How I Recovered my Stolen Vehicle with Metromile

After thieves stole Isabel's car from a covered garage in Oakland, Calif., Isabel used the Metromile app. She then recovered her stolen vehicle.

As a long-time Metromile customer — and former Metromile employee! — Isabel is well-versed in the ways of pay-per-mile auto insurance and Metromile’s insurance coverage.

But Metromile still found a way to surprise Isabel.

Now that she’s working from home, her odometer may be taking a break, but her Metromile insurance is still hard at work — most recently helping her recover her stolen Audi in February 2021. Here’s how Metromile reunited Isabel with her car.

What’s been your experience as a car owner living in the city?

Let me start by saying I’ve had terrible luck with parking garages: a popped tire here, a yanked-off bumper there. 

I never had a problem when I lived in San Francisco and would park on the street. You would think someone would have broken in then! Half of the time, I would forget what street I parked on, so I always pulled up the Metromile app to find my car. 

Now I live in Oakland, California, in an apartment building that has an attached covered garage. During the day, it’s open to the public as paid parking. Since I’ve been working from home this past year, I don’t drive very often, and I don’t check the app as frequently anymore. 

How did you find out someone stole your car?

One night I received a text alert from Metromile saying my check engine light was on. It was really bizarre.

I brushed it off, thinking my car was parked safe and sound downstairs. It wasn’t until the next day, around noon, that I discovered my car was missing. I just wanted to get the pack of La Croix I had left in the backseat!

I remembered, from my time on the Metromile customer experience team, when I helped people find their stolen cars; I immediately pulled up the Metromile app to find my car’s whereabouts. 

Luckily, the thieves hadn’t spotted my Pulse device or thought to pull it out. I could see them driving around in Oakland, California. I called the police, and we waited for a few hours until the car stopped moving. It ended up only a mile and a half from my house behind a motel.

How did they manage to get your car out of the garage?

The people who stole my car were very professional. On the security footage, you could see them drive into the garage in another Audi. They managed to start my car without breaking any of the doors or windows. It took them less than five minutes, so they were in and out before they had to pay for parking. 

They exited the garage with both cars close together so they could get out in one go before the barrier arm came down. The police said the way they stole my car is very common nowadays. 

I would have thought that would only be the case in public parking garages. That’s why I pay extra for my parking spot in the first place! 

What state was your car in when you found it?

The thieves had tinted the windows, spray-painted the wheels, and changed the license plates in just a few hours. 

The engine was fine, but they must have tried tinkering with something under the hood, which had prompted the Metromile alert earlier. 

The interior was full of trash and all of the tools you would need to steal cars, like power tools and batteries. There was a cell phone, computer parts, and some people’s identification cards. Thankfully I hadn’t left many personal items or valuable items in the backseat, so I’m really lucky. 

It was pretty inconvenient and feels a little violating, but it could have been much worse had I not had Metromile. 

Having gone through this, what advice do you have for other occasional drivers like yourself?

My tip for other drivers out there: even if you have covered parking, beware. 

Without the help of the Metromile app, I wouldn’t have gotten my car back. Metromile has saved me money, and now, having recovered my car, I love it even more!

The bottom line

As Isabel learned, things can happen to your car, even when you’re not driving much, or take precautions like purchasing covered parking in a garage. This is why it’s important to have the right amount of auto insurance coverage for your lifestyle and budget.

Metromile has reunited drivers with their lost or stolen vehicles. We even boast a 90% stolen vehicle recovery rate as of the end of February 2021.

Not sure if Metromile is a fit for you? 
Take a Ride Along™ to try before you buy. Download the Metromile app and get a free auto insurance quote. You’ll keep your current coverage and drive as you typically would for about two weeks. Then, we’ll consider your actual driving to provide you with an accurate rate. You could even save up to an additional 15% off your quote in select states for your safe driving.