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National Bike Month: How to Participate

May is National Bike Month, so we’re exploring ways to make commuting by bike easier and safer. Whether you ride your bike for fun, to get fit, to save the environment, or just to get around town, we’ve got recommendations on how to make cycling better for everyone. One way you can celebrate this year is by participating in National Bike to Wherever Day, on May 20th (previously Bike to Work Day). If this will be your first time participating or you’re nervous about jumping back into the saddle, here are a few tips to get you started.

biking_to_work

Plan your route. Google Maps is a good way to find bike-friendly streets by selecting the “bicycling” option. Keep in mind that your preferred route by car won’t always be the safest option while riding a bike. If you’ll be taking your bike with you on public transit, make sure there aren’t any limitations on how many bikes can be accommodated.

Check your bike. If your bike hasn’t had much action lately, double-check your tires and brakes. It’s also always a good idea to make sure your chain is well lubricated and free of debris. Take a short ride around the block just to make sure everything is in working order.

Safety first. Before leaving the house, put on your helmet and reflective clothing to help with visibility. Depending on where you live, there may also be legal requirements for a front and back light. Both are especially important when cycling at night. While riding, watch for opening car doors and follow regular traffic laws. Once you reach your destination, be sure to lock your bike securely.

Even if you won’t be able to bike to wherever this week, drivers can still help make the roads safer for cyclists. While driving, keep these quick tips in mind:

Pass with care. Give bicyclists a 3-foot buffer while passing, and on multi-lane roads, switch lanes to ensure there is plenty of room.

Exit safely. Always double-check for cyclists before opening your door.

Mind your speed. Increased speed can mean the difference between an injury and a fatality. Follow speed limits and use caution while driving near bicyclists.

If you find that you’re biking more often than driving, Metromile’s per-mile car insurance could help you save. Head over to www.metromile.com/insurance to learn more.

How Having a Hybrid Work Schedule Can Save You Money on Car Insurance

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the face of work culture as we know it. Work was dominated by office culture but since the public health emergency started in 2020, more companies have opted for remote work or a hybrid work schedule, and that’s here to stay. Even though there’s a “new normal” happening and a push to go back to the office, the uncertainty and rise of variants are keeping many employees working from home.

These work changes can lead to more savings, which is a bonus in a time of high inflation. You can spend less on gas and even lower your car insurance if working from home. Here’s how the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted work schedules, changed driving habits, and how you might save on car insurance when you work from home.

Need Car Insurance? Work From Home Could Save You Money

How the COVID-19 pandemic changed the American workforce

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, many Americans drove to work and regularly commuted to offices and work sites. Often, drivers dealt with rush-hour traffic or long drives. In the spring of 2020, circumstances shifted, and the roads were emptier as droves of people started to work from home or lost their jobs.

By April 2020, a staggering 20.5 million people had left the workforce, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This was the steepest decline seen on record. Nearly 75% of the drop included service workers due to restaurants and bars shutting down. Though food and drinking establishments have opened back up, many places are struggling to retain or entice employees to return

In general, there’s been what’s dubbed “The Great Resignation” — which peaked in November 2021 with 6.3 million separations from employment, according to BLS data. On top of that, millions of women left the workforce during the pandemic due to a lack of childcare and paid family leave. 

Even as things return to a new standard of normal with some employees going back to the office, the Pew Research Center found that as of January 2022 59% of employees are working from home all or most of the time. This is down from 71% in October 2020. 

While some may like remote work or having a hybrid work schedule, it has led to difficulties for some people, notably parents who have childcare responsibilities and workers who might be putting in longer hours and suffering from online video conference fatigue.

On the other hand, some remote work converts don’t want to go back to the office. So much so that an October 2021 Gallup survey found that 30% of employees would consider finding new employment if remote work was no longer an option. 

Given these data points, it’s clear that nearly every worker has been impacted by the pandemic in some way. There’s been a shift in work culture with many employees wanting to keep a hybrid work schedule or fully remote option.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also changed driving habits

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, regular commutes and dealing with traffic were common hassles for many employees.

Metromile analysis of driving data in 2020 found that many drivers have changed how they drive, even if they recently picked up their driving. Weekday morning and evening commute-hour driving has been replaced with afternoon and weekend trips. 

Other drivers are spending less time on the road, continuing trends that began in the spring of 2020 when shelter-in-place orders and public health guidelines limited driving.

You can lower car insurance working from home

The shift in work culture has led to not only time savings but cost savings with gas as well. One benefit you may not realize is that you can also lower car insurance working from home. 

If you currently have a remote or hybrid work schedule, you are likely driving less often. If you’re driving less, then you should pay less for car insurance as well. 

You can get car insurance that is ideal for work-from-home employees which can lead to more savings. How? By opting for pay-per-mile car insurance. 

Pay-per-mile car insurance is the best car insurance if you work from home

Many drivers are currently saving money because they have pay-per-mile car insurance. Pay-per-mile auto insurance is a type of usage-based insurance, which means rates are based on how you use your car, most notably how far you drive. 

Your premium can adapt to your lifestyle in almost real-time, as you pay for the miles you drive. This can give you more control of your auto insurance costs.

If you spend more time at home or your work schedule has changed, you could save with pay-per-mile auto insurance.

Drivers pay a low monthly base rate and a few cents for each mile they drive. If you don’t often drive, you could save money.

Many Americans drive fewer than 40 miles each day and are considered low-mileage drivers. Low-mileage drivers can save up to 47%* a year when they switch to Metromile, according to a 2018 survey of new customers who switched and saved.

You can see if pay-per-mile auto insurance is right for you with a free Ride Along™. Download the Metromile app, and get a free auto insurance quote. Next, you’ll drive as you typically would for about two weeks (make sure to keep your current auto insurance coverage so that you remain covered during the trial), and you’ll see how much you could save if you switch car insurance companies. You could also earn an additional discount of up to 15%** off your initial quote in select states for demonstrating safe driving during your Ride Along.

The bottom line 

The pandemic has made sweeping changes in the work landscape in nearly all sectors. Some people have benefited from the changes and others have not. While everyone adjusts to the new reality, there’s one thing you can do to take back control — switch car insurance if you work from home. 

Given rising costs in all sectors, changing your car insurance if you work from home may help you save money. Instead of having a flat rate for premiums, get a rate that is fair and based on the miles you drive. If you have a hybrid work schedule or are a remote worker, pay-per-mile coverage may be an ideal fit for you. You can lower car insurance working from home and have a win-win situation. Get your own free quote with Metromile today. 

Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

* Average annual car insurance savings by new customers surveyed who saved with Metromile in 2018.

***Eligible drivers can save up to 15% on their initial quote with their safe driving in Oregon.

How to Prepare for Inflation, Because It’s Here

Nearly everywhere you look right now, prices are rising. You go to the grocery store and your $50 groceries are suddenly $75 for the same items. You fill up the gas tank, and your jaw drops as you see the final total. If you’re wondering if it’s just you, it’s not. We’re in a period of high inflation, the highest rate seen in four decades. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the consumer price index (CPI) rose 7.9% in February compared to the previous year. While much of this is out of your control, there are things you can do to try and combat higher costs. Here’s how to save money during inflation increases. 

How to Save Money During Inflation Spikes | Metromile

How to prepare for inflation in 6 steps 

Step 1: Review your numbers 

Whether you’re a personal finance newbie or professional or somewhere in-between, there’s one major thing everyone should do. And that’s reviewing their numbers. Look at the nitty-gritty and the big picture by looking at the following:

  • Your take-home pay. What you think you make and what you actually make after taxes and deductions are different. 
  • Your current expenses. All expenses including rent/mortgage, food, insurance, health, gym, etc.
  • Your current debt obligations. What are your monthly payments, interest rates, and how much do you owe?

Taking this step can help you create a plan with real numbers and can help you see where there might be spending leaks. 

Step 2: Make a budget 

After reviewing your numbers, you know your total take-home pay and expenses. Whether you have a budget or not, you can make a budget from scratch or adjust the one you have. 

A budget is a way to dictate the flow of your money. Go through each category and write down how much you want to allocate for that particular category. Some might be fixed expenses that don’t change, and others might be variable, so do your best to put a number that makes sense given your previous spending. Your total expenses should be less than or equal to your income (but make sure debt and savings are part of that!), so you’re not “living beyond your means.” 

Figuring out how to prepare for inflation can be tough. But with your budget, you can take steps to limit variable spending and cut out or reduce non-essential spending.

Step 3: Reduce expenses where you can

In most cases, your top three expenses will be housing, food, and transportation. To make the most significant dent and learn how to save money during inflation, focus on these top categories. 

That may mean trying to negotiate your rent (it’s possible and the worst they can say is “no”), downsizing, and trying to cut utility bills. You can meal prep and try to avoid higher-cost convenience foods and buy in bulk for certain items at Costco. You can look at GasBuddy.com for the most affordable gas; opt to walk, bike, or take public transportation instead. 

Also, see if there are subscriptions that you aren’t really using anymore. Cancel and free up some cash. You can see if there are barter opportunities as well, such as working the front desk at a yoga studio in exchange for classes. 

You don’t have to give up everything, but consider reducing the frequency. If you go out to eat three times a week, scale back to once a week. Reducing the major expenses and focusing on the small ones can help free up cash. 

Step 4: Think about making the switch to pay-per-mile insurance 

As noted above, transportation costs can make a dent in your budget. As part of that, there is car insurance. The good news is that you may be able to score some serious savings by switching auto insurance. 

If you’re a low-mileage driver and drive 10,000 miles or less each year, think about switching to pay-per-mile car insurance. That way you get a rate that is based on how much you drive. At Metromile, you can get an affordable base rate and pay several cents per mile you drive. You may be able to save up to $947* per year, depending on how much you drive. 

Step 5: Earn more

Let’s just say it — it sucks that your dollar isn’t going as far as it used to. It feels like your money is vanishing in quicksand. Reducing expenses where you can is key, but sometimes you cut back and hit a frugality plateau. In other words, you can’t really cut back any further. In that case, earning more can add more money to the pile. Here are some ideas:

  • Sell items you no longer use or want on OfferUp or Facebook Marketplace
  • Rent out your car on Turo or Getaround
  • Ask for a raise 
  • Pet sit on Rover or Meowtel
  • Work overtime, if applicable 
  • Freelance and leverage your existing skills (what do you do for your day job or what do people always tell you you’re good at?)

Focusing on earning more can at least help your income during times of inflation. 

Step 6: Pay off or refinance debt 

Paying debt is paying for your past choices, which can make it tough to have enough money in the present and the future. Of course, interest is what can really make the process tough. That’s why it’s recommended to pay off debt or refinance to a lower interest rate, if possible. 

This is especially the case with high-interest credit card debt. Consider a 0% balance transfer credit card, just make sure you’ve addressed what caused the debt in the first place so you don’t get stuck with more debt. 

Consider refinancing your home to get a better rate. If you have federal student loans, you can take advantage of the payment pause and consider income-driven repayment plans when payments start back up again. 

You can free up that monthly payment and reduce the total amount of interest you pay on the loan by paying down debt or getting a lower interest rate.  

The bottom line 

Dealing with prices rising right now can feel like another blow after a difficult two-year period. Learning how to prepare for inflation requires action and taking steps, both big and small to reduce costs and increase income. If you don’t get behind the wheel all that often, consider making the switch to pay-per-mile car insurance coverage. Grab a free quote to see about potential savings. 

*Average annual car insurance savings by new customers surveyed who saved with Metromile in 2018.

Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

5 Tips to Prevent Distracted Driving

Did you know that April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month? Familiarize yourself with the tips below to prevent distracted driving. They might not be revolutionary, but they will ensure you aren’t in the 80% of people who admit they engage in blatantly hazardous activity while driving.

5 Tips to Stop Distracted Driving

Here are 5 ways to keep you and those around you safer on the road:

  1. Put down the phone. It’s enticing to check your phone every time it beeps, but if you are behind the wheel, don’t do it. Here’s a scary stat: driving a vehicle while texting is now 6x more dangerous than driving drunk. Even if you have a really urgent message, wait to text until your car is parked. If you are traveling with a passenger, you can ask them to be your messenger!
  2. Traffic isn’t an excuse. For those of you who inevitably sit in traffic every day, using idle time to maximize your morning routine (i.e. putting on makeup, perfecting your mustache) is tempting. Again, don’t do it. Give yourself a few extra minutes each day to finish getting ready before you dash out.
  3. Check out Metromile’s Driving Insights feature. Metromile uses sensor technology and machine learning to understand and analyze driving behavior in near real-time. Driving insights are featured prominently in the Metromile app and available for all Metromile policyholders. In one tap, policyholders can see their phone usage score, displayed on a scale of 1 to 100 with higher scores indicating safer behavior, and tailored tips based on their actual observed driving. Tips include guidance to avoid distracted driving and on-the-road phone use.
  4. Use better directions. We get the reliance on your favorite maps app, especially if you are embarking on a road trip or heading somewhere new. Familiarize yourself with the suggested route before starting your car, and since most map apps will read the instructions aloud to you, there should be no reason for you to ever look at the screen again.
  5. Snack smarter. You leave work famished, so you stop to grab something to tide you over until dinner. However, one hand on the wheel and one hand holding a burger means you’re less likely to maneuver with skill. We aren’t nutritionists so aren’t going to advise on changing your eating habits, but do whatever it takes to not eat while driving. Added bonus: less ketchup spills means less money spent cleaning.

As cool as Metromile’s app is, we don’t condone using it while driving either. Stay safe out there and put down that phone!

Car Insurance for Senior Citizens

If you’re retired or approaching retirement age soon, it’s likely you’ll be driving less. You may not be commuting as often or going out as much, but still rely on your car for errands and going on some adventures here and there. During this time, you want to find coverage catered to your needs, which is why you want to look into auto insurance options that may be better for older adults or retirees. Find out more about car insurance for senior citizens. 

Guide on Senior Auto Insurance | Metromile

What is car insurance for senior citizens? 

Car insurance for senior citizens refers to coverage options that may include senior discounts or be catered to your specific needs. Given your age, wisdom, and experience, you may qualify for senior auto insurance discounts and may pay less for a car insurance policy

In states like California, you may be able to take a DMV-approved “mature driver improvement course” and be able to lower your car insurance premiums for up to three years

5 reasons pay-per-mile insurance makes sense for seniors

As a senior, you still want a vehicle to have more access and independence. But if you’re driving less, shouldn’t you  also pay less? That’s why a good choice for car insurance for senior citizens is pay-per-mile insurance. Why pay a flat rate when you can get coverage based on the miles you actually drive? Here are 5 reasons why pay-per-mile coverage is great option for senior citizens. 

1. You’re not ready to give up your keys just yet 

Just because you may not be working or working less, doesn’t mean you want to give up your mode of transportation. And you shouldn’t have to either, as long as you’re safe and healthy. 

​​We believe driving can give seniors a sense of independence. If you have your own car, you don’t have to rely on family or friends to get around; you can continue to take care of yourself instead of depending on others.

More seniors are driving later in life, enjoying their Golden Years. According to 2019 data from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration — which is the most recent available — here is the breakdown of how many senior drivers are on the road by age group: 

  • There are 19,243,268 licensed drivers between the ages of 60 and 64
  • There are 16,241,884 licensed drivers between the ages of 65 and 69  
  • There are 12,763,368 licensed drivers between the ages of 70 and 74
  • There are 8,345,610 licensed drivers between the ages of 75 and 79 
  • There are 4,880,480 licensed drivers between the ages of 80 and 84
  • There are 4,066,741 licensed drivers 85 and older 

That’s approximately 65.5 million senior drivers, aged 60 and up. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in five drivers is 65 or older. 

If you fall into this group, you’ll need a car insurance policy that matches your driving habits and lifestyle.

2. You don’t drive as much these days

While you might still enjoy driving, you probably don’t get behind the wheel as much as you used to. According to the most recent data from the Federal Highway Administration, seniors drive an average of 7,646 miles per year, which is about half as much as most drivers.

This sharp decline might be a reflection of the fewer responsibilities you have at this stage of life. For example: 

  • If you recently retired, you no longer have to drive to work five days a week. 
  • If you’re an empty nester, you probably stopped driving your kids around a while back.

You also might have cut back on driving for health reasons. Older adult drivers are more than twice as likely to report having a medical problem that makes it difficult to travel, according to a recent U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.

One such problem is arthritis, the National Institute on Aging points out. Your joints may get stiff, and your muscles may weaken as you get older, the institute explains. 

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) continues: “Arthritis, which is common among older adults, might affect your ability to drive. These changes can make it harder to turn your head to look back, turn the steering wheel quickly, or brake safely.”

That’s not to say you don’t drive at all anymore. Just that you don’t drive as often as you used to. Whatever the reason may be, if you’re driving less frequently, you might save money with Metromile’s pay-per-mile car insurance.

3. You’re living on a fixed income

You might be living on a smaller income in retirement. According to the Administration of Community Living (ACL) report “2020 Profile of Older Americans”, the median income in 2019 for older persons was $27,398. Though this varies greatly by gender with the median income for men at $36,921 and the median income for women at $21,815. 

If you don’t have a large nest egg and you’re mostly relying on Social Security checks, you could be facing a tighter budget than you did when you had a full-time job to pay for your expenses. 

By choosing pay-per-mile car insurance, you can control how much you pay each month and pay less because you drive less. Car insurance can be one less thing you have to worry about.

4. You could get a discount

If you’re looking for the best car insurance for senior citizens, pay-per-mile coverage with Metromile can benefit you in a couple of ways. 

First, you pay less because you drive less. Secondly, Metromile offers a mature driver discount in eight states. Your decades of experience behind the wheel usually translates into safer driving practices, so you should be rewarded for that. 

Generally, older adults drive more safely than other age groups, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Older adults are more likely to wear seat belts, drive when conditions are safest and don’t drink and drive. These safe driving habits can help you avoid accidents. “Even at 85, senior drivers crash less often, per mile, than teens,” a Consumer Reports study found.

These safety habits while driving are important, as unfortunately, older drivers made up 20% of traffic fatalities in 2019 according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). That amounted to 7,214 drivers 65 and older who were killed on the road. Avoiding night driving may help

5. You drive an older car

The type of car you drive is one of the many risk factors insurance companies consider when determining how much you might pay for car insurance. The good news is that older vehicles tend to be cheaper to insure. So if you drive an older car, you may see even steeper car insurance savings. 

How much do Metromile customers save?

If you’re looking for senior auto insurance, pay-per-mile insurance can be a great fit given your lifestyle and budget. Making the switch to Metromile could help you save money. Below you can see average car insurance savings based on miles driven per year. For example, if you drive 10,000 miles per year you could save $541* per year. If you only drive 2,500 miles per year, you could see savings up to $947*. 

Keep in mind that seniors drive an average of 7,646 miles per year, which means they could save between $500 and $700 a year. When you break it down by gender, older men drive 10,304 miles per year, while older women drive only 4,785 miles per year. That could be substantial savings and help your budget. 

The bottom line 

As a senior, car insurance should be more affordable and fit your new stage of life. You want something that fits with your budget and can still provide the coverage you need to stay protected behind the wheel. Pay-per-mile coverage can score you serious savings and allow you to pay based on the miles you drive. If you’re thinking of making the switch, check out a free quote with Metromile

* Average annual car insurance savings by new customers surveyed who saved with Metromile in 2018.

How Mike Recovered His Stolen Vehicle in a Few Hours with Metromile

Auto thefts have seen a dramatic increase during the pandemic as people worked from home, commuted less, and left their cars sitting idle for days at a time – 2020 alone saw the most vehicle thefts in more than a decade. And some cars, like late 90’s Hondas and early 2000’s pickup trucks are specifically vulnerable and targeted by thieves

Washington resident Mike A. has been a Metromile customer for nearly 7 years, so when his beloved car was stolen a few weeks ago, he knew he could turn to Metromile for help. We spoke with Mike to hear more about what happened and how he was able to locate his car so quickly with the Metromile app.

Metromile app helps Mike recover his stolen car in only a few hours

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

 A few Fridays ago, my car was stolen at about 5:30 in the morning from the Burlington, Washington area. I have an older Honda that’s been my daily driver for over 25 years. In the last couple of years, I have discovered I’m a natural mechanic and applied many of my own fixes: a new radiator, heater fan, window, seatbelt, distributor, valve seals, etc. The car itself is no showroom piece, it has years of wear and tear, but we’ve been through a lot together. 

I’ve heard car thieves tend to go after old Hondas so I always make sure to use an anti-theft wheel lock when I park my car at night. But that night, the thief broke some of the side panels to gain access to the car and somehow broke the wheel lock that I had in place.

That’s so frustrating, what did you do next?

I opened up the Metromile app and was encouraged to see the car still transmitting its usual GPS signal – so, the game was on. I then quickly called the police and filled out a report, hoping they’d catch the thief in the act. 

Within a half-hour, the police had located the car – I was elated. The thief fled by the time the police found my car but luckily, other than some broken paneling, the car was in its usual condition. 

I could see from the Metromile app that the thief had taken a leisurely drive up the coast of Washington and then driven around in circles a bit before abandoning the car.

That’s great you were able to get it back so quickly, and were able to tell the police the location of the car from your Metromile app! Do you have any advice for other drivers?

I was lucky in that the thief didn’t discover the Metromile Pulse device in my car. If you don’t have insurance like Metromile, I strongly recommend you at least have some kind of GPS or tracking device. 

The bottom line

As Mike saw, things can happen to your car, even when you take precautionary measures to protect your vehicle. That’s why it’s important to have the right amount of coverage and auto insurance you can rely on. Metromile has repeatedly reunited drivers with their lost or stolen vehicles, with an approximately 90% stolen vehicle recovery rate.* 

Not sure if Metromile is a fit for you? Take a Ride Along™ to try before you buy. Download the Metromile app and get a free auto insurance quote. You’ll keep your current coverage and drive as you typically would for about two weeks. Then, we’ll consider your actual driving to provide you with an accurate rate. You could even save up to an additional 15% off your quote in select states for your safe driving.

*As of February 2021

Nighttime Driving Has More Risks Than You Might Realize

During the fall and winter months, the sun goes down earlier, and there are fewer hours of daylight to spare. This can impact your mood and be a drag, especially if you leave for work early in the morning and return home when it’s dark. If you’re in your car driving at night or while dark out in the early morning, it’s even riskier than driving during daylight. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), as of 2019, the most fatal crashes throughout the week occurred between 6 pm and 8:59 pm. Fatal car crashes peaked Saturday night between 9 pm and 11:59 pm. On top of that, drowsy driving accidents are most likely to occur between midnight and 6 am. Lower visibility, increased headlight glare, and more people driving under the influence are all factors that increase the riskiness of nighttime driving. Read on for tips for driving your car at night safely. 

In Your Car, Driving At Night? Here Are Your Top Safety Tips | Metromile

How to drive safely at night 

Driving at night comes with many more risk factors, and when driving at night you should take extra precautions. Let’s review some of the reasons why nighttime driving is more dangerous and what you can do about it. 

Reduced visibility 

Unlike some of our furry friends who have stellar night vision, humans typically don’t possess the same qualities and struggle to see in the dark. In fact, millions of Americans have difficulty seeing at night, and may have what is referred to as night blindness. People who experience night blindness could have nearsightedness, astigmatism, glaucoma, or cataracts, according to The Atlantic Eye Institute

Major risk factors 

Reduced visibility comes with some major risk factors for driving at night, including:

  • Reduced depth perception
  • Reduced color recognition
  • Compromised peripheral vision
  • Temporary blindness caused by the glare of headlights from an oncoming vehicle

Tips to reduce your risk 

To reduce this type of risk, you can:

  • Get a vision exam to make sure your eyesight is good and make any corrections with glasses or lenses, as needed
  • If you wear glasses, make sure they’re anti-reflective to reduce glare on the road
  • Focus on the road ahead of you and avert your gaze from oncoming headlights
  • Aim your headlights properly 
  • Reduce the brightness on your dashboard to limit contrast, which can be difficult for your eyes to process
  • Keep your windshield clean and streak-free on the interior and exterior of your vehicle
  • Slow down and drive carefully to compensate for reduced visibility 

Rush hour and drowsy driving 

You’ve had a long day and you’re tired and you just want to get home. There’s just one thing in your way — rush hour. 

Everyone loathes the rush hour commute, but did you know that the hours between 4 pm and 7 pm are actually the most dangerous times to be on the road? Couple that with the fact that the national average time of sunset is around 4:30 pm in the winter months and you have a recipe for disaster. 

Driving in the dark can also trigger waves of fatigue in many people, especially if you’re already tired. Drowsy driving is also more likely to lead to fatal car crashes in the late afternoon, according to NHTSA. In other words, rush hour and drowsy driving can be a lethal combo. 

Major risk factors 

If you’re in your car driving at night during rush hour and while fatigued, there are numerous risk factors to be aware of including:

  • Bumper-to-bumper traffic (ugh)
  • Aggressive or angry drivers wanting to get home
  • Fatigued drivers who are acting carelessly
  • Potential increase in accidents

Tips to reduce your risk 

To reduce your risk in this case, you can:

  • Try to leave earlier or later to avoid rush hour traffic
  • Practice defensive driving and stay alert 
  • Check-in with your fatigue levels and pull over to a rest area, if needed
  • Take deep breaths to remain calm

Distracted driving

Driving requires that you remain focused on the road. Nighttime driving requires more of your attention as there are more variables that can affect your risk. That’s why it’s crucial to limit distractions. 

Distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents. One minute you’re driving safely, the next you check a text message or take a quick selfie for the ‘gram, and before you know it, you’re in a fender bender, or worse, a fatal car crash. 

Major risk factors 

Driving distracted in the dark comes with many risk factors, including:

  • Slower reaction times
  • Not being aware of surroundings or aware of other pedestrians, drivers, and debris
  • Impairment from the glare of your phone screen 
  • Not driving defensively because your attention is elsewhere

Tips to reduce risk 

To reduce your risk of distracted driving in the dark, you can:

  • Avoid looking at your phone while in the car (hide it in the glove compartment if you need to!)
  • Don’t eat, put on clothing or makeup, or talk on the phone while driving (it can wait, if not, pull over)
  • Consider blocking social media on your phone while driving 
  • Be aware of your surroundings and drive defensively 

Driving under the influence 

Unfortunately, driving under the influence of alcohol or other substances is on the rise. Many DUI or DWI cases happen in the car, driving at night. The NHTSA found that as of 2019, alcohol impaired drivers involved in fatal car crashes were 3.3 times more likely to happen at night than during daylight hours. That’s why it’s crucial to avoid drinking or taking substances that can impair your driving and be mindful of other drivers who might be swerving or losing control of their car due to alcohol or drugs. 

Major risk factors 

Driving under the influence has many major risk factors including:

Tips to reduce risk 

To reduce the risk of driving under the influence or coming in close contact with a driver who is:

  • Don’t get behind the wheel after drinking (even if you’re “just buzzed”)
  • Take a ride-sharing service or taxi 
  • Get a ride from a friend
  • Drive defensively and be on the lookout for erratic driving in others
  • Call 911 if you suspect a driver is drinking and may cause harm 

Top car + driving at night safety tips 

Nighttime driving has additional risk factors that can impact your overall safety. To recap, here are the top car and driving at night safety tips. 

  1. Put your headlights in the correct position when driving your car at night.
  2. Avert your gaze from oncoming headlights
  3. Make sure you have the right glasses prescription and that they’re anti-glare
  4. Keep your windshield clean
  5. Drive slowly and carefully 
  6. Check-in with your energy levels and avoid drowsy driving
  7. Leave before the sun sets 
  8. Try to avoid rush hour traffic by leaving earlier or later than the peak window
  9. Be vigilant on the road and practice defensive driving
  10. Keep your phone out of reach while driving
  11. Don’t eat, put on makeup or clothing, or talk on the phone while driving
  12. Be aware of surroundings and watch for distracted or erratic driving
  13. Don’t drink and drive or use substances (seriously, it’s not worth it)
  14. Use a ride-sharing service or take a taxi
  15. Have a friend be the designated driver
  16. Be on the lookout for drunk drivers and keep your distance
  17. Call 911 if you see a drunk driver placing others in harm’s way 

Using these 17 tips, nighttime driving can be a bit safer overall for you and others while on the road. 

The bottom line 

Driving is always a game of risk but nighttime driving, unfortunately, increases those odds. When driving at night you should take additional precautions to manage these risks and stay safe. To stay safe, make sure you’re also properly insured with the right coverage. If you’re a low-mileage driver, it’s time to rethink your auto coverage and pay only for the miles you drive. Save more while driving less and get more out of your coverage with pay-per-mile insurance. Check out your free quote with Metromile.

Does Getting Married Affect Auto Insurance?

If you’re ready to walk down the aisle and say “I do” you know you’re in for a serious commitment. According to most marriage vows, that includes “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health.” As part of your union, your finances, taxes, and insurance may all be affected. But is car insurance cheaper when married or more expensive? In many cases, you may benefit from a change to your marital status but not always.

is car insurance cheaper when married

Is car insurance cheaper when you’re married? 

Being married means combining many aspects of your life. That may include your car insurance coverage. If you get a joint car insurance policy as a couple, you may be able to score a married insurance discount. 

According to financial site ValuePenguin, a full coverage car insurance policy on average is $123 cheaper for a married couple than a single individual, resulting in a 5% savings. But that also depends on the state you live in as well. 

You may qualify for a steeper discount on your car insurance when married — or not, depending on the situation and your driving history. 

Why does being married lower car insurance? 

You might wonder what your marital status has to do with car insurance and why does being married lower car insurance in some cases? Why do married people get additional car insurance savings than their single (at least, legally) counterparts? According to The Zebra’s 2021 The State Of Auto Insurance Report (pg 15), here’s part of the reason:

“Statistically, insurance companies have found that married drivers are less likely to file claims than drivers who are single, divorced or widowed, so married drivers pay less for car insurance. When single people get married, their car insurance rates drop about 6.5%, saving roughly $96/year.”

In other words, if there are fewer claims, married people are deemed safer drivers and not as risky. According to The Zebra, there are some states where you won’t see a married insurance discount though. Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Montana don’t allow car insurance rates to be impacted simply because you have a ring on it (or not). 

On top of being deemed a safer driver, couples are rewarded for bundling their auto insurance and having a multi-car policy. So there’s not exactly an insurance discount available by car insurance providers for being married. 

Instead, your marital status is one factor that can impact your rates, and you can get a discount for having a multi-car policy. 

When you won’t get lower car insurance rates when married 

Because rating factors for marital statuscan vary by insurer and your state, not everyone who gets hitched will see car insurance savings (womp womp).

In fact, if your spouse has a not-so-great driving record and you get a joint policy, you may face even higher car insurance rates. So on top of talking about debt levels, credit scores, and taxes when married, discussing your driving history is a wise idea before opting for a joint policy. 

If one person has a stellar driving record and the other one does not, you may want to keep things separate (just like there are financial reasons to file your taxes separately in some cases, such as having income-based student loan repayment). Of course, you can always comparison shop and review an individual versus joint policy to see your prospective rates. 

You may need to list your spouse on your policy anyway if you live together, even if you have separate policies. In that case, you may ask for a named-driver exclusion that acknowledges the party in your household but won’t affect your rates. That driver won’t be covered under your policy and shouldn’t drive your vehicle either. However, some states may not offer this option. 

Marital status and car insurance 

In many instances, if you’re married, you’ll want to check your auto insurance policy to see if you can qualify for a discount on a multi-car policy. It’s important to note though that marriage insurance discounts depend on the following:

  • The car insurance provider
  • Each of your driving records
  • The state you live in 
  • The area you live in

To score competitive car insurance rates, be sure to ask your current car insurance provider about any potential discounts after your legal union. 

Additionally, compare rates with a joint policy and look at the numbers separately. In theory, if you both have pretty good driving records with no recent infractions, you should see some savings. But it’s always a good idea to see for yourself, so you know what you’re getting and know you’re not missing out. 

When it’s not happily ever after 

No one gets married imagining a divorce will happen later on. But the likelihood of first-time marriages in the U.S. ending up in divorce is close to 50%, notes the American Psychological Association. As if that isn’t difficult enough, it’s important to be aware that splitting up may also impact your rates. 

While marriage may positively impact your car insurance rates, the converse is also true in that divorcing may negatively impact your rates. From Zebra’s analysis, divorced drivers tend to file more claims than married drivers. 

The bottom line 

Marriage can change many aspects of your life, including your insurance. A common question  is if car insurance is cheaper when married.In many cases, yes it is, but not always. That’s why it’s important to do your own research to see if a joint policy would make sense or not. Regardless, your marital status may impact your car insurance rates whether it’s an individual or joint policy. If one or both of you are low-mileage drivers, it might be time to rethink your auto coverage altogether and pay-per-mile insurance might be the solution for you. Why pay for miles you aren’t driving, when you can get insurance based on the miles you actually drive? That way you know you’re not overpaying for coverage. Find out pay-per-mile coverage options through Metromile and get a free quote. 

Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

How Will Car Insurance Work For Self-Driving Cars?

Self-driving cars can seem like something from the future, but the future is closer than you think. In fact, many manufacturers  have already rolled out some self-driving features. While an official rollout of fully autonomous cars hasn’t happened yet, self-driving cars could hit the market in the next few years. Imagining cars without a human driver is tough to reconcile and brings a lot of questions and concerns. Will self-driving cars be safe? Will they be affordable? How will car insurance be affected by self-driving cars? Based on new research from Metromile and The Ferenstein Wire, this new technology stands to revolutionize the auto landscape and could save consumers $1,000 in car insurance every year. Read on to learn more about car insurance and self-driving cars. 

car insurance self driving cars

The self-driving cars landscape 

Fully self-driving cars, also sometimes referred to as autonomous cars, aren’t sold to the public yet. But as noted above, automated driving systems are already in some vehicles, helping take some of the load off the driver, and are currently being tested. 

Currently, many top car manufacturers are working to make autonomous vehicles (AV) a reality and testing out the technology to move things forward. 

Where we’re at with self-driving cars 

Self-driving technology is moving forward rapidly, but full-on driverless vehicles aren’t a thing just yet. For some context, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has outlined the various automation levels from the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). Currently, we’re at level 2. These levels of automation are:

  • 0 = No automation, where the driver is fully responsible
  • 1 = Driver assistance, where some features assist the driver
  • 2 = Partial automation, which includes automated functions such as steering and acceleration, but the driver is still responsible and needs to remain present and engaged
  • 3 = Conditional automation, where a driver is needed but isn’t tasked with monitoring the environment and must be ready to take over when needed
  • 4 = High automation, where the vehicle can perform all driving requirements under certain conditions, and the driver may be able to take over as needed
  • 5 = Full automation, where the vehicle can perform all driving requirements during all conditions, and the driver may be able to take over as needed 

So while more vehicle manufacturers are adding self-driving features to their cars, we’re still a few years out from a fully autonomous vehicle. The NHTSA predicts that by 2025 and beyond, fully automated safety features will be available and on the market. 

Currently, General Motors is looking to manufacture one million self-driving vehicles by 2030

Self-driving cars and insurance issues

One of the primary questions with self-driving cars is if there will still be a need for car insurance. Car insurance providers assess a driver’s risk on the road, among other factors, and offer various types of coverage in the event of property damage, bodily injury , and more. 

In many cases, incidents occur because of the driver. So what happens if you no longer need the driver or the risk is seriously reduced? Will it be the driver’s fault or the auto manufacturer’s fault? 

In response to questions like this, the NHTSA states:

“It is vital to emphasize that drivers will continue to share driving responsibilities for the foreseeable future and must remain engaged and attentive to the driving task and the road ahead with the consumer available technologies today. However, questions about liability and insurance are among many important questions, in addition to technical considerations that policymakers are working to address before automated driving systems reach their maturity and are available to the public.”

Car insurance claims for property damage

So even though self-driving cars can reduce the risk of an accident and make establishing fault a bit murky, there will still be a need for car insurance. 

According to the Insurance Information Institute, car insurance claims around accidents may be reduced, but there will still be a need for coverage when it comes to property damage or loss due to theft or inclement weather. 

The cost of repairing self-driving vehicles may be higher 

Additionally, it’s important to note that the overall cost of repairing self-driving vehicles may be higher. 

Given the technology of autonomous cars, including various sensors, cameras, and other equipment — when repairs are needed, the cost will likely be at a premium and not something your local mechanic can fix. 

Insurance underwriting and claims 

As technology shifts, so will the car insurance industry. Underwriting criteria and liability insurance will likely be reimagined. 

Claims for accidents may be reduced and the Insurance Information Institute notes that healthcare, disability, and workers comp claims from auto accidents may be reduced as well. Since many car accidents are caused by human miscalculation, error, or judgment, self-driving cars may end up lowering car insurance rates. 

What the future holds for autonomous cars and insurance 

There’s no doubt that autonomous cars will be a reality faster than we think. What that looks like from an insurance perspective is complex. Each state has its regulations as it relates to auto insurance. On top of that, each state deals with liability for injuries differently and has different minimum requirements for coverage. 

One of the persisting questions is who will pay in the event of an incident ? Though the NHTSA states that the liability will be shared, how that works and actually breaks down will need to be clarified. Will the insurance company subrogate the AV manufacturer if the technology failed and the operator was not at fault? These nuanced situations and important questions will need to be answered. 

Given all of these factors, self-driving cars can create insurance issues that will need to be dealt with. On top of that, it’ll be an adjustment for consumers as well. 

According to a 2021 JD Power Study on self-driving cars, 41% of respondents are comfortable with Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) as the highest level of automation, and only 14% of respondents are comfortable with fully self-driving cars. 

In the coming years, car insurance may look different, and consumers may see autonomous cars on the market. 

The bottom line 

Car insurance for self-driving cars might look different than what you’re used to today. At Metromile, we will have the ability to adapt our signature pay-per-mile insurance to autonomous vehicles as they enter the market. For now, low-mileage drivers can use pay-per-mile technology to pay less for car insurance. You pay for gas by the gallon, so why not pay for insurance based on the miles you drive? Get a free quote with Metromile.


Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.