At Metromile, we’re out to make insurance fairer and more personalized to you.
I joined Metromile because it’s a different kind of insurance company. By harnessing new technology, so customers only pay for the miles they drive, we could change car insurance from a blunt instrument into one that’s finely tuned. We could also help to level the playing field for everyone.
The key premise that powers our insurance — the majority of people who don’t drive a lot should pay less because they’re less likely to get into accidents — was just the first step. Now in select states, we’re taking the next step by factoring in the quality of miles driven. That means that our pay-per-mile insurance will consider the behavior behind each mile, in addition to the number of miles.
As with pay per mile, factoring in the quality of miles driven can result in car insurance that much more closely reflects actual risk, which means a fairer rate for all of our customers.
It might be helpful to think of Metromile’s approach to pricing insurance in terms of three layers.
1. Getting to know you
We begin by learning about you, your vehicles, and your driving record, and look for ways to reward you with a low price to start. Most insurers stop here; I should know, as until recently, I spent more than 14 years working at a large insurance company.
2. Custom billing
The second layer unique to Metromile is the monthly bill. Instead of a typical flat-rate insurance bill like you’d find elsewhere, we break ours into a low base rate and a per-mile rate, giving you more control over how much you pay for car insurance.
Idling in the driveway isn’t as risky as cruising down the highway, and we believe there’s no need to charge drivers as if it is. Pay per mile also enables us to adapt our insurance to your driving habits and lifestyle as it changes.
3. Rewarding good driving
Finally, in select states, we also look for good driving. Our analysis shows that many of our customers can receive meaningful discounts if we consider how they drive in addition to how far they drive. For example, if your average speed is safer than most, we think you should have a better price. Rest assured, we consider trends over time and not individual instances or trips.
The bottom line
Metromile considers how people drive to create more opportunities to save on car insurance in select states. It doesn’t sit right with us that safe drivers have to pay too much for car insurance.
As our pay-per-mile insurance improves, we want to give you more control over how much you want to pay. Our goal is to customize insurance so that it is more affordable and customer-centric.
Jesse McKendry is the vice president of insurance at Metromile. He oversees the company’s insurance product management and marketing efforts. Before Metromile, Jesse spent 14 years in insurance product management and marketing at a major insurance company and has also spent nearly a decade in auto supply chain and logistics, including Daimler and General Motors.
Julie Santiano is a Los Angeles native armed with a duo of Tesla vehicles and a penchant for helping to create a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly future. She shares her Tesla Model S and Tesla Model X on Turo to help people live out special moments. Julie chose Metromile car insurance to benefit from the transparent pay-per-mile pricing.
You own two Teslas! What’s the appeal for you?
I moved up to the San Francisco Bay Area a couple of years ago to work at an electric vehicle company. I’m a huge fan of a sustainable future, and a big part of that is improving cars on the road. I normally wouldn’t be able to afford a Tesla, but hosting through Turo had made it a lot more affordable and accessible.
Are the people who book your cars on Turo techies like you?
Definitely — A lot of the reservations I get are out-of-towners, who have never driven a Tesla, and Bay Area locals who want to do a test drive before committing to owning and garaging one.
Your Turo profile shows you’ve completed training on enhanced cleaning and disinfection practices. Is this something you did because of COVID-19?
I’m a neat freak anyway, so I’m always cleaning and detailing my cars! It’s my way to check in with the car between rentals. I want my guests to enjoy their experience, knowing they’re safe.
How have Turo bookings changed because of COVID-19?
In the past, there were more bookings for weddings — brides and grooms wanting to roll up in style to their rehearsal dinner — just to add another special experience to their whole wedding weekend. Since COVID-19, I’ve seen more folks booking luxury weekend getaways — lots of trips down to Monterey and Santa Cruz. Some people will even rent one of my Teslas for a week to head down to Los Angeles or Yosemite.
How did you hear about Metromile?
I had been anxiously waiting for your partnership with Turo to launch since you announced it last year! I got really excited about Metromile and being able to remove the renters’ miles from my personal expenses. Anything that simplifies my processes — I’m all about it!
What was your old car insurance like compared to Metromile?
I had been with my last insurance company for 10 years. I hated that I was double paying for insurance, with my policy and Turo’s coverage. I always meant to shop around for car insurance but never did. There was always so much ambiguity.
I like Metromile because it’s super transparent. I don’t feel like you’re trying to give me a run for my money, and that alone makes it worth it. Teslas are really expensive, but with Metromile, I’m able to have the coverage I need; and I’m seeing about an 80% savings! Now I have peace of mind that I’m not leaving money on the table. Knowing I’m not getting ripped off is great.
What is your favorite Metromile feature?
I like that my bill is paid automatically. I don’t have to think about my coverage, and I’m still being taken care of. Your process for filing a claim is so seamless compared to my previous insurer. Setting up and plugging in the Pulse device was super easy. I love it!
Wouldn’t it be great if we could cut down one of our most expensive bills by paying only for what we use? Some car insurance companies say they want to do exactly that with pay-per-mile auto insurance. Low-mileage drivers could save with pay-per-mile car insurance, but it can be hard to understand what that means. You might ask: If I drive every day, am I a low-mileage driver? Alternatively, how low is low?
We have the answers. Consider this guide if you’ve ever wondered about pay-per-mile car insurance or how you can keep car insurance costs low.
What is pay-per-mile auto insurance?
Pay-per-mile car insurance is insurance based on how far you drive. Instead of paying a flat rate that doesn’t change like with other insurance companies, your actual driving determines your car insurance premiums.
While different companies might offer pay-per-mile car insurance, sometimes called “pay as you go” car insurance or “pay as you drive” car insurance, Metromile is the leading pay-per-mile car insurance company in the U.S. The company started to create a new type of insurance personalized to each driver and their unique lifestyle.
After you get started with pay-per-mile car insurance, you’ll notice your bill includes two parts: a low monthly base rate and a per-mile rate.
The monthly base rate helps keep your car covered, even when you’re not driving. You can think of the monthly base rate like the fee your cell phone provider might charge you to keep your telephone number and line open.
The per-mile rate counts how far you drive. The rate doesn’t consider how long you are in your car, so you won’t ever get penalized if you’re stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
For example, if your base rate is $29 per month and your per-mile rate is 6 cents per mile, your bill would be just $56 if you drove 450 miles that month.
As an added value, pay-per-mile car insurance often comes with a daily cap. Your miles are free after you drive 250 miles (150 in New Jersey) in a single day. The bonus lets you avoid any surprises on your bill and can help prevent stress. There’s no worry of “going over” with pay-per-mile car insurance.
How are pay-per-mile car insurance rates determined?
Unlike traditional insurance, pay-per-mile car insurance rates focus on someone’s actual driving.
Driving behavior, including how many miles someone drives, and the coverage selected, are the main factors Metromile considers. Other factors include the vehicle and type of insurance policy. Depending on the state, Metromile also considers how long someone’s had insurance before, claims history, and other information.
In contrast, traditional insurance rates may weigh more heavily on a driver’s age, gender, marital status, credit score, ZIP Code, or driving records, depending on the company, policy, and state. Often, insurance companies rely on these factors to determine the risk of large groups of drivers and might not personalize rates on a more individualized basis. Instead, Metromile uses technology and observed driving to help price rates down to the mile for each driver.
How much can you save with pay-per-mile auto insurance?
The savings can add up with pay-per-mile car insurance if you don’t drive much. Drivers saved $741 a year on average when they switch to Metromile, according to a recent survey of new customers who saved.
But drivers can save even more if they drive less.
Metromile also offers customers additional discounts to drivers who insure multiple cars on the same policy or install an anti-theft device or other equipment to make their vehicles safer. Drivers could also benefit from lower rates for their safe driving.
Who should get pay-per-mile car insurance?
Most Americans could find value by switching to pay-per-mile auto insurance. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Americans drive about 13,500 miles a year on average. Now, with more and more people working from home and taking fewer personal trips, chances are you are using your car even less.
If you drive 37 miles or fewer per day, you could save money on your premiums with pay-per-mile car insurance.
Drivers who could benefit from pay-per-mile car insurance include:
Even if you commute regularly or spend a lot of time in your car, you could save. Pay-per-mile car insurance doesn’t charge you for how long you drive because it focuses on miles driven.
How does pay-per-mile auto insurance work?
With pay-per-mile car insurance, your driving determines how much you pay for car insurance each month. This can give you more control over your costs, especially helpful if you keep a close eye on your car budget.
Metromile provides drivers with the Metromile Pulse device, a small wireless device that connects you to your car. The device accurately and securely counts the miles you drive to help bill you every month.
Installation is easy and can take minutes because the device plugs into your vehicle’s onboard diagnostic port, generally next to the driver’s side door, beneath the steering wheel, or around the center console. The onboard diagnostic port is the same connection your mechanic might use to check your car’s health in the garage.
The Pulse device needs to stay connected to your vehicle at all times, and Metromile customers are glad they do. The device helps power some smart-driving features. You can find your car’s location, know when street sweeping is happening in select cities, check your miles, review your trips, and more.
Some connected vehicle owners may not need a Pulse device or other additional equipment. Soon, owners of eligible Ford vehicles with built-in connectivity can opt in and connect their vehicle so that Metromile can count any miles driven directly from the vehicle’s odometer.
What type of coverage does pay-per-mile car insurance provide?
Metromile offers four different levels of liability protection and choices for your comprehensive and collision deductibles.
And your car will be covered, even when you’re not paying your per-mile rate. For example, when your car is parked, Metromile will cover your vehicle with comprehensive coverage when relevant.
How do claims work with pay-per-mile auto insurance?
Pay-per-mile car insurance provides the same types of coverage as other insurance companies. Licensed insurance specialists are available, and you can file a claim 24/7, online through the mobile app or Metromile website or by calling.
Drivers can also add roadside assistance to cover lockouts, flat tires, and towing, and an allowance for rental car reimbursements, to their policy.
Metromile also has a direct repair program, which can help expedite claims by making repairs more seamless. For example, Metromile customers can get notified of updates for their repair, changes to pricing, or service delays when they work with a participating repair shop. Metromile customers can use the Metromile app or log into their online account to find a nearby participating repair shop or see if their favorite garage is on the list.
The bottom line
Don’t be fooled: For many drivers, pay-per-mile car insurance can provide the same coverage as other insurance companies at a lower cost.
You don’t need to sacrifice your driving experience with pay-per-mile auto insurance, especially if you don’t drive much or are driving less than you have previously.
To say Southern California resident Leon is a “car guy” is an understatement. Even with his collection of cars — now in the double digits, ranging from a Nissan Versa sedan to a high-end Maserati Ghibli — he manages to save on his insurance with Metromile’s fractional car insurance.
How did you start hosting on Turo?
I’ve always been a big car fan, even since I was a little kid. I’ve met a lot of great people from hosting, and it’s been a way to make a bit of extra income.
How many cars do you share on Turo?
At most, I had 22 vehicles on Turo. I started with just a few and then was able to find good deals and add more over time. The only thing is insurance is the number one issue when you have this many cars. I try to be organized, but I was juggling six to seven different insurance policies at once across different companies. I wouldn’t have had the success on Turo if it hadn’t been for Metromile — it’s so much easier now!
How do you keep track of all of your cars?
I use the Notes app on my iPhone to make different lists, like which are due for maintenance. All of the numbers and cost breakdowns are in Excel; and my wife helps me out, too. It’s much easier to manage the insurance costs now that all of them are on Metromile!
With so many cars on Turo, have you seen a pattern in your bookings?
Absolutely. I’ve been doing this for so long now that I can almost pinpoint which car a customer is going to book. Younger customers tend to go for the Maserati over one of the economy cars.
When did you find out about Metromile?
Turo’s CEO chats with “power hosts” to get feedback and hear about our experiences at the end of the year. I had asked about the progress of your partnership with Turo and was eager to know when it was getting started. Once it launched, I hopped right on it!
Have you seen changes in Turo reservations because of COVID-19?
During the initial stay-at-home order, I took all my cars off Turo. I have many listed now and am only getting about half of the reservations I typically do since people aren’t really traveling or taking leisure trips. Lately, my economy vehicles have been getting reserved by guests who need to work since public transit is less common in Los Angeles.
What’s been the best part of your Metromile experience?
When I became a customer, I was excited to try out the Metromile app. I love it, even from my first experience interacting with it. The opening messages and visuals are very inviting and very easy to figure out. It was also so easy to install the Pulse device.
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!
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 andwhen 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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.