Everything You Need to Know About Car Insurance Premiums

Auto insurance has been around for a long time and can be traced all the way back to 3000 B.C in China where merchants would insure the goods on their boats to protect themselves against the risk of their boat sinking or being hijacked. The first time we see the basic form of auto insurance being used was along the Mediterranean, where merchants and investors would pool their money and charge a premium, which would then be used for those members who had a loss. The first car insurance policy in America was sold in 1898 when cars started becoming more popular. Then in 1927, Massachusetts became the first state to make a law that all driver’s need to have liability car insurance. Flash forward to present day, where all 50 states require every driver to have auto insurance and pay a premium for it.

Mint Green Continental. Car Insurance Premiums

Typically, premiums are paid on a monthly or 3 to 6-month cadence for car insurance. But, what does paying a car insurance premium mean? The very basic definition is an amount of money that you pay an insurance company for maintaining active coverage on your vehicle. The amount you pay is in exchange for the insurance company to take on the risk of insuring you and providing the coverage stated in the insurance company’s policy contract, in case of an accident or loss.

What Determines Your Premium?

The amount of premium you pay is determined in several different ways. The first and most important item is the type and amount of coverage you want. The more coverage you have the most likely the higher premium you’ll pay. Many other aspects also play a role into the total premium, such as what type of car you drive, where you live, your driving record, your credit history, your age, your gender, and marital status.

What Does a Premium Do?

Most insurance companies use your premium to provide coverage for claims being made against the policy you have chosen as long as the claim is under a covered accident that is outlined in the insurance policy contract. At Metromile, you pay your premium monthly. The premium is made up of a low monthly base rate plus a per-mile rate, which is typically a few pennies per mile. We still provide all the same coverages as a traditional insurance company, but charge your premium in a more fair way, based on how many miles you drive. Along with providing coverage in case of an accident, Metromile also provides our customers with a Smart Driving app, that can decode your car’s check engine light, keep you from getting a ticket with street sweeping alerts, and lets you track your trips to look for fuel efficiencies.

How Can You Save Money on Your Premium?

Besides switching to pay-per-mile insurance, you can save money on your auto insurance premium by increasing your deductibles. The higher the deductible amount you have the lower your rates will be. Be sure to weigh your options for what will best fit your lifestyle when choosing your deductible amount.

Most of the time there are discounts that insurance companies offer which can mean more savings in your pocket. Discounts are offered if your vehicle is equipped with certain safety features or alarm systems. A good driving record will also definitely help you save money and usually insurance carriers give safe driver discounts. There may also be discounts for multiple cars on one policy or multiple drivers too. You could even get a discount for being married or being in a domestic partnership. It is always smart to call in and review your options with your insurance company to see what discounts you are already getting and to see if there are any other discounts you qualify for.

If you are a low-mileage driver you should consider switching to pay-per-mile insurance. With pay-per-mile, the premium you pay is based on the actual miles you drive. Traditional insurance may give you a discount for low mileage driving, but at Metromile we offer fair pricing. Once you sign up we send you a device, the Metromile Pulse, which plugs into your vehicle and measures mileage. You’ll pay a low monthly base rate and a few pennies per mile you drive, so each month your bill will vary based on how much you drove. The less you drive, the less you’ll pay. People driving less than 10,000 miles per year can typically see savings in their premium with Metromile. To see how much your monthly premium could be, get a free quote today.

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.

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!

Car Insurance Rates 101

We all pay different premiums when it comes to car insurance. This is because there are many factors that go into determining rates. While it’s pretty hard to predict the future, the goal is to determine the likelihood of there being a claim. Past driving record, claims history, insurance score and geographic location (if you live in the city versus suburbs) are factors that can determine insurance rates.

Insurance scores are often used to determine rates (in states where this is permissible) and uses similar information as a credit score. Using this information has been proven to be highly predictive. For example, a study done by the Texas Department of Insurance determined that drivers with the best credit history are involved in about 40% fewer accidents than those with the worst credit history. Keep in mind that each insurance company may determine their formula differently and how they weigh each factor, which is why rates can vary from company to company and from person to person.

There are some variables that could negatively impact your insurance score such as the presence of collection accounts, multiple past due payments, high use of available credit, and recent applications for credit. The good news is that you can positively influence your insurance score by having a long and established credit history, multiple accounts in good standing, good payment history, and controlled use of your available credit.

At Metromile, we use insurance score in states where it is allowed, in order to price policies as fairly as possible. Transparency is very important to us, so you can view our privacy policy to learn more about how ratings are determined and how to review or correct information. We also file insurance rates with the state Insurance Departments where we offer insurance, and these are usually available to the public. In general, low-mileage drivers usually see savings with pay-per-mile insurance. To see how much money you can save go to www.metromile.com/insurance.

New CoverHound Partnership Offers Broader Insurance Options

Here at Metromile, we recognize that many of our pay-per-mile insurance customers have insurance needs beyond car insurance, such as homeowner’s or renter’s insurance. Today, we’re excited to share that we’ve partnered with CoverHound, an online insurance comparison shopping platform, to provide more coverage options for customers. The partnership will make finding the right insurance much easier than it has been in the past and better fulfill our customer’s needs.

coverhound_partnership

 

CoverHound and Metromile will be working closely together to make it easier for pay-per-mile insurance consumers to purchase the right homeowners, renters, motorcycle and other property and casualty insurance. The strategic partnership leverages each other’s unique offerings, efficient call center operations, experienced licensed advisors and shared focus on delivering the best customer experience in the industry.

For those not familiar with CoverHound, it is an online insurance platform where customers can quickly find, compare and purchase all property and casualty insurance according to their personal and business needs. Their unique offering features accurate real-time rates and a team of advisors compensated by service levels, not commissions.

If you are interested in pay-per-mile insurance, or are a current Metromile customer and want a quote for homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, please give us a call at 888.964.4133 and a Metromile agent will assist you.

What to Do in a Hit and Run Accident

Being in a car accident is scary and frustrating enough, but when the other driver takes off, those feelings can be escalated. A hit and run is any accident in which a driver purposefully leaves the scene without leaving any information. This can include a driver hitting your parked car and not leaving a note, or something more serious like a car hits you or a pedestrian and speeds off. Regardless, it’s important to take the right steps if you’re in this situation.

hit_and_run

  1. Gather as much information about the car or driver as you can. The license plate number, color, make or model of the car, and even the direction the car was heading is all useful information for police and your car insurance company.
  2. Don’t attempt to chase the other driver. Instead, pull over safely and call the police immediately. Police reports need to be submitted within 48-72 hours. Look around for any possible witnesses to the accident and ask for their names and contact information. Be sure to ask witnesses if they have any information about the driver or vehicle that hit your car.
  3. If you’re a Metromile customer, follow our Accident Checklist and assess accident damage. This includes recording the incident by surveying the scene and taking pictures of everything you see, including the damage from all necessary angles, as well as pictures of the spot where the accident happened.
  4. Contact your insurance company to report the accident and file a claim.

If you find yourself in a situation where your car was damaged when you weren’t there, follow similar steps. Document any damage and ask around to see if anyone saw what happened. File a claim with your insurance company but remember that without a license plate number, it’s unlikely you’ll be get reimbursed, or you’ll be subject to your deductible.

Remember, never leave the scene of an accident yourself. If you’re involved in a hit and run, or any accident, and you are a Metromile customer, you can file a claim online or reach us at 1.888.595.5485
. We’ll do everything we can to get you back on the road as quickly and safely as possible.

Beyond the Boxes: A Moving Checklist

It’s hard enough to fit all of your stuff in some cardboard boxes when you are moving, but there are a slew of other things you need to consider. From updating your address to finding new neighborhood go-to spots, things can get pretty overwhelming. Whether you are moving down the street or across the country, here are some tips on how to make any move a little more manageable.

moving_checklist

Find a moving company. While you might luck out, don’t rely on being able to book a reliable moving company days before. Consult Yelp for reviews (or even deals) and get in touch with potential movers weeks in advance. If you just can’t rid yourself of your last-minute tendencies, Lugg (currently in the SF Bay Area) offers on-demand moving. Simply request a moving truck like you would with an Uber, and movers will be on their way in minutes.

Change your address. There are a handful of places where you will need to update your address, but if you fill out a “change of address” form with the US Postal Service, you should be able to tackle many of them all at once. You’ll also want to update any delivery services, subscriptions or other important files or documents (like with your bank or credit card company).

Check out new insurance options. Before you move, find out if you are still covered by your current insurance policy (both auto and home) or if you need a new policy. This is a good time to shop around, as your new zip code could reveal new savings. If you anticipate that you will be driving less than you currently do, Metromile’s pay-per-mile insurance offering could be a great way to save!

Get registered. In addition to updating your insurance, you’ll also need to register your car (and get a new driver’s license) if you’ve changed states. And especially important for 2016, it’s important to make sure you are on the voter’s registration for your new local area. You should do this even if you’ve just moved to the next city over.

The Rundown on Car Insurance Coverage Levels

When getting a new car insurance quote (or revisiting your current policy coverage), it might be tempting to choose coverage levels that result in the lowest monthly bill. But if paying for insurance equates to paying for peace of mind, it might be worth it in the long term to add additional protection. Read on for a breakdown of various coverage options and how to choose the right levels for your needs.

car_insurance_coverage

Liability
This is the minimum coverage level required for most U.S. drivers. If you are at-fault in an accident, your insurance policy will cover vehicle damage and/or bodily injuries to the other party (at the levels you choose). Each state has minimum required liability limits, but you might consider purchasing a policy with higher limits to ensure you’re better protected, even if your policy might cost a bit more. If the damage caused in an accident exceeds your coverage limits, you could be held responsible for the remainder of the costs.

Comp & Collision
In addition to liability coverage, you can elect to add comprehensive and/or collision coverage, often known as “full coverage.” Comp and collision coverages are technically separate but are often discussed together. With collision coverage, in the event that you’re in an accident, your insurance policy will cover damage to your car (per the terms of the policy). Comprehensive coverage means you are covered if anything happens to your car where no one is at fault (per the terms of the policy) like a tree falls on it or there is weather damage. If you often park your car outside, this could be an important add-on to your policy. Keep in mind that the lower the deductible you choose, the higher the premium might be, but also the less you will have to pay if something happens.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or Medical Payments
PIP will protect you (and your passengers) against personal injury by covering medical expenses. In some states, PIP is a “no fault” coverage which means that you will still be covered even if you are determined to be at fault. Note that PIP coverage varies based on state, and if it isn’t available, then you’ll likely have the option to choose Medical Payments coverage. Both PIP and Medical Payments coverage are similar, though PIP typically provides a much broader spectrum of coverage. Medical Payments usually covers only medical bills for you and your passengers, whereas PIP will often extend to cover additional things like income loss, funeral expenses and essential services.

Roadside Assistance
In addition to getting access to an on-call tow truck, roadside assistance can also provide you with flat tire changes, battery jump starts, locksmith services and more. If you love road trips, this might be a smart coverage for you! At Metromile, adding roadside assistance is typically much cheaper than using an external company like AAA.

If you don’t drive much, we’ve found that customers are saving a ton of money after switching to pay-per-mile insurance. That means that you can get all of the coverage needed to give you peace-of-mind, and still save money. To see how much you could save, get a quick quote now.

Personal Injury Protection 101

The following is a guest post from Neil Richardson, an advisor for The Zebra, the nation’s largest car insurance comparison marketplace.

When it comes to car insurance, most people are familiar with coverage for injury and damage that you might cause to someone else (liability), and also damage to your vehicle (commonly, comprehensive + collision = ”full coverage”). However, there is another important aspect to car insurance that drivers need to know about as well: Injury coverage for you and your passengers.

personal_injury_protection

Commonly referred to as PIP for brevity’s sake, personal injury protection covers medical bills resulting from injuries that you or your passengers suffer in the event of a crash, regardless of fault. Since PIP coverage amounts vary by state and situation, you will want to ask your agent which options are available to you. If PIP isn’t available in your state, then you’ll likely have the option to choose Medical Payments coverage.

Both PIP and Medical Payments coverage are similar, though PIP typically provides a much broader spectrum of coverage. Whereas Medical Payments covers only medical bills for you and your passengers, PIP will often extend to cover additional things like work loss, funeral expenses and essential services, and even death benefit in some cases.

You should especially consider carrying PIP or additional medical on your policy if:

  • You are someone who drives often with passengers since you could potentially be held liable for their injuries from an at-fault accident. Even if your passengers don’t want to file a lawsuit against you for their medical bills, having this additional coverage on your policy will provide a major benefit to anyone riding in your vehicle.
  • You don’t have health insurance or if you have an extremely high deductible on your health plan. In emergency situations, your auto insurance will kick in immediately to provide medical coverage (assuming you have it added to your policy) rather than having to worry about covering the deductible on your health insurance.

If you live in a state that requires PIP, then you will have the minimum amount of coverage included on your policy. However, in most cases, you can also increase this limit to better protect yourself (much like you can with other coverage options). As with anything concerning auto insurance, if you aren’t sure of your options you should always ask your agent for clarification. Ultimately, your safest bet is to carry as much coverage as you can afford, and PIP is something you should strongly consider adding if you don’t already have it included on your policy.

Editor’s Note: Metromile offers this coverage for all policies, so if you’d like to add this protection, you can do so when choosing coverage levels in your insurance quote. If you are a current customer and would like to add this coverage, just give our customer support team a call (888-244-1702) and we’ll take care of everything for you.