5 Tips For Navigating Thanksgiving Traffic

Thanksgiving brings to mind family, friends, turkey, and potatoes. But, it can also bring Thanksgiving traffic to mind. Millions of people travel for the holidays and a majority of them travel by car. In fact, last year 49 million Americans contributed to road congestion for the Thanksgiving holiday. With all those people on the road, we wanted to share our top tips for stress-free holiday navigating.

Girl Holding Sign 'Give Thanks.' Thanksgiving Traffic Tips

    1. Avoid the busiest travel days: This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s often times easier said than done. The busiest travel days are the Friday before Thanksgiving, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday following Thanksgiving.

    2. The early driver catches the worm: Leave early. Taking data from past holidays, Google has found that leaving by 6 a.m. on Sunday is your best bet. From there on out traffic will only get worse. Headed home? – Leave early; Friday is the best time to head home Thanksgiving traffic free.

    3. When in doubt, Podcast it out: Be prepared for traffic anyways and have a playlist, audiobook or Podcast ready to entertain you while you wait it out. Having something to listen to will keep you calm so you show up to Thanksgiving refreshed not stressed.

    4. Be courteous: Everyone is pretty much on the road for the same reason, to get somewhere to eat and celebrate with loved ones. We could all use a little extra kindness here and there and making the extra effort to be polite to others on the road can make a huge difference.

    5. Be thankful: Traffic is definitely a nuisance and sometimes it’s easier to complain and focus on the negative. But, always remember that the traffic could be worse, or you could not be going to spend the holidays with loved ones. Being thankful for what you have and taking every day one step at a time, and every traffic jam one mile at a time can make that stop-and-go freeway drive that much more bearable.

So this Thanksgiving just remember, planning ahead and being prepared for congestion is the best way to avoid the stress that that traffic can cause. Team Metromile is wishing all you road trippers and commuters a wonderful Thanksgiving. If you do have some big holiday road trips in the future, you are in luck if you are a Metromile pay-per-mile car insurance customer. We have a daily mileage cap so you won’t be charged for over a 250 miles a day (150 in certain states), but still will be totally covered all the way to grandma’s house!

4 Great Ways to Find the Best Mechanic

We use our cars to go pretty much everywhere. It’s our country’s lifestyle. Whether you need to visit the supermarket, friends, family, or any other need you might have, chances are you’re using your car. And that means we need our cars to work. Your vehicle gathers bumps and bruises from use just like you; the only problem is that these issues are much harder to diagnose in a car or truck. That’s why everyone needs the right mechanic to save them money, hassle, and heartache.

man working under VW bug. 4 Great Ways to Find the Best Mechanic

Not everyone’s a car part prodigy but finding right mechanic means you won’t ever have to be one. A skilled mechanic can teach you all the telltale signs to look for that require attention. Mechanics can be extremely helpful – so long as you know where to find the right one.

    1. Find the Best Mechanic: Look Around Online

    To start, look at review sites of mechanic shops. You can narrow in before you even begin searching in earnest by only researching shops where the staffs have all the certifications and accreditations for automotive repair work.

    It is also not a bad idea to investigate social media pages for mechanics, either. Social media has become an extremely valuable resource for businesses; a shop’s social media page will usually give a genuine feel for the people who work in the shop.

    Look for a shop that seems personable, friendly and at ease. You want a shop that’s comfortable with any and all questions you might have.

    2. Choose the Best Mechanic: Do They Have Enthusiasm for the Job?

    We’ve all seen people who were clearly unenthused about their job. In auto repair, that’s a kiss of death. Excitement and earnestness are crucial when you consider the job. A mechanic cannot just go through the motions; they must be thorough in searching for any and all issues with a car. Many vehicle issues are subtle or show only the barest signs of an issue before they become disastrous. If your mechanic’s simply plodding through their day, that won’t do at all.

    A good mechanic is one who enjoys working with machines on a daily basis. They’re passionate about their own vehicle and will talk cars all day long with you. Manual labor and grease are simply bonus perks that come with the job. If you find a passionate mechanic, stick with them and let them know you appreciate them.

    3. Understand your Mechanic: They Go Beyond Stating Problems

    There are many repair shops where you sit in your car and they’ll briefly run down the repairs before telling you how much to pay.

    But why are you paying? Didn’t they fix that thing last time? Why does it need repairing again?

    A good mechanic will actually explain these issues. They’ll go over the causes and help you plan to avoid the sorts of damage that you may be unwittingly afflicting to your vehicle. Some recurring problems are simply common with certain models. The best mechanics will stop to explain these issues and help you plan to prevent issues in the future.

    4. Love your Mechanic: They’ll Teach You Something About Your Car

    When you put yourself around people who are passionate about what they do, you’re bound to learn something.

    Experienced mechanics who enjoy their job and are usually happy to chatter about cars. Some mechanics may even bring you into the shop to show you the workings of your own vehicle. Don’t be surprised after a few visits to the right mechanic if you’re starting to pick up on some really technical details of car repair.

    That knowledge will only help you in taking better care of your car and doing the things that will allow it to run for a long time.

Visiting your mechanic shouldn’t feel like visiting the dentist. It should be a fun journey where most costs are offset by learning. A good mechanic won’t cost you money, after all. They’ll save it, instead.

Looking for other ways to save money on your vehicle? Metromile is excited to offer low mileage drivers a better option on car insurance with pay-per-mile. If you are driving 10,000 miles or less a year you could potentially see great savings with Metromile. To get a quote go to www.metromile.com/insurance and start by typing in your zip code.

Alex Briggs is a contributing writer for Newroadsautoloans.com.

Unpacking Your Pay-Per-Mile Insurance Policy: The Metromile Policy Explained

Have you have had car insurance for years and still don’t know what type of policy you have or what the heck any of it means? Insurance jargon and policies can be confusing. There are a lot of new definitions and lingo that you may not have heard before. How much coverage does someone really need to have anyway? What kind of coverage did you sign up for? What is ‘Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury’ coverage and what does it mean for your pay-per-mile insurance coverage?

Blue VW Van on dirt road. Breaking Down Your Pay-Per-Mile Insurance Policy

We get it; you need insurance but you don’t need to be an insurance expert (unless you want to be!). So we are here to clear up all the questions that your pay-per-mile insurance declaration page may have brought up. From Bodily Injury to Roadside Assistance, here’s what it all means:

  • Bodily Injury (BI): If you get into an accident and you, the insured, is legally liable for the accident, this coverage can help. It pays for injuries/death to people involved in the accident, but not limited to, emotional injury or mental anguish resulting from the bodily injury. Also, BI limits will pay for any legal defense cost if you are sued for the accident. The limits of this coverage depend on the limits that you chose to have.
    How It Works: There a set limit per person and set limit per occurrence or accident. Once the limit has been exhausted there is no more coverage that can be provided. This coverage is not optional and you must at least have the state minimum limit on your policy.
  • Property Damage Liability (PD): This coverage is for when you damage someone else’s property with your vehicle. Typically, it is someone’s vehicle, but it can also be applied to other property such a buildings, utility poles, fences and garage doors. Just keep in mind that property can be anything is tangible. This coverage also covers any legal defense and child safety seats if the child was in it at the time of the accident. Again, this coverage is not optional and you must at least have the state minimum requirements.
  • Uninsured Bodily Injury (UBI): Pays for injuries if (up to the coverage limit) the insured person and/or other passengers in the vehicle were injured as the result of an accident where the other party is at-fault and is uninsured. If you are involved in a hit-and-run then you must report within 24 hours to the police and file a claim and give a statement within 30 days. This coverage includes medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering costs.
  • Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UMBI): Very similar to Uninsured, this coverage pays (up to the coverage limit) the insured person and other passengers in the vehicle while they’re insured as the result of an accident where the at-fault driver has inadequate insurance coverage.

    Note: For both UBI and IMBI coverage options there are split limits where you can choose a per person limit and a per accident limit.
  • Medical Payments: Are hospital bills, funeral expenses, or doctor bills just piling up after your accident? Do you need a see a chiropractor or a psychiatrist afterward too? Regardless of who is at-fault in the accident, Medical Payments will cover the cost up to the limit on the policy.
    How It Works: This coverage is optional and driver’s may rely on their own or their passengers’ health insurance to cover resulting injuries too.
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP): This coverage is only available in certain states and provides broad protection for medical costs, lost wages, loss of essential service normally provided by the injured person (child care or housekeeping) and funeral costs. PIP coverage can be used regardless of who is at fault in an accident, though some states may require a deductible.
  • Comprehensive Deductible: Comprehensive Deductibles are optional. A Comprehensive Deductible will kick in when your car is stolen or damaged in ways that don’t involve a collision. This could be hail damage, glass breakage, fire, vandalism, damage from an animal, flood, earthquakes, falling objects and theft.
    How It Works: The deductible amount is the out-of-pocket expense that you agree to pay for losses up to set amount.
  • Collision Deductible: Similar to Comprehensive Deductibles, Collision Deductibles are optional and can be used for when your car is damaged due to colliding with another object, like a brick wall, a tree, or another car. This coverage protects your car only and not the other party’s property, or injury.
    How It Works: The deductible amount is a set amount you agree to pay out-of-pocket if accident falls under collision coverage.
  • Collision Deductible Waiver: Uh oh, were you in an accident where an uninsured causes damage to your car? The collision deductible waiver waives your collision deductible in this instance.
    How It Works: You need the license plate number or name of the person that caused the damage and you must report this claim within 10 days. Keep in mind this coverage is not available in every state.
  • Underinsured Motorist Property Damage (UMPD): This covers the damage to your vehicle if you are hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver. Some states offer either Collision coverage OR UMPD coverage – but not both.
    How It Works: UMPD is not offered in every state and is typically optional coverage. There also might be a deductible required for this coverage, but this information can be found on the declaration page.
  • Rental Car Reimbursement: Did you get into an accident and need a rental car? This optional coverage can help with that and reimburse you for rental car costs when your vehicle is disabled as a result of a covered accident or loss. The reimbursement amount can vary by insurance company. At Metromile if you have this coverage you can be reimbursed $30 a day up to $900 in total.
    How It Works: In most cases, you will need to have comprehensive and collision coverage to have rental car coverage too.
  • Roadside Assistance: Provides services such as towing (up to a certain amount of towing miles are typically free), flat tire change, locksmith services, and battery jump start to customers. It is definitely worth including on your policy so you will never be stranded.
    How It Works: Metromile provides 24/7 roadside assistance as an optional addition to our pay-per-mile insurance offering. Customers can either give us a call or request assistance directly through the Metromile app or dashboard.

Taking the time to understand your pay-per-mile insurance policy can ultimately help you save in the long run. It is better to make sure you are fully covered and protected than having to pay out of your own pocket and regret it later. Your future self will be so appreciative that you took the time and made sure you had the right coverage on your policy. That’s why Metromile lets you check and change your pay-per-mile insurance coverages at any time, through the app or just by giving us a call.

Metromile is trying to make car insurance and car ownership even easier with pay-per-mile insurance and the smart driving app. If you drive less than 200 miles per week (like 65% of the U.S. drivers), Metromile’s pay-per-mile insurance offering could save you hundreds. Even though you’re paying less you still will have the same great coverage you are used to. We offer many different levels of coverages to choose from including, liability, comprehensive and collision. To see what coverage is offered in your states or to see how much you could be savings get a quick free quote.

Explaining Your On-board Diagnostic System: The OBD-II Port

We’ve been talking a lot lately about usage-based insurance models like the Metromile pay-per-mile model. The great thing about usage-based insurance is that you are only charged based on the miles you drive. So if you have a car, but don’t drive very far you could save a ton of money with pay-per-mile car insurance from Metromile. But have you ever wondered how we measure your miles? Usage-based insurance, and therefore Metromile’s pay-per-mile offering, wouldn’t be possible without the OBD-II port.

Porsche on rainy downtown road. OBD-II Port

If your car was built after 1996 and has a gasoline engine, chances are high that it has an OBD-II port. The OBD, or on-board diagnostics port began as a way to measure a vehicle’s emissions. California, in particular, wanted a way to combat the growing issue of smog, so in 1966 they began to require emissions testing in all vehicles. This requirement was gradually adopted nationwide by 1968. In 1988, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) passed a requirement that all vehicles sold in the state include on-board diagnostics. This first port would become known as the OBD-I. If your car was made before 1996, you likely have the OBD-I. Today, all new vehicles nationwide are required to include the OBD-II port. This next-generation of diagnostics had evolved from emissions testing to monitoring other performance-related aspects of the car, like the engine and chassis.

Here’s how the OBD-II works:

  • Your car has a Powertrain Control Module (PCM) that constantly monitors the engine. If it detects a problem, like excessive oil consumption, your ‘Check Engine’ or service light will come on and remain on until the issue is resolved.
  • A repair technician can connect a scanner to the OBDII port, download your car’s data, confirm a diagnosis and start on the necessary repairs or resolution.

So, if something is wrong with your vehicle; ranging from engine malfunctions to tire pressure, the OBD-II port is the best way to diagnose the problem. In fact, the OBD system is even proving to be an important factor in reducing the damaging effects of car emissions on our environment. Since the introduction of the Clean Air Act and the OBD requirement, toxic emissions have steadily decreased. Companies are also developing devices to use in tandem with the OBD-II port in all sorts of new and inventive ways. For example, our per-mile insurance customers plug the Metromile Pulse device into the OBD-II port to measure exact mileage. This enables us to provide low-mileage drivers with a more fair insurance pricing model, since their monthly bill is based on the miles they drive, not just on a rough estimate (which other insurance companies sometimes offer a small discount for). We also use the Pulse to help drivers decode the mysterious check engine light without visiting the mechanic, see personal driving stats and avoid street sweeping tickets. We’ve even used GPS functionality on the Pulse to help recover stolen cars! Fleet management services are using OBD devices as well, allowing them to communicate with their vehicles in real-time and monitoring things like location, speed and driver behavior. With a recent Deloitte survey finding that 72% of smartphone users see value in connected car technology, we expect to see additional use cases of OBD devices in the near future.

Overall, the OBD-II port helps provide transparency into key operational features of your vehicle so that you can make every effort to keep your vehicle in the best possible shape. Even with the amount of data provided, you should always make sure to stay up-to-date with your car’s maintenance schedule. Don’t delay changing your oil or overlook a Check Engine light that stays on.

The OBD-II port is a great example of the evolution vehicles have gone through over the decades. What began as a way to test emissions has evolved into the portal for mechanics and drivers to obtain data about cars and fix potential problems. For Metromile, the OBD-II is how we have unleashed the awesome amount of data to make driving less of a headache and enable drivers to make savvier decisions. Want to see the power of an OBD device in action? Learn more about Metromile’s per-mile insurance offering and get a free quote now.

Car Insurance Tips for Veterans

We thank our lucky stars for all veterans and active military personnel for serving our country. Veterans Day in the United States falls on the anniversary of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 which was the signing of the armistice that ended World War I. This day is intended to honor and thank all American veterans, wherever and whenever they served.

Car Insurance Tips for Veterans

Veterans live a different lifestyle than most. Some can be deployed for 6 to 18 months at a time, away from all their family and friends. They’ve given up their personal time, holidays, and special moments which can’t get back, all to serve our country. Because of their dedication to our country often times they receive military discounts as a thank you. Some car insurance companies provide discounts to active members who are deployed or for disabled veterans. Not only is it to thank them for their service, but also because statistically speaking, veterans tend to be safer drivers.

Active Military personnel and veterans need car insurance, just like everybody else. So we rounded up some helpful tips to follow to make sure you make the best decision on your car insurance policy.

    Compare your rates. To get the best rates you will need to shop around a bit and compare quotes to see what your rates would be with different carriers. Make sure you are comparing apples to apples and getting a quote for the same type of coverage. Potentially even with a military discount you could get a better rate with another company that might not offer a discount. So due your due diligence in comparing rates.

    Consider your coverages. You may want to lower your coverage while on deployment, since you car may be sitting for a long time. Or maybe you want to keep it fully covered since family or friends will be driving it while you are away. Either way, weigh out the options and consider speaking with an agent about what might be best for you and your situation.

    Consult your friends/family. They can help you with your search and making a decision. They usually have great insight into finding a car insurance company and can speak to their past experience.

    Consider keeping an active insurance policy. You may be thinking why do I need insurance or want to pay for insurance if my car is going to sit while I am deployed? If you cancel your insurance, upon your return you might be quoted a higher rate because of the lapse in coverage. Also, if any disasters happen while away, your vehicle still will still be insured. If you do choose to cancel your coverage, you should file an affidavit for non-use with the Department of Motor Vehicles.

    Don’t fall for common insurance traps. It is time to change your mindset about how you think about your car insurance. Don’t choose the highest deductible because it gets you better rates, or don’t choose the lowest because it is the lowest. Choose what is going to be best for your lifestyle. Know that it is okay shop around and make sure you are getting the biggest bang for your buck for what type of coverage you need. Brand loyalty does not always mean more discounts. Rate increases or decreases might happen regardless of how long you have been a customer. And bundling with renter’s or homeowner’s insurance might not get you the most savings. It might be more cost effective to keep your policies separate. Keep an open mind and do what is best for you.

At Metromile we believe that you should pay when you drive your car, and that you shouldn’t pay when it is parked. Pay-per-mile car insurance could be the perfect fit for you while you are deployed serving our country or if you are a low mileage driver. As a policyholder you’ll pay a low monthly fee to have the service (gotta make sure your car is covered while it’s parked) and if you leave it parked while away that is all you will pay. To see how much you could be savings go to www.metromile.com/insurance. Thank you to all veterans for their service, we appreciate the time you give to our country.

How Car Insurance Rates Are Calculated

Do you feel in the dark or confused about how car insurance rates work? You aren’t alone – rates can vary from insurance company to company and from policyholder to policyholder. Your rates are determined by various factors and underwriting guidelines. There is no ‘one size fits all’ in car insurance.

blue car on scenic background. How Car insurance Rates are Calculated

Because there is not just one particular thing that causes your rates to increase or decrease, and various companies offer differing rates, it can be hard to understand which rate and which policy is the best for your particular situation. We’ve rounded up the most common factors that make up car insurance rates across carriers to help you navigate the winding road of car insurance costs.

    Age:Did you recently celebrate a birthday? Or did you just pass your driver’s license test? Rates are dependent on how many years of driving experience you have had. The more experience you have over time potentially equates to better rates. However, once you hit a certain age, rates begin to increase again because you are deemed a higher risk driver. New drivers are typically the most expensive to insure due to their lack of experience.

    Gender: Generally speaking female drivers’ car insurance rates tend to be lower than male drivers’ rates. This can most likely be attributed to statistics; data over the years has shown that women are less risky drivers than men. Men are more likely to get into an accident or be a little too heavy on the gas pedal, meaning they are higher risk drivers – which equates to higher car insurance rates.

    Location: Where you live matters when it comes to car insurance rates. Insurance companies take instances of theft, and insurance claims, into account when determining your overall rate. They even examine the overall population of specific states, cities, and suburbs – if you live in or garage in a more densely populated area, your rate is likely to be higher.

    Vehicle type: Carriers also look at how valuable your car currently is, and how much it could potentially cost to repair or replace the vehicle when determining your premium amount. Vehicles with high safety ratings tend to get better rates too; which means choosing a safer vehicle when buying a car can pay off down the road, potentially saving you hundreds of dollars in insurance costs.

    Marital status: Married couples also tend to get better rates than single individuals. Couples who are married or in a domestic partnership are less likely to be in an accident than someone who is not married. So don’t forget once you get hitched to call your insurance company and let them know that you need to add your partner to your policy, be sure to check for new discounts!

    Accident history: Unfortunately, the biggest predictor of your future driving behavior is your past driving history. So if you have been at-fault for an accident in the past, this will play a huge part in determining your car insurance rate. People with prior accidents on their driving record will most likely be given a higher rate due to the at-fault accident. In the event of an accident, you will see an increase in rates upon renewal of your insurance policy.

    Driving record: Just like with accident history, your driving record is a strong predictor of how risky of a driver you are. When you get an insurance quote the carrier will pull a Motor Vehicle Record. If any tickets or traffic convictions come up, these will affect your rates. In general, driving history will count towards your car insurance rates for 3 years from the violation date.

    Annual mileage: Traditional insurance companies take into consideration how many miles you drive a year. If you fall under a certain threshold for low mileage you could receive a discount on your rate.

    Credit score: Insurance companies typically use your credit score information to determine your rates. In general, those with better credit history are considered to be less risky drivers, hence they receive lower rates.

Insurance companies take all of these factors into account when determining car insurance rates. No two individuals have the same background, history, or live the same life, so your car insurance rate is likely different than that of your neighbor. Understanding all of the risk factors that insurance companies asses can help you in the long run; if your rates are high now consider altering your driving behavior, spending some time working on improving your credit score, or shopping for a safer vehicle.

If you are a safe driver, and still feel like you are getting ripped off by your car insurance monthly premium, Metromile is excited to offer low mileage drivers a better option on car insurance with pay-per-mile. If you are driving 10,000 miles or less a year you could potentially see great savings with Metromile. To get a quote go to www.metromile.com/insurance and start by typing in your zip code.

Comparing Usage-Based Insurance and Behavior-Based Insurance Models

Typically car insurance works by taking your personal information – like age, driving history, location, etc. – down and giving you a set of rates that you can choose to pay monthly or pay all up front for 6 months. There may be discounts offered that help the overall cost, but nothing really substantial that really excites you or differentiates one insurance company from all the others. But did you know that majority of US drivers drive less than 10,000 miles a year? In fact, 65% of drivers pay higher premiums to subsidize the minority who drive the most. Ouch, that can definitely hurt your wallet! Luckily, there are two insurance models that are disrupting the car insurance industry and helping people save more money; behavior-based insurance and usage-based insurance.

usage-based insurance compared to behavior based insurance

Behavior-Based Insurance

Behavior-based insurance is also known as pay-how-you-drive insurance. Behavior-based insurance models measure how you drive – not how often you drive. This includes distance traveled, speed, how much the driver breaks, time of day and weather conditions. Usually, this is all measured by a device that is plugged into the vehicle or through an app using smartphone telematics.

Some major benefits of behavior-based insurance are that drivers are encouraged to be more responsible and they also have potential cost-savings on their premiums if they have “good” or “safe” driving behaviors. The downside to this type of insurance is that often time other factors affect driving behavior; like the driving behavior of those around us, weather, or even a stray animal on the road. The driver’s behavior is potentially out of their control and doesn’t necessarily deem they are are a riskier driver.

Usage-Based Insurance

Usage-based insurance is measured by how many miles you drive your vehicle, like with Metromile’s pay-mile-mile model. This type of insurance uses a device that plugs into your OBD-II port to measure the number of trips you take per day and how many miles you drive on those trips. These devices may collect other data that can be utilized by the policyholder, but this data is not used to price the premium – just the miles you drive. Metromile’s smart driving app is a great example of this because customers can use it to track their car’s location, decode check-engine lights, and even get street sweeping alerts (in select cities)!

Usage-based insurance models are based on the idea that the less time a driver spends on the road, the less likely an accident will occur. This type of car insurance is great for low-mileage drivers and can help them save on their yearly total insurance premium. Since it is pay-per-mile, you pay your premium monthly, rather than upfront because your bill will be based on how many miles you drive per month, so it will likely vary month to month. If you drive a lot, however, usage-based models may not be your best option.

Side-By-Side Comparison

But, which one is better for you? Overall, It depends on what type of monitoring you are wanting and what kind of driver you are.

Since behavior based is assessed on how you drive, you will need to make sure you are being cautious on the roads and mindful of your speed and driving habits – this means watching out for how hard you brake, being extra careful with street parking in big cities, and minding the times of day you choose to drive. This type of monitoring might make drivers feel anxious when they drive since they are constantly being tracked on every little driving behavior that might be deemed too risky. If you make a mistake, or someone else does your rates could increase and then you really wouldn’t be saving.

Usage-based insurance does not base your rates on your driving habits. You can slam on the brakes, hit the gas pedal, or drive late at night — there is no judgment and your rates will not be affected by your behavior. Traditional insurance companies may ask you your annual mileage and possibly factor it into your rate as a discount, but usage-based insurance truly charges you a premium based on how many miles you drive. Since usage-based insurance requires driver’s to plug in a device to capture the miles, your monthly bill will never be subsidized for fellow customers that might drive more than you.

Here at Metromile we truly believe that low-mileage drivers should pay less on their car insurance. This is why we have created pay-per-mile insurance. We offer full coverage policies, believe in handling all claims efficiently, and provide 24/7 roadside assistance. If you’re driving less than 10,000 miles per year, Metromile could be a great fit. Click here to see how much your savings could be.

How to Choose the Right Car Insurance Deductible

Pretty much every aspect of insurance is based on risk, – the risk of loss. Car insurance deductibles are no different. If you are shopping for new car insurance or updating your current policy, one of the most important factors to consider when getting a quote is choosing the deductible amount. It might seem enticing to pick the highest deductible since that often equates to a lower monthly premium, but saving a few bucks in the short term might mean you pay more in the long term. Let’s break down how car insurance deductibles work and walk through how to choose the best car insurance deductible for your lifestyle.

boy in red car thinking about his car insurance deductible

What is a Car Insurance Deductible?

Your car insurance deductible is the amount of money you have to pay if something happens to your car before your insurance kicks in, after a covered event (such as a crash, theft or weather damage). Similar to other types of insurance that have deductibles, your deductible can be thought of your monetary responsibility in the event of an accident or another type of covered vehicle damage. For example, if your car needs $2,000 in repairs and your deductible is $500, you will have to pay $500 and your insurer will cover the remaining $1,500. Unlike other types of insurance deductibles, your car insurance deductible will be applied for each claim you file (health insurance deductibles apply across the calendar year, but your car insurance deductible will be applied for each claim you file). So if you submit two car insurance claims in a year, you will have to pay your deductible both times.

How do Car Insurance Deductibles Work?

Many insurance providers (including Metromile) will take the deductible out of the indemnity payment (the money you receive from a claim), or the deductible will be paid directly to a repair facility if you choose to fix your car. When it comes to car insurance deductibles there are generally two ways you can approach it: either choose a high deductible to get a lower car insurance premium or choose a low deductible to reduce out-of-pocket expenses in the case of an accident.

  • What are deductibles based off of?
  • Car insurance deductibles and premiums are structured based on risk. The underlying idea is that if your policy has a high deductible (between $1,000-$2,000) you are less likely to file a claim for repairs, therefore making you less of a risk to your insurance carrier. But if you choose a low deductible (between $100-$500) you are more likely to file a claim for repairs, meaning your premium will likely be higher – because you are more of a risk to the insurance carrier. High deductible plans aren’t right for everyone, neither are low deductible plans. Your lifestyle, driving behaviors, and financial situation are all factors you should take into account when deciding your deductible amount.

  • When will I have to pay my deductible?
  • When signing up for car insurance you have to make a lot of decisions; how much liability coverage should you get? What about collision coverage? Should you pick a higher or lower deductible? All of these decisions may seem arbitrary now, but when an accident happens the choices you made can be the difference between getting your car fixed and giving your car up.

    Car insurance deductibles kick in when you make a claim, and can be payable to either your repair shop or your insurance provider depending on the amount, your plan, and your provider’s general deductible policy. Often times, you’ll pay your deductible directly to your repair shop and your insurance provider will take care of the remaining bill.

    But remember, ultimately paying your deductible is up to you. If you would rather not submit a claim, you don’t have to pay your deductible, but you will be responsible for the entire cost of your repair.

How do I Choose the Right Car Insurance Deductible Amount?

So how do you choose the right deductible amount for your needs? If you choose a higher amount, there is less chance that the insurer will have to help pay for the damage, so your monthly premium might be lower. If you choose a lower deductible, your premium might be higher, but that means you will have to spend less money in the event that something happens to your car.

You shouldn’t just choose a high deductible in hopes that you will never have to make a claim. There are always things beyond your control (like vandalism and bad weather), so if something happens and you can’t pay for repairs, that’s bad news. So when thinking about your deductible you should take into account the maximum amount you would feel comfortable paying for anything, without it causing a stress in your life. Budgeting out your financials can really help you understand what you can afford in terms of a deductible. Make sure to take your monthly income, fixed expenses, personal savings and available credit into account.

It is important to note that no matter what deductible amount you choose, you still will only be covered for expenses that your insurance policy covers. If you only have Liability coverage, the only expenses that are covered are the damages to the other driver’s vehicle and bodily injury claims from the other driver or passengers in the event that you are at fault in a car crash. If you have Comprehensive and Collision coverage, which are sold together, then you will also be covered for damages to your own car (Collision), as well as damages caused by non-collision such as theft or natural disaster (Comprehensive). The exact things that are covered vary by the insurance carrier and state, so make sure to check with the carrier to see exactly what is included (Metromile customers can check the policy contract). You can choose the deductible amount for each type of coverage, so if you think you are a safe driver, it might make sense to have a higher Collision deductible (where you can often prevent a crash) versus Comprehensive (where the events are typically out of our control).

Now that you have the information to choose the right deductible amount for your needs, try getting a quick, free quote to see how much you could save with Metromile’s per-mile car insurance offering!

10 Ways to Save on Your Vehicle

Buying – and running – a car is expensive, but it doesn’t have to leave you eating instant ramen for the next few years. While there are a lot of expenses that come with owning a car, like gas and insurance, there are also ways to shave down on these costs. Here are my top ten vehicle money-saving tips:

White convertible in parking lot overlooking view with dog in passenger seat. vehicle money-saving tips

    1. Save on gas

    It goes without saying that you shouldn’t drive like you’re in a “Fast and Furious” movie, right? Aggressively braking and accelerating really does eat into your gas. If you’re stuck in traffic often, something as simple as turning off your engine while you wait, or trying to drive less by using public transportation a few times per week, can save you a ton of money (and time!) in the long run.

    2. Make use of the apps out there

    There are a number of apps out there that tell you the prices of all the gas stations near you – use them to your advantage! GasBuddy is one of the most well-known apps, which uses crowdsourced data. Others include Gas Guru and Dash. Dash also tracks things like your fuel efficiency, too!

    Other apps like Repair P , Car Minder and the Metromile smart driving app can help keep your car in tip top shape. Repair Pal offers free estimates on car repairs and can help you find a local repair shop. Car Minder makes car maintenance easy with service reminders; the app also logs all service and repairs. Metromile’s smart driving app tracks your trip data, offers street sweeping alerts in select cities and can function as a vehicle health decoder – meaning no more pesky trips to the mechanic just to be told your tire pressure was low.

    3. Take up a side hustle

    Who can say no to a little bit of extra money coming in on the side? Side hustles are becoming popular, and for good reason. It can be anything from tutoring students, freelancing on sites like upwork or TaskRabbit, or even renting out a spare bedroom through sites like VRBO or AirBnB. If animals are more your thing, sites like Rover and Wag let you sign up to walk or watch fluffy companions for some extra cash. Putting that money toward your car will take a serious load off.

    4. Opt for pay-per-mile insurance

    Expensive insurance is a complete waste if you only use your car for short drives. Select a policy that is suited to how you use your car for huge money savings. Metromile, for example, caters perfectly to low-mileage drivers with pay-per-mile coverage that saves drivers an average of $500 per year!

    5. Rotate your tires

    Did you know that rotating your tires will make them last longer? A new tire is going to set you back around $80 – minimum – and that’s not even looking at the other three you’ll need! You want them to last as long as possible, right? Right.

    Front tires tend to wear down faster than back ones, and sometimes one side will be worse than the other. All you need to do is switch them around to even out the wear. Your owner’s manual should have the recommended tire rotation schedule, but it’s generally around 5,000 miles. You can do it yourself to really save money, or add it on during a service.

    6. See what repairs you can do yourself

    Thanks to YouTube, we now have millions of handy videos at our fingertips. Why not give being handy a try? Repairs like changing the battery, brake pads, windshield wipers, or replacing a headlight can be done by yourself. If you’re like me, it’s easier seeing it done in an instructional video than trying to decipher the written word. The Mechanic OC updates his page weekly and offers how-to’s for everything from replacing cracked spark plugs to checking wheel bearings. Forum sites like Reddit and Quora can also be great resources for expert level advice.

    7. When buying a car, don’t go for the cheapest one

    In the same way that buying cheap clothing means poor quality, buying a low-priced car isn’t always a good option. In the long run, you’ll end up paying more in repairs and may have to replace it after a shorter amount of time. A good quality car should last you at least six years (but hopefully more!).

    8. Think hard about new or used

    A study we conducted found that when you use an auto loan to buy a used car, you may save only $500 in interest when compared to buying new. This means that, in the long run, buying new may actually stretch your dollar further. Before making any decisions, weigh out the pros and cons of a new car or a used car for you. Everyone’s situation is unique so be sure to make the best financial choice for your wallet.

    9. Carpool when you can

    Sharing the driving with just one other person ultimately leads to savings. Do you have a colleague that lives close to you? A friend from school? Easy – carpool! Not only can you share gas, but you’ll save on the general wear and tear your car goes through. It’ll also reduce the mileage on your car.

    10. Keep up the maintenance!

    When your car is running fine, it can be hard to see the need for regular check-ups. However, skipping an oil change or ignoring that minor issue that could’ve been easily solved in one of these tune-ups could end up costing you a whole lot more down the road! Shop around to find a mechanic that won’t put you too much out of pocket.

Jennifer McDermott is the Consumer Advocate at personal finance comparison website finder.com. She has more than 12 years’ experience under her belt, where she’s analyzed consumer trends in the finance, lifestyle and travel industries. Jennifer loves to uncover interesting insights and issues to help people make better decisions with their money.

The 5 Best Ways to Drive Less

Do you remember how exciting it was to be 16 and driving for the first time? At the time, all you can think about is driving more, it takes years before you start to brainstorm ways to drive less. In fact, almost everyone fondly remembers their first car and the excitement it provided. Driving is supposed to be fun, after all. Driving is supposed to give you the freedom to do all the things that you want to do in your life.

parked bike in front of window that reads "WORK." Drive Less, Bike More.

And yet, driving’s become a stress-laden chore for most. You drive to and from work, to the grocery store, to the dry cleaner –gas prices keep inching up, and parking lots seem to always be full.

The truth is; we probably rely too much on our vehicles. Cutting down on how much you drive daily can help stimulate a healthier lifestyle, reduce stress, and save a ton of cash on car insurance with usage-based insurance models. And it’s not too hard to do if you’re willing to make a few changes.So here are five of the best ways to drive a little less, to save a little more money.

1. Drive Less: Live Closer to the Places You Go Most

This is probably an obvious tip but try to at least live closer to your work. Getting to work is usually the biggest transportation need in anyone’s life; by moving closer to your job, you allow yourself to save a lot of mileage and even some sleep.
And who wouldn’t like more sleep?
Of course, many businesses are situated in bustling downtown areas where housing is limited and costly. If you cannot live near your job, consider moving closer to commonly visited resources. Try to find a place near your favorite grocery store or close to your child’s school to cut down on the morning commute. The more destinations you can walk to, the less you’ll need to load up the car.

2. Drive Less: Give Up Shopping as a Hobby

Have you ever gone to the store just to browse? I think we’re all guilty there.
Window shopping is a favorite pastime of nearly everyone. There’s a pleasant easiness to just walking around aimlessly and looking around to see whatever catches your interest. And who knows – you may just find that special something on a whim!
The problem with this is it adds unnecessary miles on your odometer if you’re in the habit of shopping or browsing to fight boredom. Try to save your window shopping trips for when you actually need to make purchases.

3. Drive Less: In fact, Shop Online

For those times when you genuinely need to make a purchase, you won’t need to get in the car if you consider shopping online. Modern online retailers are very competitive with brick-and-mortar locations, often even writing-off the price of shipping so they can pass the savings on to you.
Of course, there are items like furniture and clothing which you ought to see in person before buying. However, you can get great savings on electronics, entertainment media, and even groceries without having to drive so much as a mile down the road.

4. Drive Less: Entertain at Home

Open floor plans in houses are all the rage nowadays for a reason; they allow you to entertain at home and keep everyone included in a larger space. If you’re looking to drive less, save the mileage by inviting friends and family over to spend an evening at your place.
Not only will this save your car some cumulative wear and tear, it will also save a lot of cash by skipping the costly restaurant and night-life bills. You can even make it a point to carpool with friends if you’d like to take turns entertaining.

5. Drive Less: Use Alternate Transportation

Many towns and cities have excellent public transportation systems that you can utilize. And if you’ve not ridden a bus since school, you might want to give it a shot. Studies show that riding public transportation or biking reduces stress and even provides health benefits. And that shouldn’t be too surprising if you’ve ever sat white-knuckled in rush hour traffic.

These alternative forms of transportation provide exercise, reduce stress, and save you money; they’ll keep your waistline trim and your sanity intact. According to the Department of Transportation, the average American spends 334 hours driving per year. Factor gas and insurance…and it’s a lot. But if you’re willing to make an effort to reduce your driving, you can save a ton of green and live a healthier and easier life.

Learn more about Metromile’s pay-per-mile insurance offering and get a free quote here.
Samantha Tung is a contributing author and Media Specialist for Caliber Collision.