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Here’s How Americans Are Returning to the Roads in 2021

Drivers are returning to the road, but how they are driving in 2021 has changed. Metromile data shows a new normal is emerging.

Drivers are springing back to the roads, Metromile data from the first three months of 2021 shows. 

The total number of miles driven across the U.S. surged in March 2021 compared to the same time last year, after months of continued slumps, according to an anonymized and aggregated sample of Metromile customers nationwide.

But as the U.S. recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, Metromile data shows life for many people may look different than it once did. Like the so-called “K-shaped” economic recovery, a bifurcation in driving and mobility is developing nationwide.

The recent driving behavior may be a good indication of a “new normal” as more people embrace flexible hybrid schedules for in-office work and use their cars differently than they had last year.

How has driving in the U.S. changed in 2021?

While driving recovered occasionally in 2020, notably in the summer and year-end, vehicle use remained low. Metromile customers nationwide collectively drove 30% fewer miles from April through December 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.

Early data showed signs these low levels would continue in 2021. 

Miles driven nationwide in January and February 2021 were both 28% lower year-over-year, not dissimilar from the 30% drop observed throughout 2020.

The situation changed dramatically in March. Drivers nationwide collectively put 19% more miles on their vehicles year-over-year and 20% more than February 2021.

Despite the recent rebound, mileage hasn’t yet returned to pre-pandemic levels. The total number of miles driven nationwide in March 2021 is 79% of the miles driven in February 2020.

People in Illinois and Washington state ramped up driving the most by 29% and 30% in March, respectively, from the year prior. The increased mileage might be a result of resumed commutes as large employers in both states reopened offices. Notably, tech giants encouraged employees working from home to return to their Seattle area campuses at the end of the month.

Californians and Oregonians added 19% and 16% more miles on their vehicles, respectively.

Smaller upturns in driving came from East Coast Metromile customers. The total number of miles driven in March 2021 grew by 18% in Pennsylvania, 12% in New Jersey, and 11% year-over-year in Virginia.  

Arizona, one of the last states to implement a stay-at-home order last year, saw the smallest increase in March 2021. Mileage in the Grand Canyon State rose by only 6% compared to the year before.

Will these new driving trends continue in 2021?

While the total number of miles driven is quickly approaching pre-pandemic levels, it is becoming more apparent how people drive has changed. A new normal may be developing.

People returning to the office may be in for a pleasant surprise: Drivers may find fewer congested roads, as people plan to commute less often than they did before. The trend will likely persist as employers embrace hybrid work schedules, and full-time remote work continues to be more accepted.

Already, the number of miles driven from January to March 2021 during the weekday morning rush hour of 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. fell by 15% year-over-year.

The changed behavior could be positive for road safety. Rush hour and evening driving are typically more risky journeys because of increased road congestion and poorer visibility, respectively.

Drivers have also shifted when they get into their vehicles to the weekend and the afternoon.

The increase in miles driven nationwide may be a result of road trips and other long-distance driving. Highway driving, as measured by miles driven 60 miles per hour or faster, grew considerably in the first three months of 2021 compared to the year before.

Metromile customers nationwide took 14% more trips to new locations more than 75 miles away in 2021, and the number of miles driven in trips 75 minutes or more soared by at least 25% year-over-year.

While miles driven nationwide increased recently, traffic levels remain at pre-pandemic lows. The number of miles driven at 30 miles per hour or slower is down — no matter the trip duration.

News headlines have also focused on the sharp increases in reckless driving and speeding as fewer cars are on the road during the pandemic. According to Metromile data, high-speed driving is most common in short trips between 15 and 30 minutes and on road trips of two hours or more.

While speeding 75 miles per hour more is up 74% from January to March 2021 compared to the previous year, there is some reversion to pre-pandemic norms emerging. 

Speeding in the first three months of 2021 has decreased by 32% compared to last spring, and the average speed of trips between 30 and 75 minutes has also reduced.

The bottom line

The COVID-19 pandemic created a nearly instant shift in the way people get around the United States. 

Local and state shelter-in-place and public health orders minted millions of new low-mileage drivers overnight, as many people limited their vehicle use to the bare minimum.

While some drivers may return to their pre-pandemic habits, Metromile data from the first three months of 2021 reveals how people return to the road has likely diverged. Emerging social trends, such as increased remote work and household moves to further away suburban and rural communities, may advance these changes and create different driving routines and a new normal going forward.

What It’s Like to Drive in the United States During COVID-19

Many Americans drove less during the COVID-19 pandemic, but for some, auto insurance prices remain high. Metromile can help low-mileage or infrequent drivers save with pay-as-you-go auto insurance.

It’s not your imagination: Many of us now drive less often than we did before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The decline in driving may have started last spring, as states and other areas adopted stay-at-home orders and other public health guidelines beginning in March 2020. In some cases, the number of cars on the road dropped dramatically. In the month from March 19, 2020, the total number of miles driven dropped 58% nationwide, according to Metromile data.

Some signs point to this trend continuing.

Driving in the United States before the coronavirus pandemic

A majority of Americans are infrequent drivers, and this trend started before the coronavirus pandemic.

The U.S. Department of Transportation reported Americans drove less than 37 miles a day on average in 2018, the most recent year for which data is available. In fact, 65% of Americans drive less than the national average, making them low-mileage drivers

And there is no single group of low-mileage drivers, a sign of how commonplace this is across the United States. Some of these drivers include:

How driving in the United States changed because of COVID-19

Despite indications last year that driving may be rebounding, including increased road trips in December 2020, the number of miles driven nationwide remains lower than pre-pandemic levels.

Metromile customers nationwide collectively drove 30% fewer miles year-over-year from April through December 2020.

Coastal drivers had the most significant changes in 2020. Virginia drivers put 33% fewer miles on their vehicles, the largest drop among Metromile customers during the pandemic, while those in California and Washington state plunged 32% and 30% miles from their daily routines, respectively. People in Oregon and New Jersey both reduced miles driven by 25%, while Pennsylvania cut their driving by 26%. 

Arizona and Illinois drivers may have rebounded the soonest, as their miles fell 21% and 23%, respectively, the lowest decreases among Metromile customers.

There are also indications Americans changed how they drive during the coronavirus pandemic.

While Metromile customers drove less overall, they started to take longer trips. The number of trips to new locations 75 miles or further away from April through June 2020 increased by 21% compared to the same period in 2019.

During the same period, drivers across the country drove more often in the afternoon, seemingly replacing their morning commutes and late-night driving with mid-day trips.

What the new driving trends mean for auto insurance

As Americans drive less often, they could stand to save on auto insurance.

Pay-per-mile auto insurance, sometimes called pay as you go or pay as you drive auto insurance, can reduce costs for low-mileage and infrequent drivers. Instead of paying a flat rate with traditional car insurance companies, drivers can instead pay for what their lifestyle might require.

Unlike other auto insurance, pay-per-mile insurance rates focus on someone’s actual driving.

Car insurance savings can add up. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Metromile customers collectively saved about 27% in per-mile premiums from April to December 2020 because they pay per mile. 

As a result, some drivers saved double (or more) the auto insurance discounts provided by other insurance companies or suggested by the state.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Virginia drivers, who reduced their driving the most among Metromile customers during the pandemic, saved the most, paying 41% less in per-mile premiums than they did the year before.

Drivers in Washington state and Arizona had per-mile premium reductions of 31% and 29%, respectively.  

Metromile customers in Oregon and Pennsylvania paid 26% less than they did in per-mile premiums than the year before, while California drivers cut their per-mile bills by 27%. 

Finally, Illinois and New Jersey drivers saw 20% and 18% lower per-mile premiums, greater savings than the partial refunds some insurance companies provided during the pandemic.

The bottom line

Many Americans could benefit from pay-per-mile auto insurance. For many drivers, Metromile can provide the same coverage as other car insurance companies without a pricey bill. 

Metromile offers a trial called Ride Along™, which gives drivers the opportunity to try pay-per-mile auto insurance before they buy. 

After you download the app and get a free auto insurance quote, you’ll drive as you typically would for about two weeks (you should keep your current insurance provider to maintain insurance coverage during the trial) to show us how much you drive and whether you’re a safe driver. We’ll then use how you drive to show you an accurate rate or give you a discount up to an extra 40% off your quote, depending on your state, for safe driving.

Car Insurance Coverage Options, Explained

So you’ve decided to make the switch to Metromile — congrats! Not only will you save major cash with pay-per-mile insurance, but you’ll have access to four different levels of liability protection, plus choices for your comprehensive and collision deductibles. But if insurance lingo has you confused, don’t sweat it: Understanding your options is easier than you think.

Covered in mud…and by insurance

Here’s a breakdown of the various types of car insurance coverage available so you can choose what’s right for you:

  • Bodily Injury (BI): Most states require BI coverage to cover costs related to injuries or deaths to other people in the event of an accident that’s your fault. This type of coverage pays for things like medical treatment, rehabilitation, and funeral costs, as well as costs related to mental or emotional distress that results from bodily injury. It may also pay for lawyer’s fees if you’re sued for an accident. Depending on the state you live in, you may be required to have a predetermined minimum amount of BI coverage.
  • Property Damage Liability (PD): If you’re in an accident that damages someone else’s property, PD liability will cover the costs. This type of coverage will pay for any type of tangible property, whether it’s another driver’s vehicle, or something like a building, utility pole, fence, garage door, etc. Some states will require you to have a predetermined minimum amount of this coverage too.
  • Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UMBI): If you’re in an accident in which the other driver is at-fault and uninsured, UMBI coverage will pay for any necessary medical, rehabilitation, lost wages, pain-and-suffering, and funeral costs for you and/or your passengers. Remember that UMBI will only pay up to the coverage limit, and your state may or may not require you to have a set minimum amount.
  • Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UIMBI): This one is very similar to UMBI, but it pays up to the limit for expenses in the event that 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: If you’re in an accident, 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. This type of coverage is optional and, depending on your state, may be possible to combine with a health insurance policy.
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP): In general, PIP covers your medical costs regardless of who’s at fault for the accident. The benefits vary by state, with some states offering coverage for things like lost wages, child care, and/or funeral costs.
  • Comprehensive: This type of optional coverage comes in handy if your car is stolen or damaged in ways that don’t involve a collision (think hail damage, glass breakage, fire, vandalism, damage from an animal, flood, earthquakes, falling objects, and theft). It’s up to you to choose a deductible amount — that’s the out-of-pocket cost you agree to pay before coverage is afforded.
  • Collision: This is another type of optional coverage that covers you if your car collides with another object (like a car, a brick wall, a tree, etc). This coverage protects your car only and not the other party’s damage. Again, the deductible amount you choose is the out-of-pocket expense you have to pay before coverage kicks in.
  • Collision Deductible Waiver: This type of 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 at-fault driver who’s uninsured. You’ll need the license plate number or name of the person that caused the damage and you’ll have to report the claim quickly.
  • Underinsured Motorist Property Damage (UMPD): If you’re hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver, this type of coverage will pay for the damage to your vehicle. UMPD coverage isn’t available in every state, and some states require you to choose between UMPD and Collision coverage.

Ready to choose the type of coverage that fits your needs? Need some more info? Just visit Metromile today to get a free personalized quote.

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Michelle Konstantinovsky is a San Francisco-based journalist/writer/editor and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumna.

Choosing the Right Car Insurance Deductibles

If you are shopping for new car insurance (or updating your current policy), one of the factors to consider when getting a quote is choosing the deductible amount. It might seem enticing to pick the highest deductible since that often equates to a lower monthly premium. But saving a few bucks in the short term might mean you pay more in the long term. Let’s break down how car insurance deductibles work, with the help of our friends at The Zebra.


Your car insurance deductible is the amount of money you have to pay if something happens to your car before your insurance kicks in, after a covered event (such as a crash, theft or weather damage). For example, if your car needs $2,000 in repairs and your deductible is $500, you will have to pay $500 and your insurer will cover the remaining $1,500. Many insurance providers (including Metromile) will take the deductible out of the indemnity payment (the money you receive from a claim), or the deductible will be paid directly to a repair facility if you choose to fix your car. Car insurance deductibles work differently than other types of insurance deductibles, such as health insurance. Your health insurance deductible applies across the calendar year, but your car insurance deductible will be applied for each claim you file. So if you submit two car insurance claims in a year, you will have to pay your deductible each time.

So how do you choose the right deductible amount for your needs? If you choose a higher amount, there is less chance that the insurer will have to help pay for damage, so your monthly premium might be lower. If you choose a lower deductible, your premium might be higher, but that means you will have to spend less money in the event that something happens to your car. The Zebra advises that you shouldn’t just choose a high deductible in hopes that you will never have to make a claim. There are always things beyond our control (like vandalism and bad weather), so if something happens and you can’t pay for repairs, that’s bad news.

Comprehensive & Collision Coverage 101

The following guest post is written by Neil Richardson, an advisor for The Zebra, which is the nation’s largest car insurance comparison marketplace. An insurance nerd through and through, Neil has helped tens of thousands of customers understand and secure auto insurance with his expertise and unique knack for translating complex industry jargon into plain English.

When you are insuring a valuable asset like your vehicle, you want to be aware of the ins and outs of your policy before you give your payment information, not at a crucial time like a claim. “Full coverage” is often used as a blanket statement to describe an insurance policy with comprehensive and collision coverage, but it isn’t that simple. Understanding your coverage before something happens will help you avoid a potentially disastrous outcome like being stranded on the road because you thought your “full coverage” policy provided roadside assistance or medical coverage when it may not.


So, What Is “Comprehensive and Collision” Anyway?

Physical damage coverage, which is the part of your auto policy that covers your vehicle, is described as “comprehensive and collision.” Technically, they are two separate types of coverage, though they are often coupled, and they extend beyond state minimum liability insurance requirements (which cover the other driver in a collision).

When you finance a vehicle, you are required to carry both comprehensive and collision coverage, and this is normally when you will be told that you need a “full coverage” policy. Lenders require this coverage in addition to the state minimum because it will cover your vehicle against damage due to accidents (collision coverage) and many scenarios other than accidents (comprehensive coverage), which is important to those lenders since you don’t yet own the car outright.

Comprehensive coverage is a catch-all for incidents that aren’t considered “accidents” like hail, flooding, or vandalism damage. When getting an insurance quote, you will need to choose a deductible amount. If you are financing your vehicle, then you will want to confirm what deductible option you are required to carry based on your loan paperwork. The option you select is the amount that you agree to cover (read: pay) if you have to file a claim. Once your deductible has been paid, then the insurance company will fix the remaining amount of damage.

The Art of Selecting Your Deductible

Most people who have comprehensive and collision on their policy will carry $500 deductibles, but there are many other deductible options which typically range from $250-$1,000. The total cost of an insurance policy is often largely dependent on the deductible selected. The lower the deductible, the more expensive the policy, but also the less you will have to pay if something happens to your car. Most agents will let you know what the difference in premium looks like among the options so you can decide which one makes the most sense for your situation.

Did you know that a number of insurance companies (including Metromile) also allow you to select individual deductible options for comprehensive and collision? Generally speaking, collision coverage is much more expensive than comprehensive, so you may consider having a $500 deductible for collision but select a $250 option for comprehensive and only see a slight difference in your premium. The important thing to keep in mind is that you have options. Editor’s note: If you are considering switching to Metromile, our licensed agents are happy to help determine the best coverage and deductibles for your needs!

Save Money on Your Commute with these Transportation Alternatives

For many of us, a commute is a reality of life, whether it’s to work or the local shops for our everyday necessities. Most of us don’t have the good fortune to live close to where we work and need to shop. If you can’t travel by car, here is a guide of alternative transportation methods, so you can get where you need to go.

Should I start riding a bike?

Bicycles are an eco-conscious, healthy, and affordable option for transportation. Once you buy the bike, you don’t need to worry about expensive fuel, maintenance, or car insurance. After all, you power the bike yourself.

Cities are increasingly becoming more bike-friendly, adding new bike lanes and cracking down on dangerous driver behavior threatening cyclists. Fortunately, these steps are making the streets safer for those of us who don’t ride a bike, too.

A common choice for cyclists is an electric bicycle. You can generally fold the bikes in half for easy storage in seconds and ride them as traditional bikes. For added convenience, some electric bikes charge your smartphone and come with companion apps to track your distance or even turn on built-in LED lights to ride in style.

If you’re nervous about purchasing a bicycle because of cost, especially when some bicycles can now cost thousands of dollars, look into whether your city has a network of public bikes you can rent. Cities big and small, including New York, Portland, Oregon, and San Francisco, have bicycle stands with bikes available for rent, and there are now apps that have “dockless” bikes. These bike-sharing apps can help you find a bicycle that’s closest to you and can be more convenient. Often, there are also monthly or annual pass options suited for more regular riders, which could cut down your commute cost as well. And with docking stations located throughout bustling business areas of downtown, they offer a convenient alternative to hunting down an open parking space.

  • Pros of commuting on a bicycle: 
    • Many cities are limiting through traffic on some main streets and expanding their network of bike lanes to make cycling safer
    • Healthy for you and the environment
    • Can be more affordable: you can purchase your own bicycle cheaply or rent a shared bike to keep costs low
  • Cons of commuting on a bicycle:
    • Regular car traffic can be dangerous, especially in congested areas
    • Your office or home may not have space for you to store your bike securely
    • Some bicycles, including electric bikes, may be expensive to purchase or maintain over time

Should I buy a moped to commute?

Mopeds often bring to mind driving along some idyllic European coastline, but they can be a great way to get around here in the U.S., too. Like bicycles, mopeds can keep commute costs low, as they’re cheaper to purchase and maintain than cars.

If you’ve never driven a moped, companies now make it easy to start riding. In some cities, app-based moped rentals are becoming commonplace and usually cost just a few dollars. And there’s no need to own a helmet for the occasional ride — these companies often provide helmets in the cargo trunk, ready for riders!

  • Pros of commuting on a moped: 
    • Can be more affordable: typically cost a few dollars to unlock and ride
    • Ready-to-ride with helmets often readily available
    • Faster than biking and less exerting on your body
  • Cons of commuting on a moped: 
    • Congested streets can be dangerous or scary, especially for new moped drivers
    • Limited storage space for your bag, briefcase, or shopping bags

Is public transportation safe for commutes?

Public transportation, whether by bus, rail, or subway, can be a convenient way to get to work and around town. In many major cities and suburbs, it is the most common method of transportation. Generally, costing just a few dollars, it is also the most cost-effective. Plus, when taken instead of driving a car, public transport can be a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and reduce the effects of climate change on the environment.

  • Pros of commuting on public transportation: 
    • Generally the most cost effective: fares can range from a few cents to a few dollars 
    • You can be more productive while commuting: multi-tasking gives you the opportunity to read your emails or a book
    • Can be less stressful: you don’t need to worry about traffic because someone else is driving
  • Cons of commuting on public transportation: 
    • Can be very crowded and uncomfortable during peak morning and early evening commute times
    • Wait times can be long because of COVID-19, as some agencies have cut frequencies of service
    • Limited personal space or social distancing when crowded
    • Cleanliness may be an issue in heavily frequented routes, stations, or stops

Should I continue commuting by driving?

While carpooling may be less common because of health concerns stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, many car owners are finding more value in their vehicles now more than ever. Driving with your family or people who you live with can help alleviate some cleanliness and hygiene concerns.

  • Pros of commuting by driving:
    • Convenience of getting on the road straight from your home
    • If you’re able to commute with a partner, friend or coworker, you can take advantage of the carpool lane for a potentially quicker ride
    • Could allow you to better maintain social distancing and personal space
  • Cons of commuting by driving:
    • Heavy traffic or accidents on the road can slow you down and stress you out
    • Driving is a significant contributor to climate change
    • Gas prices and car maintenance can be costly
    • Car insurance can be expensive and is another added cost to owning a car

If you find yourself driving your car less during the week or with a changed routine, Metromile’s pay-per-mile car insurance could be a great way to save money. When you drive less, you can save more because your bill is based on the miles you drive.

Demi Greco is a communications specialist, plant mom, and under-baked cookie connoisseur from San Francisco.

Coronavirus Auto Insurance: How to Get a Refund or Save

You may have heard about car insurance discounts, rebates, or refunds due to the coronavirus pandemic. Some car insurance companies are providing savings because fewer people are driving because of stay-at-home or social distancing guidelines.

As many of us cancel our vacations, take fewer trips around town, or work from home, we put together a guide to the refunds and other savings available for car insurance.

How to save on car insurance during coronavirus with discounts and refunds

In addition to factors like what kind of car you drive or your driving and insurance history, many insurance companies consider how much you drive when they set your rate. For example, if you drive 10,000 or fewer miles a year (this is most Americans!), you could save on car insurance.

Some car insurance companies have also started to provide partial premium refunds and other savings in response to how many drivers have reduced or stopped their driving. Some notable savings and discounts include:

Can I get a discount because I’m not driving to work anymore?

You could save some money if you’re no longer commuting back and forth to work. Similarly, your savings could add up if you’re also taking fewer trips to restaurants, shops, or vacations.

Metromile provides pay per mile car insurance, so one of the biggest factors behind how much you pay for car insurance is how much you drive. If you drive less, you can pay a lower rate to keep your car covered. 

During some states’ shelter-in-place and social distancing guidelines, Metromile customers saved approximately 30% on average on car insurance, beginning in April. They didn’t need to call to ask for a discount or let their insurance company know they started working from home or were driving less—their bills were lowered automatically when they drove less and stayed home because they pay per mile.

Why canceling your auto insurance is a bad idea

Each state has minimum requirements for car insurance coverage, so you shouldn’t cancel your policy. Often, you’re required to have car insurance, even if you’re not driving your car. For example, comprehensive coverage will be useful if something falls on your car while it’s parked. Also, if you finance your car, your lender or leasing company may have also required you to keep a certain amount of coverage.

How to lower your auto insurance rate during the coronavirus pandemic

Metromile and some other insurance companies let you personalize your policy, including your coverage limits and totals. You might have optional car insurance coverage unique to your state and situation that you could temporarily reduce to help you lower your rate. If you do make any changes, remember to review your policy again later, especially if you start driving again or your habits change. 

Options if you can’t pay your car insurance bill during the coronavirus pandemic

Many insurance companies are providing assistance with your coverage and policy. If you need some extra support, think about contacting your insurance company to learn what may be available.

Metromile is making payment relief options available, so you won’t lose your coverage if you can’t pay now. Metromile customers can also make partial payments if they can’t pay their complete balance for no fees, including late fees.

Has car insurance changed because of the coronavirus pandemic?

Your car insurance should be the same unless your car insurance company lets you know your policy has changed. Drivers should still be able to file a car insurance claim during the coronavirus pandemic. Insurance companies have not stopped processing claims, and in many cases, you can file a claim online. Metromile customers can file a claim 24/7 from the Metromile app or their online dashboard on the Metromile website.

Your insurance company may ask you to share photos or videos of your damage to help understand your damage. It’s a good idea to check your policy or contact your company, so you can follow their latest requirements.

Don’t worry about getting your car repaired. Many auto repair shops are open, even during shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders, because they are generally considered essential businesses.

Bottom line

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused stress and uncertainty, but car insurance doesn’t have to be one of them. Car insurance companies are providing extra support for your policy, including savings as you drive less, payment relief options, and help to keep your car covered.

The Top 6 Ways to Lower Your Car Insurance Bill

Keeping these tips in mind can help you stay on top of your auto insurance costs

It can be hard right now to cover current expenses. Many of us are looking for new ways to reduce our spending and find easy ways to save money. One place you shouldn’t cut is car insurance, as you’ll need it if you ever get into an accident. Fortunately, car insurance doesn’t have to be expensive.

Consider these six steps to help lower your car insurance bill.

1. Understand your current coverage.

It’s important to understand your current policy. You will want to know where you currently stand, so you can evaluate whether the coverage and limits you originally purchased are still right for you. You might have purchased your policy when your lifestyle was different. For example, if you are now driving an older car, you might not need as much coverage than when you had a sports car. Once you understand your current coverage, you can make an apples-to-apples comparison with other available policies to make a more informed financial decision.

2. Check rates often.

Don’t forget to shop around for car insurance. Car insurance prices can change over time, so this is a situation where set it and forget it might not work well for your wallet. The fact is car insurance premiums can vary among insurance companies, even for the same levels of coverage.

A good way to make sure you have a good rate is to consider pay-per-mile car insurance like Metromile. Because you only pay for the miles you drive, you could pay less for car insurance when you drive less. It’s like an automatic discount because your coverage adapts to your lifestyle.

3. Ask for discounts.

It often goes unnoticed but insurance companies have different discounts available. When you signed up, you might not have known you were eligible for some discounts, or your situation may have changed since you first purchased your policy, which now qualifies you to save.

A common car insurance discount is a multi-vehicle discount if you insure more than one car on the same policy. There are also rate reductions available based on the kind of job you have, whether you are married, or rewards for being a safe driver. These discounts can add up, so it can be worthwhile to call your insurer to check for any discounts for which you might be eligible.

4. Increase the deductible.

If you have a good driving record and very rarely get into accidents, you could increase your deductible to save money on your car insurance. You generally pay more for car insurance if you have a lower deductible.

Keep in mind that your deductible is how much you need to pay before your insurance kicks in. For example, if your car needs $1,500 in repairs and your policy has a $500 deductible, you’ll be responsible for paying $500 before your insurance covers the remaining $1,000. If you increase your deductible, you might want to consider saving money to make sure your emergency fund could cover the difference to avoid a bad surprise later.

5. Consider temporarily changing your coverage.

Your car insurance policy should work for you. Fortunately, Metromile and some other insurance companies let you personalize your policies, including your coverage limits and totals. You can ask your insurer about any optional coverage unique to your state that you could temporarily reduce to help you save, for example.

Each state has minimum requirements, so don’t get too overboard with any reductions. You’ll need to keep the minimum coverage and limits required by your state so that you don’t have a lapse in coverage. Similarly, if you finance your car, review your financing information, as your lienholder or lease company could have coverage requirements or require you to let them know if you make any changes to your insurance policy.

If you do make any changes, make sure you remember to review your policy again later. You don’t want to get caught without the coverage you might need when you return to your usual driving habits.

6. Drive an older car.

The car you drive affects how much you pay for car insurance. Generally, if you have an older car, you’ll pay less than if you had a newer or luxury car. Older cars tend to be cheaper to insure because their car parts are more widely available, and the value of cars tends to decrease over time.

If you have an older car, you could also drop optional coverage that you might not need. For example, if your car is worth less than your deductible, you could end up spending more money than the repair. In this case, it could be more economical to stick to your state’s minimum requirements.

Bottom line

Car insurance is often one of the biggest expenses, but it’s not something you should ever go without if you have a car. However, you don’t have to pay too much to get the coverage and experience that you deserve. 

Catalytic Converter Theft Is Up 25%

At Metromile, we care about your safety and protecting you from undue costs, including theft. Unfortunately, catalytic converter theft is on the rise, especially in the state of California.

The Toyota Prius and other hybrid cars are the most common targets, but thieves also steal catalytic converters from SUVs and trucks. 

Recently, catalytic converter claims at Metromile have increased by around 25%, on average costing thousands of dollars to replace. Rest assured, if your car insurance policy includes comprehensive coverage, it could help cover costs up to your coverage limits, including replacing your catalytic converter and any necessary repairs from any damage caused by the thief.

How can I protect my vehicle from catalytic converter theft?

Whenever possible, park in well-lit areas that are near cameras or higher pedestrian traffic. If you have a personal garage, store your car in the garage with the door closed and locked. Attaching a security device, such as a cat-shield, may also reduce the likelihood your car is targeted.

What is a catalytic converter?

The catalytic converter reduces the toxic gases and pollutants that exit the tailpipe. It is located between the engine and the exhaust system, usually underneath your car. 

The precious metals inside the converter, such as palladium and platinum, make it a popular choice for thieves. It can be cut off from your car in mere minutes.

How does a catalytic converter work?

When pollutants in fuel pass over the palladium and platinum inside the catalytic converter, they trigger a chemical reaction that burns or oxidizes the harmful components. Then, the newly cleaned emissions pass through and out of the tailpipe.

The very metals that are so desired by these thieves are used specifically for this car part because they are exactly what make the converter work, chemically. Think of it as a chemistry experiment taking place in a fancy metal chamber underneath your car! 

In the event of a malfunction, the exhaust flow is affected, which can disrupt your car’s performance, hinder fuel economy and can even cause difficulties with starting your car. Sometimes, it is not the actual converter that is malfunctioning, but a domino effect of other issues occurring in another part of the engine’s network of systems and parts — like a piston ring that’s stuck or bad spark plugs. Thankfully, since OBD-II ports have a sensor to monitor, among other things, the efficiency of the converter, any issue affecting your catalytic converter will trigger your check engine light. And, as a Metromile pay per mile customer, your Pulse device reads that sensor and can let you know should an issue arise. Though malfunctions do occur, the good news is most catalytic converters function properly and last for the life of the vehicle. 

What Is A Motor Vehicle Report?

If you’re ready to switch up your car insurance, you may need a motor vehicle report. Even if your new insurance provider doesn’t request one, it may be helpful for you to review before you shop. Here’s everything you might need to know about your MVR:

What is a motor vehicle report?

A motor vehicle report or MVR is also known as your driving record. Consider the MVR your driving report card which documents everything from traffic tickets, accident reports, DUI convictions, driver’s license points, vehicle-related crimes, and more. Your MVR also includes driver’s license details, such as the driver’s license class, restrictions, endorsements, and personal information like your age, height, or weight.

Why does my car insurance company need a copy of my MVR?

Your car insurance rates are largely based on how risky you might be as a driver on the road. If your MVR indicates that you’re prone to accidents or speeding violations, an insurance company may need to factor those things into the premium you pay. If you have had major violations like DUIs, it can severely impact the rate insurance companies are likely to offer you, compared to a clean record with no history of violations.

Depending on which state you live in, certain items may be removed from your MVR after some time. For example, some violations like a DUI stick around longer, while other violations like a speeding ticket may be expunged sooner. Whether or not violations are stricken from your record after a certain amount of time, most car insurance companies will only take a close look at the most recent years detailed on your MVR. 

How do I get a copy of my MVR?

You can call or visit your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to request a copy of your MVR, but if you’re applying for car insurance, that carrier will contact the DMV themselves to get a copy. Ordering a copy of your MVR can be useful, as knowing all the details of your history can help you estimate how much money you’ll likely be paying for insurance premiums. 

The downside of ordering a copy is that it’ll likely cost you anywhere from $5 to $25, depending on which state you live in. A little tip: request an uncertified version, as it often costs less than an “official” version. You might not be able to use it for a job interview or a court appearance, but it will have all the information you need to understand your history and approximate your car insurance rate.


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