Your Car’s Been Towed. Now What?

If your car is missing, you’ll want to think through all of the possibilities. Are you sure this is where you left your car? Could it have been stolen? Was it towed? Follow these steps to get your car back as soon as possible.

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Where’s my car? Check your surroundings for restricted parking signs or indicators that your car may have been towed. If you think you were unfairly towed, be sure to take pictures of the signs. If the signs indicate no parking with a phone number listed, try that number first. If not, try calling the local police department or visit their website.

Some reasons your car could have been towed are blocking a fire hydrant, parking in a “red zone” or “tow zone”, parking in a handicap spot or having unpaid parking violations.

What you’ll need: Once you have located your car, you’ll want to pick it up as soon as possible. Typically, you’ll be responsible for the towing and storage fees, so you don’t want to leave your car there for too long. When you go pick up your car, be sure to bring your driver license, a copy of registration and insurance. You’ll also want to take cash, just in case the lot doesn’t accept credit cards or checks.

Ask questions: Make sure to understand why your car was towed, and read the paperwork you have to sign thoroughly.

Metromile pay-per-mile customers have access to tracking their car’s location and can view it via their Metromile smart driving app. If you’re interested in the smart driving features that are part of Metromile insurance, get a free quote here.

Stolen Car Check List

Your car is missing, now what? To help you tackle this tough situation, familiarize yourself with these important tips to recovering your car.

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Think through all of the possibilities. Did you accidentally park in a fire zone? Did you park on the street last night instead of in your normal garage spot? Could your car have been towed for any reason?

Call the police. If your car is missing, you’ll need to file a police report. Make sure to have a description of your car on hand, including make/model/color, VIN, license plate number and any distinctive marks or dents that may help identify the car.

Notify your insurance company. This will help protect you should there be any damage to the car that occurred during the theft. If your car is leased, be sure to notify the lender from whom you purchased the vehicle.

If your car is recovered, notify your insurance company immediately to avoid any delays in resolving the claim.

If you are a pay-per-mile car insurance customer, the Metromile Pulse device can track your car’s location and you can view it on the Metromile app. The Pulse has been used to recover stolen cars in the past! If your car has been stolen, be sure to still follow the steps above and give that tracking information to the police – don’t go tracking your car down on your own. For information on preventing theft, read our tips here.

If you are interested in the location tracking the Metromile Pulse has, you’ll love the other features it offers, such as street sweeping alerts and check engine light diagnostics! For more information and to get a free quote, visit metromile.com/insurance.

Buckle Up: City Driving Disasters

Driving in the city is no walk in the park, and comes with a lot of annoyances and errors. It’s either weaving in and out of rush hour traffic or searching for parking that doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg and avoiding parking tickets. Luckily, digital innovations are making city driving a little easier.

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Dude, where’s my car?
When circling the four-block radius near your apartment over and over again looking for a spot, you end up parking in a different location each night. The next day, you find yourself scrambling to remember where you left that piece of machinery. With the Metromile Pulse (given to all per-mile insurance customers), a car locator will keep you notified on your smartphone on where your car is at all time. Metromile has even helped customers recover their stolen car with this feature!

Orange is not the new black
We’ve all thought about what would happen if you just ripped up that orange envelope left on your dashboard when you accidentally parked on street sweeping day, forgot to pay the meter, or turned your wheels the wrong way on a hill. In this digital age, ripping up the ticket isn’t an option, but avoiding the ticket all together is! Here are some hot tips:

    • Nothing is more confusing than street sweeping days. In Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego, the Pulse will send a street sweeping alert to your smartphone if you are parked on that street and can save you that big fine.
    • Many cities now have mobile payments available for their parking meters (such as Parkmobile or PayByPhone) making feeding the meter that much easier, even if it runs out while you’re still enjoying dinner.
    • In the Bay Area and other hilly cities, remember to turn your wheels in a way that if the car were to roll, the curb would stop the fall. So, parking uphill you would turn your wheels away from the curb, and parking downhill you would turn your wheels towards the curb. Then pull the parking brake.
    • Speed racer slow down! Apps like Waze, Escort and Garmin U.S.A pull in data for red light cameras and gives users the ability to tag police-car locations to help driver avoid those pesky driving tickets.

One way…or another
You might not admit it, but you’ve probably been there. You’re cruising to Crossfit, belting out your favorite jams, when you spot a shortcut, take a left and– you’re headed the wrong way on a one-way street. Don’t panic, but quickly assess the situation before making your next move to pull over and circle back. Download the Google Maps or Waze app to be sure you have the shortest – and safest – trip to your destination.

With Metromile’s pay-per-mile car insurance offering, not only could you save a ton of money on insurance, but you also get access to helpful things like sweet sweeping alerts and a car locator. Metromile’s smart driving app gives you information on trips and trends, fuel levels, car health diagnoses and more. Learn more here!

Car Theft Hot Spots: How to Prevent Break-ins

Lock your car doors – the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) just released their latest car theft hot spots report. California topped the list with the highest automobile theft rates in 2014, with eight cities included in the top ten. Washington was up next with two cities. But don’t be alarmed – keep reading for tips on how to prevent car theft!

Car Theft

While there isn’t a concrete reason why theft is so high in California, there are a few theories to consider. Factors include the large volume of cars compared to other states and the nice weather keeping cars in pristine condition, therefore making them more desirable to steal. It’s also important to note that since this was a population-based survey, an area with a much smaller population and moderate number of thefts can have a higher theft rate than an area with a more significant vehicle theft problem and a larger population.

Even if you don’t live in one of these cities, car thieves are still lurking. Here are some tips to increase the chances that your car remains safe and sound:

    • Don’t leave bait. A major motivation behind car theft is to acquire whatever is inside. That new stereo or big mystery bag sitting on your back seat is mighty intriguing to a thief! Keep everything stashed and out of sight to avoid someone breaking in to snoop around.
    • Lock your doors. This may seem obvious, but up to a quarter of vehicle thefts are from unlocked cars. Even if you are quickly running inside a gas station, that’s still enough time for a thief to make moves.
    • Make your car ironclad. Many cars are broken into with the intent of stealing the actual vehicle, so beef up your interior to prevent this from happening. Accessories like steering wheel locks, steering column collars, and brake pedal locks are both intimidating and discouraging to a thief.
    • Park smarter. It might be difficult to find a coveted spot on a busy street, but it is definitely harder for a thief to operate in a highly trafficked area. Check out our parking guide for tips.

In the unfortunate event that your car is stolen, there are tracking systems that you can subscribe to that will help find your car. Per-mile insurance customers have access to Metromile’s smart driving app, which has a car locator feature. We’ve happily been able to help several customers recover their stolen cars. If you are interested in learning about per-mile insurance, you can learn more here. Stay safe out there!

How to Park: West Coast Edition

 

Parking in the city is not an easy feat. Whether you are rushing to a dinner reservation or visiting a friend for the weekend, finding a parking spot is nothing short of a headache. While we can’t help you snag a secret spot or dispute your parking ticket, we can give you tips on what to expect when you’re in these west coast cities.

 

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San Francisco
There is a lot crammed into this 7×7 mile city, which means parking can be quite challenging. If you do find a coveted spot, the good news is that most meters take credit cards so you don’t have to search in the depths of your bag for stray quarters. Certain neighborhoods are even experimenting with on-demand pricing, which means rates may vary by block, time of day and day of the week, and can be adjusted +/- 50 cents per hour. The other good news is that Metromile’s street sweeping alerts are available in SF, which alerts you if your car is parked in a street sweeping area so you can move it in time. When you park, don’t forget to curb your wheels on any street that has a 3% grade or higher (which is pretty much the entire city). This is something visitors often don’t realize and is easy to ticket for.

Los Angeles
If you are in LA, it might be even harder to find a spot since the majority of the city’s population owns a car. Downtown LA also has on-demand pricing and you can see how much you can expect to pay on the LA Express Park website. If you can’t find a spot and are in a time crunch, there are plenty of lots and valet options throughout the metropolitan area, although it could cost you close to $40 for the day. Luckily, most business will validate parking bringing the costs down significantly. And if you do find a spot on the street, make sure you know what the color of the curb means to avoid getting a ticket!

Portland
If you do find on-street parking in Portland keep in mind there are two types of parking meters – the SmartMeter pay station and the coin-operated meter – so don’t get rid of that quarter stash just yet. The city also owns six downtown SmartPark garages which are the most affordable parking lot options. Pro tip: some businesses will even validate two hours of free SmartPark parking with qualifying purchases. If you aren’t near a SmartPark garage, private lots could cost you around $22 for the day.

Seattle
You’re in luck: Seattle is probably the easiest of these cities to find parking in. There is a fair amount of on-street parking, and both coins and credit cards are accepted at all meters. You can even pay by phone to eliminate the need to attach a receipt to your car.

There are also plenty of new innovations popping up to help alleviate city parking, such as Zirx and Luxe which provide on-demand valet service. Of course, you could always take Uber or public transportation and forget about parking entirely. And don’t forget to download the Metromile driving app to use our car locator if you forget where you parked!