Tips for a Drama Free Valet

Picture this: you’ve cruised around the block a few times looking for parking, but you’re going to be late for your dinner reservation if you don’t park your car soon. You notice a parking valet but have no idea what to do. If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone, which is why we’ve compiled some tips for you to get through valet parking drama free. Often times, especially in larger cities, valet parking can be faster and more affordable than street parking or parking in a parking garage.

valet_tips

Tip in cash. Many people avoid valet parking because they’re unsure of how much to tip. Even if the hotel or restaurant you’re at offers complimentary valet service, have cash on hand for a tip. It’s expected you tip the valet that retrieves your car but you’re entrusting your vehicle with a stranger so leave the valet who takes your car at drop off an unexpected tip as well. If they feel they’ve been treated well, they’re likely to take better care of your items. $2-$5 is pretty standard so expect to tip $4-$10 total for valet parking.
Tidy up and tuck away valuables. Anticipate that you might end up valet parking and clean your car up a little bit so that you’re not embarrassed to hand over the keys. If you have valuables in the car, leave them at home, or tuck them in the trunk or out of sight. Make sure you have everything you’re going to need before you get out of the car!
Know how to handle the drop-off. Drop off and pick up moves quickly, so pay attention to the valet instructions and drive safely and slowly. Leave the car running and don’t take your keys out of the ignition. Let the valet know if there are any problems with the car and confirm price, closing time and how to get your car back. Lastly, don’t leave your car until you’ve been given a claim ticket!
Pick up and pay. It can take 10-20 minutes for the valet to get your vehicle. Always consider calling ahead, especially if you’re at a hotel or a busy restaurant or if you have to be somewhere at a specific time. When you’re ready to leave, find the valet stand and pay your bill. Sometimes hotels will charge your room bill but the head valet will confirm. If it’s complimentary, just don’t forget to tip for service!
Check for damage. In the rush to leave, don’t forget to check for damage or missing valuables before you drive away! If you see any damage or notice any lost items, let the head valet know immediately. Most valet companies will cover these situations but it’s much harder to get compensation if you don’t notice until you are home.

Having trouble finding your car or want to check in to see where it’s parked? Use Metromile’s car location tracker to find your car. Metromile’s smart driving app gives you information on trips and trends, fuel levels, car health diagnoses and more, and is free for all of our pay-per-mile insurance customers. Learn more here!

How Your Commute Could Change… For the Better

The average American spends 52 minutes commuting to and from work every day. One of the main reasons for this prolonged driving time is everyone’s most dreaded driving obstacle: traffic. Think about how many vehicles are on the road with only one or two passengers, all likely going similar routes. If we could create a more efficient way of getting to and from work, therefore reducing the number of cars on the road, we’d probably get there a whole lot faster. Luckily, there are a handful of new services that are attempting just that.

Commuting_tips

Try out a “microtransit” service
The phrase “microtransit” isn’t really a “thing” yet, but the idea of a bus meets Uber hybrid is starting to pop up all over the US. Companies like Chariot (San Francisco) and Bridj (Boston, DC, Kansas City) have fleets of shuttle buses that run similar routes to the public bus system but tout more reliable and comfortable rides. Simply open the app, select your desired time and reserve a guaranteed seat. The service isn’t on-demand on like Uber, and you have to choose from one of their predetermined routes, but the price is typically much cheaper (and therefore better for your bank account).

Give the bus another chance
Even if you’ve had a bad experience with public transit in the past, don’t write it off just yet. Public transportation companies are continually improving their services, and in some cities, introducing totally revamped offerings. Throughout the Bay Area, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is currently under construction. These new buses will have dedicated lanes to free them of car traffic, and platforms to ensure seamless boarding. Over on the East Coast, Virginia recently debuted the Metroway system, a similar concept where a new fleet of buses travel in a dedicated lane and breeze by traffic.

Carpool with ease
You don’t need to give up the freedom of driving to work to get there more efficiently. With a carpool service, you can make better use of your car and pick up others going the same way. While the hassle of finding someone who has a similar route and schedule might seem daunting, there is an array of new apps and services that make this easier. From Scoop, which lets you schedule your trip ahead of time, to UberPool, which you can order on-the-go, save money and time by sharing your commute.

If one of these options works well for you and you find you are driving less, or your commute is more traffic than mileage, you could save a ton of money with Metromile’s pay-per-mile insurance offering. Get a quick quote now to see how much you could save!

Avoiding Common City Parking Pitfalls

Circling block after block, being cut off for the spot you were waiting for, and finally paying $20 for a parking spot in a lot…we’ve all been there. Parking in the city isn’t for the faint of heart. However, digital advances have made city parking a little easier.

city parking

Hey, that’s my spot! Hoping to snag a spot on the cheap? SpotHero and ParkWhiz allow you to book a parking spot at a discount in advance, so you won’t have to circle the block or fight another car for a spot.

Two words: street sweeping. Honestly, who can keep track of where their car needs to be parked (or not parked) on a daily basis? The last thing you want to do when you get home from work is check the street signs and set an alarm on your phone to move your car in 23 hours. In Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego, Metromile pay-per-mile car insurance customers receive street sweeping alerts to their smartphone, so they can avoid pesky tickets or worse, having their car towed.

Anyone have change? Stop looking under your seats for spare change to feed the meter. You can now pay the meter using an app like Parkmobile or PayByPhone.

Find your car. Parking in the city can mean a different spot each night. Trouble remembering where you last parked? Use Metromile’s car location tracker to find your car, and get walking instructions to get there! It’s even been used to recover stolen cars (knock on wood).

With Metromile’s pay-per-mile car insurance, not only can you find your car and get street sweeping alerts, you can also get the low-down on your trips and trends, fuel levels, car health and more. Plus, you could save a ton of money on car insurance! Get a free quote here.

Spending & Saving in the City

From new pop-up stores and great nightlife to job opportunities and historical landmarks, city living is exciting and exhilarating on a day-to-day basis. However, it can also be very expensive. Here are some easy ways you can save money, so you can enjoy city living without breaking the bank!

city driving

Create a budget. This may seem obvious, but take some time to look at your take-home pay and monthly expenses. By using a software like Mint, you can create savings goals, categorize expenses, and receive custom alerts when you are close to overspending.

Take public transportation, or opt into a bike-share service. The less you drive your car, the more you’ll save money on gas and car maintenance. If you switch to pay-per-mile insurance, you could save even more money because your bill is based on how much you drive. Read more here.

Walk to your local farmers’ market. Since farmers have more stock of in-season fruits and vegetables, they are able to sell them at a lower price. Bonus tip: if you prefer to buy organic, it’s often cheaper at a farmers’ market than at a grocery store.

Eat in (sometimes). Okay, okay. We know it’s fun to try the trendy new restaurants. You can still budget for a weekly dinner splurge, but spend more time in your kitchen. Plus, leftovers make a great lunch the next day!

Automate savings. Have your bank automatically move cash into your savings on payday. You won’t know it’s not there, so you won’t miss it!

Side hustle. With so many new modern conveniences and resource sharing services, you can side hustle on your time with ridesharing, dog walking, house cleaning and more. Or if you’re crafty, try your hand at selling your art on Etsy.

If you are interesting in saving on car insurance, Metromile could save you $500/year! Try getting a quote to see how much you could save.

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.

city_driving_errors

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!

Surviving Traffic Do’s and Don’ts

The following is a guest post from Marina Myshkina of the IMPROV Traffic School, an online traffic school that entertains and educates about traffic laws and driving safety.

We all know the rules of the road and we follow them — at least most of the time. With winter weather making travel increasingly cumbersome, it’s important we avoid making these seemingly small mistakes that could lead to big accidents. Here’s our recommendations for safely surviving traffic.

driving_in_traffic

  1. Ditch distracted driving. This includes texting and talking on the phone, jamming out to your favorite tunes on the highest volume possible and eating a tasty burger. There are a bunch of other distractions we could mention, but you probably get the picture. According to the CDC, approximately nine people are involved in auto accidents per day due to distracted driving — and that’s in the United States alone.
  2. Don’t swerve while trying to avoid hitting an animal. If you spot a deer, raccoon, squirrel or some other creature on the road, don’t swerve to miss it! We understand that it’s an innocent animal and everything — but when the alternative is swerving into traffic or slamming on your brakes, we think you should just carry on with driving as you always do to avoid a possible ten-car pileup. Note that deer and other creatures are most active from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and that using your high beams can help to spot the animals early (which will allow you to safely coast into the next lane to avoid it).
  3. Take a nap. Believe it or not, driving while you’re sleepy is illegal in some states, and it’s seen as just as bad as drunk driving by the law enforcement of those states. It’s called “drowsy driving.” It’s estimated that drowsy driving causes approximately 100,000 crashes per year in the United States (according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). It’s better to just grab a hotel room than to risk it.
  4. Stop speeding. Not only can it land you a speeding ticket, but for every one mile per hour that you clock on the speedometer, the likelihood of getting into a car accident increases by four to five percent.
  5. Understand assumptions aren’t accurate. People put their turn signals on and forget about them — and it doesn’t mean they are going to make a turn. And not everyone you drive next to is practicing safe, undistracted driving.
  6. Always wear your seat belt. Did you know that seat belts actually go through a ton of testing to ensure that they can keep you and your loved ones as safe as possible on the road? Seat belts are designed to stop you from catapulting forward if the car makes a sudden stop, and the stopping distance is 4 or 5 times greater with a seat belt than if you were not wearing one.
  7. Give pedestrians the right-of-way. There are a lot of laws surrounding the right-of-way of pedestrians, and they vary state by state. It would be useful to read about the pedestrian laws in your area. Pedestrian deaths make up approximately 14% of total driving-related deaths.
  8. Make room for bicyclists. Always leave enough room for them when there is a dedicated bike lane or a bicyclist riding beside you.
  9. Give other drivers the right-of-way when they have it.
  10. Stash a winter survival kit. This is key to have in your car in case your car breaks down, or in case you get stuck in traffic. If you have small children this is even more important — keeping snacks, candy or small toys in the kit can save you a lot of stress. A kit should also include a lighter or matches, first aid materials, a flare or two, a flashlight, and food and water. A blanket wouldn’t hurt either.