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Coronavirus Auto Insurance: How to Get a Refund or Save

You may have heard about car insurance discounts, rebates, or refunds due to the coronavirus pandemic. Some car insurance companies are providing savings because fewer people are driving because of stay-at-home or social distancing guidelines.

As many of us cancel our vacations, take fewer trips around town, or work from home, we put together a guide to the refunds and other savings available for car insurance.

How to save on car insurance during coronavirus with discounts and refunds

In addition to factors like what kind of car you drive or your driving and insurance history, many insurance companies consider how much you drive when they set your rate. For example, if you drive 10,000 or fewer miles a year (this is most Americans!), you could save on car insurance.

Some car insurance companies have also started to provide partial premium refunds and other savings in response to how many drivers have reduced or stopped their driving. Some notable savings and discounts include:

Can I get a discount because I’m not driving to work anymore?

You could save some money if you’re no longer commuting back and forth to work. Similarly, your savings could add up if you’re also taking fewer trips to restaurants, shops, or vacations.

Metromile provides pay per mile car insurance, so one of the biggest factors behind how much you pay for car insurance is how much you drive. If you drive less, you can pay a lower rate to keep your car covered. 

During some states’ shelter-in-place and social distancing guidelines, Metromile customers saved approximately 30% on average on car insurance, beginning in April. They didn’t need to call to ask for a discount or let their insurance company know they started working from home or were driving less—their bills were lowered automatically when they drove less and stayed home because they pay per mile.

Why canceling your auto insurance is a bad idea

Each state has minimum requirements for car insurance coverage, so you shouldn’t cancel your policy. Often, you’re required to have car insurance, even if you’re not driving your car. For example, comprehensive coverage will be useful if something falls on your car while it’s parked. Also, if you finance your car, your lender or leasing company may have also required you to keep a certain amount of coverage.

How to lower your auto insurance rate during the coronavirus pandemic

Metromile and some other insurance companies let you personalize your policy, including your coverage limits and totals. You might have optional car insurance coverage unique to your state and situation that you could temporarily reduce to help you lower your rate. If you do make any changes, remember to review your policy again later, especially if you start driving again or your habits change. 

Options if you can’t pay your car insurance bill during the coronavirus pandemic

Many insurance companies are providing assistance with your coverage and policy. If you need some extra support, think about contacting your insurance company to learn what may be available.

Metromile is making payment relief options available, so you won’t lose your coverage if you can’t pay now. Metromile customers can also make partial payments if they can’t pay their complete balance for no fees, including late fees.

Has car insurance changed because of the coronavirus pandemic?

Your car insurance should be the same unless your car insurance company lets you know your policy has changed. Drivers should still be able to file a car insurance claim during the coronavirus pandemic. Insurance companies have not stopped processing claims, and in many cases, you can file a claim online. Metromile customers can file a claim 24/7 from the Metromile app or their online dashboard on the Metromile website.

Your insurance company may ask you to share photos or videos of your damage to help understand your damage. It’s a good idea to check your policy or contact your company, so you can follow their latest requirements.

Don’t worry about getting your car repaired. Many auto repair shops are open, even during shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders, because they are generally considered essential businesses.

Bottom line

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused stress and uncertainty, but car insurance doesn’t have to be one of them. Car insurance companies are providing extra support for your policy, including savings as you drive less, payment relief options, and help to keep your car covered.

How I Drive: A Mother of Two Saves Money with Pay Per Mile Insurance

Courtney with her two young sons

Courtney Welch is a mother of two from Hayward, California, who, during the recent shelter-in-place order and her recent maternity leave, noticed her driving habits changing. She switched to Metromile — and inspired her parents to do so as well! — and has been putting money back into her family’s budget with what she’s saved with Metromile.

How long have you been a Metromile customer, and what inspired you to check us out?

I’ve been with Metromile since April of this year, so about three months. I saw your commercials and thought “that seems like a nifty idea!” You’d be helping the environment, helping fight off the pandemic by sheltering in place, and you’d be saving money by not driving.

This was literally one of the greatest decisions to help with expanding my maternity leave budget.

Was the insurance you had previously different from Metromile?

I was driving a lot, a lot, a lot before COVID-19. I was driving about 40 miles a day round-trip, previously. I had moved farther from my son’s school so my commute was considerably longer.

In the first six weeks of my maternity leave, I only drove about 180 miles in total.

There was a considerably big drop in my mileage, as I was barely driving my car anymore — just to the grocery store down the street if that. It was the perfect time to switch to Metromile; I love it.

How has your driving changed? Do you think this is your new normal?

I recently got a new job — only about seven miles from my house. I definitely won’t be driving nearly as much as I was previously since I’ll be working remotely for the foreseeable future. My son’s new school is considerably closer to home as well.

Shortly after I switched over to Metromile, my 67-year-old parents did too. They drive even less than I do! They had been paying $250 a month on car insurance for a car that they weren’t using; it was just sitting there collecting dust. They’re on retirement income and want to be mindful about their spending.

My mom had a great conversation with the representative when she signed up and is happy she can speak with a human, and now they have money back in their budget. They only drive to doctor’s appointments and the occasional errand.

Do you use the Metromile app?

Yes, I do! When I financed my car and switched from my previous insurance company, I had to send over my insurance information and coverage details. It was super easy for me to go in and download my proof of insurance card. All of those documents were super easy to find right in the app, to download, and email them over.

I think the budget tracker (trip tracker) is such a cool feature, too. I don’t go to the gas station as often anymore, but it’s nice to have just in case you might forget how much you have left in your tank.

I’m also glad the diagnostic portal is there just to let me know if and when something might be going on.

Do you have any feedback for us?

Thank you for existing. My next goal is to get a larger car since I have a larger family. 

With Metromile, I have the ability to track and control how much I’m spending because I’m paying per mile. I can put more money towards a new vehicle since I’m not spending so much on insurance. That frees up my budget for other things like diapers!

The Top 6 Ways to Lower Your Car Insurance Bill

Keeping these tips in mind can help you stay on top of your auto insurance costs

It can be hard right now to cover current expenses. Many of us are looking for new ways to reduce our spending and find easy ways to save money. One place you shouldn’t cut is car insurance, as you’ll need it if you ever get into an accident. Fortunately, car insurance doesn’t have to be expensive.

Consider these six steps to help lower your car insurance bill.

1. Understand your current coverage.

It’s important to understand your current policy. You will want to know where you currently stand, so you can evaluate whether the coverage and limits you originally purchased are still right for you. You might have purchased your policy when your lifestyle was different. For example, if you are now driving an older car, you might not need as much coverage than when you had a sports car. Once you understand your current coverage, you can make an apples-to-apples comparison with other available policies to make a more informed financial decision.

2. Check rates often.

Don’t forget to shop around for car insurance. Car insurance prices can change over time, so this is a situation where set it and forget it might not work well for your wallet. The fact is car insurance premiums can vary among insurance companies, even for the same levels of coverage.

A good way to make sure you have a good rate is to consider pay-per-mile car insurance like Metromile. Because you only pay for the miles you drive, you could pay less for car insurance when you drive less. It’s like an automatic discount because your coverage adapts to your lifestyle.

3. Ask for discounts.

It often goes unnoticed but insurance companies have different discounts available. When you signed up, you might not have known you were eligible for some discounts, or your situation may have changed since you first purchased your policy, which now qualifies you to save.

A common car insurance discount is a multi-vehicle discount if you insure more than one car on the same policy. There are also rate reductions available based on the kind of job you have, whether you are married, or rewards for being a safe driver. These discounts can add up, so it can be worthwhile to call your insurer to check for any discounts for which you might be eligible.

4. Increase the deductible.

If you have a good driving record and very rarely get into accidents, you could increase your deductible to save money on your car insurance. You generally pay more for car insurance if you have a lower deductible.

Keep in mind that your deductible is how much you need to pay before your insurance kicks in. For example, if your car needs $1,500 in repairs and your policy has a $500 deductible, you’ll be responsible for paying $500 before your insurance covers the remaining $1,000. If you increase your deductible, you might want to consider saving money to make sure your emergency fund could cover the difference to avoid a bad surprise later.

5. Consider temporarily changing your coverage.

Your car insurance policy should work for you. Fortunately, Metromile and some other insurance companies let you personalize your policies, including your coverage limits and totals. You can ask your insurer about any optional coverage unique to your state that you could temporarily reduce to help you save, for example.

Each state has minimum requirements, so don’t get too overboard with any reductions. You’ll need to keep the minimum coverage and limits required by your state so that you don’t have a lapse in coverage. Similarly, if you finance your car, review your financing information, as your lienholder or lease company could have coverage requirements or require you to let them know if you make any changes to your insurance policy.

If you do make any changes, make sure you remember to review your policy again later. You don’t want to get caught without the coverage you might need when you return to your usual driving habits.

6. Drive an older car.

The car you drive affects how much you pay for car insurance. Generally, if you have an older car, you’ll pay less than if you had a newer or luxury car. Older cars tend to be cheaper to insure because their car parts are more widely available, and the value of cars tends to decrease over time.

If you have an older car, you could also drop optional coverage that you might not need. For example, if your car is worth less than your deductible, you could end up spending more money than the repair. In this case, it could be more economical to stick to your state’s minimum requirements.

Bottom line

Car insurance is often one of the biggest expenses, but it’s not something you should ever go without if you have a car. However, you don’t have to pay too much to get the coverage and experience that you deserve. 

Catalytic Converter Theft Is Up 25%

At Metromile, we care about your safety and protecting you from undue costs, including theft. Unfortunately, catalytic converter theft is on the rise, especially in the state of California.

The Toyota Prius and other hybrid cars are the most common targets, but thieves also steal catalytic converters from SUVs and trucks. 

Recently, catalytic converter claims at Metromile have increased by around 25%, on average costing thousands of dollars to replace. Rest assured, if your car insurance policy includes comprehensive coverage, it could help cover costs up to your coverage limits, including replacing your catalytic converter and any necessary repairs from any damage caused by the thief.

How can I protect my vehicle from catalytic converter theft?

Whenever possible, park in well-lit areas that are near cameras or higher pedestrian traffic. If you have a personal garage, store your car in the garage with the door closed and locked. Attaching a security device, such as a cat-shield, may also reduce the likelihood your car is targeted.

What is a catalytic converter?

The catalytic converter reduces the toxic gases and pollutants that exit the tailpipe. It is located between the engine and the exhaust system, usually underneath your car. 

The precious metals inside the converter, such as palladium and platinum, make it a popular choice for thieves. It can be cut off from your car in mere minutes.

How does a catalytic converter work?

When pollutants in fuel pass over the palladium and platinum inside the catalytic converter, they trigger a chemical reaction that burns or oxidizes the harmful components. Then, the newly cleaned emissions pass through and out of the tailpipe.

The very metals that are so desired by these thieves are used specifically for this car part because they are exactly what make the converter work, chemically. Think of it as a chemistry experiment taking place in a fancy metal chamber underneath your car! 

In the event of a malfunction, the exhaust flow is affected, which can disrupt your car’s performance, hinder fuel economy and can even cause difficulties with starting your car. Sometimes, it is not the actual converter that is malfunctioning, but a domino effect of other issues occurring in another part of the engine’s network of systems and parts — like a piston ring that’s stuck or bad spark plugs. Thankfully, since OBD-II ports have a sensor to monitor, among other things, the efficiency of the converter, any issue affecting your catalytic converter will trigger your check engine light. And, as a Metromile pay per mile customer, your Pulse device reads that sensor and can let you know should an issue arise. Though malfunctions do occur, the good news is most catalytic converters function properly and last for the life of the vehicle. 

A Guide to Making Your Money Go Further

The COVID-19 pandemic is upending nearly every aspect of our lives. Every day, news headlines seem to bring more questions than answers. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed amidst the uncertainty, but you shouldn’t let these set back your financial success.

Consider these four steps to stretch your budget, so you have a better chance of shoring up your budget, even if you’ve lost income because of a furlough, layoff, or reduced hours at work.

1. Look into refinancing

The Federal Reserve has cut rates to nearly zero, which makes it an appealing time to refinance. In other words, you may be able to replace a loan, such as your mortgage, private student loan, or personal loan, with another loan that has a lower interest rate. Refinancing can help you lower your bills by reducing what you have to pay for a loan.

Refinancing isn’t always a good idea, though. For example, so many people are looking to refinance their mortgages that some lenders are actually increasing their rates. Plus, many loans come with closing costs, which could eat up some of your precious cash. Before you apply, talk to an expert or use an online mortgage refinance calculator to see whether refinancing will save you money.

Time estimate: It depends on what you’re trying to refinance. Mortgages, which are usually the most complicated, could take hours as you usually need to send the lender a ton of documents, get your place appraised, and more. However, refinancing other loans, such as your car or credit card debt, should take less time.

2. Apply for unemployment

If your employer reduced your hours or shut down completely, apply for unemployment as soon as you can. Government programs, including from Congress’ CARES Act, greatly expanded unemployment coverage, including:

  • Extended benefits by 13 weeks
  • Added an extra $600 a week for four months on top of state benefits
  • Extended to those who don’t qualify for regular state employment, including self-employed people and part-time workers

Check with your state government to see if you’re eligible and to apply. You can also check out this guide from the Department of Labor to learn more about your state’s program.

Time estimate: Many states let you apply online, and the application is usually pretty straightforward — you just need to have the right information on hand, like your former employer’s contact information, dates of employment, and latest pay stubs.

3. Take up a side-hustle

With the time you would’ve spent commuting, you can also try to make some extra cash. Companies like Upwork allow you to complete tasks from home, whether you want to design, write, or be a virtual assistant. Delivery apps and grocery stores are also ramping up hiring to keep up with the increased demand now that everyone is leaving the home less often.

Time estimate: It’s up to you! Some of these gigs can take minutes, while others can span hours — it depends on your schedule and what you’re looking for.

4. Talk to a professional

If you’re feeling overwhelmed (who isn’t?), reach out to a professional. Many can talk you through your situation and help evaluate your options for little or no cost.

Be careful, though — there are a lot of untrustworthy companies and scams out there. We recommend using a housing counselor or credit counseling organization recommended by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Jenna Lee is a content marketer, Oxford comma enthusiast, and cat lover living in the Bay Area.

The Top 3 Financial Moves to Make While You Shelter in Place

Let’s be real. Even if you’re fortunate enough to not get sick, COVID-19 will likely affect your life.  With all of this uncertainty, it’s best to start preparing now. Fortunately, if you’re one of the millions of Americans who have been urged to stay home, you likely have more time on your hands right now. In the United States, the average commute is around 27 minutes, which means if your company lets you work from home, you could save about an hour a day. (I save around two hours!)

This extra time is the perfect opportunity to make smart financial moves that can help protect yourself financially. Here’s how you can prepare: 

Assess your situation

If you haven’t already, begin by taking stock of your financial situation — you can’t make a plan if you don’t know what you’re working with. This means:

  • Check your bank accounts. Figure out how much you usually spend each month and how long your savings would last if you lost your job.
  • Check your debt statements. Check your credit cards, student loans, auto loans — everything you owe — and note how much debt you have in total.
  • Check your credit. If you end up needing to apply for more credit, it’s important to know your chances of being approved. A review of your credit score and credit report can help you prepare.

Once you have a good idea of your situation, it’ll be easier to prepare for the future and decide whether you need to make any of the financial moves below. For example, if you have a ton of credit card debt but have good credit, you could consider applying for a personal loan, a credit card with an introductory 0% APR, or a balance transfer. Or, if you’ve calculated that you’ll run out of savings in a month, you can contact your lenders and ask for more time to make payments.

Note: the one type of account you shouldn’t check is your investments, including your 401(k) retirement account. As the stock market is fluctuating, checking your investment accounts may cause you some unneeded stress. If you’re not in desperate need of the money you’ve invested, just ride this wave out. Investing is a long-term game — don’t get distracted by any short-term setbacks.

Time estimate: It depends on how many accounts you have (and how good you are at memorizing the passwords you need to get into your accounts). In general, this shouldn’t take more than a few hours or a weekend afternoon.

Contact your lenders if you need help

Late payments can wreak havoc on your credit, which could subsequently affect your ability to borrow for years to come. If you can’t make a payment, though, don’t just accept the hit. 

When disasters happen, the FDIC notes that “Your creditors will likely work with you on a solution, but it’s important to contact them as soon as possible and explain your situation.” In other words, don’t wait until you start missing payments.

Whether you need help from your phone company, mortgage servicer, credit card issuers, private student loan servicer, or insurance companies, simply contact them, let them know you’re having financial troubles due to COVID-19, and ask if they can be flexible. In many cases, they should be willing to help.

Credit cards

Many of the main credit card providers are offering temporary assistance, such as:

  • Allowing you to defer, reduce, or skip payments
  • Reducing or waiving interest charges
  • Increasing your credit limit
  • Waiving fees

Student loans

If you have federal student loans, the CARES Act provides an automatic suspension of payments through September 30 — no need to contact your student loan servicer. If you have private student loans, get in touch with your servicer, and see what they can do to help.

Mortgages

If your mortgage is backed by the federal government, you may be able to suspend payments for up to a year if you’ve lost income because of COVID-19. Simply submit a request to your mortgage servicer and let them know you’re experiencing financial hardship.

If your mortgage isn’t backed by the federal government, reach out to your servicer anyway and see if they can offer relief. It doesn’t hurt to ask.

Before you ask

Your lenders and servicers will likely ask questions about your situation to determine the best way to help you. Be ready to explain your situation and estimate how much you can pay and when you think you can resume full payments.

Time estimate: Varies. Unfortunately, many banks are experiencing very long wait times as they try to assist all of their customers. If you anticipate needing help, don’t wait until the day your bill is due — contact your provider as soon as possible in case you can’t get through to them the first time.

See where you can cut back on spending

In theory, it should be easier to spend less money these days. If your city or state is requiring you to shelter in place, not only are you probably not commuting, but you’re also probably not going shopping, going to the movie theater, going on vacation, or participating in other activities.

But don’t just assume you’re spending less money — instead, actively seek ways to cut back. Look at your financial statements and cancel or pause anything that’s not necessary while you’re at home. Think gyms, daycares, and more. If your company allows you to allocate some of your pay to your commute pre-tax, it may also be worth pausing that so you can get more money in each paycheck.

Once you’ve taken care of the obvious expenses, get creative. For example, if you anticipate sheltering for the foreseeable future, you could save money switching to pay-per-mile car insurance through Metromile. On average, our customers save $741 a year, according to a survey of new customers who saved in 2018.

Time estimate: If you log into each account separately, it could take hours. To save time, consider using a free or low-cost budgeting app to get a holistic look at your spending across different categories from restaurants to utilities and more.

Jenna Lee is a content marketer, Oxford comma enthusiast, and cat lover living in the Bay Area. 

Is Now a Good Time to Switch Insurance Companies?

The coronavirus pandemic has changed life for many of us. We know that now more than ever, it’s important to spend money wisely and cut costs whenever possible. While you may not be able to look for other options with large bills like your rent or utility bills, your car insurance is one area where you can save a lot of money with little work.

Here’s how you can get started to stop overpaying for coverage you might not need. 

1. Know that you can switch insurers at any time. 

Unlike some other bills, the great thing about switching car insurance is that you don’t need to wait for a specific time to do it. You can cancel your car insurance policy, and generally, your car insurance company will refund the unused portion of any premiums you paid.

2. Understand that you might be overpaying if your driving or lifestyle has changed recently.

Insurance companies will often use your age, driving and insurance history, location, the value of your vehicle, and other factors to determine how much you need to pay for car insurance.

Many people don’t realize that how much you drive is also considered. If you don’t have a regular commute or drive only when necessary, you may be paying a similar price to someone who drives hundreds of miles each month.

Many car insurance companies are offering credits, discounts, or rebates toward your bill because everyone is driving less. However, these savings may be temporary, and you may end up overpaying for car insurance if your driving and lifestyle have changed.

Unlike other insurers, you don’t need to let us know when your driving changes. Metromile’s monthly bills are based on how much you drive, so you could benefit from lower insurance costs year-round.

3. Accept that switching insurers is a lot easier than you might think.

Moving to a new insurance company will generally save you money, as you could benefit from more up-to-date rates that reflect how you drive now. Similarly, switching insurers may be a low-risk decision. Many insurers don’t charge cancellation fees if you decide to leave, although it’s always a good rule to contact your insurer or read your policy to check for any fees or penalties before you cut ties.

4. Time your switch wisely to avoid a lapse in coverage.

You don’t want to drive when you’re uninsured. To avoid a lapse in your coverage, time your new policy in effect date with your new insurer. Metromile can help you pick the day you want your coverage to start, so you can cancel your old coverage when your new coverage kicks in. This can help prevent you from paying for two policies at once unnecessarily.

5. Confirm your cancellation.

After you cancel your policy, most insurance companies will send you cancellation paperwork. If your company doesn’t provide this to you automatically, it doesn’t hurt to call and ask for a confirmation letter for your records.

If you don’t own your car, it can also be helpful to confirm that your financing or leasing company is updated about your new coverage when you switch. Some insurance companies might do the legwork of informing your financing company or lienholder, but it never hurts to double-check.

Bottom Line

Because you only pay for what you use with Metromile, pay per mile car insurance can help you avoid overpaying for coverage you might not need and help save you money.

— 

Dillon Gonzales is a Phoenix-based licensed insurance specialist with a passion for providing customers with helpful insurance information and an outstanding experience.

How I Drive: A Turo All-Star Host Pays $50 Each Month to Cover His Maserati

Metromile customer & Turo host Jeff Badu

Jeff Badu is a certified public accountant who works from home full-time in Chicago, managing his tax practice and several other businesses. Jeff originally listed one car on Turo, when he started as a Turo host in 2016 but has since added three additional cars to the car-sharing marketplace. Having hosted nearly 400 trips on the platform, he’s now an All-Star Host, recognized as one of the top-rated and most experienced hosts on Turo. “For me, I had to test it first — that’s what I do with everything in life,” Jeff said about his experience.

How did you hear about Metromile?

Late last year, I got an email from Turo about the Metromile partnership. That was the first time I had heard of Metromile. If I had known about Metromile previously, I would have signed up much, much sooner. 

That’s great to hear! What made you want to sign up with us?

We were getting killed on rates with other insurance companies, especially since we don’t use these cars a lot. I looked at your rates and thought it was too good to be true. The beauty of Metromile is that even if you’re not renting on Turo, a car owner can really benefit from your low rates. 

How have your rates changed since you switched to Metromile?

My rates have been cut down tremendously. I was probably paying about ten times more than I’m now paying with Metromile. For example, I was paying about $500 per month on my Maserati Ghibli, and now, it costs me between $40 to $50 per month to insure that car with Metromile. 

Turo’s insurance covers the guest when they rent cars on the Turo platform, so it didn’t make sense for me to have to pay for the guest’s insurance too. In addition, sometimes the guest would add their own insurance, which meant the car was covered three times! That was crazy.  

Have you been driving less because of COVID-19?

Definitely. I’m driving a lot less myself, and I’m also not getting as many Turo bookings. So, I appreciate Metromile’s savings more than ever. 

Anything else you’d like to share? 

I think Metromile is a great platform. Things are being calculated in a very fair way. The pay per mile pricing is very fair, and it’s very user friendly. It’s improved my budget, and it’s helped me keep my car-sharing going during this recent slow period. 

I also love the car-location feature. I had a car stolen last year when I was with a different insurance company. If I had Metromile at the time, it would have been so much easier because I would have known where it was!

What Is A Motor Vehicle Report?

If you’re ready to switch up your car insurance, you may need a motor vehicle report. Even if your new insurance provider doesn’t request one, it may be helpful for you to review before you shop. Here’s everything you might need to know about your MVR:

What is a motor vehicle report?

A motor vehicle report or MVR is also known as your driving record. Consider the MVR your driving report card which documents everything from traffic tickets, accident reports, DUI convictions, driver’s license points, vehicle-related crimes, and more. Your MVR also includes driver’s license details, such as the driver’s license class, restrictions, endorsements, and personal information like your age, height, or weight.

Why does my car insurance company need a copy of my MVR?

Your car insurance rates are largely based on how risky you might be as a driver on the road. If your MVR indicates that you’re prone to accidents or speeding violations, an insurance company may need to factor those things into the premium you pay. If you have had major violations like DUIs, it can severely impact the rate insurance companies are likely to offer you, compared to a clean record with no history of violations.

Depending on which state you live in, certain items may be removed from your MVR after some time. For example, some violations like a DUI stick around longer, while other violations like a speeding ticket may be expunged sooner. Whether or not violations are stricken from your record after a certain amount of time, most car insurance companies will only take a close look at the most recent years detailed on your MVR. 

How do I get a copy of my MVR?

You can call or visit your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to request a copy of your MVR, but if you’re applying for car insurance, that carrier will contact the DMV themselves to get a copy. Ordering a copy of your MVR can be useful, as knowing all the details of your history can help you estimate how much money you’ll likely be paying for insurance premiums. 

The downside of ordering a copy is that it’ll likely cost you anywhere from $5 to $25, depending on which state you live in. A little tip: request an uncertified version, as it often costs less than an “official” version. You might not be able to use it for a job interview or a court appearance, but it will have all the information you need to understand your history and approximate your car insurance rate.

——

Michelle Konstantinovsky is a San Francisco-based freelance journalist, UC Berkeley alumna, and Metromile customer.

How I Drive: I Chose Pay Per Mile Because I Work From Home

Low-mileage driver & Illinois resident RJ

RJ Weiss works from home full-time in Geneva, Illinois, the western suburb of Chicago, where he lives with his wife and three children. A certified financial planner, he runs The Ways to Wealth. RJ describes it as an online community full of resources that helps people learn how to make money, budget, and invest their money wisely.

The work-from-home financial whiz became a Metromile customer in March 2018, after finding people who work from home weren’t getting a good deal from other insurance companies.

How’d you hear about Metromile?

I found Metromile while comparing options for low-mileage drivers. You could say insurance and financial planning run in my blood. I became a certified financial planner in my 20s, and my family had an insurance agency that dated back four generations. My father was the president of the agency, so we talked about insurance a lot. We still do, even though he’s sold the agency.

Why did you choose Metromile?

I thought my previous insurer wasn’t giving us enough credit for not driving much. We live about 40 miles outside of Chicago, and other than a big road trip now and then, we tend to drive close to home. With my understanding of coverage options, limits and Illinois requirements, Metromile seemed like a great fit for my family. 

We could have bundled our auto insurance with our home insurance, but my home insurer offered a discount that was only about 5% to 10% — that doesn’t come close to what I’m saving with Metromile. Unbundling was definitely a better option for us.

How has your bill been affected by shelter-in-place orders? How much is an average bill now compared to this time last year? 

I was already saving a lot, and now I’m saving even more. Last year, our monthly Metromile bill for both of our cars was usually about $60 or $70 total per month. Since shelter-in-place, it’s dropped to about $45 or $50 per month.

Have you taken advantage of Metromile’s free miles feature? In Illinois, we charge up to 250 miles driven in one day, and any additional miles after that on the same day are free. 

Yes! We took a family road trip to Tennessee last year, and that feature really came in handy. It’s sure nice to have the cap. It wound up being less than $10.

Have you used the Metromile app? 

Yes, I love the app. It’s fun to track my driving and costs. I don’t mind having the Pulse device plugged into our cars because it provides a more accurate view of our driving, keeps our rates low, and benefits me as a consumer.

What’s your advice for people who might be newly working from home or looking for ways to save money?

You have to find insurance companies that are willing to give you credit for what you already do. I found Metromile after I moved to work from home full-time, and it paid off to take advantage of the cost-savings. I know from personal experience that insurance companies have so much data about their customers that the cost can really skyrocket if they don’t want you. 

Additionally, more people are low-mileage drivers than you might think. It’s becoming more common to keep the car parked and walk to the store. It helps that I come from insurance, and I knew this trend; it made me an early mover to pay per mile.