How Much Should Your Car Insurance Cost?

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

red car passing in front of brown and white concrete building

How Much Should Your Car Insurance Cost?

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

The Average Cost of Car Insurance in 2018

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

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

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

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

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

What Factors Impact Your Rate

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

  1. Age:

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

  2. Location:

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

  3. Vehicle type:

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

  4. Driving History:

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

  5. Coverage:

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

The Car Insurance Carrier You Choose Matters

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

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

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

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

Why Does My Metromile Bill Vary?

Some things in life are consistent and predictable: long lines at the DMV, sticker shock at the movie theater, and an overflowing email inbox every Monday morning. But other things fluctuate a bit. Case in point: your monthly Metromile statement. Have you ever wondered why your bill varies from month to month? If so, you’re far from alone — it’s one of the most frequently asked questions customers have, so today, we’re tackling it head-on.

driver_holding-phone_for-web_1

Here’s the deal in a nutshell: Metromile isn’t just unique in its pay-per-mile structure and execution; it’s also totally innovative in its approach to billing. Unlike most other insurance companies who charge a hefty fee regardless of whether you drive 5 miles or 5,000 miles, Metromile charges a low base rate to cover your car while it’s parked, and then tacks on pennies per each mile your car is actually driven.

So essentially, customers really only pay for what they use, which Metromile thinks is a pretty fair way to do business. Because of that model, however, you’ll inevitably see some fluctuation from month to month. Unless you’re strictly sticking to a mileage budget, you’re probably mixing up your time behind the wheel quite a bit. Maybe one month you’re relying on public transportation a little more heavily and the next month you’re off on a road trip. No matter what comes up in your life, Metromile’s mission is to keep your costs as low as possible.

next month's base rate + previous month's total miles = 1st bill

Why Your Bill Varies Every Month and Why That’s a Good Thing

So what exactly is the math behind that monthly bill variation? There are a few good reasons for the ups and downs you observe each month.

First, let’s talk about that base rate. That sum is determined by a daily rate multiplied by the amount of days in each month. So, as you can expect, shorter months will always cost slightly less (i.e. February vs. October, or any month with 30 days versus those with 31). Despite the subtle nuances, your actual daily rate will never change within a six-month period unless you make a specific request.

While your base rate will pretty much stay the same throughout the month (give or take the cost of a few days, depending on the length of the month), the other portion of your bill may rise and fall quite a bit — that’s the pay-per-mile portion. Because Metromile doesn’t believe in charging customers for miles they don’t drive, you’ll always be in complete control of your mileage charges and have the opportunity to budget miles accordingly.

your bill pie chart

Because miles are charged retroactively, you’ll always have the opportunity to reflect on your actions from the previous month and, if necessary, make adjustments. Took one too many long joyrides or repeated Target runs last month (hey it happens)? If money’s tight this month, you might choose to do more errands on your bike or walk to work a few days a week to save some dough.

Bill Control

Having a varying bill means you’re in control of what you pay — not an anonymous insurance company charging an arbitrary rate. You can even monitor your monthly bill on a daily basis if you want to, just to be extra sure you’re staying on or below your car insurance budget. Any time you know you need to put aside some more cash for the month, you’ll know if and when driving less can save you more.

Still Have Questions?

Even when it’s simple, billing can still be confusing, so if you still have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram or visit the help center. And if you’re still not sure whether Metromile is the insurance company for you, visit metromile.com or call 1.888.242.5204 to get a free quote.

10 Ways to Save Money in 2019

There’s no better time to initiate good habits than January. Everything feels fresh and new, and you’ve likely already resolved to be a new and improved version of your former self. Maybe you’ve vowed to be more responsible, more organized, or more independent. One route to achieving all those goals and more? Cha-ching.

That’s right: making smarter decisions when it comes to spending can completely transform your personal and professional life. Money definitely isn’t everything…but it sure does help. And feeling totally secure about your finances will help you feel in control in all areas of your life.

Ready to start feeling like a total boss? Here are 10 ways to grow your bank account in 2019:

    1. Set financial goals. Hoping to travel? Buy a new car? Maybe even purchase your first home? Think about what you really, truly want, get excited about it, and then strive for it. Commit to your goal by writing it down or even creating a vision board with pictures and phrases that motivate you — bonus points for displaying it somewhere you can see it every day.

    2. Take stock of what you pay for. Are you really watching anything on cable these days or are you exclusively getting your entertainment via Netflix? Have you actually attended a class at that expensive gym since….last January? If you’re not getting full use out of each of your expenses, consider downgrading or eliminating them completely.

    3. Pack your lunch. Maybe it doesn’t sound as fun as an impromptu afternoon at the Olive Garden (or wherever your coworkers wind up), but it’s unbelievable how much money you can save just by making your own meals at home. Think about it: if you spend $10-$15 (or, let’s be honest — more) five days a week, that’s anywhere from $2,600 – $3,900 a year. Brown bag it instead and save all that cash for something special.

    4. Look for deals. You don’t have to be a compulsive coupon clipper to reap the rewards of available bargains. Websites and apps like RetailMeNot and BradsDeals make it ridiculously easy to comparison shop and find deals on big-ticket items and smaller splurges.

    5. Brew your own coffee. Just like packing your lunch will help you save, skipping the super fancy and overpriced coffee shop latte will spare you tons of wasted dollars. You can even buy a personal french press that doubles as a travel mug to brew your own on-the-go java for pennies.

    6. Set up automatic transfers. Everyone’s eyes widen with possibility when they see their paycheck hit their bank account, but to avoid the temptation of burning through it, set up an automated transfer to your savings account on your paydays. It doesn’t have to be a big amount, but putting a chunk of change out of sight will keep you from spending it.

    7. Couple bad habits with good ones. Everyone deserves to indulge now and then, but if you’re trying to break a bad habit, kill two birds with one stone and pad your savings account while you’re at it. For every dollar you spend on something you consider a “bad habit” purchase (alcohol, junk food, cigarettes, etc.), deposit a dollar directly into your savings account.

    8. Walk whenever you can. In some cases, logging the steps necessary to get to the office takes just as much time as dealing with gridlock traffic or the hassle of public transportation — not to mention it’s great for your health and it’s totally, completely free.

    9. DIY more. Modern technology has made it absurdly easy to pay your way out of every inconvenient task, but taking the time to fix your old appliances, making your own homemade gifts, or putting together your Ikea furniture will save you lots of cash and help you realize how capable you totally are.

    10. Switch to Metromile. Not only will you save money on your car insurance, but you’ll avoid the exorbitant costs of street sweeping tickets, mechanic shop visits, and other money pits. Wanna know how? Check us out now.

Making sound money saving decisions now can set you up for big success in the long run. Try these ten tips and pat yourself on the back for showing 2019 who’s boss.

How to Save Money On Gas (Hint: It Involves Your Metromile App)

Owning a car is expensive. Between car maintenance, insurance costs, gas, and countless parking tickets (Just us? Oh, okay), it all adds up – quickly. But you know what also adds up quickly? Savings. Here at Metromile, we’re all about saving money on your most expensive, money-wasting bills *ahem traditional car insurance ahem*. Every day we strive to bring you savings on your car insurance, and today we’re giving you our best tips on saving money at the pump.

Spoiler alert: we’re also letting you in on the best ways to utilize your Metromile app to save on gas.

How to Save Money On Gas

Ready? Buckle up and let’s get truckin’ onto the good stuff.

Why Is Gas So Expensive, Anyway?: A Brief History

Back in 1970, gas was only $0.36 per gallon in the United States. If you were around back then, you may remember the most famous and shocking impact on the oil economy: the energy crisis of the 1970s. Prices of gas shot up from $3 to $12 per barrel, and OAPEC (the Organization of Arab Petroleum-Exporting Countries) shattered policy-makers’ assumptions about their reliance on American trade. The average American driver went from paying $0.36 per gallon at the pump in 1970 (which is equivalent to about $1.72 per gallon in today’s dollars) to $1.19 per gallon in 1980 (which is equivalent to about $2.95 per gallon).

However, the worst gas prices in U.S. history came less than a decade ago – topping out at an average of $3.64 per gallon in 2012 (equivalent to $3.80 per gallon today).

Lastly, we cannot forget the very rapid gas price increase preceding the 2009 recession. Even America’s most erratic price jumps from past decades pale in comparison to the crazy jumps from 2002 to 2008, when gas prices climbed steadily until the recession. While Lehman Brothers and the housing market crash were much to blame for the collapse, the spike in gas prices didn’t help.

Tips For Avoiding Pain at the Pump

  1. Drive less. If you’re a Metromile customer, chances are that you’re already a low-mileage driver. If you haven’t joined yet, consider reducing your miles driven for one month by taking public transportation, using ride-sharing apps, or carpooling. You’ll be surprised at how much you can save on gas by simply filling up less often!
  2. Turn off the engine. If you’re picking someone up, turn off the engine while you wait for them. The same thing goes if you’re stuck in traffic and haven’t moved in a few minutes, or you’re waiting at a drive-thru. You’d be surprised at how far you can stretch a tank of gas just by being cognizant of how long you’re idling the engine. Idling is both a major waste of gasoline and a top contributor to pollution in the atmosphere. By turning your engine off, it’s a win-win for both your wallet and the environment!
  3. Use the Metromile app to track your routes. If there’s a particular route you drive daily or weekly, check out your past trips in the Metromile app to see if there’s a faster or more efficient route to take. Even if it’s only by a little bit, every mile counts – and a mile saved is a mile earned!
  4. Figure out the best way to pay. Many gas stations advertise a cheaper price per gallon if you pay with cash. This is because it costs the station less to process a cash transaction and they want to encourage more people to pay with cash instead of cards. Depending how much gas you’re getting, you may end up saving a few dollars per fill-up if you pay with ca$h money!
  5. Don’t drive aggressively. Aggressive driving (rapid acceleration, high cruising speed and braking sharply rather than coasting) is by far the biggest culprit in gas-guzzling. Using a sedan, an SUV, and a truck, a test showed that motorists who adopted a “calm,” non-aggressive driving style could save 33% to 38% on gas. That’s a huge cost savings!
  6. Use your smartphone. Using apps like GasBuddy and Gas Guru, you are able to find the cheapest gas in your area. You can also use the Maps app on your smartphone to check the traffic before you leave the house to avoid wasting gas while idling in traffic. Also, you can use the Metromile app to track and optimize your trips!

Hopefully, our tips will help save you some coin next time you’re filling up at the pump! To all our customers: if you haven’t downloaded the Metromile app, you’re missing out on some seriously awesome gas-saving opportunities! If you’re a low-mileage driver who hasn’t made the switch 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. You can find her working on her capsule wardrobe, collecting cacti, and trying out the latest beauty products on Instagram

A Bill That Fits Your Lifestyle: How Metromile Billing Works

There are a lot of reasons Metromile stands out in a sea of car insurance options, but perhaps the biggest differentiator is its billing model, which is based on a totally sensible premise that others in the insurance game simply haven’t caught on to: the less you drive, the less you pay.

It seems like a no-brainer, but most car insurance companies require customers to pay a flat monthly fee, regardless of whether they’re commuting two hours daily or keeping their weekend vehicle locked in the garage Monday through Friday. With its innovative billing system, Metromile customers actually have control over how much they spend every month, meaning they can tailor their bill to fit their budget and lifestyle. No more wasting cash on a (necessary) service you hardly ever have time to use.

How Metromile Billing Works

Billing isn’t exactly known to be a thrilling topic for most people (unless those people are accountants…in which case, get excited!). But that’s because many companies make billing a confusing, opaque process—the model at Metromile is built on a simple, straightforward premise, so there are no hidden fees or mystery charges. Here’s how it works:

  1. When you first make the switch to Metromile (welcome!), you’ll be charged for your first month’s base rate. That’s it—and in most cases, it’s much lower than you’d expect. Just like other insurance companies, Metromile considers a variety of factors when calculating a base rate—things like the driver age, credit history, type of vehicle, driver history, and more.
  2. At the end of the month, you’ll be charged for the next month’s base rate, plus any miles you drove the previous month, at your per-mile rate. Your pay-per-mile rate is unique to you too, based on those same factors mentioned above.

It’s that simple. Plus, when you first sign up for Metromile, you’ll be enrolled in automatic billing, so you never have to worry about missing payments (New Jersey customers have the option of opting out of this system in favor of manual billing or payment by check). Need to update your billing information? No problem. All you have to do is log on to your online dashboard and follow the easy instructions (this is also where you’ll find your billing statements and a lot of other important info).

Why Your Bill Varies Month to Month

You might notice that your rate varies a bit month to month. There are a few good reasons for that. First, it’s important to understand that because your base rate is determined by a daily rate multiplied by the amount of days in each month, shorter months will always cost less (so if there are 31 days in the month versus 30, the base rate will be slightly higher). But your actual daily rate won’t change within a 6-month period unless you make a specific request.

varied bill

While your base rate will pretty much stay the same (give or take the difference of a few days depending on the length of the month), the other portion of your bill may fluctuate quite a bit—that’s the pay-per-mile portion. Because Metromile doesn’t believe in charging customers for miles they don’t drive (because, well, that’s just not cool), customers are in complete control and have the opportunity to budget their miles accordingly. Your miles are charged retroactively, so you’ll have the opportunity to reflect on your actions and, if necessary, make adjustments. Took a few unnecessarily long joyrides last month? If money’s tight this month, you may choose to ride your bike around town instead and save some dough.

The Deal With Prepayment

When you first sign up for Metromile, you may be charged a prepayment that will be applied as a credit toward your next five bills. That means your first five monthly bills will be calculated using this equation:

Base rate + (per-mile rate x miles driven that month) – (prepayment amount/5) = monthly charge for the first five bills



Your sixth bill won’t receive a credit, and from there on out, your bill will only ever be calculated from your base rate + per-mile rate x miles driven that month.

This prepayment is only required for first-time policyholders, but you may be pleasantly surprised each time you receive one of those first five bills and remember you already partially paid them (your future self will thank you!).

Your Billing Due Date

Flexibility is great, and Metromile gets that (hence that modifiable billing model). But some things are better set in stone—like your billing date. Your billing cycle begins on your policy effective date. That numerical date on the calendar continues to be your billing date for every remaining month of your Metromile policy (so if your policy starts on the 22nd of May, your billing date will be the 22nd of June, July, August, etc.). Each billing cycle spans a four-week time period and ends on the day before your monthly effective date (so in the above scenario, it would start on the 22nd and end on the 21st of the following month). Your monthly bill will be due two days following your monthly effective date (or four days if you’re in New Jersey).

While you can’t change your billing date, you can absolutely alter your billing method. If you need to change your credit card information, just log into the online dashboard and head to the billing section. If for any reason Metromile doesn’t receive your payment by the due date, you’ll be notified via email, and Metromile will continue to try and charge the card on file. If the card continues to be denied after two failures in a row, Metromile will stop attempting to charge it and instead send you another email with a potential cancellation date for your policy unless payment is received. The good news? No late fees! So just make sure your card info is all up to date, and you won’t run into any problems.

What If I Don’t Drive At All One Month?

If your main mode of transportation is anything but your car, you might be wondering how billing works during a month of no driving. The answer is simple: it’s the exact same system! You’ll still get a bill for your low monthly base rate and pennies per any miles you did drive. If your car is just parked the whole month, you only pay the base rate. Whether you’re stationary or constantly on the go, you’ll be covered with Metromile. And don’t worry if you take a long road trip—you won’t receive an astronomically high bill. Your daily mileage charges are capped at 250 miles per day for each vehicle (150 miles per day in New Jersey), so you won’t be charged for any miles above those amounts in any calendar day.

So whether you’re always behind the wheel or you avoid the driver’s seat whenever possible Metromile makes sure your bill always fits your lifestyle.

Still Have Questions?

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’re still relying on another traditional form of car insurance, visit metromile.com today to get a free quote. And if you’re a current customer looking for a plan that’s more suitable for your needs, head to the website and see what other options are available—you won’t be disappointed.

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!

What’s Prepayment?

Here at Metromile, we hear a lot of questions about our initial prepayment to sign up for Metromile. We also truly value transparency and don’t wish to confuse any of our customers. The way we work is a little different than traditional auto insurance companies, so that’s why we are here to clear up any confusion about how prepayment works.

caculator

What’s Prepayment?

One of the key differentiators between Metromile and traditional insurance carriers is our unique billing model. The short explanation is: the less you drive, the less you pay each month. The Metromile billing structure gives you – the customer – the unique opportunity to always be in control of your monthly bill. This means that you can tailor your bill to fit your budget and your lifestyle. Pretty cool, huh?

So, herein lies the confusion: if your bill varies each month based on how much you drive, how is it possible to prepay for many months at a time? Let’s throw it all the way back and chat about how billing works here at Metromile before diving into the explanation.

How Billing Works at Metromile

When you first purchase your Metromile policy, you are charged for your first month’s base rate. This is because we don’t have any data on how many miles you drove that month. Then, at the end of the first month, you’re charged for the next month’s base rate + any/all miles you drove the previous month, at your per-mile rate.

Autopay is a requirement for all Metromile customers. If there ever comes a time when you need to update your billing info, it’s not a problem. You can always update your billing information from your online dashboard or app at any time. Simply navigate to ‘Billing’ and then select ‘Edit’ in the ‘Payment Method’ section on the right-hand side of the page to edit your payment information.

A special note for all you New Jersey customers: you exceptional folks may opt-out of autopayments and opt-in for manual billing at any time by calling us at 888-244-1702.

So… You Still Haven’t Told Me What ‘Prepayment’ Is

I know, I know. I needed to make sure you understood how the billing process worked before I did! Now onto the good stuff – promise.

Because we charge for insurance based on mileage, Metromile requires a one-time, upfront payment to start a new policy – and this is called a prepayment. A percentage of your prepayment will be applied as a credit to each of your first five billing statements – which means that your first five bills will be slightly lower. When you receive your sixth bill, the prepayment credit will have been fully spent, so you will no longer see a credit. You can think of your prepayment as a “security deposit” on your insurance policy. In the event of a cancellation in the first six months of having the policy, we will refund any remaining prepayment credit.

prepayment""
prepayment
Prepayment is only a requirement for your first policy term, the credit is applied to your first five monthly bills. After six months your policy will renew, and no future prepayment will be charged or applied to your policy.

Your monthly bill will be made up of your low monthly base rate + (per-mile rate x miles driven that month) – (prepayment amount ÷ 5) until your sixth bill. From there on out your bill will be calculated by taking your base rate, and adding it to your per-mile rate, multiplied by the number of miles driven that month.

Hopefully, that helped to clear up any questions or confusion that you had about how prepayment works at Metromile.

Still Have Questions?

Still have questions? Visit the Metromile Help Center to find answers to some of the most common questions and answers. Now that you fully understand how prepayment works, it is a perfect time to finally get that quote you’ve been thinking about. As always, we are truly here to serve you, so please email, call, Tweet, or DM us with your burning questions. We’ll get you answers as soon as we can. Be safe out there and see you on the roads!

How to Cut the Cord with Your Biggest Money-Wasting Bills

I consider myself somewhat of an expert on cutting costs. I don’t like paying for things I don’t use (who does), and I find myself frequently combing through my own finances to find ways to trim down those recurring expenses. However, there are always a few things that slip through the cracks unnoticed, like the quarterly membership to a gym I haven’t been to since I moved, the wine club I swear I unsubscribed to, and the magazines that mysteriously keep getting renewed every year.

How to Cut the Cord with Your Biggest Money-Wasting Bills

Here at Metromile, we’re all about saving money. We want our customers to only pay their fair share for the things that they use. Your monthly expenses don’t have to wreck your budget, so we’ve rounded up our best tips on cutting down your most expensive bills and making the most from your monthly budget. Buh-bye, overpriced cell phone bill. See ya never, streaming service I used once and then forgot about. Let’s get into it.

The Top Budget-Busting Expenses & How to Cut the Cord – For Good

  1. Cable TV: With the abundance of shows and movies available on streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, and Showtime, who even watches cable TV anymore? What’s truly crazy is that the average cable bill rings in at about $80/month! Save yourself some major dough and cut the cord with your cable TV bill – because you probably won’t even miss it when it’s gone.
  2. Cell Phone Plan: Besides your rent or your mortgage payment, your cell phone plan might be one of the most expensive bills you’re locked in to pay each month. But it doesn’t have to be. Many cell phone carriers offer less expensive plans with no long-term contracts. Also, apps like Hiatus will negotiate a lower monthly cell phone bill with your provider on your behalf, saving you money and time.
  3. Car Insurance: Wait, are you telling me that you’re a low-mileage driver and still paying the same insurance premium as someone who drives 3x more than you? Hold up, that just isn’t right. If you find yourself driving under 1,000 miles every month, you’re most likely a low-mileage driver who could literally be saving hundreds of dollars every year by switching to Metromile. Same great coverage for less money – what’s not to love?
  4. Dining out: What starts as a dinner here and a drink there can quickly cascade into delivered lunches every day and happy hour every week. Even if you hate cooking, it pays to research some easy-to-make meals. Go grocery shopping and prepare large batches of food to eat throughout the week and never pay for overpriced Seamless delivery again.
  5. Recurring subscriptions: I know, I know – getting a package in the mail is fun and exciting. It’s like a present for you, from you, every month! YAY presents! However, when you sign up for subscription services like Birchbox, wine clubs, dog toy boxes, etc., it can really eat away at your bottom line. The next time your subscription package arrives, make note of how many of the items you will actually use/enjoy. You might be surprised to see that most of the time, those subscription boxes are filled with junk that just ends up cluttering your home. Cancel that recurring subscription, save the money, and enjoy a less-cluttered space.
  6. Prescriptions: Depending on your medication, the cost of prescriptions can take a huge bite out of your monthly budget. Consider switching to generic medications instead of brand-name prescriptions – they’re the bio-equivalent of brand-name drugs but can cost 80-85% less. Apps like GoodRx, LowestMed, and BlinkHealth can also help you determine the lowest prices of medications at your nearby pharmacies. Also, if your job offers an FSA or HSA account, utilize that account to stockpile some pre-tax dollars to pay for your prescriptions and doctor’s appointments.
  7. Shopping & Entertainment: Whether retail therapy is your way to chill after a long day at work, or you like catching a new blockbuster every weekend (me), finding ways to trim down these indulgences will always be better for your bottom line. When shopping online, I always do a quick Google search to find promo codes and can usually root one out (Retailmenot is the best promo code aggregator). By signing up for loyalty programs at my local movie theater, I manage to always save on concessions or the price of tickets.

There you have it. Are your wheels already turning thinking about which bill you’re going to slash first? Go forth and cut the cord with your biggest budget-busting bills with confidence. Besides, why should you be paying more than you need to for anything? Nowadays, there are so many ways to cut down your monthly costs. As always, get a quote with Metromile today and find out how much you’ll be saving each month! Be safe out there and see you on the roads.

How to Calculate a Daily Road Trip Travel Budget

It’s no secret that vacation planning can be headache-inducing. The logistics, scheduling, and reservations are painful enough to figure out, but then there’s that money issue. If you’ve decided to swap the sky-high cost of airfare for a more affordable car trip, you’re already on the road to big savings (all puns totally intended). But even if you’ve figured out the tricks for snagging sweet hotel deals and cutting corners to save cash, you’ll still be faced with plenty of financial decisions as you drive. The best way to avoid an unpleasant post-trip credit card bill is to set a realistic budget that keeps you in check while leaving room for plenty of fun—this is a vacation, after all.

How-to-Calculate-a-Daily-Road-Trip-Travel-Budget

Here’s how to calculate a daily road trip allowance:

  1. See what you’re working with. To get the ball rolling, it’s best to know exactly how much money is in the pot, so to speak. To do that, take your monthly income and subtract all your expenses (car insurance, rent, phone bill, cable TV that you sadly won’t be watching while traveling, etc.). Once you have that leftover number, consider that your limit. Sure, you could charge outside your means, but that pretty much defeats the whole “traveling on a budget” concept. Unless you have a special savings fund to pull from, stick to spending within your monthly net income.
  2. Figure out your fueling needs. The most obvious expense you’ll encounter on a regular basis is, of course, gas. If you’re traversing the country, it may be tough to pin down an specific price per gallon, since costs vary from place to place. Even if you can’t land on an exact dollar amount, you can take an educated guess and round up, just to be safe. And if you have no idea where the open road is taking you, just rely on the national average, which is currently $2.85 per gallon.

    Your total for the day will of course depend on your vehicle’s tank and the amount your driving per day. But for clarity’s sake, here’s an example: Some of the most common cars in America have gas tanks that hold about 15 gallons, and get up to 30 miles per gallon on the highway. If you’re driving from San Francisco to Los Angeles one day, that’s about 383 miles, which you should be able to do on one tank of gas (15 x 30 = 450 miles). Based on the national average, that’ll cost you about $43 if that’s all you’re driving in a day, but it’s worth rounding up to $50 to be safe (or more to be extra safe).

    A few more ways to save on gas:

    • Gas Buddy and Gas Guru are two apps that help you locate the cheapest fuel around.
    • Community-based app Waze offers real-time traffic information and gas prices. Be sure to keep your oil fresh, engine tuned, and tires inflated to ensure better mileage, and when you can, fill up outside of big cities, where prices are often way higher.

    And of course, if you’re a Metromile customer, you’ll want to make sure to keep an eye on your daily distance since you have the benefit of pay-per-mile coverage. If you’re worried about accruing a big bill because you’re traveling—relax. Metromile caps the daily mileage costs at 250 miles/day (150 miles/day in New Jersey). But if you’d prefer to stay under that limit, map out your daily route ahead of time, and make sure to pull over once you’ve hit that self-imposed max. Metromile charges a low monthly base rate as well as that pay-per-mile rate, so chances are, you’ll still save big—whether you’re driving all day or limiting your miles—just because you’re a Metromile customer. Congrats!

  3. Factor in accommodations. This will of course vary tremendously depending on whether you’re camping, glamping, or going for full-out luxury (that last one probably shouldn’t be in the cards if you’re trying to save…but you knew that). While the current average daily rate for a U.S. hotel hovers around $127, that amount could fluctuate a ton. The good news is, there are plenty of ways to sidestep exorbitant hotel costs, so take advantage of every tip and trick you can ahead of time!
  4. Eat economically. The simplest way to slip up and spend way more than expected is to fall into a “treat yo’self” mentality when it comes to food. Yes, you’re on vacation, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a steak dinner is in order every night (those four bags of chips at each rest stop may not be a great idea either). If you have no idea how to begin calculating an approximate food allowance, consider allotting $5 a day for breakfast, about $10 for lunch, and $15 to $30 for dinner. That should give you a fair amount of wiggle room without leaving you ravenous. But eating cheap doesn’t have to mean subsisting on an all-junk diet. Some ways to spend less that don’t involve drive-through at every stop:

    • Hit the grocery store. Better yet, before your trip, pay a visit to a bulk store and stock up on big quantities of wholesome car-safe snacks that don’t require refrigeration (think: rice cakes, pretzels, popcorn, etc.). And invest in a cooler to pack nutritious perishables (yogurt, string cheese, hard boiled eggs, etc.). The accessory will pay for itself when you realize how much you’ll be saving on road snacks.
    • Go halfsies. Traveling with family or friends? Consider splitting entrees when you sit down for meals. Portion sizes at most restaurants are way beyond single serving, and since you probably won’t be hauling leftovers with you, order a single meal for two.
    • Eat breakfast before you go out if you can. If you are staying in a hotel, you might just be able to score a free breakfast buffet. And even if that’s not the case, you can still make a pretty hearty morning meal without overspending at a diner. Oatmeal packets are awesome options to keep on hand (just add water!), and fruit, granola bars, and more can set you up with a solid base so you’re not starving by lunchtime.
    • Eat like a local. Talk to people around town and ask where they love to dine. Chances are, it probably won’t be at a chain restaurant. You’re more likely to find a delicious, affordable destination off-the-beaten-path if you do a little research.

If you’re not a Metromile customer, what are you waiting for? Visit metromile.com for a free quote today. Happy trails!

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.

5 Things You Could Do With the Money You Save Using Metromile

How are your New Year’s resolutions coming along? *crickets* Yeah, same. But hey, we’re not judging – in fact, we’re here to help! Did you know that on average, Metromile customers save $611 per year? If one of your resolutions this year was to save money (and honestly, when has that not been a resolution), then settle in and get cozy. We put together this list to show you all the things you can do with the money you save by switching to Metromile!

5-Things-You-Could-Do-With-the-Money-You-Save-Using-Metromile

5 Things You Could Do With Your Metromile Savings

    1. Deposit more into your 401k. Getting into some seriously sexy money talk right out of the gate. I like it. If your 401k hasn’t been getting the love it deserves, take that extra dough and up your monthly contributions. You won’t be missing the money (because it’s what you were already paying with your previous insurance company) and it will help your future, retired self! By contributing to your retirement fund at a young age, you will turn yourself into a millionaire by the time you retire at age 65.

    2. Pay down debt. Sexy money talk, part II. Having debt is a totally normal thing, so there doesn’t need to be all this unnecessary shame surrounding it. Face your debt head-on and see which payments are the highest interest, and pay those off first. You’ll be amazed at how fast you can tackle your debt if you consistently, and even somewhat aggressively, put money towards it.

    3. Create an “Experience Fund.” Okay, now that sexy money business is out of the way, we’re into the fun stuff. Instead of creating a vacation fund, try out an “experience fund” instead. Life is about creating experiences, beyond those knock-down-drag-out, five-star vacations. This includes weekend excursions, social events, and pretty much anything that you can come away with an epic story. The best conversations and stories with friends revolve around experiences, not just a bunch of stuff that looks pretty. Use the extra money you save by switching to Metromile and get experiencing!

    4. Put a down payment on a new car. Or buy out your car lease (like I did!). Having an extra chunk of change means you can get ahead of certain things you’ve been putting off, like getting a new car. If it’s time for an upgrade, use that extra coin you’ve been saving from your Metromile switch and put it towards that car you’ve been dreaming of!

    5. Invest it. It’s a myth that you need a ton of money to invest in the stock market. You can still make financially sound investments, even if you only have a couple hundred dollars kicking around. With apps like Acorns, you can take a small amount and gradually invest it, without having to do any upfront legwork. This means that you can literally be making money in your sleep – all by investing the money you’ve saved by switching to Metromile! Go you!

Now that you have all of these great ideas, you have no reason not to make the switch to Metromile! Up those 401k contributions, pay down your debt, or set up an experience fund – the choice is yours (+ all that extra money!). What will you do with the money you save by switching to Metromile? We’d love to know!

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