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Does Your Insurance Go Up After a Claim?

Getting into a car accident can cause a range of emotions. It can be an annoyance if it’s a fender bender, and if it’s something more serious, it can be nerve-wracking and scary.  But after the initial impact, the troubles don’t stop there. Then you have to worry, “Will my insurance go up if I file a claim?” While you can’t predict exactly how your coverage may or may not change following a claim, it’s important to know the possibilities.

Will My Insurance Go Up If I File a Claim? | Metromile

Does insurance go up after a claim? 

If you get into a car accident and are considering filing a claim, you want to know the answer to an important question: Does insurance go up after a claim? 

What happens with your insurance rates after you file a claim depends on various factors, and it could go either way. In other words, your car insurance premium may go up or not. 

The overarching rule when it comes to the impact of claims on car insurance coverage is that every policyholder’s situation is unique. 

That means depending on your circumstances, your premium may or may not change. Here are a few contributing factors insurers consider when deciding the impact an accident may have on your rate:

  • The terms of your policy
  • Whether you were at fault for the accident
  • How many claims you’ve filed in the past
  • Insurance regulations in your state

It’s important to know what type of coverage you have and what is covered or not. Be sure to review your policy and get familiar with the terms and conditions, so you’re not surprised in the event of a post-accident premium hike. 

Honesty is the best policy with your insurer 

If you’re wondering “Does insurance go up after a claim?” it depends on the situation. But it’s important to note that your coverage and any potential pricing adjustments also could rely on the accuracy of facts that you, as the insured, present to your insurer when you purchase your policy. 

It’s critical to keep your insurer regularly updated about any changes — like additional drivers, or vehicle updates — to avoid any potential coverage issues or delays in claims processing.

What impacts your car insurance premium

Wondering will my insurance go up if I file a claim is a normal question after an accident. To understand what might happen, it’s key to know what impacts your car insurance premium. 

Your driving track record is really what insurers consider the biggest predictor of your future driving behavior, so the more claims you rack up, the more likely your premium is to rise — especially if you’ve been at fault for accidents in the past. 

If you’re filing a current claim for an accident that wasn’t your fault, your insurer will consider that information, but there are no guarantees regarding your future rate. 

However, if you were at fault, you should know that certain behaviors are generally considered a lot more serious — and therefore more reprehensible — than others.  Reckless or impaired driving, for example, may result in a major price increase (or even a cancellation of coverage, depending on the terms of your policy).

Whether you’re rear-ended in a minor fender bender or involved in a major pileup as the result of your own actions, it’s essential to report the accident to your insurer. This will help provide your carrier with all the information they need to properly investigate the issue and do everything possible to protect you if the other driver involved files their own claim.

Should you file a claim or not? 

Does your insurance go up after a claim or not? It certainly can, depending on the situation, which can make you question whether to file a claim or not. There are some important things to consider. 

First, how much is your deductible? If the cost to repair the vehicle is less than your car insurance deductible, it may not make sense to file a claim. 

Secondly, review your driving history and claims history. If this is your first-ever claim and you’re not at fault, it may not impact your rate. But if you have a history of frequent claims and are found at fault, you may be considered a risk and your rates may increase. 

You can talk to your insurance company about their policies around filing a claim and certain events. Just be aware that if you talk to your insurance agent insurer about an incident and don’t file a claim, they may need to report that. 

In general, it’s best to file a claim in the event of a total loss. If the damage is negligible or lower than your car insurance deductible, it may not be worth it. 

Though you may or may not decide to file a claim, depending on your state and the rules, if there is damage over a certain amount or injury or death it needs to be reported to the local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or similar authority. If you do file a claim, you’ll also want to file a police report as well. 

Consider the financials of your deductible and premiums 

Your deductible amount can affect your car insurance premium and inform whether you file a claim or not. If you have a low deductible, you may have higher insurance rates. If you have a small $500 deductible, but the damage is less than that, it doesn’t make sense to file a claim. 

One way to save money with car insurance is to opt for a higher deductible which can lower car insurance premiums. You can have your deductible amount as part of your emergency fund and easily pay that in the event of an incident and get the rest covered by your insurance. 

The bottom line 

Any type of accident can be a jarring event. But the added pressure and stress, worrying will my insurance go up if I file a claim can make it even worse. It’s possible that your rates may go up, so consider all the factors above before filing a claim. The fewer claims you file, the less risky you may appear to the insurer. If you’re looking for new insurance coverage if you want to save money, and you drive less, then pay per mile insurance is right for you.. If you’re still paying for miles you aren’t driving, rethink your auto insurance coverage and get a quote with Metromile today.

Everything You Need to Know About Telematics Auto Insurance

Getting car insurance before you get behind the wheel is a requirement in many states. But not all car insurance coverage is created equal. Many traditional car insurance companies have a set of factors that are exclusively used to determine your car insurance premiums. But what if you could get insurance based on how safely you drive or by how much you drive? Using telematics auto insurance you can. 

Your Guide to Telematics Auto Insurance | Metromile

What is telematics auto insurance? 

Telematics auto insurance is a unique type of car insurance that uses telematics devices to help determine rates. While traditional car insurers and those that offer telematics insurance may use similar data points when evaluating risk, the use of telematic devices can provide a more accurate picture of your driving behavior and how frequently you drive. In theory, the driver can benefit by lowering costs based on their driving behavior or the number of miles they drive. 

There are various types of telematics auto insurance that go by different names including:

All of these types of telematics insurance may vary a bit and differ by the insurer, but are designed to benefit drivers who drive fewer miles. Instead of a flat rate that doesn’t consider how much you drive, your rate is determined by how much you drive or by the miles you drive. 

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) states that “Policyholders tend to think of traditional auto insurance as a fixed cost, assessed annually and usually paid for in lump sums on an annual, semi-annual, or quarterly basis. However, studies show that there is a strong correlation between claim and loss costs and mileage driven, particularly within existing price rating factors (such as class and territory).

Driving is an activity that is inherently risky with many variables. But with less driving, there’s less risk, and consumers can stand to benefit. 

How does telematics auto insurance work? 

Telematics auto insurance utilizes telematics devices that collect various data points that insurers use to evaluate risk. 

According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), “Telematics devices measure a number of elements of interest to underwriters: miles driven; time of day; where the vehicle is driven (Global Positioning System or GPS); rapid acceleration; hard braking; hard cornering; and air bag deployment.

These data points are used and provide a more accurate picture of driving habits. If you’re considered a safe driver or a low-mileage driver, you could save money through telematics insurance. 

As part of the tracking, you may need to use a mobile app or specific telematics device to gather the data. The telematics device collects real-time information about how you drive and how much or how long you drive, which can impact your rate. 

Pay-per-mile car insurance 

Pay-per-mile insurance is one of the main types of telematics car insurance. Instead of a flat car insurance premium, you pay based on the miles you drive. Typically, there’s a base rate charged, and you pay several cents for each mile you drive

Low-mileage drivers can save money with pay-per-mile car insurance. In theory, if you drive less, there is less risk, and drivers can be rewarded for that. 

How much can I save with telematics insurance? 

Telematics insurance can be a smart way to save if you’re considered a safe driver and don’t put a ton of miles on your car each year. 

For example, at Metromile you’ll pay a consistent monthly base rate that starts at as low as $29/month and pay a rate that could be as low as 6 cents per mile you drive. Let’s assume you drive 450 miles per month. Your monthly car insurance premium would look like:

$29 + (450 x 6¢) = $56

If you’re a low-mileage driver, pay-per-mile insurance can save you money and reward you for driving less. Based on Metromile data*:

  • If you drive 10,000 miles, you could save up to $541 per year
  • If you drive 6,000 miles, you could save up to $741 per year
  • If you drive 2,500 miles, you could save up to $947 per year  

Pay-per-mile coverage can be a good fit for students, people who work from home, seniors, and people who are environmentally or budget conscious and prefer to take public transportation or walk or bike places.  

If you have a long commute or tend to speed or brake hard or engage in other risky driving behaviors, telematics insurance may not be the best fit. 

Why Metromile is a great option for telematics insurance 

There are various telematics insurance options, but Metromile is one of the best options for low-mileage drivers. You can use the Ride Along app and drive for 17 days and Metromile will offer the best rate possible, plus 15% off*.

Metromile also offers the following coverage options, so you’re protected no matter what your needs are:

If you’re worried about going over and paying too much, here’s a bonus: any miles you drive over 250 in one day are free (150 for New Jersey).  

Filing a claim is also easy using the AI-powered app AVA. In select areas,  the Metromile app offers street cleaning reminders in select areas and has a 92% stolen car return rate . Currently, Metromile is available to drivers in Arizona, California, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington

The bottom line 

Telematics car insurance uses the power of technology to score consumers better, and more accurate rates. Though there are different types of telematics insurance, one type is pay-per-mile coverage where you pay based on the miles you drive. You pay for gas by the gallon, so why not pay for insurance based on the miles you drive? It makes sense and can be a better option for consumers who don’t drive that often. Check out your prospective rate for free and how to get started with Metromile

*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.

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

When to Buy Car Insurance for a New Car

If you’re buying a new car, you might be excited to get a new set of wheels. But before you drive off, you’re going to need to take care of car insurance ahead of time. Having car insurance is required before you can drive your vehicle off the lot. What type of car insurance you get is up to you, but most states have minimum liability requirements. You want to take care of your insurance requirements beforehand and will need some information about the car you’re buying. Here’s what to know about car insurance when buying a car plus steps on how to get car insurance before buying a car. 

How to Get Car Insurance Before Buying a Car | Metromile

Can you get insurance without a car? 

If you don’t currently have a car insurance policy (either on your own or as part of a multi-car policy in a family), you’ll need to get your own car insurance coverage.  

If you don’t have a car yet, it can seem odd to get car insurance. But you need car insurance when buying a car before you go anywhere. So you can get insurance without a car but it’ll require some specific steps. Here’s how to get car insurance before buying a car. 

How to get car insurance before buying a car in 4 easy steps 

Step 1: Know what type of vehicle you plan on getting 

You want to do your research ahead of time and know what type of vehicle you’re planning on buying. To get car insurance, you need to provide specific information so your insurer can properly evaluate risk. The type of car you buy and how old it is can impact your car insurance rates. The information you’ll need includes:

  • Vehicle make and model (manufacturer and type of car)
  • VIN
  • Mileage on the car
  • Vehicle history report 

Having this info can make the car insurance process easier. If you were thinking about when to buy car insurance for a new car, you want to do it ahead of time to avoid any trouble. 

Step 2: Confirm with the dealership 

As part of getting the important information about the car you want to buy and securing car insurance coverage, you’ll want to confirm your upcoming purchase with the dealership. Let them know you’re planning to buy the car so you can get the info you need and get properly insured ahead of time. 

Step 3: Comparison shop for insurance quotes 

After getting the information you need to get car insurance before buying a car, it’s time to look for auto insurance coverage. It’s typically best to comparison shop and review a minimum of three insurers. 

You can look at various types of coverage including liability, comprehensive, and collision. If you won’t be driving all the time, you may be a low-mileage driver. You could lower your auto insurance costs by opting for pay-per-mile coverage

Step 4: Choose your auto insurer and submit an application 

After looking around at auto insurance rates, you can select the insurer you’d like to move forward with and choose what type of policy you’ll have. Make sure you have the minimum liability coverage for your state and have the best coverage type for your needs. 

You can typically fill out an application online. Make sure you provide all the information that is required. At Metromile, you can get a quote in just five minutes. 

Once you submit your application and it’s approved, you can pay your car insurance premium and have your insurance activated in time for buying the car. 

Is it possible to buy a new car without insurance? 

You might wonder if you can buy a new car and just drive home and get insured later. You think it’s not that long and it’s just for a short while. But to legally get behind the wheel, you need to have car insurance coverage. 

States have minimum requirements and you want to protect yourself and your vehicle as well. Driving without insurance may cost you financially in the event of an accident. If you get pulled over and don’t have insurance, you could get hit with fines and even a suspended license. 

As long as you’re behind the wheel, you want continuous car insurance coverage to remain in good legal standing and to protect yourself and others. 

Will a car dealership need proof of car insurance when buying a car? 

Typically, a car dealership must see proof of car insurance when buying a car. So before you get your car, you’ll need to provide proof of insurance either with your insurance card or by having your insurer contact the dealership. 

If you’re financing your vehicle, your lender may also want to verify your insurance coverage as well. You’ll also need to let the insurer know you’re financing your vehicle and have relevant information ready to avoid any trouble. 

Is it possible to get car insurance when buying a car on the same day? 

You know you need car insurance when buying a car, but can you get it the same day? You might be able to get insurance coverage within a day, but it can depend on the insurer. Make sure you have all the data you need to include in your insurance application. 

The more time you have to make it official the better. If nothing else, you might have to wait another day to pick up your car before driving it home with a proper car insurance policy in place. 

The bottom line 

Getting a new car can be exciting, but it’s key to know when to buy car insurance for a new car — ahead of time! You want to make sure you’re covered before you drive your new car and the dealership and lender may require proof of insurance as well. If you’re looking for auto coverage and won’t be driving that often, consider pay-per-mile coverage with Metromile. Why pay for miles you aren’t driving, when you can get insurance coverage based on the miles you do drive plus an affordable base rate? Grab a free quote with Metromile to see how much you could save. 

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.

What is Full Coverage?

If you’re thinking of getting a new car insurance policy, you may come across the term “full coverage.” The name sounds appealing like it can cover all situations. Unfortunately, the term is a bit misleading as there’s not one “full coverage” option when shopping for car insurance. Instead, the term “full coverage” often refers to a mix of types of coverage. Read on to learn more about the term “full coverage auto insurance”  and what types of coverage are available.

What is Full Coverage Auto Insurance? | Metromile

What is “full coverage” auto insurance anyway?

“Full coverage” car insurance isn’t a single option you can get from your car insurance provider, but rather a combination of different types of coverage. There is no agreed upon definition of full coverage.

Typically, this refers to minimum liability coverage required by your state, collision coverage for damages in an accident, and comprehensive insurance for incidents such as theft, weather, and vandalism. These coverage types working in tandem typically refer to “full coverage” auto insurance. 

Even with those three standard components, however, the details and amount of protection you actually get from a “full coverage” combo will vary depending on your insurance carrier, so it’s always important to read the fine print of your policy.

Different car insurance coverage options on the market 

While “full coverage” car insurance isn’t something you can select as one option, you can get the different types of coverage that make up what most people consider “full coverage.” Let’s take a look at the different car insurance coverage options available. 

Liability coverage 

Liability insurance is typically the minimum required by your state andcovers any bodily injury and property damages to others if you cause an accident. Liability coverage usually consists of Bodily Injury Insurance plus Property Damage Insurance. 

Comprehensive coverage 

Comprehensive insurance coverage is for things like vandalism, theft, and other damages that aren’t the result of a collision. So if you get into a freak situation with a stray animal or are stuck in a surprise hailstorm, comprehensive coverage will come to the rescue. 

Collision coverage 

Collision insurance is a type of coverage that pays for damages that affect your vehicle in an accident. This type of coverage can cover costs regardless of who is ultimately found at fault and can even help if you’re involved in a one-car accident, such as backing up into a pole (oops). 

Medical payments 

In the event of an accident, there could be more than just property damage and there may be injuries as well. Medical payment coverage, sometimes referred to as MedPay, can help offset medical costs that are the result of an accident for the driver and passengers, regardless of who is at fault. 


PIP insurance, also referred to as Personal Injury Protection, can cover medical expenses and other related costs in the event of an accident, regardless of who is found at fault. It can also be referred to as no-fault insurance and may be required in some states, such as New Jersey. While PIP is similar to medical payments, PIP takes it to the next level and can cover things like lost wages in the event of an accident. 

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM)

One in eight drivers is uninsured, which can make the financials of getting into an accident a bit stressful. That’s why opting for uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage can help. This type of coverage helps cover costs in the event that the driver doesn’t have enough liability insurance coverage or has no insurance. 

Rental car insurance coverage 

Rental car insurance coverage can mean one of two things. First, it can mean the type of car insurance that the rental car agency offers you to protect you in the event of damage or an accident while renting the vehicle. It’s important to note though that your personal car insurance may extend to rentals or certain credit cards may offer this as a benefit. 

Rental car insurance can also mean rental reimbursement coverage that helps pay for a rental car if you’re in an accident covered by your policy and your vehicle is not usable. 

Roadside assistance 

Roadside assistance coverage helps drivers in a bind get the help they need. For example, if you get into a sticky situation while driving such as running out of gas or your car dies, you can use your roadside assistance coverage to get support in your time of need. 

Determining which coverage is right for you

If all this info is overwhelming, consider this: there’s no one-size-fits-all comprehensive combination of plans. Your specific needs as a driver are unique and the type of coverage you choose will depend on a lot of personal factors. 

When deciding on the right coverage, think about these key pieces of info and then you can make an informed decision from there:

  • What type of car you have and how new it is
  • The quality and limits of your health insurance
  • Where your car is garaged
  • Your budget
  • Your driving behavior

Answering these questions can help inform what type of car insurance coverage you need. Though “full coverage” auto insurance isn’t a single plan, you can mix and match your coverage options to make sure you’re protected. 

The bottom line 

If you’re researching car insurance options you might wonder what is full coverage insurance? It’s a common question and the answer may vary. Typically though full coverage car insurance refers to liability, collision, and comprehensive coverage so you have all major facets covered including injury and property damage for yourself and others, as well as if there is any physical damage to your own vehicle or damage that is not accident-related. 

If you want affordable car insurance and pay for only the miles you drive, you can reimagine your car insurance options and get pay-per-mile coverage with Metromile. You pay for gas by the gallon, why wouldn’t you pay for insurance based on the miles you drive? Using Metromile, you can. Get a free quote.

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.

Car Accident Deaths in 2020 and Part of 2021 Higher Than Pre-Pandemic

Nearly two years after the global pandemic started, it’s clear that our lives are forever changed. There have been major shifts in the workplace with The Great Resignation and people working from home. Record inflation. A devastating impact on mental health. Though more people have stayed home due to COVID-19, a dangerous and surprising trend has emerged — traffic fatalities in 2020 and part of 2021 surged compared to previous years. 

Car Accident Deaths in 2020 Increased Compared to Pre-Pandemic | Metromile

Traffic fatalities on the rise during the pandemic 

In 2020, the first year of the pandemic, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) saw a 7.2% rise in traffic fatalities compared to 2019. 

NHTSA estimated that 38,680 people died due to traffic-related crashes in 2020, compared to 36,096 in 2019. 

According to 2021 data recently released by NHTSA, the surge in fatalities continued for most of the year. From January 2021 to September 2021, the agency projects that 31,720 people died in traffic crashes. This is a 12% boost compared to the same nine-month period in 2020, with 28,325 fatalities projected, and is the highest number of fatalities for the same period since 2006. 

During this time period, NHTSA projects that 38 states had fatality increases compared to the same time period in 2020. The glimmer of hope is that fatality rates in the second and third quarters of 2021 dropped compared to the same period in 2020. NHTSA also projects that two states had fatalities that remained the same, while ten other states had fatality decreases compared to 2020. 

Breakdown of traffic categories and factors 

Nearly all traffic categories had an increase in traffic-related fatalities, except pedestrians, which remained the same (though a recent New York Times article states pedestrian deaths are up). According to the 2020 NHTSA fatality data:

  • Passenger vehicle occupant fatalities rose 5% in 2020 compared to 2019
  • Motorcyclist fatalities rose 9% in 2020 compared to 2019 
  • Fatalities for people on bikes rose 5% in 2020 compared to 2019 

Additionally, there were certain factors and demographics that made up the highest increases in 2020, compared to the previous year. According to NHTSA, these include:

  • non-Hispanic Black people (up 23%); 
  • occupant ejection (up 20%); (when the impact of a crash ejects the occupants from a car — seat belts can help significantly to avoid this)
  • unrestrained occupants of passenger vehicles (up 15%);
  • on urban interstates (up 15%);
  • on urban local/collector roads (up 12%);
  • in speeding-related crashes (up 11%);
  • on rural local/collector roads (up 11%); 
  • during nighttime (up 11%); 
  • during the weekend (up 9%); 
  • in rollover crashes (up 9%); 
  • in single-vehicle crashes (up 9%) and; 
  • in police-reported alcohol involvement crashes (up 9%).

What’s causing the increase in traffic fatalities during the pandemic? 

There is no single cause behind the boost of traffic fatalities during the pandemic, but rather a combination of behaviors and factors leading to these crashes. 

The NHTSA noted that the primary culprits behind the surge included:

  • Not wearing a seat belt
  • Speeding
  • Impaired driving 

In other words, there’s been an increase in reckless driving behavior after years of making strides with safe behavior and driving habits. Some experts and studies are pointing to the fact that increased isolation and mental health struggles are adding to careless driving. 

A January 2021 NHTSA Traffic Safety Report notes that there was a shift in driving behavior early on in the pandemic. There was an increase in average speeds, and the agency reported that extreme speeding became more commonplace. In fact, some metro areas saw a median 22% speed increase, which obviously impacts driver safety and can lead to accidents.  

On top of that, more drivers tested positive for driving under the influence. From mid-March to mid-July, a whopping 66% of drivers involved in serious or fatal accidents tested positive for alcohol, marijuana, or opioids. Compared to the six months prior to this period, opioid use in drivers nearly doubled, while marijuana use in drivers rose by close to 50%

Alcohol and drug use have increased significantly due to the pandemic, potentially in part to the stresses of pandemic life. 

According to one study, excessive drinking rose 21% after the pandemic started compared to pre-pandemic life. Drug overdose deaths also surged. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data, reported drug overdose deaths tracked over a 12-month period were at 73,343 in February 2020. As of September 2021, that number was 99,543. 

All of these factors have contributed to car accident deaths in 2020 and trending car accident news headlines. 

The bottom line 

The car accident news coming out during the pandemic has been another devastating blow in a tough couple of years. Luckily, it looks like there was a decrease in traffic fatalities in Q2 and Q3 of 2021, compared to car accident deaths in 2020. Will the trend continue? Only time will tell. To stay safe and protected, always wear your seat belt, do not drive under the influence [or get in a vehicle with someone who has been drinking], and make sure you have the right car insurance for your needs. Low-mileage drivers who aren’t on the road as much can benefit from pay-per-mile coverage and save money along the way. Check out your 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.

What’s the Best Car Insurance for New Drivers?

Getting your driver’s license for the first time can be an exciting milestone. It can give you a sense of accomplishment and freedom that you may not have had before. You can drive to work or school, run errands easily, or go on a spontaneous adventure. But when you just get your license, you’re considered a new driver, and getting car insurance for new drivers can be more expensive until you get some more experience under your belt.

Car Insurance for New Drivers | Metromile

What makes you a new driver?

A new driver refers to someone getting their driver’s license for the first time with limited or no driving experience. Because new drivers are just getting their driver’s license, they typically don’t have an official driving record or history. 

New drivers may fall into the following groups:

  • Teenagers getting a driver’s license after reaching legal driving age 
  • Adults who learn or start driving later in life, such as residents from places like NYC or New Jersey moving to the suburbs 
  • Adults who might have a gap in their driving record because they canceled their insurance when they sold their car in the past
  • Immigrants or others who are new to the U.S.

Being a new driver in the U.S. is largely based on having a limited or non-existent driving history. Not having years of driving experience can hike up car insurance premiums as insurers may deem you a risk since there are no previous years to refer to. Similar to the way not having a credit profile can lead to higher interest rates on things like loans or a credit card, car insurance premiums may be higher when there is no verifiable history. 

Why is car insurance for new drivers so expensive? 

Car insurance for new drivers may be more expensive because of the level of risk. When determining your car insurance premiums, auto insurance companies look at things like your driving record and insurance history. This also includes how many years you’ve had your driver’s license.

If you recently turned 16 and got a license or just moved to the U.S., you don’t have a track record to show yet. 

How many years of experience you have as a driver can be more important than your age. Some people think that your car insurance rate will go down automatically once you reach a certain age, but it’s not true; that’s just a myth. 

Another reason car insurance may also be more expensive is if you can’t demonstrate a track record of safe driving or continuous insurance coverage over time. Driving discounts are typically connected to a verified driving history. 

Also, if you’re a teenager or immigrant, you might not even have an established credit score just yet — which some insurance companies use to determine your rate.

How much does car insurance for new drivers cost?

All drivers’ car insurance premiums are based on risk. Each individual has a unique risk profile, and many factors are considered when setting rates. As a new driver, you might wonder how much auto insurance for new drivers costs? While it may be more expensive due to added risk, it’s hard to put a price tag on auto insurance. 

New drivers come from all walks of life, and various factors contribute to the rate you get (new driver or not). Being a new driver is just one part of the risk assessment. But car insurers may look at your zip code, credit score, marital status, type of car, and more to determine the level of risk. 

Insurance companies focus on risk and whether certain groups of drivers might be more likely to get into an accident when driving.

It’s not uncommon for some new drivers, such as teenagers, to pay more for car insurance than experienced drivers who have a speeding ticket, car accident — or even a DUI conviction on their record.

We also found that people who don’t have established credit histories (like immigrants) can pay about the same premium as someone with a DUI. However, credit isn’t used as a factor in all states. The age and type of vehicle typically have the biggest impact on your rate. 

7 reasons why pay-per-mile coverage is ideal auto insurance for new drivers 

There is no single new driver profile. The only signifier for a new driver is the lack of driving history. Whether you’re a student who just got a license or you moved out of a metro city to a suburb and traded your train commute for a car, you may be a new driver. Given your schedule and experience, you may not be driving very often. 

If that’s the case, pay-per-mile coverage is ideal auto insurance for new drivers because you pay based on how much you drive. Why pay more when you may be able to pay even less based on the miles you drive? Let’s take a look at seven reasons why pay-per-mile coverage is good auto insurance for new drivers. 

1. You don’t drive that much because you’re in school 

If you’re a student, it’s likely you’re stuck in classes most of the day and aren’t driving as often. 

Maybe you’re taking public transportation, or you’re in college and live on campus and bike or walk mostly. Perhaps you just drive to school and back, and that’s about it. 

Whatever your situation is, you probably don’t put too many miles on your car. So with pay-per-mile insurance, you could save money by paying for the miles you drive.

2. You got your license and started driving later in life 

If you grew up in a major city that relies on public transportation, you may have never needed to learn how to drive or had a chance to learn. Maybe you decide to move to the ‘burbs, and now you need a license. 

Perhaps you always let your partner drive, but now you want some independence to do things on your timeline. Even though in these cases you’re older and wiser, you’re still considered a new driver as you’re getting your license for the first time and have a lack of driving history. You may benefit from pay-per-mile car insurance if you don’t drive that often. 

3. You took a break from driving and had a lapse in coverage 

If there are gaps in driving experience and insurance coverage, you may be considered a new driver. Even though you have previous driving experience, auto insurers like to see continuous coverage over time.

 In that case, you may have higher rates, but you can save with pay-per-mile insurance if you’re easing into driving and don’t rack up that many miles. 

4. You just moved to the U.S.

You may be an experienced driver somewhere else but if you just moved to the U.S., you may be considered a new driver. As an immigrant, you might not have a driving or insurance record in the U.S. The good news is that lack of a driving history in the U.S. isn’t a factor in all states. If it is, it’s typically noted in the rule manual or underwriting guidelines. 

It can feel frustrating, like starting from scratch as some insurance companies might consider you to have no driving experience or a motor vehicle report they can consider. Sadly, some insurance companies won’t accept an international license. But if that’s not the case, and you don’t plan on driving very often, you could lower your costs with pay-per-mile insurance. Unlike traditional insurance companies, Metromile focuses on someone’s actual driving, primarily how often you drive, to determine the price you pay.

5. You drive an older car which can be cheaper to insure 

In general, it’s less expensive to insure an older car. Older vehicles tend to be easier to repair because parts are more readily available or cheaper for you or your mechanic to purchase and install. 

A good way to save is by purchasing a used vehicle. Not only could you save big bucks by avoiding the brand-new sticker price, but you could also lower your expenses by removing collision and comprehensive coverage, which is designed to help you replace or pay for repairs to your vehicle. The extra coverage might come with a deductible that’s higher than the car is worth. This is because cars generally lose their value over time. If there are multiple people on the policy, it’s important to understand how the insurer assigns drivers to vehicles as it can impact the total cost. For example, if a policyholder has a new car, but you’re on the policy with an older vehicle, you may or may not see additional savings. 

You can personalize your coverage with Metromile, giving you the confidence that your policy is right for your lifestyle or needs. Metromile’s pay-per-mile auto insurance offers four different levels of liability protection and choices for your comprehensive and collision deductibles so that you have greater control over how much you want to pay. If you’re looking for auto insurance for new drivers, this could be a good option that is customized for your needs. 

6. You took a defensive driving course and may score a new driver discount 

If you’re in search of car insurance for new drivers, you want to find affordable coverage. If you take a defensive driving course, you may be able to score a lower rate. In some states, Metromile offers discounts to new drivers who take a defensive driving class.

Having a defensive driving class under your belt demonstrates that you know the rules of the road and how to respond safely to dangerous situations when you’re behind the wheel. It also shows an insurance company you’re taking steps to become a safer driver.

7. Your car has safety features

If your car has safety features such as automatic seat belts, airbags, tracking devices, etc., you may get a lower rate with pay-per-mile coverage. In some states, Metromile offers discounts to drivers who have features that can improve safety while lowering the risk of theft. 

Because these safety features might reduce the likelihood of getting into an accident or your car getting stolen, you may be eligible for a lower car insurance premium as a new driver. 

How much could Metromile save me on car insurance?

There’s no doubt that car insurance for first-time drivers may be more expensive due to higher levels of risk and no track record to refer to. But pay-per-mile car insurance with Metromile could be good auto insurance for new drivers and keep costs more affordable if you’re not driving that much. Here’s a look at just how much money low-mileage drivers can save with Metromile:

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

The bottom line 

It can feel like a big step to get your license and be free to drive but you may be discouraged by the high cost of car insurance for new drivers. New drivers can consider pay-per-mile coverage as a way to lower costs if driving less while gaining more experience on the road. Remember, car insurance is based on many factors and you won’t always be considered a new driver. To find the best car insurance for first-time drivers, get a free quote with Metromile.

How to Choose the Right Car Insurance Deductible

If you’re in the market for a new car insurance policy, it’s important to find the right coverage and deductible for you. Ultimately, how much protection you have and what you pay out-of-pocket are based on the type of coverage you get and the car insurance deductible you choose. It can be tempting to choose the highest deductible as that often results in a lower monthly premium. While that may result in savings in the short term, it could mean paying more in the long term. Find out what to consider when choosing a car insurance deductible for your needs, budget, and lifestyle.

How to Choose the Right Car Insurance Deductible | Metromile

What is a car insurance deductible? 

A car insurance deductible refers to the total amount a policyholder pays out-of-pocket before the insurance covers a qualified incident. For example, if you get into a fender bender that results in $2,000 of repairs and you have a $500 car insurance deductible, you’re on the hook for $500, and your car insurance company will cover the remaining $1,500. 

As a policyholder, you get to choose your car insurance deductible. What makes car insurance coverage different from other types of insurance is that you’re responsible for paying the deductible each time you file a claim

How does a car insurance deductible work?

If you get into a car accident or other type of incident covered under your policy, you’ll need to file a claim. This process can seem daunting, so it’s natural to wonder how does car insurance deductible work? 

Insurance providers typically take out your car insurance deductible from the indemnity payment — which is the money you receive from a claim. You may also pay the deductible directly to the repair shop fixing your vehicle

Your car insurance deductible is your responsibility and must be paid before your insurance provider covers the rest. 

What are deductibles based off of?

As a consumer, you can typically choose a higher deductible and score a lower car insurance premium. On the other hand, you can select a low car insurance deductible and a higher premium, while lowering your out-of-pocket costs in the event of an accident. 

However, car insurance coverage — including the car insurance deductible and the monthly premium you pay — is calculated based on risk. Your insurance provider sees each situation a bit differently. 

Generally speaking, the idea is that if you have a high deductible — such as $1,000 or $2,000 — you may be less likely to file a claim for repairs and therefore considered less risky to your insurer. Remember that you pay your deductible and then have your insurance cover the rest. But if any damage or repairs are less than the cost of your deductible, then it’s not worth filing a claim. 

On the other hand, if you choose a lower car insurance deductible between $100 and $500, the probability of you filing a claim goes up. That means you’ll likely pay a higher monthly premium and be considered more of a risk to your insurance provider. 

The amount you choose for your car deductible can depend on your driving history, lifestyle, risk tolerance, and financial situation. 

When do you pay the deductible for car insurance?

You don’t have to pay your car insurance deductible when selecting a car insurance policy. Instead, you pay your car insurance premium. You have to pay your car insurance deductible when you make a claim. 

The car insurance deductible can be payable to either your repair shop or your insurance provider, depending on the amount, your plan, and your provider’s general deductible policy. Oftentimes, you’ll pay your deductible directly to your repair shop, and your insurance provider will take care of the remaining bill.

But remember, ultimately, paying your deductible is up to you. If you would rather not submit a claim, you don’t have to pay your deductible, but you will be responsible for the entire cost of your repair.

What are the different types of auto insurance deductibles? 

When you choose an auto insurance policy, you sign up for a specific type of coverage that can help out in certain situations. In many cases, these coverage options have deductibles. 

Comprehensive coverage 

Comprehensive coverage covers the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle in situations outside of a standard collision. So if your car gets damaged in a freak hailstorm or hit by a deer, or ends up being stolen, comprehensive coverage will come to the rescue. This type of coverage is typically sold in tandem with collision insurance. 

Collision coverage 

Collision coverage offers coverage for — you guessed it — in the event of a collision. It doesn’t matter whether you’re found at-fault or not. This type of coverage helps cover the cost of repairs or any needed replacements if there’s an incident. 

Uninsured and underinsured coverage 

Another type of coverage is uninsured and underinsured coverage. In the event you get into an accident with an uninsured motorist or one with limited coverage, this type of insurance can help cover costs. Considering that 1 in 8 motorists are uninsured, it could be a smart idea. This may not be offered in every state or by every insurance provider. 

Personal injury protection (PIP) 

Medical costs are a concern for many people. Personal injury protection insurance can help cover medical costs after an accident regardless of who is found at-fault. Some states like New Jersey require this type of insurance as it’s considered a “no fault” state. But not all states do, and it can be up to you whether to get PIP coverage or not. 

How do I choose the right car insurance deductible amount?

Figuring out the right car insurance deductible amount can be tough. It’s important to evaluate your budget, risk tolerance, driving history, and coverage needs. If you choose a higher car insurance deductible, it’s likely you’ll have a lower premium. That may be good day-to-day, but it may mean your insurer will cover less. If you do need your car insurance, make sure you can afford your deductible or have that amount saved in an emergency fund. 

If you select a lower car insurance deductible amount, it’s likely your premium will be higher. While you’re paying more now, if something happens down the line and you get into an accident, you’ll pay less out-of-pocket then. 

Your deductible amount should be something you feel comfortable paying or have easy access to in an emergency fund, or as a last resort, a line of credit. The last thing you want is to get into an accident and stress about a high deductible that feels out of reach. 

But you also don’t want a premium that feels like it’s hurting your budget each month. That’s why it’s a delicate balance, and you want to find the right amount for your budget and needs. 

Select a deductible amount that feels doable for you. Even if you have a spotless record, remember things happen. It’s also important to be aware of what exactly is covered in your insurance policy. 

For example, if you opt for liability-only that covers damage and injury costs for the other driver if you’re at fault. On the other hand, comprehensive and collision insurance can cover accidents, theft, and weather events that can come out of nowhere. 

You can choose the deductible amount for each type of coverage, so if you think you are a safe driver, it might make sense to have a higher collision deductible (where you can often prevent a crash) versus comprehensive (where the events are typically out of our control).

The bottom line 

If you’re looking for a new car insurance policy, you want to pick a car insurance deductible amount that works for you. That means considering your risk levels, needs, finances, and more. You also want to make sure you have the right coverage to protect yourself in various situations. And if you don’t drive very much? You can pay less with pay-per-mile car insurance with Metromile. If you’re still paying for miles you aren’t driving, it’s time to rethink your auto insurance coverage. Grab a free quote with Metromile today.

How To Switch Insurers

Having car insurance is a requirement in many states and can help you protect yourself and your property, as driving is inherently risky. Though you may have to get car insurance, you want to get a policy through a company that you feel has your back and can help you in the unfortunate event you need their help due to an accident. Plus, you want coverage for your specific needs, lifestyle, and budget. Given these factors, at some point, you might consider switching car insurance providers and trying out something new. You might have a big life change like a cross-country move, a marriage or divorce, or have an unpleasant experience with your current car insurance company and decide you want to take your business elsewhere. Learn how to switch car insurance and what to know about the process.


Step 1: Research car insurance providers 

If you’re thinking of switching car insurance providers, before making any moves ease into the process and do your due diligence. That means researching car insurance providers to see what’s out there. 

You can look at their websites, social media, and the Better Business Bureau. You can also look at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) website and use their Consumer Insurance Search tool to see various reports about your potential car insurer. That way you’re armed with knowledge and know which car insurance providers make it to the next round. 

Step 2: Review your coverage needs 

Most states have minimum liability insurance requirements to drive on the road. But notice the word minimum. That’s just the basic coverage. But there are many different types of auto coverage, from liability only to collision insurance and comprehensive insurance. 

The less insurance coverage you get, the less expensive it’ll likely be, but you’ll be more at risk financially. The more insurance you get, the more expensive it’ll be but you’ll be more protected in a variety of situations. Consider your needs and what type of policy might be the best fit. 

Step 3: Consider pay-per-mile coverage if you don’t drive a lot 

You might look into traditional auto insurance coverage, but you don’t want to miss out on pay-per-mile coverage if you don’t drive a lot. Many people have made the switch to working from home, slashing their commute time and related costs. 

If that’s you, consider pay-per-mile coverage if you drive fewer than 10,000 miles each year. Metromile offers this type of insurance which could save you up to $947* per year. Rates begin at $29 per month, plus a few cents for every mile you drive. 

Step 4: Shop around for car insurance quotes 

After researching on car insurance companies and assessing your coverage needs, it’s time to look at the numbers. 

Shop around and get car insurance quotes with multiple car insurance providers. Review rates, coverage options, and terms and conditions. Also, see if you qualify for any potential discounts. Get at least three car insurance quotes, so you have enough options to compare. 

When shopping for car insurance and getting quotes, select the same type of coverage for each, so it’s an accurate comparison. During this process, you’ll typically need to provide your zip code, VIN, driver’s license, and information about the type of vehicle you want to insure. 

If you see better rates at another car insurance provider but are unsure about switching car insurance, you can contact your current insurer to see if it’s possible to get a better rate or qualify for a discount. 

Step 5: Look into potential cancellation or other types of fees 

Before switching car insurance providers, contact your current car insurer to see if there will be any consequences. 

For example, if you cancel your current car insurance policy in the middle of your coverage term before the renewal period, your insurer may tack on a cancellation fee. They might not, either, but you want to know what you’re getting into before making any moves. No one likes a surprise fee (The good news is that Metromile doesn’t charge any cancellation fees). 

Also, ask how much notice they require to cancel and keep a paper trail of your communication, so you’re all set. 

Step 6: Get a new policy with the new insurer 

The next step is to get a new policy with the new insurer. Ask the company when your policy will start and when you’ll receive your car insurance cards. 

Switching car insurance can be a good move in a various circumstances, but it’s also a delicate dance as you must avoid any lapses in car insurance coverage to avoid trouble. 

If you have a lapse in coverage, you could be considered a risk, even if it’s unintentional. On top of that, you could be hit with fines or even get your license suspended. And you don’t want to imagine getting into an accident if there is a lapse in coverage. 

So while getting new coverage, make note of the start date. Then, make sure you cancel your old coverage, and it lines up with when your new coverage starts. 

Step 7: Officially cancel your old car insurance policy 

After starting your new insurance coverage, make moves to cancel your old car insurance policy. Again, make sure there is absolutely no lapse in coverage at all. 

Get it all in writing. Your car insurer may have its own process to cancel coverage, so follow their recommended steps. 

After canceling your old policy, keep the paperwork for your records. Also, make sure you have the new coverage in place and your car insurance cards are in your wallet so you’re prepared and covered while driving. 

When is the best time to switch car insurance companies?

Switching car insurance providers requires a bit of research and work, but can make sense in certain situations. Here are some of the best times to make the switch:

  • You have a life change or a lifestyle change, such as a marriage or divorce or going from commuting to working from home. 
  • You have moved. Whether it’s in the same city or state or out-of-state, moving can affect your car insurance premiums. 
  • You’re unhappy with your car insurance provider. Like any relationship, the value you get should be more than the cost. If you’re dissatisfied, switching car insurance providers can be a good idea. 
  • You’ve added a car or a new driver to your policy. This may change your risk profile and can affect your premium. 
  • Your car insurance premiums have skyrocketed. If your rates have exploded due to a speeding ticket or accident, shop around. 

Is switching car insurance possible with an open claim? 

If you have an open claim with your current car insurance provider and are thinking of switching car insurance, it’s best to hold off. 

While it may be possible to make the switch, it’s not a great idea. Filing a claim typically comes with an increase in costs at the time of renewal, if you’re found at fault. So making a switch during that process, may mean paying more sooner. Also, getting your claim taken care of can take time, and it may be messy to make the switch mid-way. 

Can I get a refund if switching car insurance before the renewal period? 

You might wonder if you can cancel car insurance at any time. The good news is you can. If you’re canceling and switching car insurance before the renewal period, you’ll likely get a portion of your premium refunded to you. There may be additional fees tacked on, but you are eligible for a car insurance premium refund before your term is up. 

The bottom line 

Sometimes change is a good thing and the same is true when switching car insurance. If you want to figure out how to switch car insurance and take the appropriate measures, follow these seven steps to get started. If you’re unhappy with your car insurance rate and are a low-mileage driver, it’s time to rethink your auto insurance. Stop paying for miles you aren’t driving and pay based on how much you do actually drive through pay-per-mile insurance. Check out coverage options and potential rates 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.

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

How Are Car Insurance Premiums Calculated?

If you’re looking at car insurance policies and comparing quotes, you want to know exactly how those rates are determined. You might have an idea, but how is car insurance calculated precisely? While each car insurance provider may have different criteria, many of the contributing factors remain the same. Ultimately, car insurance premiums are calculated by looking at various data points that assess overall risk.If you’ve wondered how car insurance premiums are calculated, read on to learn the various data points impacting your rates.

How Is My Car Insurance Calculated? | Metromile

How is car insurance calculated?

Car insurance companies look at certain factors when setting your rates to assess overall risk.

While each insurer has its proprietary formula, many insurance companies tend to use the same information to calculate your car insurance premiums:

  • Your age
  • Your gender (in some states)
  • Your education (in some states)
  • Your job (in some states)
  • Your marital status (in some states) 
  • What type of car you drive
  • How many miles you drive 
  • The type of car insurance coverage you have
  • Your coverage limits
  • Where you live
  • Your credit score (in some states)
  • Your driving record
  • Your insurance record


Your age can play a significant role in determining your car insurance rates. Studies have shown that young drivers, especially teenagers, who might have less experience on the road, are more likely to get into car accidents than older drivers. In fact, CDC data illustrates this higher risk, stating teens ages 16 to 19 are three times more likely to be in a fatal car crash than drivers 20 and older. 

So if you’re just starting to drive, your rates might be higher due to the increased risk.

The best thing you can do is prove you’re a safe driver by following the rules of the road, so you don’t get traffic tickets or get into accidents. Over time, insurance companies will reward your safe driving with lower prices or discounts. 


Gender might also play a role in determining your car insurance rates. Men are more than twice as likely to be killed in a car accident than women, according to the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

In 2019, the most recent year for which data is available, 11,896 male drivers lost their lives in crashes, compared to 4,868 female drivers. This might be because men tend to drive more often and may be more willing to take risks on the road.

So you might be surprised to learn that some auto insurance industry studies show women, including those older than 25, might pay a little more than men for car insurance.

Because of this, places like California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Montana, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Michigan have limited car insurance companies from considering gender when calculating a driver’s rates. But in many other states, insurance companies can still consider gender as a factor when determining car insurance premiums.


Some car insurance companies also look at your level of education when determining car insurance rates. 

While some states have banned this practice, in other states, drivers with a higher level of education, such as those with a college degree, could save money on car insurance compared to those who only have a high school diploma. Some insurers might also provide a discount for college students.


Auto insurance providers might also look at the type of job you have. While this practice is not allowed in some states, your job could affect your insurance rates in other places. 

Some companies and professional groups work with insurers to provide an auto insurance discount to their employees. On the other hand, some professions might travel a lot more than other drivers, for example, and might be considered riskier and pay higher rates.

Marital status 

On the surface, your marital status may seem like it has little to do with your driving risk. But typically, car insurance providers have found married drivers file fewer claims

According to The Zebra, married drivers typically file fewer claims than single, widowed, or divorced drivers, which can result in lower car insurance premiums. 

Car type

Car insurance companies also look at the type of car you drive. If you trade in an older vehicle for a fancy sports car, it stands to reason you might pay more for insurance because your new car would cost more to replace. 

The more expensive it is to replace your vehicle, the greater the risk and cost for your insurance company. So they might charge a higher premium to make up for the pricey repairs. 

On top of that, if you get a car such as an SUV that can do damage to other vehicles in the event of an accident or buy a car that is highly sought after by car thieves, your car insurance premiums may be higher. 

Miles driven 

Every time you get behind the wheel and drive, you face some level of risk. It makes sense then that the more miles you drive means there is a higher level of risk. 

If you work from home and leave the house sparingly, you may be a low-mileage driver and could score a more affordable car insurance premium through pay-per-mile insurance.

Types of car insurance coverage  

The type of car insurance coverage you’re purchasing will also invariably impact your rate. For example, getting liability only may be more affordable than comprehensive coverage but will also cover less in the event of an incident. The different types of car insurance coverage can include:

Your coverage limits  

Your car insurance coverage will have certain coverage limits that can impact your rate. These coverage limits are typically related to the type of policy you purchase. So liability only can offer more affordable car insurance premiums, it also means having lower coverage limits. 

Higher coverage limits are costlier, however; you get more covered in case of an accident or other type of incident. 


Where you live can have a significant impact on your car insurance premiums. That’s because some places are more dangerous for car owners than others. 

No matter how safe of a driver you are, sometimes accidents caused by other drivers are unavoidable. And even if you don’t get into an accident, your car could get stolen or affected by the weather. 

So living in sunny Los Angeles might have a different impact on your rate than living in a place like Chicago, where winters are known to be brutal. However, population density is also considered as well. 

So if you live in a big city like Philadelphia with more cars on the road, where accidents and vehicle thefts might be more common, you might pay more for insurance than if you lived in a rural town.

Some car insurance companies might also ask you where you park your vehicle at night and whether it’s parked somewhere covered. It could be riskier to park your car on the street than inside your home’s garage, and this additional risk could increase your car insurance rate. 

If you’re a low-mileage driver, you may be able to reduce your car insurance premium with pay-per-mile insurance if you live in certain areas in California, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, New Jersey, Virginia, Illinois, or Pennsylvania. 

Credit score

Building an excellent credit score is not only a good way to qualify for an auto loan with low interest rates, but it could also save you money on car insurance.

In some states, car insurance companies might use your credit score to determine how responsible you are. They figure if you’re responsible with your finances, you’re more likely to be a responsible driver or less likely to file a claim.

Driving record

As you might imagine, car insurance companies are especially concerned with your driving record. While things like your age, gender, and where you live might help car insurance companies gauge your risk, your driving record provides the most accurate representation of the type of driver you are.

If you have a pile of speeding tickets or were at fault in a car accident, your car insurance rates could skyrocket. But over time, a clean driving record can go a long way toward helping you save money on car insurance.

Insurance record

Similar to your credit score, car insurance companies track your auto insurance history.

They look at previous claims you’ve filed and whether you maintained continuous insurance coverage. 

If you filed a claim after an accident or totaling your car, that could factor into your rates. Likewise, in many states, if you sell your car, stop driving and skip insurance coverage for a few years, it might be more expensive when you start back up.

How does Metromile calculate my car insurance rates?

At Metromile, we care more about the way you drive. Our pay-per-mile car insurance policies focus on your driving record, insurance claims history, the type of vehicle you drive, the amount of coverage you get, and theft and accident rates in the neighborhood where you live.

In some states, we might also consider your age, driving experience, education, profession, and whether you’ve had continuous insurance coverage.

But what sets Metromile apart is our ability to look at your driving patterns in some states. The Pulse device we send you to count your miles can also gauge how safely you drive over time and give us an understanding of the quality of each mile you drive.

All of this information helps us get a better picture of you as a driver to personalize your insurance rates, and hopefully, offer you a lower price.

How can I save money on car insurance?

Now that you know how car insurance is calculated, let’s take a look at how you could save money on car insurance.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Shop around: Compare prices from different car insurance companies to make sure you’re getting the best price. Auto insurance prices can change over time, so you’ll want to stay up to date on the latest rates.
  • Take a closer look at your insurance coverage: You might be able to adjust your coverage levels or deductibles to save money on your monthly premiums if your lifestyle has changed. But it’s crucial to weigh the pros and cons before making any changes to your policy.
  • Drive safely: Metromile offers discounts to good drivers who are accident-free and mature drivers, as well as those who install safety equipment in their cars in select states. 

The bottom line 

Figuring out how to calculate car insurance is a complex and nuanced process for car insurance providers. As you can see, there are a wide range of factors that go into your rate so if you’ve ever been curious how are car insurance premiums calculated, now you know it’s not just one thing like your driving history. One way to score lower car insurance rates is to drive less. As a low-mileage driver, you could pay less for insurance with pay-per-mile coverage. You pay for things like gas by the gallon. So why not pay for car insurance based on the miles you drive? Using Metromile, you can. Check out your free quote.