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.

Looking for more ways to stay safe behind the wheel? Visit our blog or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Is It Safe To Listen To Music or Podcasts While Driving?

 

During my senior year of college, I spent a lot of time behind the wheel. My school was about 90 minutes from home, and about the same distance from my boyfriend’s house. Seeing as how this was long before the days of streaming music services, a bright-eyed, just-turned-twenty-one-year-old in the early-aughts had just one option: to play Ashlee Simpson’s “Autobiography” CD on repeat.

Okay, maybe that wasn’t the only option available, but I sincerely loved that album and blasting it through the speakers of my slowly deteriorating Ford Taurus made my time on the road fly by. Maybe saccharine sweet pop posing as punk rock was never your cup of tea, but it’s safe to assume most drivers rely on their radios or digital devices to supply on-the-road motivation in the form of music. The question is whether lip-synching to our favorite tunes is actually making us tune out behind the wheel.

 

What Science Has to Say

 

The truth is, there’s a lot of conflicting evidence on the effects of music in the car. According to a study that involved teenage drivers, researchers found that the ones who were asked to play their own music on a 40-minute drive did so at a much louder volume than those who were given soothing instrumental soundtracks designed to encourage safer driving. And while the teens who supplied their own music reported feeling happier than their counterparts, they also made significantly more driving errors, including engaging in dangerous behaviors like speeding and weaving.

 

But a different study involving drivers in their 20s and 30s found that drivers performed equally well in a driving simulation whether they drove while listening to their own playlists or without any music at all. In fact, drivers were better at following another vehicle when they listened to music as compared to driving in silence, even though heart rate monitors indicated that listening to loud music increased drivers’ level of arousal.

 

To add to the confusion, a Dutch study found that music had no effect on drivers’ ability to follow the car ahead of them, and it actually even improved their response to changes in the leading car’s speed compared to drivers who drove in silence (and the music seemed to improve their energy and alertness, though the study authors caution that the effects may have been different under stressful conditions).

 

What About Podcasts, Audio Books, News, Sports, etc.?

 

If you spend more of your on-the-road time tuning into podcasts or other spoken content, then you might be wondering if these options are any more or less dangerous for drivers. The answer again: researchers aren’t sure. One study found that soccer fans who listened to a broadcast of a game began to drive erratically when the match got exciting (non-fans didn’t change their behavior when the action heated up). According to other scientists, listening to speech while behind the wheel shouldn’t negatively impact your ability to drive, but content that’s heavily visual (like that sports example) could actually cause you to lose focus.

 

The Bottom Line

 

While the research isn’t definitive, what we do know is that there are a few ways you can minimize your risk of distraction, even when you’re rocking out:

  • Get your playlist ready before you start the car — avoid fumbling with dials, buttons, or controls on your phone or stereo at all costs during your drive.
  • Keep the volume at a reasonable level — you don’t want to block out surrounding traffic sounds, so avoid the temptation to bump your tunes too loud.
  • Consider something soothing. While the research hasn’t been done on driving specifically, studies have found that classical music may improve mood and productivity when it comes to reading, so maybe getting your Baroque on could potentially enhance your focus on the road? It’s worth a try and you might just impress your passengers.
  • If you’re going to listen to podcasts or other forms of speech, consider avoiding sports broadcasts or other kinds of content that force you to recruit the visual parts of your brain or that have the potential to get you too fired up.  
  • Just say no to headphones, earbuds, AirPods, etc, which can block out the sounds of sirens and other surrounding traffic noises. It’s so unsafe that driving with these accessories is even illegal in some states.  Keep your ears free and clear and keep your speaker volume at a low-to-medium level.

 

Visit our blog for more ways to keep your travels safe and happy. See you on the road!

 

The role of data and analytics in becoming an “intelligent insurer”

Metromile VP Sathish Koteshwar recently spoke at Gartner’s Data and Analytics conference in Orlando. With several insurance-focused tracks and more than 4000 attendees, he came back even more pumped about what we’re doing at Metromile and our opportunity ahead. He shared some highlights with us.

What piqued your interest at the conference?

SK: For starters, I’d say Gartner’s own research struck the biggest chord. For example, Gartner predicts that by 2025 AI will become a requirement, not a competitive advantage. It made me realize we have a huge leg up at Metromile.

 

Gartner described the “Intelligent Insurer” as having four fundamental requirements:

1) A clear and innovative vision for the organization  

2) A strong data and analytics foundation

3) Industry leading leadership/people/culture

4) Cutting-edge technology and platform.

 

It’s exciting to be so far ahead on these fundamentals when others are just getting started.

 

Why are other insurers lagging?  

SK: The concept of telematics is new for many insurance providers and they are still figuring out how to incorporate it in their business models. It’s harder for insurers to pivot – given the size of their organizations, their complex hybrid infrastructure and lack of driving data around their policy holders. Their model is so different than ours, since we’ve built the very core of its business model around telematics.

 

What was the biggest takeaway on the claims front?

SK: I learned that many other insurers are just starting to implement some form of automated claims. They realize there are cost benefits and the fantastic customer experience it creates, in doing so, and want to drive those efficiencies for their organization. Yet, they’re very much in the early innings compared to where we’re at at Metromile with AVA, our AI driven claims system.”

 

How about in the area of fraud?

SK: Insurers are spending a lot of money on fraud detection — but they’re doing it with an army of humans trying to manually track it down, because they don’t have big, high quality data sets. Hearing that gave me an even greater appreciation for the fact that thanks our Pulse device we have 100% continuous telematics across all of our policy holders. This data — a 100% footprint of driving / behavior data — prevents so much fraud from happening in the first place; and if it does occur, we’re able to quickly root it out. This further enables us to pass these savings to our customers and offer really competitive pricing on auto insurance.

 

Were there many insurers like us, who are 100% in the cloud?

SK: Many still have a hybrid implementations within their organizations. They have some systems running on premise and some running in the cloud, and slowly moving more to the cloud. I think it would be really tough to do what we do if we weren’t 100% natively in the cloud. It means we can be so nimble and move really fast, and be that much further ahead of the competitive curve.”

 

What are the data and analytics themes that emerged for 2019?

SK: According to Gartner, the six key themes are:

 

  1. Focus on intelligent processing
  2. Maximize customer segmentation through life event/style modeling
  3. Enhance the customer experience through personalization and automation
  4. Build quality algorithms through improved data science.
  5. Build strength through more / better  data (eg, IoT).
  6. Augment humans through machines

 

Given our work at Metromile, I wasn’t surprised by these themes, but they reinforced for me that we’re focused in all of the right areas.

 

What’s next for you?

SK: Getting back to work! I’m even more excited about our future here at Metromile. Our big head start is a huge competitive advantage, and it’s definitely going to help us win market share.

 

The Gartner conference helped drive a new level of understanding and purpose in my team’s work, our strategy, and how we will help Metromile revolutionize insurance.

Welcome Paw Anderson, Metromile’s new CTO

 

This week, Paw Anderson, a true technologist with 20+ years of engineering leadership experience, joined Metromile as CTO. He was most notably a senior leader of engineering in Uber’s Advanced Technology group, where he grew his team from 27 to 700. Beyond ride sharing and autonomous vehicles, he’s been on the front lines of technical challenges in several sectors, including GIS, Fintech and E-commerce, ranging from small startups to large, established companies. Originally from Denmark, he now lives in the Bay Area with his family.

 

 

According to Paw, there’s a thread that runs through his career. “What’s been constant is my passion for enabling teams to effectively build software, while also empowering them to enjoy their biggest personal growth,” he said.

 

As CTO, Paw is responsible for leading, coaching, motivating, and growing a world-class eng team in our San Francisco and Boston offices. He’s also a member of executive leadership, working closely with CEO Dan Preston, Chief Product Officer Shaun Clowes, and many others.

 

“We’re hyper-focused on reimagining insurance for consumers and carriers alike. What struck me about Paw is that he has a huge passion for creating products that directly help customers,” said Dan. “Paw has a bird’s eye view of the future of mobility, and I’m confident he’ll be instrumental in bringing our ‘invent the future’ value to life. He’s equally passionate on building a positive culture internally, and an environment that enables Metromilers to do their best work. Having been Metromile’s CTO in our earliest days, I’m excited for Paw’s leadership and welcome him to the team.”

 

In talking with Paw, he shared a bit about what attracted him to Metromile. Here’s what he had to say.

 

“I’m very excited to join the Metromile team. For me, there are three things that matter most:

  1. I’m an engineer at heart. I like to build things that are challenging to build, and have a lot of data-driven problems to solve.
  2. I want to build things that matter to people in real life. Something that makes people want to part with their money, that makes their life better. That matters to me a lot.
  3. I want to work with really smart people who have fun together.

 

“Metromile checks all three of these boxes and more. That’s because I very much believe in Metromile’s future. Working at Uber, I became immersed in mobility and learned how that landscape is continuing to evolve. When I think about the future of mobility, I see Metromile as a key player in expanding individual freedom.”

 

Interested in working with Paw and the rest of our eng team? We’re hiring tech talent in our Boston and San Francisco offices.  

Drive a Toyota? Here’s Your Personalized Maintenance Checklist

 

Toyota drivers, rejoice! Your patience is being rewarded. Earlier this year, we shared a personalized maintenance checklist for Honda drivers, but today it is all about you. We’re excited to share a personalized maintenance checklist. According to our research, Toyota Corolla, Camry, and Prius are among the top five cars owned by Metromilers.  

 

Since 1957, these reliable, Japanese-made cars have been cruising American roads. In fact, did you know that 80% of Toyotas sold twenty years ago are still on the roads today? That’s a sign that Toyotas are pretty reliable vehicles if you ask us. Toyota makes a vehicle for everyone. Let’s dive into some of our best car care tips for all you Toyota drivers.

 

How To Keep Your Toyota Running Like New


For all Toyota models, performing regular maintenance according to the factory-recommended maintenance schedule is the best way to keep your vehicle running in optimal condition. Take care of your Toyota now and it can be part of the 80% still on the roads twenty years from now.


If you drive a Toyota Prius:
A Toyota Prius is the ultimate commuter car. Great on gas, reliable, and easy-to-drive, the Prius is one of Toyota’s top-sellers. Maintenance schedules for the Toyota Prius can either be calculated with miles or months, depending on which you reach first. If you’re a consistent commuter, you’ll want to schedule your maintenance around a mileage system; if you don’t drive the car as often, you’ll want to follow the month system.

 

Here’s a quick list of maintenance items for your new Toyota Prius:

 

  • Every 5,000 miles/6 months: Check installation of driver’s floor mat, inspect and adjust all fluid levels, inspect wiper blades, rotate tires, visually inspect brake linings/drums and brake pads/discs
  • 10,000 miles/12 months: Check installation of driver’s floor mat, inspect and adjust all fluid levels, inspect wiper blades, replace engine oil and oil filter, rotate tires, visually inspect brake linings/drums and brake pads/discs
  • 15,000 miles/18 months: Check installation of driver’s floor mat, inspect and adjust all fluid levels, inspect wiper blades, rotate tires, visually inspect brake linings/drums and brake pads/discs, and inspect the following parts: ball joints and dust covers, brake lines and hoses, cabin air filter, drive shaft boots, engine/inverter coolant, exhaust pipes and mountings, radiator, condenser and intercooler, steering gear, steering linkage and boots
  • 20,000 miles/24 months: Check installation of driver’s floor mat, inspect and adjust all fluid levels, inspect wiper blades, replace engine oil and oil filter, rotate tires, visually inspect brake linings/drums and brake pads/discs
  • 60,000 miles/48 months: Check installation of driver’s floor mat, inspect and adjust all fluid levels, inspect wiper blades, rotate tires, visually inspect brake linings/drums and brake pads/discs, replace cabin air filter, replace engine air filter, replace engine oil and oil filter
  • 100,000 miles/120 months: Check installation of driver’s floor mat, inspect and adjust all fluid levels, inspect wiper blades, rotate tires, visually inspect brake linings/drums and brake pads/discs, replace cabin air filter, replace engine oil and oil filter, replace engine coolant


If you drive a Toyota Camry:
The Toyota Camry is an incredibly reliable vehicle, and if well-taken-care-of, can stay on the road for decades. Toyota recommends a routine service appointment about every 5,000 miles for your Toyota Camry. You should also schedule additional special services at other mile intervals as well.

 

Below is a breakdown of all of the services your Camry needs and when they need to be performed:

 

  • Every 5,000 miles: Change oil and filter, check tire pressure and tread, inspect, top off fluid levels, inspect brakes and exterior light bulbs, check wiper blades and replace if needed
  • Every 15,000 miles: Check brake fluid, brake lines, and hoses, inspect steering and suspension components, check cooling system, check air filter, inspect exhaust system, rotate tires
  • Every 30,000 miles: Replace air filter (including cabin air filter), check distributor cap and ignition wires
  • Every 45,000 miles: Replace coolant and brake fluid
  • Every 90,000 miles: Change transmission fluid


It’s important to note that each service appointment should involve an oil change to promote the longevity of your engine.


General Toyota Maintenance Checklist


Low oil levels can have a disastrous effect on your Toyota’s engine, so you’ll need to check that level the most often. Following the guidelines below of items to check (but not necessarily change), you can rest assured that you have all of your bases covered:

 

  • Check the engine oil and coolant levels every time you fill the fuel tank
  • Check the transmission and brake fluid levels about once a month
  • Check your tire pressure every month, since the pressure inside the tire can change when the air temperature outside the car changes
  • Every month, check to make sure all of your lights are working properly

 

Periodic Maintenance Items By Mileage

 

  • Every 5,000 Miles
  • Check installation of driver’s floor mat
    • Inspect and adjust all fluid levels
    • Inspect wiper blades
    • Rotate tires
    • Visually inspect brake linings/drums and brake pads/discs

 

The following mileage marks are when you should have these items changed, replaced or checked. Take care of these maintenance items when this mileage shows up on your Toyota’s odometer.

 

  • 30,000 Miles
    • Inspect valve clearance
    • Replace spark plugs
    • Replace air filter
    • Inspect or replace drive belts 
  • 45,000 Miles
    • Replace engine coolant
    • Replace brake fluid
  • 60,000 Miles
    • Replace spark plugs
    • Inspect or replace drive belts
  • 75,000 Miles
    • Replace engine coolant
  • 90,000 Miles
    • Change brake fluid
    • Replace air filter
    • Replace spark plugs
    • Replace drive belts
    • Change transmission fluid

 

While it initially may seem like a lot, staying on top of these vehicle maintenance guidelines will keep your Toyota in tip-top shape for years to come.

3 Signs It’s Time to Break-Up With Traditional Auto Insurance

Admit it… Have you been with your insurer longer than you’d like? Do you find yourself thinking that the relationship might not be working? Have you considered… breaking up? We’ve all been there. No matter the circumstance, breaking up is hard to do.

Before I switched to Metromile, I was in the same boat. My first experience with car insurance was with a company that my parents used, and since I didn’t know any better, I signed up with them, too. My rate was expensive (even though I had a clean driving record) and since I usually took public transportation during my weekly commute, it felt like I was paying for something I hardly used. That all changed when I spotted a cleverly-worded Metromile ad on the train and grabbed a free quote.

To find the right insurer, you might feel like you’re kissing a lot of frogs. For me, it actually felt a lot like finding that particular person worthy of a love letter, the one who makes your heart skip a beat. I switched my insurance to Metromile nearly four years ago, and I’ve never looked back.

If you’ve experienced any of the following signs, chances are it’s time to move on. Bonus: you don’t have to wait for the end of your insurance renewal to switch. With Metromile, you can switch and sign up anytime. Beyond likely saving money, you’ll get to know a different kind of car insurer.

3 Signs It’s Time to Break-Up With Traditional Auto Insurance

The relationship feels one-sided

With traditional auto insurance, paying a flat rate regardless of how much you drive just doesn’t seem fair. With Metromile, you are always charged fairly based on how much you drive. Did you know that low-mileage drivers can potentially cut their bill in half with Metromile? Every human on this earth hates paying for things they don’t use. If you drive less than 10k miles a year like me, I bet you’re spending too much with your current insurer.

You don’t want to worry about someone stealing your car (‘s heart)

Cars are pricey, and many times they can carry the same sentimental weight as a family member. Having the peace-of-mind of knowing where your vehicle is at all times is priceless. With the Metromile Pulse, a device you plug into your car’s OBD-II port, and the accompanying app, you’ll always know where your car is located. Can your current car insurance company say that? Also, did you know that the Pulse helps recover stolen vehicles? In fact, the company has recovered 94% of stolen vehicle claims – the national average is less than 60%.

Communication has broken down

Dealing with a car insurance claim can be stressful and time consuming; the customer service helplines alone can make you feel like you’re taking a number at the DMV. I’ve found that Metromile does things differently. Not only do they have s US-based claims team, but they also have AVA, a virtual claims assistant. AVA can help with car rentals, auto body recommendations, and even provide payouts in some situations.

Be safe and see you on the road!

Still Have Questions?

Visit Metromile’s Help Center! Still have a question we haven’t answered? Call 1-888-311-2909, or send an email and the Customer Experience team will get back to you right away.
Switching to Metromile is easy and only takes a few minutes. Grab a free quote today and find out how much you could be saving!

A Love Letter to my Car Insurance Company

Hey, Metromilers! It’s Julianne! Some of you may know me from my blog, The Wink, or from my side hustle, writing here for the Metromile blog. What you may not know is that I’ve been a loyal customer of Metromile for four years! What started as a trial run has turned into what I hope will be a lifelong commitment.

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, here’s a little love letter I penned to my one-and-only, my love, and the best car insurance I’ve ever had – Metromile.

Dear Metromile,

 

I was thinking today about how very much I love you, and how I really don’t tell you that enough. So I wanted to sit down and let you know how you’ve truly changed my life in the best ways possible.

Nearly four years ago, I saw your ad on the train:

 

Roses are red
Pay-per-mile car insurance
Could cut your bill in half
Ta-da

 

Were you talking to me? It felt like kismet. I was in an unhappy relationship with my current car insurance company and needed to get out; you were writing romantic poems and plastering them all over train cars. Was it meant to be? Were you looking for me, too?

I needed to meet you, so I got a free quote online. The rest, as they say, is history.

Although it’s been a few years since we met, every day with you feels like a new adventure. It’s a feeling of safety; a feeling of knowing that someone always has my back. Your unwavering support has carried me through some challenging moments in my life.

 

Remember the time my windshield cracked? I didn’t know what to do, but you held my hand and told me that it would be okay. You even came and fixed it the very same day. I’ve never known commitment like this before, but what I do know is that I’m all in.

 

Before you, I only felt frustration. I thought car insurance was a lost cause – something you’re required to have and pay out the nose for. I had a few car insurance companies before we met, but none ever really felt like “the one.” When you meet “the one,” you forget everything that came before and you never look back. That’s how I feel about you, Metromile. You’re my bae – before anything else. We’ve been going strong for almost half a decade and I’ve never once questioned my decision to switch. When you know, you know.

 

You never forget to remind me when I’m parked in a street sweeping zone. You always help me find my car when I forget where I parked. You help me keep my car healthy and decode problems right away. Your loyalty and dedication are what it means to be a good friend.

You truly complete me. These last few years have been the happiest of my life. I can’t tell you how lucky I feel to always have my best friend by my side (and in my pocket).

 

I can’t wait to grow old with you, because I know you’ll be there supporting me throughout my golden years. Long after the hustle and bustle of life have subsided, we’ll still be going strong together.

 

I can’t wait to see what our future holds. Happy Valentine’s Day, Metromile.

 

 

All my love,

Julianne

How Much Should Your Car Insurance Cost?

It’s hard to think of anything more loathsome than overpaying for something you need. Imagine accidentally discovering your neighbor shells out half of what you do for internet that’s twice as fast. Pretty irksome, right?

red car passing in front of brown and white concrete building

How Much Should Your Car Insurance Cost?

If casually discussing your monthly bills with friends and acquaintances isn’t your style, then the best way to ensure you’re paying the appropriate amount for necessary goods and services is to do some research and stick to companies you trust. Case in point: Metromile, a company that believes customers should pay a fair and affordable rate for what they use (what a concept, right?). When you switch to Metromile for car insurance, you can rest assured you’re getting exactly what you pay for and never being taken for a ride.

The Average Cost of Car Insurance in 2018

While it’s totally possible to get a general sense of what car insurance costs around the country, it’s important to keep in mind that rates can vary quite a bit based on numerous factors like location, age, gender, vehicle type, etc. But all that said, you can still look at the big picture and figure out where you stand.

Our friends over at The Zebra did some analysis across the country and found that in 2018, the typical rate for Americans paying car insurance was $1,426/year or $118.63/month. Shocked? Surprised? Pleasantly at peace with what you’re paying? It’s worth understanding the methodology behind The Zebra’s findings before you freak out or celebrate. The researchers came to those numbers after examining nearly 53 million rates between September and December 2017 across all United States zip codes, including Washington, DC.

The team devised a consistent base profile for the insured driver to come to their conclusions: Analysis used a consistent base profile for the insured driver. This fictional driver:

  • Was a 30-year-old single male
  • Drove a 2013 Honda Accord EX
  • Had a good driving history
  • Had coverage limits of $50,000 bodily injury liability per person/$100,000 bodily injury liability per accident/$50,000 property damage liability per accident
  • Had a $500 deductible for comprehensive and collision

Taking all that and more into consideration, The Zebra team settled on the average rate of $1,426/year or $118.63/month. But to fully grasp all that went into those numbers, it’s helpful to break down the factors one by one.

What Factors Impact Your Rate

If you’ve been reading the Metromile blog for a while, then you probably know a bit about how car insurance is calculated. But here’s a refresher on the most common factors that make up car insurance rates across carriers:

  1. Age:

    According to research, age reliably correlates with risky driving behavior, and those at the lower and higher ends of the spectrum are generally considered to be greater risks on the road. Typically teens, people under the age of 30, and adults older than 70 have higher rates.

  2. Location:

    Where you live in the country may have the biggest influence over how much you pay since car insurance is regulated at the state level and priced by zip code. That means wherever your car is usually parked could heavily influence whether your monthly bill is high or low.

  3. Vehicle type:

    Just like you, your car is unique, and it has a specific identifier that no other car has: its vehicle identification number (VIN). The 17-character code is used for tracking recalls, registrations, warranty claims, thefts, and, yes, insurance coverage. When you provide your VIN to an insurance carrier, that company is able to take a peek into your vehicle’s mileage, accident history, model, etc. All those attributes are factored into your premium cost.

  4. Driving History:

    It really does pay to be safe. The more tickets, accidents, and violations you rack up, the higher your rates will be.

  5. Coverage:

    Your coverage limits and deductible amount affect your overall rate. In short: higher limits equal high rates and lower deductibles result in higher rates. The higher your deductible, the more likely you’ll have a lower rate (but, of course, it’s crucial to select a deductible amount you can actually afford).

The Car Insurance Carrier You Choose Matters

When you’re analyzing average rates between carriers, it’s important to know you’re not exactly comparing apples to apples. Each car insurance company relies on slightly different calculations to formulate rates, and, as mentioned above, each state operates differently on top of that. So while The Zebra’s national averages might be a helpful starting point when taking stock of your own rate, understanding the personal factors that are contributing to your costs will better equip you to make necessary changes.

So, what’s the bottom line, you ask? How much should car insurance actually cost? As you probably guessed by now, there’s no single clear-cut answer, and how that question is answered depends heavily on who’s asking it. But while there are no black or white answers in the world of car insurance costs, there are a few general, overarching rules of thumb worth following.

Know that you can expect small decreases in your bill as you age (until you turn 70, usually). And if you really want to guarantee you’re on track to score the best deal and truly getting what you’re paying for, then it’s time to make the switch to Metromile. Not only is Metromile the kind of company that will only ever charge you for the miles you drive, but it’s a comprehensive carrier that will help you save money on everything from street sweeping tickets to mechanic shop visits — seriously.

Ready to make the switch? Call 1.888.242.5204 or visit metromile.com to get your free quote. And if you’re already a member, consider a chat with one of Metromile’s qualified agents to find out how you could be saving even more money. Still have questions? Reach out to us on Twitter, FB, or Instagram or visit the help center.

How to Avoid a Winter Car Breakdown

A dead battery, a flat tire, a stalled engine… on a frigid and stormy night, these are every driver’s worst fear. It’s bad enough that shoveling our cars out of snow piles is a daily occurrence during the winter. When real car trouble strikes, however, it can be extremely dangerous. There’s nothing worse than car trouble, and during the coldest months of the year, it’s all too common.

road coated by snow

How to Avoid a Winter Car Breakdown

From what to do if your car breaks down, to how to stay warm when your battery dies or you go off the road, we are sharing the top causes for winter breakdowns, our tips for avoiding them, and what to do if a breakdown is unavoidable.

Top Causes for Winter Car Breakdowns:

A dead battery

Did you know that it’s more difficult for a car battery to produce a charge during the colder winter months? This means that when you turn the key, it might not produce enough energy to start your car. That’s a scary thought.

Don’t get caught in the cold with a dead battery – use our tips to avoid this winter weather catastrophe.
  • Check your car battery voltage with a voltmeter or multimeter before it gets too cold. You can also ask your mechanic to take a look when you bring your car into the shop to get winterized. What voltage should you look for? Roughly 12.40–12.75 volts is enough to ensure reliable startups in cold weather.
  • If you live in a particularly frigid place, consider investing in a battery rated for cold temperatures. When shopping for a cold-weather battery, look for one with a high CCA (cold cranking amps) count. CCA count is a measure of how many amps the battery can generate in cold or freezing temperatures.

Bald or flat tires

Your tires are your contact with the road, so it’s important to keep them properly maintained for driving in wintery conditions – especially when roadways are slick and icy. Fresh tire treads help channel snow and water away and grip the road, and proper tire pressure helps your car dig into loose or slushy surfaces (like a road covered in a fresh layer of snow!). Without properly maintained tires, your car may have trouble staying on the road or coming to a stop when you hit the brakes. Yikes.

Here are our tips to keeping your tires properly maintained throughout the entire winter season:
  • Be sure to check your tires before winter weather hits, and continue doing so regularly after the temperatures drop. Did you know that the air pressure in your tires can drop 2 PSI for every 10 degrees the outdoor air temperature decreases? Therefore, it’s important that they stay properly inflated during the entire winter season. We suggest using a gas station air pump to check your tires at every other fill-up during the winter.
    Pro tip: the recommended PSI for your tires is usually printed on a sticker on the inside of the drivers-side door.
  • Bald tires and slick roads are a recipe for disaster. It’s crucial to make sure the tread isn’t worn down on your tires during the winter. To check your tread depth, try the Lincoln test: stick a penny into the center of the tread with Lincoln’s head pointed in. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, the tread depth is too low and your tires need to be replaced ASAP.
    Pro tip: spring for some dedicated snow tires if you live in a place with severe weather.

Engine issues

If, on a particularly freezing morning, you turn the key in the ignition and you hear a squealing noise akin to cats fighting and see steam pouring out of the hood – there’s a good chance that your radiator has either frozen or cracked. In cold weather, your engine can also overheat (yes, you read that right!). This is due to the motor oil becoming thicker and not circulating properly throughout the engine.

Here are our pro tips for avoiding engine problems in the coldest months of the year:
  • Park indoors whenever possible. Parking indoors will help prevent fluids in your engine from constantly vacillating between freezing and expanding. Be sure to also check your car’s coolant concentration before winter hits (hey, it’s called antifreeze for a reason!). Your mechanic should have it on their pre-winter checklist to make sure the fluid proportions are correct to keep them from freezing.
    Pro tip: a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water should be sufficient.
  • Try swapping out a standard oil for multi-viscosity motor oil, which will perform better in all weather conditions. Ask your mechanic or contact your vehicle manufacturer’s customer service line to find out if you should do a winter oil change – they may recommend switching to thinner, less viscous oil that’s rated higher for colder temperatures.

If You Can’t Avoid A Winter Car Breakdown… Do This

Sometimes a breakdown in winter is unavoidable. Don’t panic.

Here’s what to do in the event of a winter car breakdown:

  1. Stay with your vehicle:

    Whatever you do, stay with (and inside) your vehicle. Exposing yourself to subzero temperatures and extreme weather is dangerous and should be avoided at all costs.

  2. Stay warm:

    Do everything in your power to stay warm by running the heat, layering in warm clothing, and staying inside the vehicle. Your car will provide the best protection and keep you warm and dry until help comes.

  3. Stash water and snacks in your car:

    In the winter, keep extra bottles of water and snacks in your car in case of breakdown. Depending on your location or the severity of the weather, it may be hours before assistance can reach you.

  4. Call Metromile Roadside Assistance:

    Have Metromile insurance with added roadside assistance? Then call for help using the Metromile app, phone or your online dashboard. If you don’t, call for whatever help you can.

  5. Have an emergency roadside kit ready to go in your trunk:

    This includes a snow scraper brush, small shovel, road flares, blanket, warm clothing, hand warmers, a small bag of sand, etc. At the very least, these items will be enough to alert other drivers of your presence and make it easier for assistance to find you in the storm.

What not to do:

  1. Do not leave your vehicle:

    Whatever you do, do not rush out of your vehicle or try to dig your car free of a snow bank. Doing so exposes you to the cold and elements, and it will be much harder to warm your body back up.

  2. Do not fall asleep:

    In some circumstances, you may be waiting hours for help to come and it might be tempting to doze off. Do everything you can to stay awake. If you’re trapped inside your car with the engine running, you may be susceptible to carbon monoxide poisoning. Falling asleep during carbon monoxide exposure is extremely dangerous and can lead to instant death.

Still Have Questions?

Still have questions? Reach out to us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram or visit the help center. Not a part of the Metromile fam yet? Grab a free quote now and see how much you could be saving each month. Metromile customers save an average of $611 a year! Current Metromile customers: refer a friend to Metromile and get $25! Be safe this winter and see you on the roads.

Metromile Supports Customers Affected By Government Shutdown

Metromile will enable customers who are federal employees currently affected by the shutdown to pause auto payments on their current insurance bill for as long as the shutdown persists.

“Loyalty is a two-way street,” said Dan Preston, CEO at Metromile. “Metromile customers are fiercely loyal to us, and it’s our job to ensure they can rely on us for a positive experience in good times and bad. We know this is a period of hardship for many, and we want to do our part to ease the financial burden faced by customers affected by the shutdown.”