How Much Should a New Car Really Cost, and How Do You Know If You Can Afford One?

The time has come. You’re finally ready to trade in your old beater and treat yourself to a brand new car. You have an idea of what kind of car you want to get, but with every car dealership advertising their latest “deal,” it can be easy to get suckered into paying more than you should for your new whip. Because of this, it’s important to do your research and have a solid plan in place before ever stepping through the front door of the dealership.

New Car - How Much Should it Cost?

So: how do you know how much your new car should cost? Then, with all the down payments, warranties, and dealership fees, how to do you if you can actually afford the car you want without blowing your budget? Don’t worry, we’ve got the scoop. Step into your future-new-car negotiation with confidence using our fool-proof tips.

How Much Should a New Car Really Cost, and How Do You Know If You Can Afford One?

    Assess Your Assets

    Before kicking your clunker to the curb, find out if the car has any trade-in value. Most car dealerships will take your old car as a trade-in, which will, in turn, knock the price of your new car down. The ol’ trade-in deal is a bit of a double-edged sword, however, because the car dealership will try to lowball you. Since most people are not in much of a position to negotiate the trade-in value of their current car, they are likely to take the deal presented to them.

    Putting the trade-in deal firmly in the “pro” category is the fact that the dealer does all the paperwork. After you and the dealer settle on an acceptable price, all you have to do is sign the vehicle over to the dealership and be done with it. However – the price you pay for the convenience of being relieved of your vehicle will likely be less money for you than if you sold it yourself. The dealer will not give the full retail value of the vehicle and people are often disappointed by the offers presented to them. To avoid any surprises, be sure to get the Kelley Blue Book® Trade-in value of your vehicle before you step foot in the dealership.

    Your Credit: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

    Next up: addressing how you will be paying for your new vehicle. If you plan on financing your new car (90% of people take this route), your credit score will come into play. See, car dealerships assess how likely it is that you will pay your loan on time every month if you’re likely to skip payments, and more based on your credit history. If your credit score is looking less than stellar (above 700 is considered “good”), you’ll definitely need to factor that into your new potential payments. Your monthly payments may increase if your credit score has been looking a little worse-for-wear.

    Calculate How Much You Can Afford

    There’s no perfect formula to calculate how much you can afford, but our short answer is that your car payment should be no more than 15% of your monthly take-home pay. If you’re leasing, it should be no more than 10%. There are a few online calculators that will help you crunch the numbers:

    Did you know that the average new car payment is $499/month for 68 months? Most car loans come in well over $30,000, which is absurd considering the median household income is around $56,000/year. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to figure out how much you can truly afford to spend on a car. No matter what, don’t leave it up to the car salesman to decide how much you can borrow. Why? Because, according to their facts and figures, your credit and income may qualify you to buy just about anything on the lot.

    In addition to the price of your new vehicle, remember that you’ll also need to cover license plates, insurance, and any additional taxes required by your state. Additionally, you’ll need to pay sales tax on your vehicle, although your lender may roll your taxes into your loan (if you ask).

In Conclusion

The reality is that true affordability is never dictated by lenders or big banks. At the end of the day, only you know how much you can afford to spend on a new car payment and your other bills.

Once you have an idea of how your monthly income and expenses look, you can shop for your new car with confidence. When decide to pull the trigger on your new ride, we’ll be here to take care of all of your car insurance needs! Be sure to grab a free quote from us – and happy car shopping.

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

Do You Fly More Than You Drive?

When contemplating potential savings opportunities for vacation, it can be easy to default to taking a road trip rather than booking air travel. However – recent fluctuating gas prices have thrown that assumption for a loop. Now, the comparative costs of flying and driving depend on more elements than just gas prices (such as how much you’re paying for car insurance!).

Do-You-Fly-More-Than-You-Drive

Maybe you travel a lot for work. Maybe you live in the city and take public transportation or use ride-sharing apps. Whatever the case may be (and maybe without even realizing it), it is possible that you decide to fly or take other forms of transportation more often than you decide to drive. Of course, there are pros and cons to all forms of transportation, but here’s a checklist you can use to find out if your frequent flier miles are racking up faster than your odometer.

Do You Fly More Than You Drive?: A Checklist

  • Have you taken more than 5 air travel trips this year?
  • Do you average less than 1,000 miles driven per month?
  • Do you take frequent 2 hour (or less) flights?
  • Do you usually reserve a rental car at your destination?
  • Do you find yourself relying on public transportation (i.e. subway, bus, train, etc.) or using ridesharing apps to get to your destination?
  • Does cost-savings on a trip matter to you?

If you answered “yes” to most of these questions, you probably fly more than you drive. This checklist is not an exact science, however – to truly calculate it, you will have to do some number-crunching of your own. If you have a suspicion that you fly more than you drive, then it might be worthwhile to do the math.

Thanks to the Internet, there are some handy tools you can use to figure it out. With these online calculators, all you need to do is enter some basic information that you probably know off the top of your head. Keep in mind: these sites typically say that they are for information purposes only, so don’t blame them (or us) if their answers don’t match up to the ones you produced using your own formulas. BeFrugal lets you enter your vehicle make, model, and travel information and then compares the calculated cost with current airline prices. BeFrugal also lets you compare carbon dioxide emissions for each mode of travel. CostToDrive calculates how much you’ll pay to drive from one U.S. city to another based on your vehicle model. AAA offers its online Fuel Cost Calculator to members and non-members alike – for free.

Also, don’t forget that your car insurance is an additional cost to factor into your flying vs. driving calculations. If you’re calculating monthly expenditures (rather than yearly), be sure to divide your yearly premium payment by 12 to get your monthly car insurance cost.

This brings me to my final point and the pinnacle of our discussion: if you’ve realized that you fly more than you drive, then Metromile could be a great option for your car insurance! We structure our monthly billing cycles on the pay-per-mile model – therefore, the less you drive, the less you pay each month. Why pay exorbitant car insurance premiums if you find yourself flying (or taking other forms of transportation) more than you drive?

Even if you haven’t yet done the math, click on over to grab a free quote from Metromile. It will only take a few minutes and may potentially save you hundreds of $$$ this year! That’s a few hundred more in your bank account to book your next trip, so what are you waiting for? As always, 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

5 Basic Car Maintenance Tips for a DIY Car Safety Check

Summer has arrived and it is full of road trips, drives to the beach or pool, and campfires with delicious s’mores. It also means the dog days are here and your car can start to feel like a mini sauna when left outside. Your vehicle might not be used as much in the summer, which may mean the sun is beating down on it all day long while it sits in the driveway. That can’t be good for it – right?

DIY-Car-Safety-Checks

It is never fun dealing with a break-down when you and your loved ones are on the way to somewhere fun and adventurous. Regardless of what season it is, you should regularly check your car to make sure it is in good running condition.

5 DIY Car Safety Checks to Perform Regularly

  1. Tire pressure: This is a regular check you won’t want to miss completing. Luckily, most newer cars will alert you if your tire’s pressure is running lower – #blessed. But, if you have an older vehicle, this is something you will want to check regularly especially when the weather changes. Grab a pneumatic gauge and read up on what your tires recommend air pressure is. If it is running low, take it to the nearest air pump to fill it up to the right level. Do not exceed the max air pressure your tire can hold. Also, don’t neglect your spare tire.
  2. Battery Life: The threshold for a car’s battery is around three years, but it can run out even quicker in the heat of summer. If you start your car and you hear a slow cranking noise, then it might be time to replace it. Try your best to keep your battery clean. Having dirt and grease build-up acts as a conductor which can drain the battery quicker. If you are parked for prolonged periods of time, be sure to start your car every so often to keep the battery level up. Checking your battery is a good to do, especially right before hitting the road for a long trip.
  3. Engine Cooling System: Do a quick look to see if your engine coolant level is full and the liquid doesn’t look dirty. If the coolant level is below the marked line or the fluid isn’t green or orange, then your car can overheat. It is always good to replenish the coolant every so often, especially during these summer months.
  4. Lights and Signals: Make sure that all your headlights and signal lights are working and shining brightly. This is a good way to check to make sure the alignment of your lights is spot on. Do a good cleaning of your headlight covers every once in awhile so they can shine bright like a diamond.
  5. Air Filters: No one wants to breathe in gross air, especially in a confined place like a car. Clean both your engine air filter and your car’s cabin filter. Depending on your air filter type (dry v. oiled) you can use either a vacuum to get the dust and dirt or use a cleaning solution to rinse it off. Having a clean air filter will improve your vehicle’s performance and efficiency.

Say hello to summer and feel confident when driving your car. Performing regular safety checks on it will keep your vehicle in tip-top shape. If you find that your car is parked in the driveaway during these hot days, more than it’s driving around then pay-per-mile auto insurance might be the perfect fit for you. Our low-mileage customers save on avg. $611 a year when switching to Metromile. Get a free quote now.

Kelsey Glynn is a blogger and owner of Social Graces, a business to support others in their social media needs. She is a contributing blog writer for East Valley Moms Blog, a social media content creator, and an avid photo taker. She is Metromile’s Senior Social Media Advocate and helps to maintain our online communities. You can catch her adventuring around AZ and living the mom life on Instagram.

The Complete Guide to Adapting Your Vehicle

Whether you have a disabled family member or you yourself are living with a disability, you know that disabilities come with their own set of challenges. However, being disabled doesn’t automatically mean that you need to give up your freedom and hand over your car keys. Now more than ever, there are technologies available to adapt vehicles to meet your specific needs. These new technologies will continue to broaden opportunities for people with disabilities to drive safely and comfortably. Your vehicle should act as a workhorse in your life, and the good news is that adapting your vehicle to suit your disability is now simpler than ever.

The-Complete-Guide-to-Adapting-Your-Vehicle

Don’t know where to start? Here at Metromile, we believe that all of our customers should feel empowered to take to the open road with confidence. That’s why we’re here to answer questions you didn’t even know you had about adapting your vehicle to fit your needs. Here’s a breakdown of what types of tools, technology, etc., that you’ll need to adapt your vehicle. Let’s get into it!

Evaluate Your Needs

The first step in this process is evaluating what your needs are. A driver rehabilitation specialist will perform a comprehensive evaluation and will determine the adaptive equipment that best fits your needs. See how to get in touch with a specialist here!

Here’s what you can expect the specialist to evaluate:

  • Vision
  • Coordination and reaction time
  • Muscle strength, flexibility, and range of motion
  • Judgement and decision-making abilities

The specialist will also assess your ability to drive with the adaptive equipment and how the equipment will wear on your body over time. Once finished with the evaluation, the specialist will provide a comprehensive report containing driving requirements/restrictions, as well as specific recommendations for future adaptive equipment.

Finding the Right Vehicle

Now comes the fun part – car shopping! Finding the right vehicle to meet your needs doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Keep the following in mind when you’re car shopping and you’ll be good as gold.

Here are the questions to ask when shopping for a vehicle:

  • Does the vehicle have the cargo capacity to accommodate and carry the equipment you require?
  • Does the vehicle have the space and capacity to accommodate your family members or other passengers when it is loaded/modified with the equipment you require?
  • Will there be adequate parking space at home and work to fit the vehicle? How about when you’re loading/unloading a wheelchair? What if you use a walker?
  • Are there any additional options that are necessary for the vehicle to be safely operated?

There are also some features that you can look for in a potential vehicle, such as:

  • High or extra-wide doors
  • Large interior door handles
  • Adjustable foot pedals
  • Large/oversized knobs with clearly marked labels
  • Support handles to assist with entering and exiting the vehicle (this is also a handy tool that fits in most car door jambs!)
  • Seat adjusters that can move in all directions
    • Specifically, a seat adjuster that can raise the seat so the driver’s line of sight is 3 inches above the adjusted steering wheel
  • Dashboard-mounted ignition (rather than steering column-mounted ignition)

Remember that your mobility equipment dealer and your driver rehabilitation specialist are qualified to ensure the vehicle you select can be modified to meet your adaptive equipment needs.

Safety Tips

As a rule of thumb: both new and advanced drivers will need safety training on how to use the new adaptive equipment. Literature and off-road training will not be sufficient, as most types of adaptive equipment are quite complex. It is important to meet with your driver rehabilitation specialist for on-the-road training of your new equipment because they have the expertise and extensive knowledge of adaptive technologies.

Additionally, make sure that your vehicle is always in tip-top condition before hitting the road. Keep a running checklist and be sure to check it often for things such as:

  • Proper tire pressure
  • Frequent oil changes
  • Fluid levels (power steering, brake fluid, and engine coolant)

Keep in mind that your adaptive equipment may need more frequent check-ups or special attention than the rest of your regular vehicle maintenance!

Remember: just because life handed you or a family member a disability does not mean that you have to give up all of your freedom. There are so many great adaptive technologies available now, the key is figuring out with ones are right for you. Be sure to check out Metromile to get a free quote – it only takes a moment and could end up saving you a pretty penny! Be safe 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

9 Ways to Avoid Getting Your Car Stolen

Grand theft auto is on the rise, and no we aren’t referring to the video game! Vehicle theft has doubled in the past few years, and the trend continues to rise. According to the FBI, in 2016, 5.9 billion dollars were lost to motor vehicle theft. Yup, you read that right – billion with a “B.” This significant amount of dollars equates to 765,484 total vehicle thefts in the U.S., 60,000 of which happened in the L.A. area. Recovering stolen vehicles is possible, but 42% of the cars stolen aren’t ever recovered, which could mean saying sayonara to your precious baby forever.

Tips-for-Vehicle-Theft-Prevention-

Vehicle theft can either be considered a felony or a misdemeanor depending on the circumstances and the state in which the defendant committed the crime. Most charges will include jail/prison time, restitution, a fine, or probation – yikes! The punishment may also be worse, depending on the value of the car.

If the stakes are so high, why are the instances of vehicle theft also so high?

The main reason is that vehicle parts are seen as a quick and easy way to make a profit. Some stolen vehicles get taken to “chop shops” where they are stripped down, and parts are sold to other auto shops or single buyers. Others “hot cars” will be sold for scrap metal or rushed out of the country. Still, other stolen cars are often concealed by “VIN-switching” which hides the identity of the stolen vehicle with a wrecked or salvaged vehicle. The stolen car is then sold to an unsuspecting buyer. Remember, it is always important to do your due diligence and research when buying auto parts or vehicles. If it seems fishy, then trust your gut!

To best prevent theft first you need to know some facts:

    Most common type of stolen vehicle (according to NICB):
    1. 1997 Honda Accord
    2. 1998 Honda Civic
    3. 2006 Ford Pickup (Full Size)
    4. 2004 Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)
    5. 2016 Toyota Camry
    Top methods by criminals to steal a motor vehicle:
    1. Theft of an unattended vehicle that consists of breaking an entering and then hotwiring and tampering with your car to start the vehicle to make their quick getaway.
    2. Stealing the car when it is unattended but the keys are left in the ignition.
    3. Carjacking happens when a vehicle is taken by force or threat from the driver.
    4. Purchasing a vehicle through fraudulent funds or the use of counterfeit checks.

Now that we have thoroughly freaked you out and made you panic about getting your car stolen, we are here to make you feel a little better.

Follow these tips to avoid vehicle theft:

  1. NEVER leave your car running or keys in the ignition. Even when pumping your gas or you are just going to BRB. Turn off your car no matter what and take your keys with you.
  2. Remove all personal belongings and valuables from your ride before leaving it. If you can’t do that, at least put them out of sight or in the trunk of your car.
  3. Park in a well-lit and populated area. Find parking that is near building entrances or close to security cameras.
  4. Don’t forget to roll up your windows and double check your car is locked, even if it is parked outside your house.
  5. Get your vehicle VIN etched on the windows, doors, fenders and trunk lid.
  6. Invest in an anti-theft device such as audible alarms, steering wheel locks, brake locks, a kill switch, lojack, or onstar. In some states, Metromile offers a discount for having a anti-theft or recovery device installed.
  7. Due your research before buying a car and look up the VIN to see if there is any history of the car. The National Insurance Crime Bureau provides a VIN check to see if the vehicle has been reported as a salvage or stolen.
  8. Use your noggin. If something doesn’t feel right or seems not a safe place to park or store your vehicle then trust your instinct.
  9. Be a Metromile customer. You will always know where your car is through our Smart Driving app and the help of the Pulse device. If your vehicle does happen to be stolen, our Pulse device can help track down where your stolen vehicle is.

If the worst happens and you discover your car is stolen, don’t panic, make a few phone calls to the police, your insurance company, and to the DMV, to report what has happened. If you are a Metromile customer, you won’t have to worry and we will be there for you in your time of need. Interested in learning how Metromile is disrupting the insurance industry, get a free quote today.

Kelsey Glynn is a blogger and owner of Social Graces, a business to support others in their social media needs. She is a contributing blog writer for East Valley Moms Blog, a social media content creator, and an avid photo taker. She is Metromile’s Senior Social Media Advocate and helps to maintain our online communities. You can catch her adventuring around AZ and living the mom life on Instagram.

8 Things You Should Never Leave in Your Car

Hide your phone chargers and take your wallet – if you live in an urban area, you already know to not leave anything in your car that could potentially attract thieves. Not leaving chocolate bars, lollipops, or anything that could potentially melt and cause a mess is also a no-brainer. But did you know that you shouldn’t leave a pair of glasses in the car? How about sunscreen? If these surprised you, keep reading to find out the eight things you should never leave in your car.

8-Things-You-Should-Never-Leave-in-Your-Car

    1. Glasses:
    First up: glasses and sunglasses. If you’re thinking, “I have a pair of sunglasses in my car right now”, don’t panic. This rule is really only applicable if it’s a particularly sunny or warm day. Leaving glasses on your dashboard can cause the plastic to melt, warping your precious specs. Metal frames could become too hot to touch (let alone too hot to wear) due to the way that the windshield attracts and traps sunlight.

    2. Medications:
    Most medications, whether prescription or otherwise, are sensitive to temperature changes. On a hot day, a car can act like an oven, trapping in the heat; on a cold day, a car can act like a refrigerator, trapping in the cold. In order to ensure your medications retain the greatest potency, it’s important to keep them in a cool, dry place – and this place is not your car. If you have certain medications you take on-the-go with you every day, we suggest that you keep them in your purse or bag instead.

    3. Wine:
    Glass bottles are also very sensitive to temperature changes. If left in a hot car, the wine inside the glass bottle will expand and the bottle might burst or the wine might seep around the cork. If you don’t want to clean up a giant mess or have your car smelling like wine for weeks, it’s best to take your after-work purchase inside right away (and drink it, obvs).

    4. Electronics:
    Okay, if you leave electronics in your car in plain sight I won’t feel bad when someone breaks your window and steals them (harsh but true). However, not only are they thief-candy, but electronics and heat/cold do not mix. A car is not like a building – it doesn’t regulate heat in the same way. Once a car is not running, the temperature inside can fluctuate drastically and may cause irreversible damage to phones, laptops, tablets, cameras, etc.

    5. Plastic water bottles:
    Most modern translucent plastic is made from polyethylene terephthalate and contains BPA (the chemical that gives the plastic strength). When cold/room temperature, BPA is inert; however, when heated up, BPA can seep out of plastic and into the liquid it surrounds. Drinking water from a plastic bottle that’s been left in a hot car is quite dangerous for your health, as BPA has been linked to certain kinds of cancers. If you must leave water in your car, it’s much safer to do so in a glass, ceramic, or metal bottle.

    6. Cosmetics:
    Boys, this one doesn’t apply to you so keep scrolling. Ladies, we shell out a lot of cash for those expensive cosmetics – don’t let them get ruined by leaving them in your car! On a warm day, your NARS lipstick will turn into a waxy, red puddle. On a cold day, your Benefit mascara will freeze in the tube and become dry and unusable. Protect your cosmetics and don’t leave them in your car, as tempting as it is for a quick on-the-go touch-up.

    7. Sunscreen:
    If I surprised you by mentioning that sunscreen should never be left in the car, let me explain. The active ingredients in sunscreen break down when exposed to heat; the shelf life becomes shorter and the efficacy reduced. Additionally, you could be left with a big, greasy mess to clean up if the heat in your car causes the cap to blow off.

    8. Flammable liquids:
    All flammable liquids have a warning printed on the side of the canister. This includes hairspray, spray paint, aerosol cans (of any kind), lighters, etc. This is because, above these temperature recommendations, the contents of the pressurized canisters can expand and potentially explode. When dealing with combustibles, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Off to go clean out your car? Don’t worry – We won’t tell! Of course, you should never leave pets or children in a car, even if it’s just for a moment. As always: be sure to get a quote with Metromile today – it only takes a few minutes and could be the best switch you make all year!

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

Car Buying Tips From a Car Salesman

When it comes to buying cars, most people would rather go in for a root canal than step foot on a salesroom floor. Car dealerships are filled with pushy salesmen, on the prowl for their next victim to prey upon and doing anything to make a sale. Right? Well, no – not necessarily. In fact, many car salesmen really do want to help you find the right car for you, even if it means not making the sale right away.

Car-Buying-Tips-From-a-Car-Salesman

We spoke to an anonymous car salesman, who spilled the beans on the best insider tips and tricks to getting the best deal on your next car purchase. So whether you’re thinking of buying a new car in the next week or the next 5 years, keep reading to get the inside scoop direct from the horse’s – ahem, car salesman’s – mouth.

New vs. Used Cars:


According to our anonymous source, there’s about a 50/50 ratio between customers looking to buy new vs. used vehicles. This comes down to two very different types of customers – price shoppers and product shoppers.

  • Price shoppers: these are the customers looking only at the cost of the vehicle, i.e. monthly payments plus total costs. These customers usually have a dollar amount in mind when entering a negotiation with a car salesman.
  • Product shoppers: these are customers looking at model options and packages available for their vehicle of choice. They usually have a very specific or custom car they are looking to buy and price not the major factor in their decision.

Price shoppers will typically be looking at used cars, and product shoppers almost exclusively look at new cars. Of course there is some overlap, but for the most part, customers fall into these two categories.

Buying vs. Leasing Cars:


Our anonymous source has been in the car sales business for over 5 years, and he believes that leasing a car and then buying out the lease when the term is up is usually a better option for most people due to the residual value of a car. When considering buying out a lease, factor in these considerations:

  • How much do you love the car? If you’re considering the lease-then-buyout route, make sure you pick a car that you truly love. That way, when your lease term is coming to an end, it will make your decision to buy out easier.
  • How much has really changed with the newer models? If not much has changed in the newer models of your car, then why take on a bigger payment when the vehicle is essentially the same? Our source recommends sticking with your current car instead of upping your payments if not much has changed.
  • If a leased car is in an accident, the residual value stays the same. Yep, it’s true. If you get into an accident with your lease, all you’d need to do is pay to get it repaired and turn the lease in. Then, you don’t have to worry about saddling yourself with a car that has a bad Carfax history. Cars with a bad Carfax history garner 5-10% less in trade-in value than a car with a clean Carfax history.

Pricing:


According to our source, there are two drastically different ways to go about pricing:

  • Used cars: When customers come in to buy a used car, they typically know exactly what vehicle they’re looking for and what they want to pay. With used cars, it’s harder to know exactly what the price is (the pricing usually varies from dealership to dealership). Also, it’s important to keep in mind that the value of the vehicle according to Kelly Blue Book might be skewed lower, due to dealership loyalties, incentives, etc.
  • New cars: It’s much easier to figure out the pricing on a new car – most dealerships use the baseline MSRP. However, when negotiating, go off of the invoice price always (only about 20% of our source’s customers know this fact when going into a negotiation with him!). Something else to keep in mind: dealerships in larger cities (LA, SF, NY) usually price their vehicles based on invoice prices, because they know their customers are more savvy and most are looking for the best deal.

A Car Salesman’s Top 6 Tips to Getting the Best Deal on a Car:

    1. Talk to 4 or 5 different dealerships. After talking to all of them, pit each dealership against each other to determine who is going to give you the best value and customer service.

    2. Do research before you set foot on a sales floor. Doing research beforehand will help you make a more informed decision, and empower you to feel confident in the throes of price negotiations.

    3. Pay attention to additional dealer-installed add-ons and additional fees. This is where they get ya. Many times, you don’t need the add ons – and always ask if there’s a fee that you don’t understand.

    4. Check out the marketing initiatives. Each month, car manufacturers will do marketing incentives on new cars. This means that sometimes their new models might be discounted to encourage purchase! Be sure to check out the marketing initiatives before making a purchase.

    5. Timing is key. The best time of year to purchase a car are in the Spring and in the Fall. These are the times of year that car manufacturers are coming out with new models, and dealerships are looking to move aged inventory. A price-conscious shopper would be at an advantage in negotiations during these times of the year.

    6. Shop small. Customers should avoid larger, one-price, “no-haggle” dealerships (such as Penske or Carmax), as there is zero negotiation. When shopping, you should try going to a smaller, niche, or family-owned dealership to get a better deal on a car – simply because they are more likely to negotiate with you.

So there you have it, straight from the mouth of a car salesman himself! At the end of the day, finding a car salesman that you can trust to guide you through the process is just as important as the vehicle itself. As always, if you’re buying or leasing a new car, or are just shopping around for a car insurance policy that will save you money, consider making the switch to Metromile! Happy haggling!

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

So You Got in an Accident… Now What?

I once heard getting into a car accident compared to standing in the shower and suddenly realizing that you’re on one of those waterslides where the floor drops out from underneath you. While I cannot validate the validity of that comparison (I’ve never been in a car accident OR on one of those waterslides), I do know that the situation can be jarring, confusing, and disorienting – regardless of how the accident occurred.

It’s important to feel prepared and in control, so here are our tips to handle an accident if it ever happens to you.

So-You-Got-in-an-Accident...-Now-What

How to Handle an Accident

  • Keep cool and quickly take stock of the situation. Are you injured? Is everyone else in the car okay? If so, move to a safe location to prevent further damage. If it’s not possible to move your car, turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers of your position.
  • Make sure your car is fully stopped (in park or with the emergency brake on, if you drive a manual transmission) before getting out of the vehicle. For your safety, check the mirrors to be sure that it’s safe to get out; if you carry items such as road flares or beacons, take them out and set them up as an extra precautionary measure.
  • Check for injuries on both yourself and others involved. Were there passengers? Pedestrians or cyclists? Other drivers? If there is a chance that someone is seriously injured, call an ambulance right away. Also, when in doubt, alert the police of the incident – even if the accident was a minor fender bender. The police can be an invaluable resource in determining fault (if any). Let them be the objective judge to determine who is at fault for the collision. As an added tip, be polite, but do not tell anyone that you think the accident was your fault (even if you’re pretty sure that it was). Even saying “I’m sorry” can be construed as an admission of guilt in some circumstances.
  • Gather the below information from all parties involved in the accident:
      1. Driver and passenger names (it might also be a good idea to get an email address and a photo of the driver, if you can)
      2. Insurance information from all parties involved in the collision
      3. License plate numbers
      4. Makes and models of all vehicles involved
      5. Contact information for any eyewitnesses
      6. Location of the accident
      7. The name and badge number of any responding police officers

    Be very careful about the information you give out to the other parties. Never give out your social security number, and never sign a document unless it’s for the police or your insurance company.

  • Take photos and videos to document the scene. I remember back in the day before smartphones, it was recommended that you carry a disposable camera in the glovebox. Now we can just take all the pictures and videos with our phone! If your phone was damaged or lost in the crash, ask a bystander to take some photos and videos and email them to you. Note any skid marks, signs, lights, lane markings, road construction, line of sight – the more the better when it comes time to file that claim with your insurance company.
  • Try to get a police report. Getting this information will make it much easier to file a claim with your insurance company. The officer’s opinion of the accident will be useful if you and the other driver(s) happen to have a dispute about who was to blame for the accident. The police report will also have the officer’s information on it in case the officer is needed to testify in court. Also, don’t ever leave the scene before an officer arrives. Leaving the scene before exchanging information and reporting it to law enforcement is considered a misdemeanor offense in some jurisdictions.
  • Go to the doctor right away. Even if you feel fine, injuries from car accidents can rear their ugly heads well after the fact. In the moment, adrenaline can mask symptoms of an injury, so it’s best to get checked out by your doctor right away or as soon as you can after the accident. One of the most common injuries is whiplash, which can take up to 24 hours to appear. According to the Mayo Clinic, these are the biggest warning signs:
      1. Neck pain and stiffness
      2. Worsening of pain with neck movement
      3. Loss of range of motion in the neck
      4. Headaches, most often starting at the base of the skull
      5. Tenderness or pain in shoulder, upper back or arms
      6. Tingling or numbness in the arms
      7. Fatigue
      8. Dizziness

    Get yourself checked out by a doctor as soon as your start to experience any combination of these symptoms after your accident. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, especially with injuries that involve the spinal cord and neck.

  • File a claim with your insurance company. With Metromile, it’s easy to file a claim and submit photos right through your phone! Be sure to include any and all information you received, including photos and a police report if you’re able to obtain it.

Accident Checklist:

    1. Keep cool and make sure your car is fully stopped before getting out.
    2. Check if anyone in either car needs medical attention. If there are injuries, call 911 immediately. Move your car out of the flow of traffic if you can.
    3. Report the accident to local authorities/police.
    4. While awaiting police, do not admit guilt or say anything that could be construed as admission of guilt, such as “I’m so sorry.”
    5. Take photos and videos of both cars, the driver, skid marks, signs, lights, lane markings, road construction, line of sight, etc.
    6. Get a police report.
    7. Go to the doctor right away.
    8. File a claim with your insurance company.

With the right preparation, accident day (and the horrible stressful feeling that comes with it) should only last for a second, and Metromile is here to help you through the process. If you are a pay-per-mile insurance customer and are in an accident, you can reach the Metromile claims team 24/7 at 888-215-9176. Whether you need help locating repair facilities or need an update on work being done, we can get you the information you need. We’ll do everything we can to get you back on the road as quickly and safely as possible! If you’re not already a Metromile customer, be sure to get a quick quote now!

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

Vehicle Breakdown Checklist: What To Do When Your Car Breaks Down

It’s a situation no one wants to deal with: a car breakdown. It can be inconvenient at best, scary at worst, and no matter what kind of malfunction you experience, you can bet the necessary fix will likely be pricey.

What-to-do-when-your-car-breaks-down

No matter where you are when your car breaks down, here are 5 steps to follow to stay safe and get yourself back on the road safely.

5 Steps to Take When your Car Breaks Down:

    1.Be prepared before a breakdown. The best way to keep a bad situation from becoming worse is to be prepared. Always keep these essentials in your car in case of emergencies:

    • A cell phone charger
    • Flashlights and extra batteries
    • Jumper cables
    • Flares or reflectors
    • An ice scraper, snow shovel, and sand if you live in snowy conditions
    • An umbrella
    • A toolkit
    • A first aid kit
    • Coolant

    2.Know how to get off the road safely. Cars typically don’t just stop entirely when there’s a breakdown, so you’ll likely have some time as your car slows down to get over to the side of the road. Avoid braking suddenly and take your foot off the gas smoothly and gently as you steer your vehicle over to the side of the road.

    3.Call for help. This is when roadside assistance is your best friend. If you’re a Metromile customer, you have the option to add on this feature to your policy so you can get a jump, tow, or locksmith 24/7. If you’re in serious trouble, call 9-1-1.

    4.Signal to other drivers. Here’s where the flares in your trunk come in handy. As long as it’s safe to get out of your car and walk to the back, place both flares behind your vehicle about 50 feet away or more if possible. Turn on your hazard lights and pop your hood so motorists know to steer clear.

    5.Use your best judgment. Strangers may stop to offer help while you wait for roadside assistance. It’s best to follow your gut; if something doesn’t feel right, stay in your car (as long as it’s safe), and only roll down the windows enough to talk and let them know help is on the way.

Breakdowns are never fun but if you follow these steps it will be just a car breakdown rather than a total mental breakdown. Interested in Metromile pay-per-mile insurance and Roadside assistance? Get a free quote now.


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.

Winter Weather Driving Safety Tips

As temperatures dip, it can become harder and less convenient to get through everyday life. But aside from the unpleasant chill in the air, cold weather can mean real road hazards that put your safety at risk. Every year, far too many drivers lose their lives to wintertime accidents. But by taking a few preventive measures and precautions, you can greatly reduce your risk and feel safer behind the wheel, no matter the season.

Cold-Weather-Driving-Tips

Here are the top 10 cold weather driving safety tips you need to know:

    1.Keep your car in top shape. Be sure your battery, tire tread, and windshield wipers are all up to snuff, and put no-freeze fluid in your washer reservoir. Keep your windows clear, check your antifreeze, and always be sure to keep your gas tank at least half full in case you need to run your engine to stay warm in the event of a breakdown.

    2.Pack the right supplies. Everyone should have a flashlight, jumper cables, blankets, and flares on hand, and if you live in a snowy region, your trunk should pack an ice scraper, snow shovel, sand or salt.

    3.Plan your route. Even if you know exactly where you’re going, check weather conditions, traffic, accident reports, and other factors that may impact your trip.

    4.Adjust your speed accordingly. When weather conditions change, it’s important to stay present and in tune with your surroundings; you may need to drive slower than average to stay safe and in control. Remember that posted speed limits apply to dry roads, not those covered in ice or snow, so let your sense dictate your speed; not necessarily the signs.

    5.Keep a safe amount of space between you and other vehicles. Stopping distances are longer on icy roads-driving too close behind another car can result in a rear-end crash.

    6.Know how to get unstuck. If you do get stuck in the snow, avoid spinning your wheels; this will just dig you deeper into the slush. Figure out the simplest way to dig yourself out of the hole and clear the snow in front of and behind all four tires before spreading sand or kitty litter to provide instant traction. As you maneuver the vehicle out, keep your front tires straight so you’ll encounter less resistance.

    7.Be prepared for a skid. Skidding on an icy road can be scary, but it’s important to stay as calm as possible so you can move through the important safety steps: avoid slamming on your brakes, take your foot off the gas, and steer in the direction you want to go. Allow the car to slow down so you can regain control.

    8.Know your brakes. Being aware of the type of brakes you have will dictate how you use them: if you have anti-lock brakes, you can apply steady pressure, but if you have non-anti-lock brakes, you’ll need to pump them gently so you avoid locking them and losing control.

    9.Take on hills the right way. You may be tempted to power up a hill, but using extra gas on a snowy incline can cause your wheels to spin. Instead, gain some inertia on flat road before you reach the hill, and as you reach the peak, reduce your speed (but don’t stop!) so you can head downhill as slowly as possible.

    10.If possible…stay home. The only way to completely eliminate the risk of cold weather driving is to avoid it whenever possible. If you don’t absolutely have to get behind the wheel, don’t-even if you’re an excellent wintertime driver, others on the road may not be as skilled.

Bundle up, stay warm, and be safe out there – and if you haven’t checked out Metromile, get a free quote now.


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.