiting for? Add it to your policy now! Be safe out there and see you on the roads.

What To Do If You Get into An Accident With an Uninsured or Underinsured Driver

It’s not exactly a fun way to pass the time, but do you ever think about what you’d do in the event of an accident? If you were the one responsible (hey, it happens to the best of us), you probably know the steps to take to get the claims process going. And if you’re involved in an accident caused by another party, you’ll want to get up to speed on filing a claim with the other driver’s insurer. But in both those instances, someone’s insurer is there to cover costs and facilitate the process. So what happens if you’re hit by a driver who doesn’t have adequate coverage—or worse yet, doesn’t have coverage at all? That’s where uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage comes into the equation.

What To Do If You Get into An Accident With an Uninsured or Underinsured Driver

What is Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage?

Just like its name suggests, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (sometimes called UM/UIM) exists to protect you in case another driver hits you and doesn’t have the coverage to pay up for costs and damages. This type of coverage also comes in handy in case of a hit-and-run crash — if another driver hits you and takes off, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage will ensure you’re not left on the hook for all of your expenses. Whether you have medical bills, car repair payments, or both, this type of coverage will prevent you from having to pay for everything out-of-pocket.

Even if the at-fault driver in an accident has coverage, it may not be enough to cover your costs. Their liability limits may be too low to pay for your bills, or their limits may be less than or equal to your UM/UIM coverage limit. In both those scenarios, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage can be a lifesaver.

While this type of coverage may sound like a no-brainer-must-have addition to your policy, not all states make it mandatory. In fact, only 21 states and the District of Columbia require uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage by law. And if your state doesn’t mandate it, and you’ve never had a reason to know about it, you might wind up with an unpleasant surprise in the unfortunate event of an accident — after all, according to the Insurance Information Institute, one in eight drivers is uninsured.

The Different Types of UM Coverage

Now that you understand the logic behind UM/UIM coverage, it’s time to get familiar with the two distinct types of UM that exist:

  1. Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UMBI):
  2. UMBI can help cover the costs of medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering for people who are protected under your policy (like family members in other cars or passengers in your insured car) if they’re involved in an accident caused by an uninsured driver.

  3. Uninsured Motorist Property Damage (UMPD):
  4. UMPD can help pay for the damage done to your vehicle if you’re hit by an identifiable uninsured driver (though it’s not always applicable to hit-and-runs). This type of coverage isn’t available in all states, and if it is available in your state, it may not cover hit-and-runs, so be sure to talk to a licensed agent about your specific location and situation.

Some states require drivers to have UMBI and/or UMPD:

  • UMBI coverage is required in: Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, Washington D.C., West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
  • UMPD coverage is required in: Maryland, New Hampshire, North Carolina, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia. It’s also required in Alaska, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington, but drivers are allowed to reject it if they submit a written request.

Coverage limits (the total amount an insurance company will pay for a single accident or claim) vary greatly by the insurer and state. There are also different coverage minimums in states where UMBI and/or UMPD are required. For example, in California, the minimum for UMBI coverage is $15,000 per person/$30,000 per accident, and the minimum for UMPD coverage is
$3,500. It’s important to talk to a licensed agent so you know the limits in your specific state.

Do You Really Need UM/UIM Coverage?

Of course, tacking on UM/UIM coverage does come with an added cost. So if you’re on a tight budget, how do you decide if it’s right for you? It might be worth considering the following factors:

  1. The number of uninsured drivers in your specific state (live in Mississippi, New Mexico, Michigan, Tennessee, or Florida? You’ll want to check out those stats).
  2. The minimum liability coverage your state requires is low, and your vehicle is worth a lot.
  3. The thought of being involved in a hit-and run (even as a pedestrian, since that’s included) keeps you up at night.

So what is the added cost of UM/UIM coverage? Like pretty much everything in the world of insurance costs, it depends. A lot of pieces of info are factored into the cost of your coverage, like your age and location, claims history, chosen limits, and the type of vehicle you drive. In general though, you can expect UM/UIM coverage to make up about 5-10 percent of the total cost of your premium.

Still Have Questions?

This stuff can get confusing, so if you still have questions, it’s totally understandable. And it’s likely other drivers have those questions too — that’s why Metromile has a Help Center that houses some of the most frequently asked questions, including those about UM/UIM coverage. If you can’t find the answers you’re looking for there, no problem. The licensed agents at Metromiles are available to answer your questions, provide a free quote, and address any concerns you may have. If you’re an existing customer, call 1.888.311.2909, and if you’re looking to start a new policy, call 1.888.242.5204. No matter whether you’re new to the Metromile family or just looking to better understand your policy, visit www.metromile.com and find out why having the right kind of coverage for your life and budget matters.

Michelle Konstantinovsky is a San Francisco-based journalist/writer/editor and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumna. She’s written extensively on health, body image, entertainment, lifestyle, design, and tech for outlets like Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, O: The Oprah Magazine, Seventeen, and a whole lot more. She’s also a contributing editor at Fitbit and the social media director at California Home + Design Magazine. She is an avid admirer of shiny objects, manatees, and preteen entertainment.

All Your Pulse Device Questions, Answered

As a disruptor of the traditional insurance industry, it may come as no surprise that we get a lot of questions. We get it – insurance is confusing, technology can be confusing, and people want to know how it all works. Here at Metromile, we’re all about giving the people what they want. The key to pay-per-mile car insurance is the Pulse device; it’s what securely counts your miles so we can bill you appropriately.

All Your Pulse Device Questions, Answered:

Today, we’re taking a deep dive into the Pulse – what it is, what it does, and how we use it to save you hundreds on your car insurance.

A Brief Background on Telematics

Telematics is the technology of sending, receiving, and storing information relating to remote objects, like your car, through telecommunication devices, such as a cell phone, a GPS system, or our Pulse device. Telematics technology can track how many miles you drive and can also measure driving behavior. Telematics is what enables Metromile’s insurance – and without it, pay-per-mile simply would not be possible.

The combination of a GPS system with onboard diagnostic technology can show you a car’s location and the trips the car has taken. Basically, it is the technology used behind the wheel to give the driver information about their car or where they are going utilizing both internet and satellite connectivity. The first form of telematics started with navigation systems, eliminating the need for printed directions and old-fashioned maps. Instead, drivers were able to use the easy navigation system set up in their car. Telematics has since expanded to alerting drivers about their fuel levels (fuel monitoring) and traffic alerts. Telematics technology can even help drivers with roadside assistance and enable satellite radio.

How the Pulse Actually Works

Metromile uses a telematics device called the Pulse: a small electronic gadget that plugs into your car’s diagnostics port and collects data about your driving. This isn’t a new concept: many insurance companies use telematics to track their customers’ habits behind the wheel, such as average speed and instances of hard braking. But Metromile only charges you based on your mileage, not driving behavior. We believe the biggest risk factor for getting into an accident is mileage – if you aren’t on the road, you won’t get into any accidents. As such, our primary rating factor is mileage, not driving behavior.

Metromile gives you insight into your car’s health, location, and driving data – like fuel economy and trip data – through the Metromile Pulse. The Pulse uses telematics technology, which connects to a cellular network, to transfer the data collected from the car into our smart driving app. The app will notify a customer if the Pulse detects an error code from the vehicle. This code could be related to an engine, exhaust, or some other type of sub-system within the vehicle. The customer can tap on the engine code within the app to reveal an overview car that provides a detailed description of the issue along with the severity of the case. The customer can also check the health of their car at any time within the app by tapping on the car avatar on the overview screen to see a list of any codes and previously found codes.

Frequently Asked Questions – Answered

  • What is the Metromile Pulse?
    • The Metromile Pulse is a small, wireless device that plugs into your vehicle’s onboard diagnostics port (OBD-II). Once you become a Metromile customer, we will ship a Pulse device to you for you to install in your vehicle. Don’t worry – installation is easy. See the tutorial below on how to install the Pulse in your vehicle.

Once in place, the Pulse securely counts your miles to determine your total monthly bill. The Pulse works directly with Metromile’s smart driving app, supplying added features like trip tracking, monitoring your vehicle’s health, and a GPS vehicle locator.

 

  • What does the Pulse do? How does the Pulse work?
    The Pulse is the key to pay-per-mile insurance. The Pulse is able to use your GPS location to count your daily mileage, decode Check Engine Light readings, and act as a GPS device. The Pulse is powered by telematics technology, which sends, receives, and stores your car’s data. You can also make use of this data through Metromile’s smart driving app.

 

  • Can I get a Pulse device if I’m not a pay-per-mile insurance customer?
    Sadly, no. Currently, we only offer Pulse devices to Metromile pay-per-mile insurance policyholders. You can learn more about pay-per-mile car insurance here.

 

  • Is it mandatory to plug in the Pulse?
    The Pulse must be plugged into your car at all times so that mileage can be accurately measured and billed. There are exceptions, however. For example, when you get your car serviced, it’s okay to remove the Pulse so that the mechanic can access the OBD-II port. If your Pulse stops transmitting a signal to Metromile at any time, you will receive a notification via email alerting you to plug the Pulse back in.

 

  • Do I need to plug in the Pulse before my insurance can be effective?
    You are covered as of the effective date of your policy, whether or not your Pulse device is plugged in. As you near your policy effective date, we will ship your Pulse device to you, be sure to plug it in as soon as you receive it. You will receive email reminders once you receive your Pulse device to plug it in to avoid penalty charges.

 

  • Will the Pulse drain my car’s battery power?
    Not to worry – the Pulse device should have little to no effect on a healthy car battery. Even if your car isn’t being driven, the pulse will not drain a healthy battery.

 

  • Does the Pulse sync with my smartphone?
    The Pulse operates independently by transmitting data securely through a cellular modem and does not sync with your smartphone. In order to set up the Pulse, plug the device into your OBD-II port and check to see if there is a pulsing red/orange light. That’s it. Once you see the light, the Pulse has been connected and is securely sharing your car’s mileage data with Metromile.

 

Even though the Pulse does not sync with your smartphone, Metromile does offer a smart driving app that works in conjunction with the Pulse. The app keeps you up-to-date on your car’s health, tracks your car’s location with GPS features, and sends street sweeping alerts in select cities. It’s just another bonus we love to provide to our loyal customers.

  • Can I turn off location tracking on my Pulse?
    Absolutely. To disable the GPS function on your Pulse, navigate to your online dashboard. Click the small arrow pointing down in the upper right-hand corner next to your account avatar. Go to ‘Account Settings’ and switch ‘Location Services’ from ‘Yes’ to ‘No.’ Please note: this will also disable Metromile’s smart driving app features such as trip tracking and street sweeping notifications.

 

  • What happens if I unplug the Pulse?
    If you unplug the Pulse for any reason, you will receive alerts to your email associated with your Metromile account asking you to plug the device back in. For all pay-per-mile insurance customers, the Pulse must be plugged into your car at all times so mileage can be accurately measured and billed. We understand that there are times when you may need to unplug the Pulse, like when you get your car serviced. Don’t sweat it — it’s okay to remove the Pulse so that the mechanic can access the port. Be sure to plug the Pulse back in once your service has been completed.

 

  • If I cancel my insurance policy with Metromile, can I still keep the Pulse?
    If your insurance policy is canceled for any reason, you will need to return the Pulse to Metromile using a provided pre-paid envelope. If we do not receive your Pulse within 30 business days, your pre-authorized debit or credit card on file will be charged a $100 fee.

 

  • Are there any security vulnerabilities in the Pulse device?
    We take the security of our products and services very seriously and actively work to ensure that our products are safe and provide benefits to our customers.

 

  • My Pulse was stolen or not delivered. What do I do?
    If your Pulse device was never delivered or stolen please give us call at (888) 244-1702, 6am – 6pm Pacific Time, Monday – Friday to update your shipping information and get a new device mailed out.

 

  • What do I do with the Pulse device if I sell my car and/or get a new car?
    Please be sure to remove the device before you sell your vehicle. If you are replacing your old vehicle with a new one, you can use the same device from your previous vehicle in your new car. Please either contact us or navigate to your DASHBOARD to add the new vehicle to your policy.

 

  • What if I rent a vehicle? Do I need to install the device?
    When renting a vehicle you are not required to plug the Metromile Pulse device in, so please leave that device plugged into the vehicle listed on your policy.

 

Still Have Questions?

Got any lingering questions we didn’t cover? Give us a call at 1.888.311.2909, send us a DM, or Tweet at us. If you haven’t yet downloaded the Metromile smart driving app, you’re missing out on some majorly cool features, such as trip tracking, vehicle diagnostics, parking location, and more! Click here to download for your iPhone, or here to download for your android. If you’re a low-mileage driver who hasn’t made the switch to Metromile yet – what are you waiting for? Grab a quote from us anytime, because it’s always free. Be safe out there and see you on the roads.

Julianne Cronin is a Bay Area freelance writer, content creator, and founder/editor of the women’s lifestyle site, The Wink.

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

Every driver knows car insurance is a non-negotiable must. But “car insurance” can mean a slew of different things, depending on the type of coverage you choose. And a lot of factors—like your budget, lifestyle, and vehicle—can affect your choices. Whether you’re a seasoned pro behind the wheel or a first-time driver just learning the ropes, you’ll want to know the ins and outs of some major coverage types so you can select the perfect plan for you.

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

Get To Know The Different Types of Liability Coverage

There are many different types of coverage, but three major terms to know are liability, property damage, and bodily injury:

Liability Coverage:

Liability Coverage is the basic coverage level required for most drivers in the United States. If you cause an accident, your liability coverage will pay for damages to the other party’s vehicle and/or any bodily injuries they sustained (at the levels chosen). Each state has minimum required liability limits, but it might be worth purchasing a policy with higher limits to make sure you’re better protected. Better protection might mean a higher premium, but it can pay off if you end up needing to use it—if the damage caused in an accident exceeds your coverage limits, you could be held responsible for the remainder. There are two types of liability coverage:

  1. Property Damage (PD) Coverage is a specific type of liability coverage that covers damages to things (that don’t belong to you). This type of coverage pays for any type of tangible property, including the other driver’s car, or any other pieces of property that may have been involved in an accident you caused, like a building, pole, garage, etc. Some states require drivers to have a predetermined minimum amount of this coverage.
  2. Bodily Injury (BI) Coverage is required by most states, and it covers damages to people (again—not including you). If you cause an accident, BI coverage will pay for costs related to any injuries or deaths. It covers costs for things like medical treatment, rehabilitation, and funeral costs, as well as costs related to mental or emotional distress that results from bodily injury. If you’re sued for causing an accident, BI coverage may also pay for lawyer’s fees. Depending on the state you live in, you may be required to have a predetermined minimum amount of BI coverage.

One of the most important things to know about any type of liability coverage is what it doesn’t cover. If you cause an accident, PD won’t cover any damages to your vehicle, and BI won’t cover any medical expenses you or your passengers might incur. Liability coverage is solely meant to protect other parties in the event that you cause an accident. The good news is, there are plenty of other types of coverage that can come in handy in these unfortunate events.

How To Tell if You Really Need Property Damage, and Bodily Injury Coverage

Now that you know what these specific coverage types are for, how do you know if they’re right for you? And how much do you really need, anyway? It’s important to consider two big factors when choosing your coverage: your state’s legal requirements and your own financial limitations.

The Legal Stuff

First, let’s start with the legal side of things. No matter which state you’re driving in, liability coverage is most likely a must. It’s mandatory in nearly all states, and even in states where it’s not required, there are financial-responsibility laws that can be met by purchasing it. The state-mandated minimums are generally lower than many people would want ($20,000 to $30,000 for bodily injury to one person, $50,000 for all people hurt in the same accident, and up to $25,000 for accident-related property damage).

The Money Stuff

The next important factor to consider is your budget. The state requirements for liability coverage are pretty modest, so it’s always a good idea to purchase more protection if you can afford it—especially if you own a home and have other assets you want to keep safe in case of a devastating accident and subsequent lawsuit. Do you have a sizable savings account? A valuable vehicle? All those details matter when deciding how much coverage you need.

Different insurance companies have different maximum limits for liability coverage—Metromile offers limits of up to $250,000/$500,000. But don’t worry—opting for more coverage doesn’t mean you’ll be draining your bank account (especially if you’re with Metromile where low-mileage customers save an average of $611 per year); the more liability coverage you buy, the less expensive it is to add additional coverage. The best way to understand how these costs are broken down into a monthly bill is to connect with a licensed agent and receive a customized quote.

When you’re doing the math to figure out your spending limits, don’t forget one other important factor: your deductible.

Your deductible is the out-of-pocket cost you agree to pay before coverage kicks in. You have the ability to choose your deductible amount and liability protection—working with an agent will help you pick the best plan for your unique situation.

Get The Right Amount of Liability Coverage Today

Still have questions? Visit the Metromile Help Center to find answers to some of the most common coverage questions. If you’re in need of a new insurance company that fits your lifestyle and budget, visit metromile.com or call 1.888.242.5204 for a free quote. And if you’re already a customer and ready to learn more about liability coverage, visit the site or call 1.888.311.2909 for more info. Whether you’re new to Metromile or a just expanding your knowledge, there are experts available to guide your way.

Michelle Konstantinovsky is a San Francisco-based journalist/writer/editor and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumna. She’s written extensively on health, body image, entertainment, lifestyle, design, and tech for outlets like Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, O: The Oprah Magazine, Seventeen, and a whole lot more. She’s also a contributing editor at Fitbit and the social media director at California Home + Design Magazine. She is an avid admirer of shiny objects, manatees, and preteen entertainment.

Building a Better Claims Experience, From the Ground Up

From a driver’s perspective, filing an auto insurance claim with most traditional insurance companies isn’t usually as straightforward as it logically should be. The scenario that got you there in the first place was probably anything but pleasant, resulting in a crash, an injury, or worse—both. And of course, the process that follows those unfortunate events can be pretty painful, involving a lot of back and forth, endless piles of paperwork, and most likely a major headache (or even three).

Building a Better Claims Experience, From the Ground Up

So Metromile decided to build the best possible claims system imaginable—from the ground up. They saw the opportunity to use technology to optimize the entire claims process by eliminating any friction claimants experience. That’s why Metromile made the bold move in August 2016 to go off the beaten path and create an entirely new claims system.

How Auto Claims Work (In The Old School Insurance World)

Once you’ve gotten over the initial shock of an accident and you submit a claim to your insurance company, the claim has to go through an investigation process that leads to settlement. The process itself can vary depending on factors like the company’s policies, the nature, and severity of the accident, and whether the accident involved injuries, property damage, or both. But overall, the traditional process has always been pretty consistent:

  1. First, a claims adjuster is assigned to your case. They’ll review your policy and may contact you for some details about the accident. They may request a copy of the police report, contact the other driver involved, and talk to any listed witnesses. They may also inspect your car for damages, take photos, and even visit the scene of the accident. If there was medical care involved, they may need you to sign a medical release form so they can review your records, and they may contact your medical providers for information about your injuries.
  2. Once your adjuster reviews all records and other information, they’ll determine fault. What you may not know: according to the laws of some states, fault isn’t an all-or-nothing issue. Your adjuster may find you to be partially at fault and therefore hold you partially responsible for the accident. For example, if they decide you’re 80% responsible, and the other driver is 20% responsible, your company may pay 80% of the settlement while the other driver’s insurance company covers the remaining 20%.
  3. Your insurance company will negotiate with the other driver’s insurance company to figure out who is ultimately responsible for the damages. If it’s determined that the other driver was at fault, your insurance company may seek payment from that person’s insurance company.

Add to the equation the issue of communication. It’s pretty near impossible to cover all the necessary details in one single phone call or email, so adjusters and claimants will often have to go back and forth (and back and forth and back again) to cover all the ground necessary. This would only be a minor headache if everyone were on the same schedule, but as you can imagine, there’s a whole lot of phone tag taking place in these interactions, which limits the amount of productivity and progress. Talk about a frustrating experience.

How Metromile Uses Data, Science, and Technology to Build the World’s Best Claims Experience

At this point, you’re probably tearing your hair out wondering how anything ever gets done in the traditional claims system. The Metromile team wasn’t too pleased with the process either. That’s why the company decided to go in new direction. Meet AVA.

AVA is Metromile’s AI claims system. She’s able to accurately verify claims and works with our adjusters to quickly resolve them. How does she do it? AVA automates anything that doesn’t require a human touch, so she collects details to help you file, guides you through collecting damage photos, and helps you get paid as soon as possible.

To make this all possible Metromile uses a device called the Metromile Pulse to monitor time on the road (this is how your mileage costs are calculated). AVA uses similar data from Pulse (with your permission) to reconstruct the scene of an accident to help figure out what exactly happened. She can also help connect policyholders with repair shops participating in the AVA open shop program and are located near the zip code of the vehicle’s last location. And if the policyholder has rental coverage, AVA can offer the option of reserving a vehicle through a local Enterprise-Rent-A-Car location on the Metromile online dashboard. Policyholders can even gain access to and schedule an Enterprise shuttle for pick-up from the repair shop or another specified address.

But if all this sounds a little too sci-fi, don’t freak out: just because Metromile has the amazing AVA doesn’t mean the company is all 0s and 1s behind the scenes. Metromile has a dedicated claims team made up of industry experts who work tirelessly to ensure customers get back on the road as quickly as possible. In fact, a lot of the work AVA does directly helps the claims adjusters so they better understand what happened in any situation.

Building an innovative claims process isn’t easy. And Metromile knows that. But we aren’t really interested in going the simple route—instead we are dedicated to providing low-mileage drivers coverage that’s fair, affordable, and high-quality. If you’re already a customer, explore metromile.com and get to know all the unique features that make Metromile the right provider for you. And if you haven’t made the switch yet, head to the website for a free quote and find out how you can take the pain out of the claims process (and so much more).

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 your 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.

 Cars at Intersection

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

Luckily, Metromile has found a way to make insurance lingo actually make sense—even to the most inexperienced newbie. Finding a plan that fits your budget and lifestyle and keeps you feeling at ease knowing you’re covered is so important—not just for your peace of mind, but for your physical and financial security. Here’s what you need to know so you can choose the plan 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 really all about:

Collision Coverage

Collision coverage helps pay for repairs to your own vehicle in case you crash into another car, an object, or you experience a roll-over. This type of insurance will also help cover the cost to replace your car if it is totaled in an accident. In the event of a hit-and-run, your car could be covered with this type of insurance, but it’s not guaranteed in all states. While you might think this type of coverage should be required, it’s not—most states only mandate you to have coverage for injuries or damages you cause to someone else in an accident. There aren’t many states that require drivers to have insurance that covers their own damages.

Comprehensive Coverage

Comprehensive coverage is also optional in most states, but you’ll want it if you think it’s a good idea to be covered in the event of non-accident-related damages. Comprehensive coverage helps pay to repair or replace your car for damages that occurred in just about anything but an accident. Usually, this type of plan covers damages from events including natural disasters, fires, falling objects, vandalism, theft, and hitting (or being hit) by animals like deer, cows, bears, etc.

While both collision and comprehensive plans cover a lot of ground, neither one truly protects you in all situations across the board. There are certain things neither one cover—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 most states, no one’s going to (figuratively!) twist your arm to sign up for comprehensive and collision coverage. The majority of states only require liability coverage (which covers damages for the people you hit in the event of an accident that’s your fault). But just because you’re not required to have additional coverage doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t consider it.

When you’re trying to figure out the kind of coverage you really need and want, it’s best to look beyond the bare minimum legal requirements of your state and take stock of several factors in your life:

  • 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.
  • Do you have an emergency fund? 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 own your car? If you lease or finance your car, your bank may require you to have collision or comprehensive coverage (be sure you’ve closely studied your contract!), but if the car is all yours, then you’ll have to decide for yourself whether you have the funds to fix or replace it after a damaging event.
  • How likely are you to file a claim? It’s impossible to predict the future, and the saying “accidents happen” is a saying for a reason. But if you know you’ve gotten into your fair share of fender benders over the years, then that fact is worth taking into consideration.
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. 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.

How to Master Your Monthly Metromile Bill (Tips For Creating a Mileage Budget)

With most car insurance premiums, you cannot control the amount you pay. You get a quote and cross your fingers, hoping that your bill won’t break the bank. Even if it does, you still have no choice but to pay it, because car insurance is non-negotiable… right?

Here at Metromile, we do things a little differently. Instead of paying a flat fee, your monthly car insurance bill varies and is based on two simple things: your monthly base rate + the pennies-per-mile you pay. That’s it – and it’s all within your control.

How to Master Your Monthly Metromile Bill

Want to learn how to become the master of your monthly bill? Right this way – follow us.

Figuring Out Your Mileage Budget

We get it – figuring out a mileage budget can be stressful, time-consuming, and maybe a little unpleasant. After all, it can be easier to hop into the car and drive anywhere your heart desires without thinking about the slowly ticking odometer. Maybe you have a strict monthly budget you need to stick to. Maybe you don’t want to have a bill that fluctuates from month-to-month. If your ultimate goal is to take control of your financial future, the first thing to check off your list is creating your monthly mileage budget.

First, on a spreadsheet (or even just a plain ol’ piece of paper), create two columns. In the first column, write down your monthly Metromile base rate. This is the rate that you would be responsible for paying even if you drove zero miles. In the second column, write down the estimated mileage for every destination you need to drive to in a month.

mileage budget

For example, if you drive to and from your job, estimate your daily mileage and multiply it by 20 (the number of working days in a month). If you drive to and from church on Sunday, estimate that mileage and multiply by 4. Keep doing this until you have a fairly good estimate of the miles that you consistently drive each month.

Once you have your estimated monthly mileage, multiply that number by your per-mile rate. Add the number you just calculated to your monthly base rate in the first column and voilà! You have successfully estimated the cost of your monthly Metromile bill.

How To Stick to Your Mileage Budget

If the number you calculated is looking a little bit higher than you’d like it to be, try to brainstorm ways to cut down on the number of miles that you drive each month, like Brian D. did.
Brian D.

In December, Brian drove 730.1 miles, mostly shopping for presents and visiting his family in Southern California for the Holidays. The following months, he didn’t drive much, but in March, his monthly mileage peaked at 682.5 miles, which included a 3-day weekend trip to the wine country with friends. He also regularly checks the Metromile app to know how much he owes at one point in time.

varied bill
Consider the following options to minimize the number of miles driven:
  • Carpool to work or events with a friend or family member
  • Bike to the store, to church, or even to work instead of driving
  • Whenever possible, choose to take public transportation
  • Consolidate the number of errands/trips to the store and try to go only once a week
  • Take the drive with the least amount of miles, even if it’s not as scenic as your usual route
  • If your morning routine includes stopping for coffee or breakfast, pick a coffee shop that’s already on your usual route instead of driving out of your way for that French roast you can’t seem to live without
  • Shop online rather than driving all over town
  • Deposit checks with a phone camera and app instead of driving to the bank
  • If you can, call into a meeting or video chat instead of driving to the office
  • Avoid circling around the block for parking – have a game plan of where you’re going to park before getting to your destination

All of these seemingly insignificant things can really add up to a lot of extra miles driven at the end of the month! These options to reduce your monthly mileage may help save you hundreds at the end of the year, and some are probably why you’ve decided to switch to Metromile in the first place. As a bonus, the fewer miles you drive, the less you’ll have to spend on gas each month. That’s a win-win in our book.

You Are Now the Master of Your Monthly Bill

Congratulations! You are now the proud owner of a mileage budget and (most likely) a lower monthly car insurance bill. Well done! By implementing these tips and strategies, you were able to lower your monthly insurance bill to fit within your budget. As with all things in life, the fine art of budgeting takes a bit of time and skill – but you’re well on your way to a healthy financial future.

This exercise is also helpful for prospective Metromile customers, and something that we already take into account when offering a free quote. As always, whether you’re a current Metromile customer or are thinking about making the switch, we want to hear from you! Drop us a line and let us know how we can help. Be safe out there and see you on the roads!

Do You Need Rental Car Insurance When You Travel?

If you’ve ever rented a car, you know firsthand how bewildering the experience can be. The rental car company give you a daily rate, but there always seems to be hidden fees cloaked in ambiguous terms (what is a ‘vehicle license recovery fee,’ anyway?). Then, there’s the car insurance. Do you actually need it when you’re already paying for insurance on the vehicle that you own?

Do You Need Rental Car Insurance When You Travel?

From your existing car insurance coverage to getting coverage through your credit card company, let’s explore the options available to you – a sure-fire way to prevent the rental car companies from wringing you dry.

Will I be covered by my existing car insurance policy?

First things first: will your existing car insurance policy cover your rental car? It might. Check your policy to find out which coverages extend to your rental car before getting up to the counter. That way, you can confidently add or decline the rental car insurance when you’re put on-the-spot by a pushy rental car agent. Do keep in mind that rental cars may be covered under your car insurance policy for personal use only – that means if you’re using the rental car for business or commercial uses, your insurance may not cover it.

Will my credit card company provide rental car coverage?

If you’re planning on using a credit card to pay for your rental, you may be covered by the credit card company. Check with your credit card company to find out what additional rental car coverage is provided. All four major credit card companies (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover) provide some sort of rental car coverage.

To ensure that you’re covered, you must pay for the entire rental car bill on your credit card and decline any supplemental insurance offered by the rental car company. This is key – if you sign up for the supplemental coverage, your credit card company will not cover you. Also, your credit card company will not cover your rental car in some popular destinations, including: Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica and Australia. Again, to avoid frustration and confusion, be sure you have all the answers on what is covered and what isn’t before you get up to the rental car counter.

When should I opt-in for rental car insurance, then?

Ah, yes. There are a handful of situations where opting into rental car insurance just makes sense:

  • You’re traveling for business: As previously mentioned, if you’re using the rental car for business or commercial purposes, you likely may not be covered through your existing policy.
  • You don’t have car insurance (or you have the bare minimum): If:
    • a) you don’t have car insurance,
    • b) you have very high deductibles, or
    • c) you don’t have comprehensive and/or collision coverage,

    you’ll probably want to think about at least opting for the rental company’s loss damage waiver. If you have no car insurance at all, you’ll also need to spring for supplemental liability.

  • You’re traveling abroad to a destination that’s not covered: If you’re traveling internationally, chances are that your car insurance provider won’t cover your rental car. Again, popular international destinations, such as Italy, Australia, Ireland, Israel, and Jamaica are not eligible for rental car coverage through your credit card company.
  • You’re worried about an incident affecting your existing car insurance premiums: If you’re worried about getting into an accident in the rental car and concerned your car insurance premiums will go up, get the rental car insurance. This way, you’ll still be covered and you’ll have peace of mind knowing your existing car insurance rate won’t skyrocket.

Remember – rental car companies are counting on you to not do your homework. Show up to the counter prepared and know when to opt-in and when to decline the rental car insurance coverage (those agents can be pushy!). If you’re already a Metromile customer, most Metromile policy coverages do transfer to the rental vehicle. There is no need to plug the Pulse device into the rental vehicle as you won’t be charged for mileage while driving the rental vehicle. Be sure to consult your policy contract or feel free to contact us if you have any questions about your coverage. If you’re not yet a Metromile customer, click here to get a free quote today to find out how much you could be saving! Be safe out there and see you on the roads!

Julianne Cronin is a Bay Area freelance writer, content creator, and founder/editor of the women’s lifestyle site, The Wink. You can find her working on her capsule wardrobe, collecting cacti, and trying out the latest beauty products on Instagram

How “Aware” of Insurance Are You?

Wedged between Flag Day and the Fourth of July is the summer holiday you probably didn’t know you needed: Insurance Awareness Day. That’s right—June 28 is the day Americans are encouraged to educate themselves on their current policies and make sure they’re getting the coverage they need. We’re not totally sure what constitutes an appropriate way to celebrate this annual event (would streamers and balloons be overkill?), but we do know the day is a great excuse to get familiar with the ins and outs of insurance and feel confident that you’re covered.

pay-per-mile car insurance

While Insurance Awareness Day may not get the same Hallmark treatment as some other national commemorations, the holiday is worth recognizing. After all, according to a survey from car insurance comparison marketplace, The Zebra, 81 percent of consumers say they have the coverage they need, but 99 percent failed to correctly identify 10 basic coverage types and terms. Potentially more shocking? Twenty-two percent of respondents didn’t even realize they’re required by law to have car insurance. Scary, right?

You may know a thing or two about car insurance (or you may be part of that twenty-two percent—that’s okay! No judgment!). No matter how much knowledge you think you’ve got, it’s always a great idea to brush up on the basics and feel safe, secure, and satisfied with your coverage.

Why Insurance Coverage Is a Must

While most people do know they need car insurance, far fewer probably know why. Like any other kind of security, car insurance protects you (and your passengers) in case of an unexpected incident, like an accident, theft, damage, etc. Every state requires drivers to have some kind of insurance plan, but the specific requirements vary based on location. Regardless of where you live though, the local law does require you to prove you can pay damages in the event of an accident.

It seems straightforward, but car insurance can get a lot more complex than that. There are various types that offer different levels of protection; some are required and some are optional. Understanding the factors that go into determining the type of coverage you need can help you find a plan that’s got your back at a premium that won’t break the bank.

Everything You Need to Know About Your Policy

Unless you’re an insurance professional, chances are you’re a little perplexed by all the paperwork that comes with coverage. Getting to know a few key terms can help you get up to speed:

  • Declaration page: This refers to the first page (or several pages) of your policy that states the name of the person insured, their address, the insurance provider, the policy term, coverage limits, and other key facts about the plan and who it’s covering.
  • Coverage: This one seems simple, but there are various types of car insurance coverage available:

    • Bodily Injury (BI) coverage is required by most states to cover costs related to injuries or deaths to other people in the event of an accident that’s your fault.
    • Property Damage Liability (PD) covers the cost of damages to someone else’s property if you’re at fault in an accident.
    • Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UMBI) covers you in an accident if other driver is at-fault and uninsured.
    • Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UIMBI) is very similar to UMBI but pays up to the limit for expenses in case the other driver is at-fault for the accident but can’t cover your costs because of their own plan’s insufficient liability limits.
    • Medical Payments could pay the medical deductibles and copayments that aren’t covered by your health insurer, or the insurer of any of your passengers.
    • Personal Injury Protection (PIP) covers your medical costs regardless of who’s at fault for the accident.
    • Comprehensive coverage can be helpful if your car is stolen or damaged in ways that don’t involve a collision.
    • Collision coverage covers you if your car collides with another object (like a car, a brick wall, a tree, etc).
    • Collision Deductible Waiver coverage isn’t available in every state, but if you have it, your collision deductible will be waived in case you’re in accident with an uninsured at-fault driver.
    • Underinsured Motorist Property Damage (UMPD) coverage pays for damages to your car if you’re hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver.
  • Deductible: The out-of-pocket amount you have to pay after a covered event (like an accident, theft, or weather damage) before your insurance kicks in. It’s basically your financial responsibility in case anything happens. For example, if your car requires $5,000 in repairs, and your deductible is $1,000, you’ll have to pay $1,000 before your insurer will pay the remaining $4,000. Your car insurance deductible will be applied for each claim you file (unlike health insurance deductibles which apply across the calendar year). That means if you submit two car insurance claims in a year, you’ll have to pay your deductible both times.
  • Premium: Your premium is the amount of money you pay your insurer to provide coverage for qualifying claims. The amount you pay is based on a variety of factors, including type and amount of coverage you want, the type of car you drive, your location, your driving record, your credit history, your age, your gender, and marital status.
  • Claim: A demand made by the insured person for provide coverage and compensation from the insurance company in the event of a loss, subject to the terms of the insurance policy contract.
  • Risk Assessment: This is how likely the insurer thinks it will be that you’ll file a claim, based on your driving record and other factors—this determines your rate.

How to Pick The Coverage That’s Right For You

To say car insurance is confusing is a major understatement. To know which kind of coverage you need, it’s best to ask yourself a series of questions so you can figure out the right policy for you. Here are some things to consider:

  • How much coverage do you need (and what’s required by your state)?
  • How much do you drive?
  • What’s your risk assessment?
  • Who will the policy cover?
  • What will your deductible be?
  • Is your car leased or financed?
  • Will you be driving for work?

Still confused? We don’t blame you—auto coverage can be a thorny issue. To ring in Insurance Awareness Day this year, why not visit metromile.com? You’ll find lots more information and have the chance to get a free quote. Now that’s the perfect way to celebrate.

Michelle Konstantinovsky is a San Francisco-based journalist/writer/editor and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumna. She’s written extensively on health, body image, entertainment, lifestyle, design, and tech for outlets like Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, O: The Oprah Magazine, Seventeen, and a whole lot more. She’s also a contributing editor at Fitbit and the social media director at California Home + Design Magazine. She is an avid admirer of shiny objects, manatees, and preteen entertainment.