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How I Drive: A Finance Expert Saves Half by Switching to Pay Per Mile Car Insurance

Eric Rosenberg enjoying the views in Ventura, California

Eric is an entrepreneur, freelance writer, and self-described personal finance expert from Ventura, California. He knows a thing or two about finding the best deals to maximize a budget. He switched to Metromile four years ago because it fits his family’s low-mileage lifestyle and now saves half of what he used to pay by paying per mile.

How did you find Metromile?

When we moved to Portland, Oregon, my old insurance company raised our rates, and the customer service was pretty bad. On a really heavy driving day, I’m only putting 10 miles on the car at most. It got me thinking: why would I pay so much when I’m driving so little? 

I like to shop around every few years to see if there is a better price out there. I came upon Metromile and got a quote. The math made sense when I saw the rates. We switched and are now saving 50% of what we used to pay! Over the years, our family has grown. Even when we moved to Southern California, we stayed with Metromile and have continued taking advantage of the great savings!

How has Metromile affected your family’s budget?

Having Metromile makes it manageable and affordable for us to have two cars. My wife’s minivan gets the most use with errands and toting the kids around. Since I’m not traveling to conferences or going into the office these days, my car just sits in the garage. You would think that it wouldn’t be worth having a secondary car that barely gets driven, but because of what we’re saving, it not only makes sense for us to keep it — it’s affordable! 

Metromile is the perfect service for having that extra car. On the occasional road trip, we appreciate the cap on the miles. We don’t feel like we’re getting gouged when we take our kids to visit their grandparents out of state.

What do you think about usage-based insurance pricing? 

Metromile’s fair, pay-per-mile pricing has changed how I think about how I buy and use other products and services. 

Soon after switching to Metromile, I did the same for my cell phone. I’ve moved away from a standard provider that charges a flat rate for data usage to one where I can pay per gigabyte of data. I’m saving $10 a month there, which doesn’t feel like a lot, but when you add that up over a year and compound potential interest earnings, it can make a huge difference in your budget and is worth checking out.

How can you save money by unbundling services?

There’s a lure with having everything bundled under one policy, in one place, on one bill. But it should be about the per unit cost and being a savvy consumer. I’m a big fan of unbundling insurance and other services. People tend to be more comfortable paying a bill that’s a consistent amount, even if it’s technically more expensive. But if I’m able to pay less overall, who cares if it’s a different balance every month?

Think of it like shopping at the grocery store: sometimes, the price per ounce is different based on the size of the container. With Metromile, I have that same insight and transparency into the pricing of my family’s car insurance. I know my per unit cost based on what I drive. If you have traditional insurance, that’s a lot harder to figure out. Metromile has revolutionized the way I think about my recurring expenses and spurred me to seek alternatives that bill more fairly based on how I’m using those services. 

I’m a travel “hacker” too. I always thought roundtrip tickets were the best value, but now with dynamic pricing, it’s sometimes less expensive to buy each flight separately. Take advantage of those rate aggregators. For a multi-city European vacation I took a few years ago, I was able to add another destination for free just by breaking up how I booked my flights! 

What do you like most about Metromile?

I consider myself a “good millennial” who wants to “self-serve” everything on the Metromile app. I appreciate that I can handle most of everything I need there, but I also know I can call someone when I need help with my policy. 

One of my favorite features is the check-engine-light tool. If anything lights up on my car’s dashboard, I check to see a warning code on the app. There was one instance where I got an alert and, since I knew what the code was, I knew it was minor enough that my car could make the drive to the shop without complicating the issue. I showed up and, since I could already tell them what was wrong with the car, they were able to give me a better repair estimate!

How I Drive: Pay-Per-Mile Car Insurance Is for Sports Cars, Too!

Michael Johnson is a self-made businessman from San Leandro, California. His entrepreneurial spirit, love of sports cars, and dedication to providing top-notch service recently helped him become one of Turo’s top new hosts in the San Francisco Bay Area. As an industry insider, he recognizes the value of an excellent customer experience and holds the companies he works with to a high standard. In his view, Metromile fits the bill. He’s saved $500 a year by switching to pay-per-mile car insurance.

How did you get started as a Turo host?

I’ve always been into cars. When I was in college, I had an internship at Enterprise Rent-a-Car. I was previously working for Coca-Cola full-time and renting my car out as a side hustle when I wasn’t driving on the weekends. Then I added a second sports car, and it just snowballed from there. Now I host on Turo full-time. It never feels like work because I’m doing what I enjoy. 

Did your internship influence how you run your business on Turo?

For sure — I had gone through an intense training program as a part of my internship. Enterprise likes to recruit college students and athletes: people with a type-A personality and a competitive spirit. I tried to soak everything in so I could learn how to be the best salesman. Now I’m able to take all of this insider industry knowledge to make my business that much better. I’ve even co-authored an e-book on how to build a business sharing cars on Turo.  

What attracted you to Metromile?

I heard about your partnership early last year on calls with Turo’s upper management. Prior to Metromile, insurance was the main pain point for other Turo hosts and me because we were essentially paying for double insurance that covered when I drove and when a guest drove. I was eagerly waiting for Metromile to go live. I kept calling them, asking if it was a “go” yet! 

There are a lot of insurance options out there, but they only offer really high deductibles. I don’t use my cars for personal use very much, so being able to have affordable coverage that only charges me for the miles I drive and not the miles driven by guests — that’s huge. 

How have Turo reservations changed during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Before COVID-19 hit, I worked to scale my business, where I could still be cash flow positive. About half of my Turo business is from people traveling to the San Francisco Bay Area. To adjust, I’ve been running ads targeted at locals for staycations, folks who aren’t comfortable taking BART or other public transportation, or essential workers who don’t want to have to pay for a rideshare every day. Fortunately, I’ve seen my reservations pick back up to a pretty normal pace lately since I was able to pivot my business so quickly.

How do you get your business on Turo?

I get a lot of customers through word of mouth because my business is so local. I share my Turo profile on Instagram. With Turo, you can be more specific to what you want compared to traditional rental cars where your choices are pretty much limited to the class of car: economy or mid-size. 

I’ve built up my sports car fleet based on my interests. People on Turo are more niche; they want that sports car experience, driving up to Napa or down the California coast. They’re willing to pay more for the experience, and I want to make sure they have the best experience possible.

What have you enjoyed most about Metromile?

I’m extremely satisfied with the product I’m getting from Metromile. The Metromile app is straightforward. Navigating the app is really easy; I’m able to see everything on the dashboard, like how many miles I’ve driven at any particular time. 

Customer service is the biggest thing; it’s very personal for me. Every time I’ve called Metromile customer service, I’m able to get through to someone really quickly. I was on hold for 45 minutes with my old insurer, just to cancel my insurance policy

I usually drive whatever car isn’t rented. My personal car is a 2016 Camaro XS, and with Metromile, I’m now saving more than $500 a year or about 70% compared to what I used to pay! 

How I Drive: A British Expat Prefers Driving on This Side of the Pond

We’re seeing double! Metromile customer Marc Cowan & Drop Stop inventor Marc Newburger

Metromile customer Marc is a British expat who currently resides in Los Angeles. He works with a favorite product of ours, Drop Stop, a “Shark Tank”-backed company manufacturing vehicle gap fillers that block off the area between the side of your driver’s seat and middle console. Driven by a similar passion, Marc’s hunt for the best deal led him to Metromile.

We have to ask: has it been hard to learn to drive in the U.S.?

Surprisingly, no! It actually works out better for me since I’m right-handed and drive a stick shift, so I’m not forced to be ambidextrous. 

Thanks for being a Metromile customer! What spurred you to switch insurance companies? 

I was on the hunt for better insurance and pricing. During my extensive research, I read a lot of your reviews. The Metromile representative I spoke with was so good; they answered so many questions for me so quickly. My OBD-II port is used for a heads-up display, and the representative assured me I could still receive the same benefits and functionality of the Pulse device by opting for your cigarette lighter adapter. Seeing what I’d save with pay per mile insurance and having a great interaction with your service team was huge for me.

I’ve had zero issues, am paying a price that I’m happy with every month. I really believe in your company.  

Was your previous coverage different compared to Metromile?

I was paying more with my previous insurer — around $200 per month. I think they are really ripping people off. With Metromile, I’m saving $50 every month, even with a newer, better car!

Have your driving habits changed in recent months, during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Oddly enough, I’ve been driving more these days. Prior to COVID-19, my trips were more direct, to-and-from errands. Now, I’m making more of an effort to get out of the house to get some fresh air and take in the nature and scenery around Los Angeles.

Which Metromile feature do you enjoy the most?

I use the online dashboard the most. It’s cool to have quick access to all of my information in one place.

I’m also very active with my referral link. If I find a really good product or company, I want to spread the word about it!

In the fast lane: Speed-round questions!

Are you a better driver or passenger?

As I love driving and exploring, I’d have to say I’m a better driver, so I can be behind the wheel and start the adventure! 

If you could take a road trip with anyone, who would it be?

I’d love to show a family member who is no longer here around the beautiful city of Los Angeles and all of the favorite spots I think they’d love!

Do you like to listen to any music when you drive?

I love listening to Spotify and my various playlists. Each playlist is a little different!

How I Drive: A Self-Proclaimed Insurance Nerd Keeps Metromile in the Family

Meet Kalona R., a Metromile customer from a suburb of Philadelphia, who knows a thing or two about insurance. Despite working for another insurance company, she has signed up her friends and family, including her grandmother, aunt, and mother, with Metromile because of the helpful customer service. She also says she saved with pay-per-mile car insurance, even when she had a long commute every day.

Kalona with her mother and grandmother – 3 generations of Metromile policy holders!

How did you find out about Metromile? Is it because you are already in the insurance industry?

I was shopping around for a new car with the help of my uncle, who’s a car salesman. He was a Metromile customer and recommended it to me. I was having a hard time getting car insurance and finding a reasonable rate; other insurance companies were dinging me because I had a year-long gap in coverage where I didn’t have a car and wasn’t driving. 

I had been commuting 100 miles a day then, and my quote with you was still better than any other insurers I had shopped around with! You were definitely the most practical option for me. 

Wow, a car salesman and an insurance insider — your family is a one-stop-shop! What have you learned about insurance?

Before I started working in insurance about four years ago, I had no idea about different kinds of coverage, but now I’m an insurance nerd. All of my friends come to me to help them with explaining the different terms and what to look for in a quote. I always recommend Metromile, even over the insurance company I work for!

Is there a story about Metromile you sometimes tell to your friends and family?

I like being able to make changes myself, right on the app. And I love the gas feature and the check engine decoder. I once got an alert that there was something wrong with my car. I had no idea! It hadn’t been driving differently or making any weird noises. Immediately I took it in to a repair shop and was able to nip the problem in the bud. It would have cost me so much more had I not gotten that message!

What do your friends and family think about Metromile?

My 60-year-old mom is on my policy, and my 85-year-old grandma has her Metromile policy, too; so does my aunt. Particularly with my grandma, I like being able to see her trips on the app and know that she’s staying close to home. I’ve referred so many friends and family members to Metromile that I’ve maxed out on the gift card rewards! 

That’s awesome! What did you do with all of the gift cards you earned?

Since my job now has me working from home, I treated myself to a nice office chair! I even had a balance left over to get my cousin a gift to celebrate their graduation.

What’s driving like for you these days now that you’re working from home?

With my new job, I was only driving 15 minutes from home. Now, with COVID-19, my bill is even lower, even though I have two cars on my policy.

What do you like most about Metromile?

I love the pay-per-mile structure. I can see the relief in my premium when I drive less.

Overall, the customer service has been really helpful and is a big part of why I’ve stayed with you for so long. No other company has asked how they can serve us better or for suggestions. I really appreciate you wanting to do better and wanting to have a conversation with me. It shows you meant it.

In the fast lane: Speed-round questions!

Are you a better driver or passenger?

I’m a better driver, hands down. I’m much more comfortable in a car when I’m the one driving!

If you could take a road trip with anyone, who would it be?

To be fair, I’m not a fan of road trips. If I had to pick a road-trip partner, it would be my best friend, Keisha. We have so much fun together, and that is important when you’re stuck in a car with someone for hours. We have the same music taste, so that helps! 

What’s your ideal weekend getaway: driving into the city or heading out to the coast?

My ideal weekend is having work off and being able to catch up on my sleep and Netflix shows.

How I Drive: A Mother of Two Saves Money with Pay Per Mile Insurance

Courtney with her two young sons

Courtney Welch is a mother of two from Hayward, California, who, during the recent shelter-in-place order and her recent maternity leave, noticed her driving habits changing. She switched to Metromile — and inspired her parents to do so as well! — and has been putting money back into her family’s budget with what she’s saved with Metromile.

How long have you been a Metromile customer, and what inspired you to check us out?

I’ve been with Metromile since April of this year, so about three months. I saw your commercials and thought “that seems like a nifty idea!” You’d be helping the environment, helping fight off the pandemic by sheltering in place, and you’d be saving money by not driving.

This was literally one of the greatest decisions to help with expanding my maternity leave budget.

Was the insurance you had previously different from Metromile?

I was driving a lot, a lot, a lot before COVID-19. I was driving about 40 miles a day round-trip, previously. I had moved farther from my son’s school so my commute was considerably longer.

In the first six weeks of my maternity leave, I only drove about 180 miles in total.

There was a considerably big drop in my mileage, as I was barely driving my car anymore — just to the grocery store down the street if that. It was the perfect time to switch to Metromile; I love it.

How has your driving changed? Do you think this is your new normal?

I recently got a new job — only about seven miles from my house. I definitely won’t be driving nearly as much as I was previously since I’ll be working remotely for the foreseeable future. My son’s new school is considerably closer to home as well.

Shortly after I switched over to Metromile, my 67-year-old parents did too. They drive even less than I do! They had been paying $250 a month on car insurance for a car that they weren’t using; it was just sitting there collecting dust. They’re on retirement income and want to be mindful about their spending.

My mom had a great conversation with the representative when she signed up and is happy she can speak with a human, and now they have money back in their budget. They only drive to doctor’s appointments and the occasional errand.

Do you use the Metromile app?

Yes, I do! When I financed my car and switched from my previous insurance company, I had to send over my insurance information and coverage details. It was super easy for me to go in and download my proof of insurance card. All of those documents were super easy to find right in the app, to download, and email them over.

I think the budget tracker (trip tracker) is such a cool feature, too. I don’t go to the gas station as often anymore, but it’s nice to have just in case you might forget how much you have left in your tank.

I’m also glad the diagnostic portal is there just to let me know if and when something might be going on.

Do you have any feedback for us?

Thank you for existing. My next goal is to get a larger car since I have a larger family. 

With Metromile, I have the ability to track and control how much I’m spending because I’m paying per mile. I can put more money towards a new vehicle since I’m not spending so much on insurance. That frees up my budget for other things like diapers!

The Top 3 Financial Moves to Make While You Shelter in Place

Let’s be real. Even if you’re fortunate enough to not get sick, COVID-19 will likely affect your life.  With all of this uncertainty, it’s best to start preparing now. Fortunately, if you’re one of the millions of Americans who have been urged to stay home, you likely have more time on your hands right now. In the United States, the average commute is around 27 minutes, which means if your company lets you work from home, you could save about an hour a day. (I save around two hours!)

This extra time is the perfect opportunity to make smart financial moves that can help protect yourself financially. Here’s how you can prepare: 

Assess your situation

If you haven’t already, begin by taking stock of your financial situation — you can’t make a plan if you don’t know what you’re working with. This means:

  • Check your bank accounts. Figure out how much you usually spend each month and how long your savings would last if you lost your job.
  • Check your debt statements. Check your credit cards, student loans, auto loans — everything you owe — and note how much debt you have in total.
  • Check your credit. If you end up needing to apply for more credit, it’s important to know your chances of being approved. A review of your credit score and credit report can help you prepare.

Once you have a good idea of your situation, it’ll be easier to prepare for the future and decide whether you need to make any of the financial moves below. For example, if you have a ton of credit card debt but have good credit, you could consider applying for a personal loan, a credit card with an introductory 0% APR, or a balance transfer. Or, if you’ve calculated that you’ll run out of savings in a month, you can contact your lenders and ask for more time to make payments.

Note: the one type of account you shouldn’t check is your investments, including your 401(k) retirement account. As the stock market is fluctuating, checking your investment accounts may cause you some unneeded stress. If you’re not in desperate need of the money you’ve invested, just ride this wave out. Investing is a long-term game — don’t get distracted by any short-term setbacks.

Time estimate: It depends on how many accounts you have (and how good you are at memorizing the passwords you need to get into your accounts). In general, this shouldn’t take more than a few hours or a weekend afternoon.

Contact your lenders if you need help

Late payments can wreak havoc on your credit, which could subsequently affect your ability to borrow for years to come. If you can’t make a payment, though, don’t just accept the hit. 

When disasters happen, the FDIC notes that “Your creditors will likely work with you on a solution, but it’s important to contact them as soon as possible and explain your situation.” In other words, don’t wait until you start missing payments.

Whether you need help from your phone company, mortgage servicer, credit card issuers, private student loan servicer, or insurance companies, simply contact them, let them know you’re having financial troubles due to COVID-19, and ask if they can be flexible. In many cases, they should be willing to help.

Credit cards

Many of the main credit card providers are offering temporary assistance, such as:

  • Allowing you to defer, reduce, or skip payments
  • Reducing or waiving interest charges
  • Increasing your credit limit
  • Waiving fees

Student loans

If you have federal student loans, the CARES Act provides an automatic suspension of payments through September 30 — no need to contact your student loan servicer. If you have private student loans, get in touch with your servicer, and see what they can do to help.

Mortgages

If your mortgage is backed by the federal government, you may be able to suspend payments for up to a year if you’ve lost income because of COVID-19. Simply submit a request to your mortgage servicer and let them know you’re experiencing financial hardship.

If your mortgage isn’t backed by the federal government, reach out to your servicer anyway and see if they can offer relief. It doesn’t hurt to ask.

Before you ask

Your lenders and servicers will likely ask questions about your situation to determine the best way to help you. Be ready to explain your situation and estimate how much you can pay and when you think you can resume full payments.

Time estimate: Varies. Unfortunately, many banks are experiencing very long wait times as they try to assist all of their customers. If you anticipate needing help, don’t wait until the day your bill is due — contact your provider as soon as possible in case you can’t get through to them the first time.

See where you can cut back on spending

In theory, it should be easier to spend less money these days. If your city or state is requiring you to shelter in place, not only are you probably not commuting, but you’re also probably not going shopping, going to the movie theater, going on vacation, or participating in other activities.

But don’t just assume you’re spending less money — instead, actively seek ways to cut back. Look at your financial statements and cancel or pause anything that’s not necessary while you’re at home. Think gyms, daycares, and more. If your company allows you to allocate some of your pay to your commute pre-tax, it may also be worth pausing that so you can get more money in each paycheck.

Once you’ve taken care of the obvious expenses, get creative. For example, if you anticipate sheltering for the foreseeable future, you could save money switching to pay-per-mile car insurance through Metromile. On average, our customers save $741 a year, according to a survey of new customers who saved in 2018.

Time estimate: If you log into each account separately, it could take hours. To save time, consider using a free or low-cost budgeting app to get a holistic look at your spending across different categories from restaurants to utilities and more.

Jenna Lee is a content marketer, Oxford comma enthusiast, and cat lover living in the Bay Area. 

How I Drive: A Turo All-Star Host Pays $50 Each Month to Cover His Maserati

Metromile customer & Turo host Jeff Badu

Jeff Badu is a certified public accountant who works from home full-time in Chicago, managing his tax practice and several other businesses. Jeff originally listed one car on Turo, when he started as a Turo host in 2016 but has since added three additional cars to the car-sharing marketplace. Having hosted nearly 400 trips on the platform, he’s now an All-Star Host, recognized as one of the top-rated and most experienced hosts on Turo. “For me, I had to test it first — that’s what I do with everything in life,” Jeff said about his experience.

How did you hear about Metromile?

Late last year, I got an email from Turo about the Metromile partnership. That was the first time I had heard of Metromile. If I had known about Metromile previously, I would have signed up much, much sooner. 

That’s great to hear! What made you want to sign up with us?

We were getting killed on rates with other insurance companies, especially since we don’t use these cars a lot. I looked at your rates and thought it was too good to be true. The beauty of Metromile is that even if you’re not renting on Turo, a car owner can really benefit from your low rates. 

How have your rates changed since you switched to Metromile?

My rates have been cut down tremendously. I was probably paying about ten times more than I’m now paying with Metromile. For example, I was paying about $500 per month on my Maserati Ghibli, and now, it costs me between $40 to $50 per month to insure that car with Metromile. 

Turo’s insurance covers the guest when they rent cars on the Turo platform, so it didn’t make sense for me to have to pay for the guest’s insurance too. In addition, sometimes the guest would add their own insurance, which meant the car was covered three times! That was crazy.  

Have you been driving less because of COVID-19?

Definitely. I’m driving a lot less myself, and I’m also not getting as many Turo bookings. So, I appreciate Metromile’s savings more than ever. 

Anything else you’d like to share? 

I think Metromile is a great platform. Things are being calculated in a very fair way. The pay per mile pricing is very fair, and it’s very user friendly. It’s improved my budget, and it’s helped me keep my car-sharing going during this recent slow period. 

I also love the car-location feature. I had a car stolen last year when I was with a different insurance company. If I had Metromile at the time, it would have been so much easier because I would have known where it was!

How I Drive: A Turo Host Says He Saves 50% with Metromile Fractional Insurance

Lance C. is a software engineer who lives in the West Loop neighborhood of Chicago. He’s never driven much. Before the coronavirus pandemic, he would bike or take public transit to work. Now, because of COVID-19, he’s driving even less because he’s working from home. He keeps a car for the weekends for weekend getaways, his soccer matches, and errands. He owns three BMWs that he lists on the car-sharing marketplace Turo.

How long have you been a Metromile customer?

I joined Metromile around the beginning of 2020. As soon as Turo notified hosts about the partnership with Metromile, I jumped on it. Insurance can get expensive!

I had been looking for a pay per mile, low-use car insurance for the last two years. I couldn’t find one that fit my situation because other insurers with a pay per mile model would have still charged me for miles driven by Turo guests. That didn’t work because most of the miles being put on my cars are from my Turo guests, not me. Prior to Metromile, I was basically paying double for car insurance — for cars I wasn’t driving.

How do you like your Metromile insurance?

I love my Metromile insurance! It costs me about $20 a car each month. It’s the best thing there is! It’s cut my bill at least in half. It’s just great, and I saved so much money. Even if there are no guests, Metromile provides huge savings when the cars aren’t making money for me on Turo.

The Metromile app is also awesome. I love to see where my cars are parked. I have three cars on the Turo platform, so it’s great to know where the Turo guests park them. I also love the street-sweeping alerts and near real-time billing.

I’d love to see a car unlocking and locking feature, and I’d also like to see an integration that makes it easier and more seamless for Turo guests to share their gas and mileage. Also, add renters insurance, so I can dump my other insurer and bundle with Metromile!

With many people still staying close to home during COVID-19, what changes have you seen with trips taken by Turo guests?

I’m starting to see an uptick in rentals again this summer. People are still renting my cars to run errands like big grocery runs, but they are also driving to visit their families out of town.

Cities like Chicago are conducive to Metromile, and I think there will always be a need for pay-per-mile car insurance. It can take a long time to find parking, so many people are like me: The times you use your car are few and far between.

How to troubleshoot your Pulse device

Our Pulse device helps track your mileage, decode check engine lights & more!

In the off chance your Pulse device isn’t working as expected, we want to make sure troubleshooting your device is easy! You can troubleshoot your device in a few easy steps with these frequently asked questions, including what to do if the device isn’t sending a signal. 

Why did my Pulse device lose signal?

The Pulse device accurately and securely counts the miles you drive using a cell modem. We may not receive a signal if your car is parked for a long period of time or if your car may be in an area with poor cellular reception. You may need to start your car and take a 5-minute drive to another area for your Pulse device to keep or regain its signal.

If we don’t receive a signal from your device, we will send an email to remind you to plug in or troubleshoot your device. If you’re still experiencing issues after following the instructions, contact us.

How do I troubleshoot my Pulse device?

With the following steps, it should only take a couple of minutes to figure out what’s going on.

If you have not driven your vehicle in the past two weeks or since you were first notified your Pulse device lost signal:

No worries. Your Pulse device is likely not connecting because you haven’t driven yet. All you need to do is let us know, so we can mark your device as idle, and we can set a grace period for your vehicle. Contact us through our Help Center. 

If you have driven your vehicle in the past two weeks or since you were first notified your Pulse device lost signal:

The issue could be your Pulse device. To get your device up and running, use the troubleshooting tool on your Metromile app or through your Metromile dashboard.

Don’t have the Metromile app? Download the app from the app store on your iPhone or Android device. 

What if I usually don’t drive my car for long periods of time?

With Metromile, you pay a low monthly base rate and a per-mile rate for any miles driven. For any days or months where you don’t drive, you won’t have a per-mile rate to pay. You’ll just pay your base rate. The base rate helps to keep your car covered.

You may need to occasionally start your car and take a 5-minute drive for your Pulse device to keep its signal. We don’t provide “car storage” insurance.

What if I troubleshoot my device and it still won’t reconnect?

After you plug in your Pulse device, we should start to receive a signal from your device. This means we can accurately calculate your mileage, and you can use some of the features and tools of the Metromile app, including monitoring your car’s health

It can take up to 1 day for us to get a signal from your device. If it’s been more than 1 day, and you haven’t received an email or text letting you know we got a signal from your device, you can troubleshoot your device with these steps:

A red light generally means your device is working but may need a reset. First, unplug the device and wait 3-5 minutes. Plug it back in, and once the red light appears again, take a short 5-minute drive. We’ll send you an email within 1 day, letting you know we’ve gotten a signal. If you don’t hear from us by then, or if your red light doesn’t turn back on, please contact us.

If you don’t see the light or it isn’t red, make sure the device is plugged into your car’s onboard diagnostic port (OBD-II port) all the way. Once your device isn’t loose, you should see a red light. If you don’t see a red light, plug the device into a different car (it’s okay if it’s not yours) to look for a red light. If the red light turns on in the new car, the problem is likely your OBD-II port. We recommend checking the fuse or having a mechanic take a look. If you don’t see a red light in the second car, or if your mechanic says your OBD-II port is healthy, contact us.

What if I don’t fix a lost signal?

The Pulse device must be plugged into your car at all times so we can receive a signal and accurately calculate your mileage. If we don’t receive a signal, we will send an email to remind you to plug in or troubleshoot your device by the exact date and time we need to receive a signal. 

A Metromile team member may also reach out to you for a photo of your odometer to help keep track of your miles. If we don’t receive a photo of your odometer within a certain period of time, we may cancel your account. However, if we determine your Pulse device isn’t working properly, we will send you a new device. You will have to plug in your new Pulse device within a certain time frame. 

If you’re away from your car or won’t be driving for a long time, contact us, and we can set a grace period for you.

What is a grace period?

A grace period lets us know you’ll be away from your car and won’t be able to plug in or troubleshoot your device right away. During your grace period, you won’t be charged fees if we aren’t able to receive a signal from your Pulse device.

How I Drive: A Good Samaritan Finds Her Stolen Car with the Metromile App

Jenna M., a Metromile customer of 3 years from Chicago, IL.

Jenna M. is the cousin we all want to have. She moved to Chicago from San Francisco about five years ago for a new job, and coincidentally, so did her cousin. When her cousin fell ill recently, she did a grocery run for him. As she quickly ran the groceries to his door, thieves moved even faster and stole her car. Here’s how Jenna used the Metromile app to help the police find her car within just a few hours.

How long have you been a Metromile customer?

I’ve had Metromile for a while; this is my third year. I work downtown in the Loop, and I don’t drive to work. A friend of mine told me all about Metromile—she was using it—so I looked into it, and I couldn’t believe it. I thought I should definitely do this.

When you say you don’t drive, how often do you drive?

I probably drive a total of 20 miles a week. I use my car on the weekends to go to the grocery store and Target because I live in the city. The more and more I learned about Metromile, I thought, I’m getting this right now!

Recently, you had your car stolen. Can you share how it happened?

It was 7:30 at night, and I‘m dropping off two loads of groceries for a cousin who lives alone in a high-rise. There was no one around, so I pulled my car up to the loading zone in front. My car was off, and I had my keys with me in my pocket, along with my phone. I had to make two trips because it was just me. I make one trip, come back down, and my car is still there, flashers still on. I wasn’t having any contact with him, so it was very quick. On the way back up on my second trip, I had sent my cousin a text “OK, coming back up,” so he could buzz me in. It had been four minutes from the time that I sent the text to the time that I had got back down to the lobby, and my car was gone.

That’s terrible! What did you do next?

I just couldn’t believe it. I came out and was just standing out on the curb. It didn’t even cross my mind that it got stolen. It just didn’t occur to me.

I call the non-emergency number: “I’m just helping out my sick cousin right now, and you towed my car!” The dispatcher told me the city of Chicago is not towing any vehicles right now. The minute she told me that, it just occurred to me: I’m going to pull up my Metromile app! I have “Find my iPhone,” basically, for my car.

What did you find on the Metromile app?

I just sat on my couch all night with my husband watching my car traveling all over the South Side. I see my car just floating down Lake Shore Drive, heading south, south, south! And I couldn’t believe it. It was a very surreal moment. Is this happening to me right now?

I immediately called the cops and explained that I thought my car was stolen. I have a device in it that’s associated with my car insurance, and I know exactly where it is. They were all so surprised. I had to explain what a Pulse was and everything. The police officer said, “Oh, that’s cool!”

Because I knew where it was, they told me: keep watching it. They would send a cop to the last location.

Where did the car go?

I just sat on my couch all night with my husband watching my car traveling all over. They were deep in the South Side of Chicago. The cops told me they’re joyriding, but eventually, they’ll ditch it. I’m just refreshing and pulling the app up. The app shows your gas usage, so I figured once my gas would run out, they would ditch my car.

My car got stolen at around 7:45 p.m. When I started the night, my gas was at 60%, and at this point four hours later, it was at 10%. Finally, the car had stopped moving, and they had turned around close to where they stole it from me. Then, they parked it. It had been stopped for about 15 minutes, and I called the cops right back. At 1 in the morning, I went and retrieved my car. The cops sat there and waited for me. They did a thorough search and helped me disinfect the whole thing, which was nice because of what we’re dealing with right now.

Did anything happen to your car?

I got really lucky. They didn’t do anything to do it. They stole a bunch of things—all my groceries and my daughter’s car seat. I was just glad to have my car back! I guess they just took it for a joyride.