How I Drive: Pay-Per-Mile Pays Off for Weekend Warriors

Meet Jennifer: a city-dwelling marketing professional and bonafide weekend warrior. Jennifer doesn’t drive to work, and loves using the bus to get around — but jumps at the chance to get away on the weekends to explore California’s nooks and crannies. For that, she keeps a car, and her low-mileage habits make her a perfect fit for Metromile’s pay-per-mile car insurance model.

How long have you been a Metromile customer?

It’s been about 3 years now.

Must be a good fit.

I work in downtown Oakland, and I live not too far away. It’s an easy bus ride to work, so I just don’t drive that many miles during the week.

Do you know offhand how many miles you drive a month?

Let’s put it this way: I’ve gotten that notification in the past that asks “Have you driven your car?” I joke that I can check my mileage and tell whether I’ve gone to the gym or not, because that’s the one place I always drive. If I haven’t driven anywhere I know I’ve been skipping my workout.

What do you use your car for?

I do sometimes use my car for everyday errands, grocery shopping and things like that. But what I really like to do is take advantage of where we live in California. You can get to the mountains and the beach and the country in thirty minutes. I do a lot of weekend trips, and use my car for that.

I drove to Los Angeles last weekend. I also go to the Russian River sometimes — that’s only an hour and a half away and a completely different world from the city.

It sounds like driving is about freedom for you rather than the everyday.

I really like the option to be able to get up and go when I want to. I love walking and taking the bus. (And I enjoy telling people I use public transportation, too. It’s my tax dollars at work!)

And I don’t like driving a long way to work. I’ve changed jobs many times, and every time I have a whole system: if I can’t get there within thirty minutes of driving or one hour on transit I won’t do it. I don’t care how much they pay me.

At the same time I like having the option to say, “You know what, it’s a Saturday afternoon. Let’s pick up some sandwiches, get in the car, and just go.

I go with my boyfriend, my sister, friends. I like coming up with something new: “There’s a new speakeasy, let’s go there.” Or “There’s a taqueria in a town we’ve never been to.” I like being able to just explore a new place.

Have you considered selling your car?

I’m very much a city person. But the thing is, it’s hard to get away without that car. With something like Metromile it’s more affordable to own a car and keep it in decent shape than it is to rent a car for a weekend trip.

I’d rather have it conveniently there when I need it rather than have to think about it. My car is a little Scion, a 2014 model with super low mileage. Every time I take it into the shop people are amazed at the low mileage. I probably won’t need to replace it for a while.

Do you use any of the Metromile app features?

Definitely! There’s a running joke with a friend. We go to the movies and I will sometimes drive there if the movie goes past when transit runs. They sweep the streets at night near that theater and my friend will ask if I got the street-sweeping notification.

I’ve also used the app to find my car. I’ll forget about that feature until I lose my car and then remember it’s built in with my insurance. It’s very handy.

It makes life easier?

Yes! Because of the work I do, I’m hyper aware of products I use — I always ask myself, is this is a good customer experience? That’s what I really like about Metromile. Everything’s really easy. Insurance isn’t my first language but it’s broken down so easily; all the info I need is right there in front of me.

Actually trying to please your customers should not be above and beyond, but it’s shocking how many companies don’t do that.