What to Do if You Don't Get the Other Driver's Info

You’ve probably heard it a million times: if you have the misfortune of getting into a car accident, you’ve got to immediately swap info with the other driver. That means exchanging details like license plate numbers, contact details, and of course, your insurance information. But what if, for whatever reason, you’re involved in an accident and you don’t get the other driver’s deets? 

There can be a lot of chaos that ensues post-accident. Whether you’re too stressed to remember all the items on your checklist or you experience the unfortunate event of a hit-and-run, there are still steps you can take to make sure you’re taken care of. 

  1. Make sure you’re okay. This may sound obvious, but when the shock of an accident sets in, you may lose sight of what’s happening in the present moment. Take a moment to check yourself and any passengers for injuries, and, if you’re able, to move your car to a safe spot. 
  2. Call the cops. We get it — it can feel silly to involve the police in something as seemingly minor as a fender bender. But a police report can be an essential part of filing a claim, so if everyone’s in okay shape, call the police non-emergency line (use 911 if there are injuries or serious damage). It’s best to get a report number if you can.
  3. Write down what you remember. Pull out a pen and paper, open the Notes app on your phone — do whatever you have to do to start jotting down memories. Any details about the scene of the accident and the vehicle or individual involved is fair game, so things like the license plate number, the color, make, or model of the other car, or anything about the driver can be useful. Do what you can to focus and get it all down on a blank page. 
  4. Take photos. One of the biggest perks of constantly carrying around a smartphone is the ability to snap high quality pics at a moment’s notice. Take pictures of everything you can — the outside of your car, any damage it sustained, the surrounding area of the accident, etc. In the case of a hit-and-run, even the tiniest details could help police find the other driver.
  5. Look around for witnesses. Not only do you have a phone in your pocket — chances are, just about everyone else in the vicinity does too, and it’s very possible someone else recorded evidence of your accident. But even if no one nearby captured a photo or video of the incident, bystanders may be able to tell you about details you somehow missed, like which way the driver went after the accident, or identifying characteristics about their car. Jot down your witnesses’ info just in case your insurance carrier or the police need to touch base with them later. 
  6. Contact your insurance company. Whether the other driver took off after the accident or even flat out refused to hand over their info, you should absolutely still notify your insurance company about the accident. Not only does your insurance carrier likely require you get in touch within a reasonable time, they can make things easier by taking some of the work out of your hands.

And if you want some added peace of mind, perhaps it’s time to give Metromile a shot; one of our unique features is a virtual assistant named AVA who makes filing claims a snap, and can often verify where and when an accident happened and details like how hard the impact was. In some cases she can even ensure instant payment and help you schedule repairs.
Accidents are never convenient, but following the steps above — and considering whether you have the right insurance provider — will make for the smoothest possible claims process. 
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Michelle Konstantinovsky is a San Francisco-based freelance journalist, UC Berkeley alumna, and Metromile customer. 

The #1 Rule of Buying a Used Car

If you’re trying to spend less on driving, the thought of buying a vehicle can be a little overwhelming; buying a car can be a huge expense. According to a recent Kelley Blue Book report, the average price of a new car increased to $37,577 from 2017 to 2018. Yikes! And while used cars can certainly cost a pretty penny too, they at least offer a much more affordable alternative…if you know what to look for. 
There’s one major to-do that far too many drivers fail to check off their list before forking over the cash for a used car, and it’s surprisingly simple: run a vehicle history report.

What is a vehicle history report?

Every used car — no matter if it’s in pristine condition — has a past. By reviewing the vehicle history report, you get direct insight into that past. Carfax.com and AutoCheck.com are the two most popular sources for reports, but there are other sources out there as well. They all dig up important information about your potential new car using its vehicle identification number (VIN). While the report can’t tell you exactly what’s happening under the hood of a car, it can offer a wealth of knowledge that reduces the risk around determining the car’s current state. 
Here’s what you’ll typically find in a vehicle history report:

  • Accidents. You can’t expect every minor fender bender to go on a vehicle’s permanent record, but any major accidents have usually been reported to an insurance company. Those accidents will wind up here. 
  • Number of owners/type of uses: Knowing how many people have owned the car and how they might have used it can make a big difference in your decision to buy. Was the car mostly kept in the garage by one occasional driver, or was it put to work as a rideshare vehicle? Knowing the facts — and whether it may have been passed down along a long chain of family or friends — may influence your buying mindset. 
  • Maintenance records: Service visits aren’t always listed on the report, but if the previous owner took the car in to the dealership, you’ll find out about it. 
  • Odometer tampering: One major advantage of the report is its insight into odometer rollbacks. Less-than-reputable lots might tamper with the car’s distance measurement to sell older cars at higher prices. If this ever happened to a vehicle, it will go on its history report.  
  • Salvage title: Even if a vehicle endures a “total loss” (meaning the insurance company declared the cost of repairs would exceed the cash value of the car), it could still very well be drivable. But you’d probably want to know about it, right? Luckily, insurance companies issue something called a “salvage title” that notifies future buyers of the incident. This goes on a vehicle history report, too. 

Bottom Line

Ordering a vehicle history report typically costs between $25 and $40 — sometimes less if you’re checking multiple reports at once — or you may be able to snag a report on the dealer’s or lender’s dime. It’s a good idea to stay informed; you’ll be less likely to be blind-sided by any serious issues, and can save money on maintenance down the road.
And of course, a safer car can mean lower insurance rates (whether you buy that insurance by the mile or through a traditional insurer). The one-two punch of a vehicle history report and great car insurance can help you stay safe before and after you’re in the driver’s seat.
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Michelle Konstantinovsky is a San Francisco-based freelance journalist, UC Berkeley alumna, and Metromile customer. 

More Data: It’s Time to Breakup with Your Car Insurance

It’s not you, it’s me. Or is it? Breaking up can be hard, no matter how long you’ve been in the relationship. Recently, we researched how people manage interpersonal relationships and how that compares to their relationship with auto insurance. Our survey of 2,008 adults in the U.S. aged 18 years and older included some surprises.

One in five Americans (a whopping 21%!) think it’s more challenging to find a new auto insurance provider than break up with their significant other!
About half (47%) of Americans have stayed in a relationship with their auto insurance provider for as many as five years, but only 26% have stayed in a relationship with their significant other for the same amount of time. Let that sink in for a moment — many of us are more committed to our insurance provider than we are with our romantic partners!
Evaluating your relationship with your car insurance provider is important. If you can’t remember the last time you thought about your insurance, it might be time to re-evaluate (and possibly break up with) your insurance provider.
Nearly a third of Americans (29%) are not aware of the baggage that comes with marrying someone with a less-than-favorable driving record. 
Additionally, we discovered that roughly a third of women (31%) of all ages are unaware of the impact of their spouse’s driving records on their auto insurance rates. When two become one, the same goes for their car insurance policies. 
Did you know that your spouse’s driving record will affect the premium that you might pay? A poor driving record could increase your car insurance premium. It is critical to discuss driving records with your spouse to prevent any unpleasant surprises after you tie the knot.
Nearly 60 percent of American women of all ages have stayed with their insurance provider for more than five years. Only 53% of American men have done the same.
We were surprised: It seems women are more likely to stay the course with their car insurance provider and to remain committed, even when the waters might get rough. Whatever the case may be, every person should feel empowered to evaluate their relationship with their car insurance provider regularly. If your car insurance is no longer meeting your needs, it may be time for a fresh start with someone new.
61% of women between the ages of 45 – 54 rated discounts for being a low mileage driver as an important quality in a new car insurance provider – compared to just half of men.
We found that women are more likely to prioritize savings and customer service when it comes to auto insurance. Saving money and being a low-mileage driver isn’t gender-specific. By switching to Metromile, everyone (regardless of gender) can benefit from our low-mileage driver discounts and incredible customer service!
Bottom Line
Male or female, it makes no difference – everyone deserves access to the best care and car insurance. Whether you’ve been in a relationship with your current car insurance provider for five months or five years, take a moment to re-evaluate if they are meeting all of your needs. Breaking up with your car insurance provider isn’t hard to do, and grabbing a free quote only takes a few minutes. It’s time for a new beginning – cheers to trying something new!
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Julianne Sawyer is a freelance writer, app producer, and real-life Metromile customer living in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

Survey Says: It’s Time for New Car Insurance

Julianne Sawyer is a freelance writer, app producer, and real-life Metromile customer living in the San Francisco Bay Area. 
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When was the last time you took a good, hard look at your car insurance policy? Can’t remember? For many people, car insurance is something they only think of when (heaven forbid) a car accident occurs. All the while, the car insurance policy sits there, gathering dust. Perhaps it’s time to shake the dust off and find out what your car insurance provider is actually, you know, providing. It might be time to try something new.

We polled 2,008 adults in the U.S., aged 18 and older, to learn about the relationship they have with their car insurance provider. We also explored the impact of switching car insurance providers, even when your term isn’t up yet. 
Well, the results are in. You might want to sit down for this one. 
Nearly half of Americans (45%) do not look for low-mileage driver discounts.
This survey finding had us genuinely shocked! Metromile saves low-mileage drivers — some 65% of Americans — money every day. 
Do you mainly use public transportation? Are you no longer commuting to work? Maybe you only drive around your neighborhood for quick errands. Perhaps you’re in your golden years and prefer to walk everywhere. Metromile is currently available in Arizona, California, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington, with plans for state expansion — and you could qualify for an average of $741 savings every year just by switching.
Only 1 in 10 Americans (11%) shop for auto insurance every year.
In other words, 89% of Americans don’t shop around for car insurance at least once a year! We all know how much can change in a year — people start new jobs, move, get married, get divorced, have children, teenagers start driving — the list goes on. With life-changing milestones happening minute to minute, a year is enough time for your car insurance needs to change.
Fifteen percent of Americans would rather file their taxes or go to the DMV than shop for auto insurance. 
Shopping for car insurance doesn’t need to be a task you avoid. With Metromile, you can grab a free quote online in a matter of minutes, and switching is easy. Unlike going to the DMV or filing your taxes, we won’t waste your time with complicated forms or time-consuming surveys. Switching to Metromile is so easy, you’ll wonder why you dreaded shopping for auto insurance at all.
More than one in four Americans (26%) say they do not want to give up their bundled auto and home insurance — even if they can save by unbundling.
Initially, bundling your home and auto insurance may sound appealing. However, insurance companies sometimes prey on that “convenience” factor and charge more for the home and auto insurance bundle than if you purchased the two policies separately. Consider taking the time to see how much you could save by signing up for home and auto insurance policies independently. You may be pleasantly surprised!
Almost three out of four Americans (74%) do not consider features like gas or trip-planners, street-sweeping alerts or vehicle health monitors when looking for a new insurance policy.
Does your current auto insurance carrier currently provide gas or trip-planners? With Metromile, our trip planner finds the shortest routes, saving you miles, time and money. Our street-sweeping alerts can save you the hassle of getting a ticket. And our vehicle health monitor decodes common engine problems, which can save you time and money at the shop. 
Metromile delivers all of these handy features (and more) entirely free for our customers. If you don’t consider these features when deciding on a car insurance provider, maybe it’s time to start! 
Bottom line
Switching car insurance providers, even if your current insurance term isn’t up, can lead to significant personal savings, reward you for driving fewer miles, and offer convenience on top of it all. And at Metromile we aim to make the switch painless — much better than doing your taxes or waiting in line at the DMV!
So ask yourself: is it time to break up with your car insurance provider?

Hey Elon, Welcome to Insurance. As You’re Learning, it’s Complicated

Dan Preston is the CEO of Metromile.
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When Elon Musk announced that he was getting into car insurance, I wasn’t surprised — this is an industry full of opportunities for fresh thinking. I also wasn’t surprised he ran into some glitches on launch day.

I understand why Musk is frustrated: Tesla cars are packed with pioneering safety technology, but they are comparatively expensive to insure. We know firsthand; Metromile insures many Tesla owners (up 200% in the past year alone). Our data shows they are no more accident-prone than drivers of other cars, while their claims run about twice as much as other cars due to the high cost of repairing the on-board technology. 
From the expansion of autonomous navigation to the explosion of ride- and car-sharing platforms, technology is transforming both cars and car ownership. Insurance is ripe for disruption, too, which is why Metromile was founded eight years ago with a pay-per-mile model based on someone’s actual driving.
But drivers also value the service itself — beyond savings — whether that means a feature that monitors the car’s condition or an intuitive, design-first claims system. Consumers may be attracted to low prices, but how long they remain a customer depends on their experience
The long-term opportunity lies in reducing the conflict and distrust between insurance companies and their customers. Right now, the relationship can be very transactional and full of tension. Insurers worry about risky drivers and fraudulent claims, while customers worry about being short-changed by obscure policy loopholes. It’s an adversarial process, and it can be grueling.
Technology offers massive opportunities for personalized insurance that can lower rates. We save many of our customers hundreds of dollars a year. Likewise, we recently partnered with Turo, a leading car-sharing company, to create fractional insurance to help reduce the costs of car ownership. 
And we’re on the cusp of even larger changes. Sooner or later, self-driving cars will become mainstream. As a result, cars will be safer and experience fewer accidents. While some accidents like a falling tree will happen no matter how advanced a car may be, we understand fundamentally that no two miles driven are the same; a mile driven autonomously could and should be insured differently than one driven by a human.
In the meantime, technology can reduce the tension between insurers and their customers. One way is by enabling personalized insurance customized to individual needs. Another is to make the claims process smoother and easier. Through AVA, our AI-powered claims system, we see the power of using a car’s telematics data to reconstruct an accident and assess the damage quickly — enabling us to pay some claims within minutes.    
That said, irresponsible technology can create traps. Just imagine how fast a fully-automated AI system could alienate customers by spitting out instant decisions they don’t like, or not being able to be guided by an experienced, empathetic claims-professional after a stressful accident. These are very nuanced issues; they require employees with exceptional insurance experience who can bring out the best of the technology while avoiding the roadside ditches.   
Without a doubt, I love Musk’s challenge to the status quo. But as Tesla pauses for an “algorithm update,” I hope they take my advice: insurance is about more than low prices. We need fresh thinking from carmakers and insurers alike.

Do You Need A Car at College?

When I made the brave and lengthy journey to college many years ago (just kidding, my school was 70 miles from home), I spent the first two semesters carless. Freshmen didn’t have the privilege of parking spots, and if we’re honest, my freeway driving skills were still developing.
Weekend trips to visit mom and dad required either the generosity of mobile friends or six spare hours to spend on the painfully slow train. But navigating the tiny college town without wheels was easy, and before long I didn’t miss Kermit (the family name for my hand-me-down green Ford Taurus — may he rest in peace) at all.
When I came back as a sophomore, however, Kermit came too, and having my car at school suddenly opened up new opportunities — driving to the closest big city mall, skipping the dysfunctional bus service and sleeping in, blasting Ashlee Simpson albums on the way to my boyfriend’s house (it was 2006, okay?). But was all that driving necessary? Of course not. So from my dated dilemma arises a modern question: do kids really need their cars at college?
The Pros
There are some compelling reasons to bring a car to campus:

  • The convenience factor. If you live off-campus, a car could help you get to lectures on time or make it possible to snag a job that pays more than any on-campus gig.
  • Grocery shopping is a lot less of a workout. Once you’re out of the dorms, it’s pretty much up to you to bring home the bacon (and eggs, and bread, and heavy arm-crushing produce). Having a car certainly makes it easier to transport a shopping haul.
  • You’ll have a place to call your own. College life can be cramped. Having your own car means you’ll have a sacred space to escape to (and escape in) any time you need a break from your roommates, classmates, study buddies, etc.

The Cons
Yes, having a car at college means a bit more freedom and autonomy, but it also means:

  • Paying for insurance, parking, maintenance, repairs, and more. There’s no way to avoid it: driving is expensive.
  • Spending precious time searching for a spot. Driving may shave minutes off your commute, but that time saved can quickly be replaced circling the block.
  • Being less invested in your campus life. Having an easy escape means you’re probably not spending a ton of time getting to know the people around you or exploring new opportunities and adventures. And isn’t that kind of the whole point of college (besides that coveted degree, of course)?
  • A higher risk of accidents. If you’re behind the wheel at all, you’re already at risk for an accident. But if you’re tired from studying, partying, working, and just generally depriving yourself of proper shut-eye, you’re putting yourself at an even higher risk.

On Balance
Having a car at college can definitely have some perks, but overall, the cost — financial and otherwise — is far higher than the potential benefit. And leaving the car at home means more time and energy to invest in immersing yourself in the college experience.
It won’t come as a surprise that we’re encouraging people to drive less; we think a world with fewer cars, less crowded streets, and cleaner air is something to shoot for. Do you agree? If so, we’ll be here with insurance to make things easier.

Michelle Konstantinovsky is a San Francisco-based freelance journalist, UC Berkeley alumna, and Metromile customer. She’s written extensively on health, body image, entertainment, lifestyle, design, and tech for outlets like Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, O: The Oprah Magazine, Seventeen, Slate, SPIN, Entrepreneur, xoJane, SF Weekly, California Home + Design, and more.

How to Choose Insurance Extras

Carrying car insurance is a no-brainer. Besides keeping you within the bounds of the law, the major nuts and bolts of an insurance policy — your coverage limits, deductibles, and so on — are there to help you avoid financial ruin in the case of an accident.
But what about those options like rental coverage or a $0 deductible for glass repair, that are nice-to-haves but not necessarily standing between you and bankruptcy? Are you cheating yourself by not adding these bonuses to your plan? To help you avoid decision paralysis, here’s what you need to know about three common car insurance add-ons.

$0 glass deductible
A practically inevitable part of driving is an eventual glass issue, and even the most high-end vehicles are at risk for chips and cracks in the windows and windshield. The good news is these minor problems can be fixed quickly and easily. The not-so-good news is they typically aren’t cheap. 
If you’re particularly concerned about the state of your glass or if you’re in the habit of driving your car through construction zones or other environments that increase your likelihood of chips and cracks, you may want to consider opting for glass and windshield coverage. With a zero-dollar glass deductible, your insurer will be the one footing the bill for repairs, so if you do experience a broken, chipped, or cracked windshield or window, you won’t be on the hook for costs.
Rental coverage
When an accident occurs, you’re likely consumed with gathering details, submitting a claim, and making sure you handle any necessary medical issues. But there’s another major detail many people forget to consider in the aftermath of an accident: how to get around if your car needs to go into the shop for repairs, or worse — it was totaled.
If you rely on a car for work, errands, or any other daily responsibility, you’ll probably need to replace your damaged vehicle with something as soon as possible. The easiest option would be to rent a car, but — surprise, surprise — rental cars can be pretty pricey. By adding rental car reimbursement to your car insurance plan, you protect yourself and your wallet with the assurance that your insurer will cover the cost of your rental while your car is out of commission. If the thought of being without wheels is too much for you to bear, you might want to consider this extra a must-have.
Roadside assistance
Is there anything worse than the thought of being stranded by the side of the road? There are dozens of reasons this could happen — especially if you have a…let’s say “less than reliable” vehicle. Car stuff just happens. Enter roadside assistance.
By adding roadside assistance to your insurance plan, you’re covered if you need any of these:

  • Flat tire fixes
  • Locksmith services
  • Emergency gasoline delivery
  • Towing (up to the distance outlined in your contract)

(Brag alert: Metromile’s roadside assistance works completely through our app — no digging cards out of your glovebox or looking up missing phone numbers.)
Like the other extras, roadside assistance can provide peace of mind. And if that peace of mind feels worthwhile, roadside assistance coverage might be for you. The good news is that none of these extras will break the bank — they often cost only a few bucks a month.
So the question is: how much value do you place on peace of mind?
Need more info on these or any other Metromile features or extras? Visit metromile.com today to get a free quotewe’ll find the plan for you, with or without the extras.

How I Drive: Pay-Per-Mile is for Car Nuts, Too

Meet Ted Howard: a self-proclaimed car nut who, though he owns three cars, drives far fewer miles than most. Ted lives in a beach town, so juggles parking three cars on the street while fixing them up and hunting for his next deal. Paying for insurance by the mile keeps that hobby approachable for him by cutting down on the expense.

You’re one guy with three cars.
I feel like I should say I currently have three cars. I’m always looking at cars for sale. Right now I have a 2011 Honda Accord V6, a 2002 Porsche Boxster S, and a ‘98 Mustang convertible.
I’m a car nut. It’s really because of Metromile I can deal with having more than two. The Accord is the most reliable and the one I don’t care about. I’ve always loved Boxsters, but it’s never going to be a good only car to have — actually, it costs me less money to have more than one car as opposed to having only the Porsche, since I can avoid the big maintenance bills by not driving it every day.
And you don’t take them to work?
I work from home, teaching clients around the world the science of the mind-body connection to eliminate chronic pain. I do that by video or over the phone, so I do not have a typical commute.
I have these three cars, but I’m only one driver. My mileage is below average compared to people who have only one car. Someone told me about Metromile a few years ago, and it’s a great fit for me.
When and why do you drive?
I do have occasional in-person meetings for work. Or I drive to lunch or to the gym — standard errands. I have intentions to bike more, too, to drive even less. But since I work from home I sometimes feel cooped up in the house, and I’ll take the Porsche out at night and drive 14 miles to get pizza.
My family lives in Las Vegas, so I occasionally take the trip out there which is 600 miles. If I don’t do that trip, I’m probably only driving 600 total miles a month. Cost-wise, the three cars with pay-per-mile insurance cost me about the same, or sometimes less, than two cars with regular insurance.
So you’re saving money with Metromile
Sometimes it’s about the same as when I only had two cars and traditional insurance; the big difference is that pay-per-mile makes it painless to indulge my hobby.
I look at it this way: no matter how many more cars I add I never have to pay more for mileage. I’m always going to drive the same amount of places regardless of how many cars are sitting out on the street.
You park all your cars on the street?
I have one parking spot, but by default park on the street. It’s easier when there’s no weekend beach traffic.
Ever forget where you’re parked and use the Metromile app to locate your car?
You know, I never thought of using the app for that, but I do use it to keep tabs on my mechanics. I can take a look at the app and see if they’ve moved it. When I see they’ve taken it for a multiple test drives I can tell that the work is nearly done.
I did use the location feature when I was living abroad for five months. I had asked a friend to drive my Porsche once a month just to keep it running, and looking at the app I could see my friend was at the comedy club in LA. I got to call him and hear some live comedy at 10am in Thailand, and because of the Metromile alerts I was able to call him at the right time. It was a way to connect with my friends at home for a bit.
How about for maintenance and diagnostics?
I do use the diagnostics tool for any codes that are being thrown on the car. It’s the quickest, easiest way to get the info and also offers me the ability to not go out to the car to get it. You can get a bluetooth device that does the same, but they’re 40 bucks and you need to be near the car. This is free and emails me the info.
Anything else we should know?
The #1 thing for me is I like cars. I’m always looking at cars for sale. This type of insurance allows me to think about owning more projects. It’s just not going to cost as much to add a car as it would otherwise. This removes that one huge expense that gets in the way. Buying and fixing up old cars, that’s my hobby.
 In reality, the cost of traditional insurance is more of an inconvenience than parking three cars on the street in a beach town.

How to Read Your Metromile Insurance Bill

Metromile’s bills are a little different compared to other insurers. We like to think ours sets customers up for success and savings.

To get a better grasp on your driving (and savings!) you’ll want to get familiar with your monthly statement. Here’s everything you need to know.

(1) The balance section is the meat of your bill, showing all the ins and outs of the current billing period. A few things to note here:

(A) Your base rate is a fixed amount you’ll pay every month, regardless of the miles you drive. Think of this as the cost of your insurance for when your car is parked. Technically speaking, the base rate is a personalized daily rate, so you’ll have a lower base rate in months with fewer days like February. 

(B) The per mile rate is the difference-maker. We add up all the miles you’ve driven during the billing period and charge you only for each mile you drive. (Keep in mind that the per mile rate is charged at the end of the billing period while the fixed base rate is charged in advance of next month’s driving.)

(C) The adjustments line reflects small corrections — for example, we might refund a few miles if we realize a trip was shorter than initially reported.

(D) You might see a pre-payment credit. If so, it means you paid us a bit of money in advance of your first term to help reduce risk (and thus prices) and we’re crediting the pre-payment back on every bill during your first six months.

(2) The bar graph in the activity section tracks the miles you’ve driven each day. The line graph tracks your total miles for the billing period (left axis) and how those miles impact your bill (right axis). You’ll also see an at-a-glance summary of your current situation: balance, miles driven, and days left in the billing cycle.

(3) Trips for this billing cycle is a comprehensive view of trips you’ve taken during this billing cycle. Review your travels on a map, take stock of your driving habits, and even find out precisely how much each trip cost to insure.

If all of this sounds like a better way to approach your car insurance, then it’s time to sign up for Metromile — if you haven’t already!

And if you have questions about your bill, your rates, or whether Metromile is the right fit for you, we’re available to help at (888) 242-5204 or metromile.com/help.

The Unexpected Factors Distracting Drivers & How to Avoid Them


Distracted driving is such a deadly crisis that there’s an entire month dedicated to preventing it. Every April, the National Safety Council and other orgs participate in educating people on ways to recognize and eliminate preventable deaths from distracted driving — so let’s all do our part, too.

According to a nationwide census of fatal motor vehicle traffic crashes, more than 65,000 people were killed in car crashes in a two-year period. Of those, one in ten involved at least one distracted driver.

“Distracted” driving means the person behind the wheel is engaging in some kind of activity that diverts their attention from the road, and experts believe about 12% of distracted drivers are focusing on their phones at the time of deadly accidents. But if just a sliver of drivers are suspected of talking, listening, texting, or dialing at the time of a crash, what else is messing with drivers’ focus?


Research shows that everything from in-dash navigation and music apps to food choices and even your imagination can threaten to derail your attention. The good news is, knowing the common concentration traps can help you sharpen your focus behind the wheel.

Added bonus: being a safe driver can help your insurance rates. Distracted driving not only puts your safety and the safety of others at risk, it also has the potential to drive up your insurance rates. According to The Zebra’s 2018 Distracted Driving Report, being ticketed for texting or using your cell phone while driving can raise your rates by 16% — about $226 — per year.


Here are strategies for combating three of the biggest concentration-hijacking culprits so you can stay safe on the road:  


The distraction: Daydreaming. This one’s hard to stomach, but it’s true — according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 62% of distracted drivers “were generally distracted, inattentive, or ‘lost in thought,’” otherwise known as “daydreaming.”


The solution: While there’s certainly no way to turn your mind off (thankfully), there are ways you can keep your brain alert, even on the most monotonous routes. A few ideas from Popular Mechanics: keep your eyes moving every few seconds to avoid mind wandering, chew some gum or find some crunchy snacks to keep you in the present moment, and stay on your toes by imagining “what-if” scenarios (i.e. what you would do if an oncoming car unexpectedly crossed into your lane, etc.). Another way to avoid boredom-induced mind-wandering: experiment with different routes to stay engaged.



The distraction: Sleepiness. We can’t really control our mind’s natural inclination to wander, but we can control how much rest we’re getting. Drowsy driving is no joke —  sleep deprivation can have similar effects on the body as alcohol. And you don’t have to be clocking zero hours to qualify as “sleep deprived” — research shows that getting less than five hours is the same as driving drunk.


The solution: Do your best to get some sleep before you get behind the wheel. Sometimes it can be hard to gauge just how tired you are when you’re in the middle of a long drive, but there are telltale signs that you need to remove yourself from the road, such as trouble focusing, heavy eyelids, an inability to remember the last bit of road you drove. constant yawning, drifting lanes, and/or bobbing your head.

So what do you do if you’re en route and start to feel sleepy? If you’re driving solo and don’t have a passenger to take over, find the nearest safe spot to take a break and get rejuvenated — even if it’s just to hit a coffee shop or make a gas stop. Need a longer break? Try an app like DayUse to find a discounted nap destination.



The distraction: Eating, drinking, or smoking. According to the same research, a percentage of distracted drivers were paying more attention to their food, drinks, cigarettes, or other similar non-driving-related items when they should have been fully focused on the road.


The solution: The easy fix is to eliminate all these activities in the car. Yes, we mentioned that crunchy snacks might help you stay alert, and hydration is important (can’t speak on how essential that smoking habit is, though). But chowing down on a full meal or futzing with a beverage while navigating the road is another story. Do your best to eat meals outside of the car, and limit non-driving related actions that require even some hand-eye coordination.

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