How I Drive: A Data Head Finds Extra Value in Pay-Per-Mile

Our customer JP, a military vet and data scientist, lives in Monterey on the Central Coast of California — not exactly the first place you’d expect to find a low mileage driver. JP doesn’t mind bucking a trend, though; he only puts a few miles on his car every month and mostly relies on an electric scooter to get to work and around town. But what really drew JP to Metromile was the opportunity to view all his driving data in one place — or as he says, to see the “actual patterns of life.”

How long have you been a Metromile customer?

More than two years. I used to have another insurer focused on veterans, with full coverage for a 2015 Camaro. But I didn’t like paying a fixed amount because I basically don’t drive.

When you say you don’t drive…how many miles in a month?

Probably about 20, just around town on the weekends. I don’t drive far. I got a scooter for $300, and I can ride that to work now. It’s great once you get over the nerd factor.

I don’t drive my Camaro that much because it’s a V8 — it’s inefficient. But when it rains I’ll drive to work and it’s nice to be covered for those few miles. And the price was so competitive with Metromile I could get higher coverage for the same amount.

You’ve mentioned that it wasn’t just the savings that attracted you.

I’m also quite interested in the OBD-II sensor [Metromile Pulse]. I’m a data scientist. Recording data has always been a source of curiosity for me. If I didn’t have Metromile and I were to buy my own OBD-II sensor, it wouldn’t do the things I want it to do — like capture where I go, when, and how long the trips are. But with Metromile I can collect diagnostics and do a lot of this stuff myself. I have all my trip data saved in a file — this allows me to use my car as a data collector.

And Metromile takes that same data and enables customers to pay only for what they drive. It appeals to the scientist in me. For me, riding a scooter for 15 mins into work is obviously a better deal when I can see exactly what driving is costing me in time and dollars per mile.

What are you using the data for?

My degree is in geospatial information science. My career is mapping for the military. With my driving data, I’m hoping to find trends in the actual patterns of life. If I can collect my own data I can sort of validate the work of, say, Google Maps or traffic cameras.

But also, imagine this: if I can match up my driving data with my fitness tracker and social media updates and all the other personal data we have, I could get an actual view of what the human experience is like, that’s not filtered or sanitized.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I like the app; I’ve used it to find my car. And when I travel for work I can tell whether my girlfriend has borrowed my car!