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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! 

Save Money on Your Commute with these Transportation Alternatives

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


Should I start riding a bike?

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

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

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

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

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



Should I buy a moped to commute?

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

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

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



Is public transportation safe for commutes?

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

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

Should I continue commuting by driving?

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

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

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

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

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!

A Guide to Making Your Money Go Further

The COVID-19 pandemic is upending nearly every aspect of our lives. Every day, news headlines seem to bring more questions than answers. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed amidst the uncertainty, but you shouldn’t let these set back your financial success.

Consider these four steps to stretch your budget, so you have a better chance of shoring up your budget, even if you’ve lost income because of a furlough, layoff, or reduced hours at work.

1. Look into refinancing

The Federal Reserve has cut rates to nearly zero, which makes it an appealing time to refinance. In other words, you may be able to replace a loan, such as your mortgage, private student loan, or personal loan, with another loan that has a lower interest rate. Refinancing can help you lower your bills by reducing what you have to pay for a loan.

Refinancing isn’t always a good idea, though. For example, so many people are looking to refinance their mortgages that some lenders are actually increasing their rates. Plus, many loans come with closing costs, which could eat up some of your precious cash. Before you apply, talk to an expert or use an online mortgage refinance calculator to see whether refinancing will save you money.

Time estimate: It depends on what you’re trying to refinance. Mortgages, which are usually the most complicated, could take hours as you usually need to send the lender a ton of documents, get your place appraised, and more. However, refinancing other loans, such as your car or credit card debt, should take less time.

2. Apply for unemployment

If your employer reduced your hours or shut down completely, apply for unemployment as soon as you can. Government programs, including from Congress’ CARES Act, greatly expanded unemployment coverage, including:

  • Extended benefits by 13 weeks
  • Added an extra $600 a week for four months on top of state benefits
  • Extended to those who don’t qualify for regular state employment, including self-employed people and part-time workers

Check with your state government to see if you’re eligible and to apply. You can also check out this guide from the Department of Labor to learn more about your state’s program.

Time estimate: Many states let you apply online, and the application is usually pretty straightforward — you just need to have the right information on hand, like your former employer’s contact information, dates of employment, and latest pay stubs.

3. Take up a side-hustle

With the time you would’ve spent commuting, you can also try to make some extra cash. Companies like Upwork allow you to complete tasks from home, whether you want to design, write, or be a virtual assistant. Delivery apps and grocery stores are also ramping up hiring to keep up with the increased demand now that everyone is leaving the home less often.

Time estimate: It’s up to you! Some of these gigs can take minutes, while others can span hours — it depends on your schedule and what you’re looking for.

4. Talk to a professional

If you’re feeling overwhelmed (who isn’t?), reach out to a professional. Many can talk you through your situation and help evaluate your options for little or no cost.

Be careful, though — there are a lot of untrustworthy companies and scams out there. We recommend using a housing counselor or credit counseling organization recommended by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

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

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: I Chose Pay Per Mile Because I Work From Home

Low-mileage driver & Illinois resident RJ

RJ Weiss works from home full-time in Geneva, Illinois, the western suburb of Chicago, where he lives with his wife and three children. A certified financial planner, he runs The Ways to Wealth. RJ describes it as an online community full of resources that helps people learn how to make money, budget, and invest their money wisely.

The work-from-home financial whiz became a Metromile customer in March 2018, after finding people who work from home weren’t getting a good deal from other insurance companies.

How’d you hear about Metromile?

I found Metromile while comparing options for low-mileage drivers. You could say insurance and financial planning run in my blood. I became a certified financial planner in my 20s, and my family had an insurance agency that dated back four generations. My father was the president of the agency, so we talked about insurance a lot. We still do, even though he’s sold the agency.

Why did you choose Metromile?

I thought my previous insurer wasn’t giving us enough credit for not driving much. We live about 40 miles outside of Chicago, and other than a big road trip now and then, we tend to drive close to home. With my understanding of coverage options, limits and Illinois requirements, Metromile seemed like a great fit for my family. 

We could have bundled our auto insurance with our home insurance, but my home insurer offered a discount that was only about 5% to 10% — that doesn’t come close to what I’m saving with Metromile. Unbundling was definitely a better option for us.

How has your bill been affected by shelter-in-place orders? How much is an average bill now compared to this time last year? 

I was already saving a lot, and now I’m saving even more. Last year, our monthly Metromile bill for both of our cars was usually about $60 or $70 total per month. Since shelter-in-place, it’s dropped to about $45 or $50 per month.

Have you taken advantage of Metromile’s free miles feature? In Illinois, we charge up to 250 miles driven in one day, and any additional miles after that on the same day are free. 

Yes! We took a family road trip to Tennessee last year, and that feature really came in handy. It’s sure nice to have the cap. It wound up being less than $10.

Have you used the Metromile app? 

Yes, I love the app. It’s fun to track my driving and costs. I don’t mind having the Pulse device plugged into our cars because it provides a more accurate view of our driving, keeps our rates low, and benefits me as a consumer.

What’s your advice for people who might be newly working from home or looking for ways to save money?

You have to find insurance companies that are willing to give you credit for what you already do. I found Metromile after I moved to work from home full-time, and it paid off to take advantage of the cost-savings. I know from personal experience that insurance companies have so much data about their customers that the cost can really skyrocket if they don’t want you. 

Additionally, more people are low-mileage drivers than you might think. It’s becoming more common to keep the car parked and walk to the store. It helps that I come from insurance, and I knew this trend; it made me an early mover to pay per mile.