Metromile 101: Is Pay-Per-Mile Legit?

One of the most common questions we hear from car insurance shoppers is a pretty simple one: “are you guys for real?” To be honest, it’s the question I first had when I was considering making the switch. My monthly premium with another car insurance company had recently skyrocketed and I couldn’t fathom forking over a significant chunk of my salary considering I was only driving a few miles each week. I saw a Metromile ad but figured the prospect of pay-per-mile insurance was too good to be true.

How could one company charge me an arm and a leg while another was promising fair prices and only charging me for the miles I drove? 

Is Metromile legit?

I couldn’t make the decision alone, so I posed the question to my social media circle. Within minutes of my Facebook post, I received all kinds of feedback from friends and acquaintances who’d either already switched to Metromile or were seriously considering it and wanted the same info I did. After doing a bit more digging and talking to some of the early employees, I uncovered the truth: Metromile isn’t just legit; it’s the ideal solution for occasional drivers like me.

Here’s the deal: unlike most other car insurance companies, Metromile operates on a pay-per-mile structure. Not sure how that’s possible? Neither was I. The not-so-secret sauce of Metromile is pricing based on one very prominent risk factor that other insurers either ignore or are not so explicit about — time behind the wheel.

I’m worried about a low-cost carrier

Using the model above, Metromile is able to charge customers completely reasonable rates that make sense for lots of different types of drivers. In my case, I pay a monthly base rate of about $40, plus about 7 cents for every mile I drive (usually less than 20). Unlike the $100-plus bill I was seeing every month from my previous insurer, my Metromile monthly bill is about half that. 

I pay less, but the price is more fair and more closely represents risk. In this case, inexpensive doesn’t mean low quality.

What if I have a claim?

To put it simply — Metromile has your back. Savings are a focus, yes, but not at the expense of quality. Many satisfied pay-per-mile customers can attest to that.

If you have a loss, it’s turned over to a team of service-focused experts, led by insurance industry veterans, to take excellent care of you. And the proprietary, AI-driven claims technology speeds the process along; it’s not uncommon for claims to be paid out on the same day they’re reported.

The bottom line is this: Metromile is aiming to make car insurance better, not worse. That means savings, it means great features and white glove service, it means an app you actually like to use, and it means you can breathe easy in case of an accident. 

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Julianne Sawyer is a freelance writer, app producer, and real-life Metromile customer living in the San Francisco Bay Area.